Saturday, February 27, 2010

To Tip or Not To Tip

A national debate is rearing its ugly head amongst us and I must confront it. It seems that some people need to know if there are times when it is okay to completely stiff a server. And my answer may come as quite a shock to some of you, but I say: yes. On the rare occasion, it is okay to stiff a server. A reader named Dee writes:

Only once was it so bad that I decided a tip wasn't deserved. When the waitperson came to pick up the signed credit card receipt, I took the opportunity to tell him that there was no tip included for his service. I told him that since he waited until clearing from the appetizer to tell me that they'd run out of Prime Rib, that I never received the hot tea I'd ordered, that I got baked potato as a side when I'd ordered rice pilaf, and that my dining partner's entree arrived 15 minutes before my second choice was served... for all those reasons, I told him I didn't feel he deserved a tip.

I think Dee was right to refuse a tip and she was also right in explaining to the server why he wasn't getting one. Forgetting to get the hot tea was his fault. Of course, things slip our mind and we can fuck up. And sometimes at work you can have only four mistakes happen all week but all four of them happen to be at the same table. It's like the perfect storm of bad service. Maybe the kitchen didn't tell him they were out of Prime Rib until it was too late. Shitty, yes. But maybe he should have accepted the blame and try to make up for it by bringing another app that was comped while she waited. He certainly should not have brought out her friend's food when her order wasn't ready to come out with it. That was dumb. And maybe the kitchen sent out the wrong side, but if a table has already been slighted, it's the server's responsibility to make sure everything else is right. I would have been hovering in that kitchen to ensure that it came out quickly and correctly. I have found too that it helps if you just are completely honest to a table when this shit happens. Tell them: I Screwed up. I am sorry. What can I do to make it better? Customers like it when we accept responsibility for mistakes. They hate it when you blame the kitchen or the the runner or the host or whoever the fuck. They aren't dealing with any of them, they are dealing with the waiter, so therefore everything is the responsibility of the waiter. Period.

Of course, I think it's better to leave at least 10% so that there is enough to cover the taxes and tipping out. And if you are really unhappy with the service and you feel it was the waiters fault, let a manager know or just don't go back. I stiffed someone once. It was at The Black Eyed Pea in Houston. The waiter was an idiot and kept fucking up our order. And then at the end when we mentioned something about going back home, he said, "oh to your trailer park?" What the fuck? Did he just call me trailer trash? Now I may have spent my formative years living in a mobile home (trailers are for horses and mobile homes are for people, just so you know) but he cannot insult me like that. He should have had the decency to go to the sidestand and then do it like all self-respecting waiters. That was the final nail in his coffin and I picked up his 20% and put it right back in my pocket.

Yes, Dee, it is okay. Choosing to leave no tip is alright if there is justification. We know when we are doing a shitty job and sometimes it just happens. When it happens to me, I am not surprised with a stiff. What we don't like is when we know we gave great service and don't a tip. Or when we realize we fucked up, we tried to fix the problem and they say they are satisfied and then they still don't tip. Fear not, sweet, Dee. You were okay in your actions. We love that you tip above 18% when it is deserved. For that, you rock.

What are your thoughts, fellow servers?


Friday, February 26, 2010

This Woman Doesn't Tip

There is a new hero in my life and it is a restaurant in North Carolina. I have never set foot in the state before, but I am ready to pack up my humble belongings, throw it into a U-Haul, move my ass to Winston-Salem and get a job at Kanpai Japanese Restaurant. This restaurant did what all servers dream of: they banned a customer named Monica Covington from their restaurant because she was repeatedly a bad tipper. Cue the choir of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus because this is surely an intervention from the hand of God. I guess after a few times of crap tip, they added an 18% gratuity to her and then she complained about it and the next time she came in they refused to seat her. What I wouldn't have given to be host that day to see the look on her face when they told her to shuffle her ass over to the Burger King for dinner instead. Is she had a hankering for some sushi she was going to have to settle for an Asian Chicken Salad. Of course, she thinks it's an injustice to her so she started a petition demanding fair treatment. Bitch, how about I start a petition demanding that people leave enough money for the servers to tip out the bar and the busser and pay their taxes and still have some left for their pockets? She claims she has always left a good tip, but we know how that goes. She thinks a dollar is a good tip. I'm just guessing, but she might be one of those ladies that leaves Bible verses too. She can't understand why she is singled out. Uh, you were singled out because you suck at tipping and servers were sick of looking at your cheap ass stuffing all you can eat shrimp down your pie hole.

Get over it, Monica Covington. I looked up the stats of Winston-Salem and the population is 185,776. You are a teeny tiny fraction of the population and no one gives a shit about you and your issue. There are three other Japanese restaurants in Winston-Salem. You can drag your cheap ass to one of those places and hope that they haven't put you on the short list of "Bitches To Not Serve." If they also refuse to serve you, may I recommend you get some frozen egg rolls, Uncle Ben's Rice, some chopsticks and start your own damn Japanese restaurants where tips are optional and the food tastes as bad as your wig looks.

Domo Arigato and here's the article.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Quit. Again.

I may have mentioned before that I have had a lot of restaurant jobs and therefore I have quit a lot of restaurant jobs. Every once in a while, I will give my employer the standard two weeks notice but on the very rare occasion (okay, almost every time) I will just decide that I am done with a certain job and move on immediately. That is how I left Houlihan's. Both times. Yes, I worked there, quit with no notice and then they hired me back later. I don't know who was more desperate, me or them. The second time I quit, I had really had it. I remember that it was a few before Christmas and I was sick to death of serving the dredge that had to come see The Radio City Christmas Ex-crap-aganza. Houlihan's squeezed every drop of energy I had in my body and milked me dry. It was late at night probably around 1:00 AM or so, after we had closed and we were doing our sidework ready to get the fuck out. Our assistant manager came out of the office to give us a vital piece of information that he had forgotten to tell us hours earlier: the carpets were being cleaned that night and we had to move all the tables and chairs off the carpet and into the bar area. And he just told us this now? I wanted to strangle him. I wanted him to suffer a slow death. I wanted to force feed him a Houlihan's chicken stir fry which may be the worst fate anyone would ever have to endure. That was the straw that broke this camel's bitchy ass back. That was something we should have been told hours before so we could start preparing. You know, as soon as a table was cleared drag it over to the bar so we wouldn't have to do all of them at once. There are no words to explain how pissed I was. I recall dragging chairs and throwing them with all my strength (which is not very strong so it's not as menacing at it seems) down the bar and letting them crash into the wall and the floor. My manager told me to take it easy and I gave him a big look of "fuck you." I had already done my money drop so there was really nothing keeping me there except for this carpet cleaning crap. After moving about four tables I decided I needed to leave. Christmas was days away and I really wanted that day off to go to mass and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Heavenly savior. Either that or wake up and have mimosas on that day. Which ever one, it was time to compose my letter of resignation. I picked up a bev nap and did that very thing.

Dear Houlihan's,
Effective immediately, I quit

I laid the napkin on the manager's desk, punched out and went home. I assume the carpets got cleaned. Good thing they were worried about the carpets. Yeah, the carpets were the grossest thing in that place, sure.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

American Idol

So I have not had to work for a couple of days and have been trying to get caught up on all the important things in life that must be taken care of. I watched The Olympics and American Idol. So yes, this post is about American Idol. I know, I know, it has nothing to do with serving but I feel that I must put my two cents in about the top twelve bitches who sang last night. And then I have to go to work tonight and will probably gather up some more waiting tables dreck to write about next time. In the meantime, this (ridiculously long pause) is American Idol:

  • Paige Mills- First one to sing and was really good, but I hope people remember to call for her ass since she was at the beginning of the show.
  • Ashley Rodriguez- Whatever. Average. Goodbye and good luck with your post-Idol career as a karaoke host.
  • Janell Wheeler- Pretty girl, mama.
  • Lilly Scott- This chick is cool. I love that silver hair thing she's got going on. She looks like a super hero.
  • Katelyn Epperly- I couldn't take my eyes off the thing in her hair. And with that necklace, hair-do and earrings, she needs to tone it down. You know that fashion rule that says you should always take off one accessory before you leave your house? She needs to do that two or three times.
  • Haeley Vaughn- This Billie Holliday flower in the hair chick is kinda interesting, but she needs to develop a new look other than that fucking thing in the hair. We get it. You're quirky. I liked her even though she was all over the place vocally.
  • Lacey Brown- Ouch. My ears were bleeding. She works at a church. God will welcome her back to the job when her ass gets booted off this week. Bye.
  • Michelle Delamor- Not bad, but seen it, heard it before.
  • Didi Benami- She really thought that the crocheted sweater that her Gran made for her was the right thing to wear on Idol? She reminds me of that Megan babe from last year who always cawed and flapped her arms like wings. And that last note she hit? No, honey.
  • Siobhan Magnus- Boring. And someone else wearing a flower or feather in her head? Don't they have stylists there who are telling them to chill out with the head decor?
  • Crystal Bowersox- Love me some Butter Teeth. She can sing, but her teeth... I can say that, because my teefs are all jacked up too.
  • Katie Stevens- Whatevs. All I could think while she was singing was that it would be a good karaoke song for me the next time I am all drunk on vodka gimlets.

I predict that Ashley and Lacey will be gone this week. The two of them will go home to minor celebrity and be singing in malls for the next three months while they wait for the American Idol finale and hope they get to come back and sing in a group number. I liked that silver girl Lilly best, but didn't call in for her because I really don't care that much. Okay it's not that I don't care, it's just so much effort to dial the number. It's exhausting. Oh, and I really don't care that much.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bloody Mary Whine Bag

It's been a while since I had a real bitch in my station that made me need to vomit out my feelings about her, but last night she slid into booth number one. I only had one nerve when I got to work and that bitch had to get all up on it. She was wearing a lot of make up, like Tammy Faye (may she rest in peace) levels of make up. And she was wearing a black top that had sequins on it. It may have had some feathers around the collar too. I'm pretty sure it did, but I already tried to erase her image from my memory and parts of last night are gone forever. The loss of memory may or may not have something to do with the alcohol that was consumed after work; not sure.

"How's the the Bloody Mary?" she asked, when I queried about her cocktail of the evening.

I acted like I have tasted one before and said that it was delicious. They get ordered all the time and no one ever returns it, so I assume they're good. People really think I have tasted every cocktail on the menu? What do they think I am, a fucking alcoholic who sits around at work and drinks every night? Okay, maybe they do know me, but I have never tasted a Bloody Mary because that would involve a vegetable serving and I try to avoid those at all costs. I brought her Bloody Mary and later on when it was time for the second drink, she whispered to me that the Bloody Mary was awful and she would have a Cabernet instead. Fine. I don't give a shit.

After the show, she called me over to again let me know that the Bloody Mary was horrible. "Oh, I'm sorry, I said. And I was sorry she didn't like her drink because I knew it was expensive. "A lady over there had two and she really enjoyed them."

"Well, it was horrible," she said as she rolled her eyes to the back of her head.

"I guess it's a subjective opinion then. I'm sorry." End of story, I thought.

"No, I'm a bartender and I know. There was no vodka in it. It was just tomato juice and horseradish."

She was wrong of course. I know for a fact that it had vodka in it. I watched it being made and we don't leave liquor out of drinks. We just don't do that. I gave her the check and she looked at the $45.73 total and gasped. "Is the tip included?"

"No, ma'am."

She shot me this look that said, "Are you freakin' kidding me?" She gave me a twenty dollar bill and a credit card and told me to put twenty to the check and the balance on the card. So I took her credit receipt back to her with a total of $25.73 on it and she looked at and grunted. "No, I wanted to put twenty in cash and then the balance on the card!"

"I did that, ma'am. Twenty dollars cash plus $25.73 totals $45.73, does it not? I believe that is the total of your check, correct?

She looked at it again and then snorted out, "Fine!" Like she was doing me a fucking favor. Look lady, I didn't fucking invent math. Do I look like Pythagoras? Pay your bill and shut the fuck up.

On the way out, she of course had to let the bartender know that the Bloody Mary was horrible and that she was bartender and she knows best and blah blah blah. I don't get what her deal was. If she didn't like the drink she should have fucking told me. The lady at the next booth sent her drink back and had more juice added (because we did pour liquor into her drink). I hate when people complain after it's too late to do anything about it and they won't accept an apology and they just keep bitchin' about it.

This lady was a windbag. A big gassy bag of wind that had Bloody Mary and Cabernet breath and was rocking a black sweatsuit looking ensemble with sequins and fucking feathers. 'nuff said.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grabby McGrab Grab

As servers, we have all been touched, grabbed, groped and fondled. It happened to me the other night when a lady grabbed my elbow as I breezed past her table. I guess she was so ready to order her cocktail, that her hand developed a mind of its own and flew out to my person and attached itself to me. I told her I would be right back to take her order, but what the grope did was effectively make her have to wait even longer to get her Pear Cosmo. Sometimes, we don't mind being groped but I find that it's only acceptable in certain situations and they usually involve drinking and/or being in a bar. I was perusing the internets the other day and came across a news item in Australia about a man who groped a waitress and they sent his grabby ass to jail for it.

The man was 63 years old and worked in the kitchen at some place called Whitebait. There's problem number one. Any restaurant named Whitebait is just asking for trouble. The waitress was only 15 years old which is another issue. Don't they have child labor laws down under, mate? G'day and all that but why the hell is a 15 year old waiting tables? I guess the man grabbed her ass and squeezed her 15 year old boobies and then tried to kiss her. Okay, gross. Listen, Pappaw if you want to make the skeezy moves on a younger woman, at least make sure it's a woman and not a little girl. And then he tries to blame the girl for acting in a "lustful, self-gratifying manner" and forcing him to act on the spur of the moment. What an antique douchebag. They sent him to jail for six months and in Australia, that's like two years because of the different time zones and every thing. And while in jail all he gets to eat is Vegemite sandwiches and shrimp that came from the barbie. And yes, my whole knowledge of everything "down under" is based on Men at Work songs and Crocodile Dundee.

The point is, we don't want to be grabbed (unless we are drinking). We don't want to be groped (unless we are drinking), demeaned (unless we are drinking), or hit upon (unless we are drinking). Customers who reach out and touch a server are looking for trouble and I just want to put it out there. If you grab a server you might just go to jail for a really long time. Or at the very least you will have to wait five extra minutes before I bring you your cocktail. So think about that the next time. Five minutes is a long long time when you are ready to be drinking. And once you start drinking, you will feel more comfortable in case you yourself are groped.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Enough of Tiger Woods

So I don't know about you, but I don't give a flying fuck about the sex life of Tiger Woods. All I know is that I was at the gym today about to do my cardio and The View was preempted so that this asshole could apologize on television. I have avoided reading anything about the whole scandal because I don't give a shit. Why does anyone other than his wife and mistresses care what he did? My one gripe is that apparently he took advantage of some sweet innocent cocktail servers over the years and they certainly deserve better. These girls are just hardworking hos trying to earn a buck and when Tiger Woods sat in their station they did what they had to do in order to get a big fat tip. And if they were lucky enough to get Tiger's tip, maybe they thought they were also entitled to Tiger's wood. I read about one waitress who was making $8.00 an hour and really believed that her and Tiger had an honest relationship. Okay, where is this delusional bitch working where she gets eight bucks an hour? I get $4.60 an hour and I feel jilted. Not only is she getting a decent hourly wage, she gets to taste the Tiger too. I call shenanigans!

Tiger has left a trail of scorned waitresses across the country. Their lives are in ruins and now all they can do is hope that Playboy will do a spread on Tiger's Tasty Treats and they can cash in. Or maybe they can each write a tell-all book about it so they don't have to sling hash and cocktails anymore. Either way, I just want to send a shout out to all those waitresses he slept with because they are the forgotten victims in this tragedy. Tiger lost an endorsement deal or two, but these girls lost their self respect, their honor and their privacy. Well except that one who was a porn star already so I guess she was okay with the no self respect thing. Hopefully these girls will move on from the scandal and aspire to greatness. And I am pretty sure that Hooters is hiring.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Star

So a few days have passed since I last wrote because I do have a life and it doesn't revolve around writing for this blog. Okay, kidding. I have just been really lazy and I totally don't have a life. Plus, the Olympics, Project Runway and Survivor are also a priority for me. In addition to all that productive television watching I have been working on another writing project. Yes, I am writing a book about all the other jobs I have had in my life and when it is published if all of the readers of The Bitchy Waiter would buy one, I can sell about fourteen copies of it. I have been reviewing my old diaries to refresh my failing memory on all the things I have done in my life to earn money and one entry stopped me cold in my tracks. Had I not written it in my own hand, I never would have believed that it was from me. It proves to all those naysayers out there that I have not always been a spiteful, bitter, angry waiter. There was a time when I was as pure as the driven snow and filled with hope and and inspiration to serve others. Of course, this was before I was an actual waiter. I was just a lowly busboy dreaming of the day that I could be a waiter and reap the rewards of that position. Behold:

September 30, 1989: Worked tonight and made $31. Cool, eh? People tell me I'm a great busser. I want to be a great waiter. I really do.

First off, yes, I was working in a restaurant in 1989 which is probably before half of you bitches were born. And yes, $31 was a decent sum of money to me back then when my rent was only $275. It was a long time ago before cell phones, computers and I think it was right before they invented these flying machines called aeroplanes. But we must take notice of my aspiration to become a waiter and how I truly wanted to be a great one. I was working at a Mexican restaurant in Denver called Juanita's. Who even knows if it's still there? But that place groomed me for my future in the food service industry. There was one waitress there who always said "pardon me" when ever she walked by and I always thought it was so sophisticated of her. To this day, I say that instead of "excuse me" or "get the fuck out of my way." I want to keep it classy.

I guess the point of this post is to remind us all that dreams really do come true. Jiminy Cricket says so and I do have him tattooed on my leg so it must be true. Here I was a mere child of six years old in 1989 and dreaming of the possibility of becoming a waiter. And twenty-one short years later, my dreams have come true. I am a waiter. Oh god, I am a waiter.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Take This Job and Shove It

I believe that it's apparent that I have had a lot of jobs in the course of my life. For me to move on from one job to the next wonderful opportunity, it means that I have had to quit a lot of jobs over the years too. Quitting jobs is a delicate proposition. It must be done professionally and in a mature way so as not to upset your employer and ensure a good recommendation in the future. Or in my case, you can leave a smokey trail of burnt bridges across the land. When I want to quit a job, my impatience rules and I just have to get the fuck out of there.

Pizzeria Uno, South Street Seaport. I had worked there for about four months I guess. I hated it because the place stayed open until two in the fucking morning and sometimes I wouldn't get home until almost 3:30. All we served were tourists and rats. And when prom time rolled around, I couldn't believe how many guys brought their date to Pizzeria Uno for the big night. I think a lot of girls traded in their V-card for a deep dish pepperoni pizza that year. How romantic. Anyhoo, after a summer there, I was really on the edge and wanting a new job. One day at our shift meeting before the evening shift, our managers were ripping us new assholes. Some servers were adding gratuity to the checks of foreign tourists without telling them. Now we all know that a lot of foreign tourists don't tip and it's great when we can add the grat. But what these waiters were doing was adding it, burying the total in the check and then not telling them and hoping they would get tipped on top of it. Ethically and morally wrong and believe it or not I was not doing it. Shut up, I really wasn't. (Truth be told, I was still too new and didn't even know it was a possibility. I was innocent by ignorance.) At the shift meeting our managers were really upset about it and screaming at all of us even though it was just a few servers who were guilty of this horrendous crime. "It's wrong, it's dishonest, it's stealing from the company!" In all actuality, I think it was stealing from the customers, but whatever. I really didn't appreciate getting yelled at for something I had no part of. After the manager had hissed her last breath of anger, I went to look at my station for the night. I didn't like it. I was supposed to close. I didn't like that either. Suddenly I realized that there were way too many things about this job I didn't like.

I went to the back of the house and to my locker and got my belongings. I walked back through the kitchen, to the time clock, punched out and walked past the host stand. Someone yelled at me, "Hey, how are you getting to leave so early?" "Easy," I answered. "I just punched out. Bye, I quit."

I mailed them a self-addressed stamped envelope the next day for my final paycheck and never set foot in that place again. Quitting jobs is easy. And fun. Fuck you, Pizzeria Uno. Fuck you and all the rats that live there.


Friday, February 12, 2010


As I was walking past Radio City Music Hall recently, I began to reminisce about my days at the good ol' crappy ass Houlihan's which was two blocks away from it. Sorry, I have been on a Houlihan's kick lately, but I spent some time recently with a friend who worked there with me and we started talking about it. Memories that I have spent years trying to bury and forget came bubbling back to the surface and now they are regurgitated on this computer screen for you to read/ignore. Our business at the Huli was directly connected to what was happening at Radio City. When the Teletubbies had a weekend of shows we knew we would be overrun with parents schlepping their bratty ass kids to see that steaming pile of live entertainment. We had a copy of Radio City's schedule in our office just to make sure we were prepared. But the big daddy of Radio City is The Christmas Extravaganza. And when that shit rolled into town, the restaurant would overflow with people who were dying to have an overpriced hamburger and nachos served by waiters who hated them and everything they stood for.

If you have never had the chance to see the Christmas Extravaganza, be prepared to be hit over the head with the true meaning of Christmas. But only for the last ten minutes. The first hour and twenty minutes is about Santa and elves and presents and fun and then at the end they hit you up side your head with a Bible and bring Jesus all into he fray. They do about a thousand shows a day there, so we were always busy. I don't know why anyone wants to wait in line to get into a Houlihan's, but they did. We would have waiting lists. When they would finally get to their table, they were always in a hurry and demanding attention right that second. It was the craziest place I have ever worked when Radio City was in full swing. I hated it. I mean I hated that place when it was slow, so imagine how I felt when half of middle America was in there. Crying happened a lot and I am not talking about the kids in my station. Bartenders cried. Servers cried. Sometimes we would just have to escape to the bathroom and cry for a minute because we were so slammed and we just had to get the frustration out.

The funniest thing I ever saw was this girl named Rhonda. I always liked her. She told me to call her one time to get directions for a party she was having. I was reaching for a pen and she just said, "It's easy to remember. 777-PORK." I never had to look up her number again. Anyhoo, we had noticed she wasn't in the dining room and her tables were needing her. We all started looking around for her. She had a tendency to lose it sometimes and we were concerned. I found her. She was back near the bathroom and the pay phones in this little corner by the back door to the kitchen. She was on the floor in the fetal position rocking back and forth and crying. It was so sad. Rhonda had finally lost it. Not only was it the saddest thing I have ever seen, it was fucking hilarious. We took her checks from her and finished out her shift so she could compose herself. Houlihan's took a a lot out of us. It's gone now. It's The Tropicana Tanning Zone now where all the waitresses are in bikinis or some shit. I didn't think it would be possible to make that space any more of a miserable place to work, but they did.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Can't Belive It's Not Butter

When we start a new job, we always find ourselves full of uncertainty and nerves. We worry about whether or not people will like us and will our co-workers be nice or not. It can be quite stressful and we depend on others to make us feel welcome in a new environment. When someone new comes into my restaurant, I always make sure I am part of the Welcome Wagon. I always introduce myself and offer to take them on a tour of the front and back of the house. I give them tips and pointers on how to make the computer system work for them and advise them which cooks are willing to help you out if you get in the weeds. Oh, who am I kidding? I don't give a shit about new people. I wait at least a week before I invest any time with them because too many times people quit after two or three days and I realize I wasted two or three whole sentences on them. Some people like to play tricks on the newbies and one of the best happened when I worked at The Black Eyed Pea on West Grey in Houston, Texas.

At The Pea, we were responsible for making our own desserts so we had completes access to all of them at any time. One of our favorite snacks was to take two chocolate chip cookies and then make an ice cream sandwich using French Vanilla ice cream. Were we supposed to do that? Absolutely not. Did we do that? Every fucking day. So one day we decided to play a trick on some new guy. Tim made himself one of the ice cream sandwiches and then walked by the new guy while eating it and saying how delicious it was. Of course New Guy wanted to know what it was and if he could have one. "Sure," said Tim. "Since you're new let me make it for you. I'll be right back." Tim went to the cookie bin and pulled out two freshly re-heated not homemade cookies and then walked over to the ice cream freezer. And then walked past the ice cream freezer and went to the tub of whipped butter that we used for the biscuits and cornbread. He took a huge scoop of the butter and placed in between the cookies and smashed it together. Comparing the butter to the French Vanilla, the two desserts looked exactly the same. Off he bounds to New Guy to hand him his freshly made sweet.

"Thanks, you're nice, "said New Guy.

"It's what I do," said Tim.

We watched with eager anticipation as New Guy moved the cookie and butter concoction towards his hungry hungry hippo hole of a mouth. He opened wide because Tim had filled that bitch up with butter. It was going to be a big bite. As he bit into it, the cookie crumbled and the butter oozed out of the sides of his mouth. His eyes registered surprise and then realization that he was now eating a cup of butter. Of course all us bitches laughed at him as he tried to decide whether or not to swallow that first bite or spit it out. He spit it out, laughed at himself and learned that he had been had. He thought he was now part of the Black Eyed Pea gang. He wasn't and wouldn't be until it was his turn to play the trick on the next New Guy. Until that time, he was the newbie and had to face the fact that another prank could be waiting for him at any time. It sucks being the new guy. But then again it pretty much sucks to be the old-timer too, so there you go. A two way tie for shitty.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

There is a fucking blizzard going on outside my apartment right now and people across the eastern seaboard are celebrating the wonder that is Mother Nature. That bitch done graced us with a snow day today. Thank god I work at a place where management can see a blizzard and think, "Oh fuck that shit. Nobody's gonnna drag their asses out of their apartments to hear a cabaret performer. Closed" This, as opposed to those managers who will insist on keeping a restaurant open so that you can sit at work for eight hours pouring coffee to the sad sacks who didn't have anyplace else to go and you walk with five dollars for the night. Waiting tables when the weather is bad is so fucking lame. How many times have you been working in a restaurant when it's pouring rain, flash flooding and tornado watching and the only people who come in are the same people who won't leave because they think they will melt if the raindrops keep falling on their heads. It's maddening. And with winter comes heavy coats. I fucking hate them taking up room in my station. When people ask if they can just leave their coats in the booth next to them and just move them if someone wants to sit there? No, just keep your fucking coats on, asswipe. At my job now, we even have a free coat check to help customers with this issue, but people still let them get in my fucking way. And then I can't squeeze my skinny ass between the seats because Mary Ann Moneybags has her fur fucking coat all spread out over three different chairs. She can afford a fur coat but doesn't want to take advantage of the free coat check and give the coat check girl dollar? I hate when people let their coats get in my way. God help the sleeve that falls on the ground because I will step on it. Several times. Umbrellas are a whole nother story. What about those bitches that come in to a place and then shake out their umbrella? Or they will want to open it and leave it in a corner so that it can dry out. Why the fuck does it need to dry out before you carry it back into the rain, lady? Put the umbrella in your stroller and then stuff them both up your poochy hole.

Obviously, I have some weather issues. I must take advantage of this free day off and go share my blissful attitude. I plan on hitting a bar for happy hour this evening so that I can do my part in helping those servers who did have to go to work tonight. I see it as my duty. I will tip them well in gratitude for venturing out in the great blizzard of 2010. And in the course of thanking and tipping my server, I shall get shit faced drunk. Happy snow day, bitches.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let Them Eat Steak

There is a hierarchy in the world of waiting tables. The longer you are at a place, the higher up the proverbial totem pole you go. As with all jobs, we aspire to move up the corporate ladder and finally reach the pinnacle of positions in a restaurant: head waiter. (This is not to be confused with head hostess which has a completely different job description which may or may not involve giving oral sex in parking lots and bathrooms.) It is an honor and a delight to hold such an important job at the restaurant. Other servers look up at you with awe and inspiration. They must suppress their jealousy and only hope that some day they too can have such a title bestowed upon them. And as head waiter, it is very important that one does not flaunt their power and let it feed their ego. "Head waiter" implies a lot of things (pot head, blow jobs, loser) but basically it is the person who oversees the dining room and ensures that things run smoothly. The title comes with some responsibility and some perks.

Maybe it's called different things at different places. At Houlihan's we called it shift leader. The main thing the shift leader had to do was check everyone's sidework and make sure it was done. Did so and so restock the creamers and re-ice the dressings and roll their silverware and fill the salt and pepper shakers? These are all very important things don't you know? But the only reason anyone wanted to be the crappy ass shift leader was because you got a free meal out of it. You could have whatever you wanted off the menu so you know the shift leader always ordered a fucking steak. Usually we were limited to chicken fingers and soup or a quesadilla. You know, crappy cheap food. But the steak was crappy expensive food. One time my friend Randie was shift leader and the bitch was ready for her steak. She went into the kitchen with steak knife in hand and went to the line to place her order. One of the managers was there, Kahlil. He asked Randie what she was doing. "I'm ordering my shift leader meal of steak, why?" It was never an issue to have the steak, but for some reason big fancy pants manager that day said no, because it was too expensive. Now the free meal was the only decent thing about being the shift leader. No one wanted to do it for the glory or the power. We did it for the goddamn free fucking steak. And he was going to deny Randie? That did not go over well. The steak knife that was in her hand suddenly developed a mind of its own and flew from her fingers, ricocheted off the stainless steel counter, bounced to the wall and fell to the floor. Bitch wanted her free steak. Kahlil seemed satisfied that he had squashed the tiny bit of enjoyment anyone got out of working in that hell hole and left the kitchen. Now I am not positive, but if I know Randie she had her steak anyway. She probably bribed the cook with a pitcher of Coke and then ate the steak in a matter of seconds before the manager made his way back out to the dining room. You don't fuck with Randie. Once she slammed a coffee pot down and shattered it because she was sick of people using the last bit of coffee and then putting the empty pot back on the burner. Yeah, she's not in the food service industry anymore. Lucky for her. And lucky for those of us who got in her way when she wanted a steak.
UrbanSpoon rocks.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pass the Syrup

We all know that I can't stand stupid ass people in my station. I just don't deal well with stupidity and that ain't easy because in a restaurant you get all types of stupid. From kinda dumb to fucking retarded in the brain. A few years ago when I worked at the Marriott, I came across a real tool head. It was brunch and I was doing my thing. It being a buffet, my thing was usually hanging out in the sidestand and eating croissants and waiting until someone was ready for their check. Now the Marriott is a real fine hotel, doncha know? When someone ordered a waffle or pancakes, it was served with an individual glass bottle of real honest to goodness maple syrup. And it was kept under a heat lamp so it was warm when the customer got it. If that ain't fancy, then I don't know what the fuck is, right? The bottle also had our Brooklyn logo on it so a lot of times people would want them as souvenirs. I question anyone who wants a food product as a souvenir, but people did it all the time.

One day this man called me over to discuss his waffle. He wanted some more syrup. I scanned his table and saw that he only had his one empty bottle so I was going to go get him another one. If someone had a full one already, I would just tell them they could have another one when they were finished with the first one. There would be no souvenir syrups on my watch. He stopped me before I could go to the kitchen. "But do you have any real syrup?" I looked at him and asked him to repeat the question. "I want some real syrup." Still unsure of what he wanted, I told him that the syrup we used was 100% maple syrup from Vermont and was a very high quality product. "Naw,naw, naw. Real syrup. Like Aunt Jemimah or Log Cabin syrup. Real syrup." I looked at the man in a sad way and felt bad that he didn't know the difference between syrup and crap. I just sighed. And said, "Oooh now I understand. No sir, I'm sorry. All we have is 100% maple, we don't have any real syrup."

Stupid tool.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Working For the Weekend

It's the weekend. Those two glorious days where we don't have to go to work and all we do is sleep late and have brunch and go to parties. Isn't it wonderful to always have these two days off? Oh, wait, I work in the food service industry so it doesn't fucking matter. The world revolves around people who have Monday through Friday jobs and none of them ever consider the fact that people work on the weekends. Even though they go out and see my ass serving their food on Sunday morning, they still assume that nobody works on weekends. There is this one woman in my building who cannot wrap her pea brain around the fact that I work Saturday and Sunday. First of all, she isn't too bright. She used to live on my floor and was one of those people who couldn't figure out the complexities of separating recycling and garbage. Dumb as a bag of hair, she is. She has this really high pitched voice and whenever she talks she sounds like she is exhaling. For years I would see her on Friday and she would say some stupid ass bitch shit like, "Thank God it's Friday," and then give a thumbs up. Always I reply, "yeah, I work tomorrow..." I could see her mind trying to comprehend the idea of work on Saturday. "You work?" in a high voice. "On Saturday?" in a higher voice. Yes, bitch I work on Saturday. A lot of people do. When you go to the grocery store or take the bus or see a movie or check out your latest romance novel from the library, everyone you see at those places is working. On Saturday. If went up to her and told her I was thanking God that it's Wednesday, she would think I was a devil. And then she'd say, "But Wednesday is hump day."

We in the food service industry deserve some recognition that we give up our weekends so other people can enjoy theirs. How many times have you been to a party on a Saturday and have to leave early because it's a work night and past your bedtime? Okay, bad example, because I don't know the meaning of "leave the party early" or "bedtime" but you get the point. On the other hand, if I want to go out on a Wednesday night because I am off on Thursday, Monday through Friday'ers can't fathom that. It's like they have to get back into their bed by 8:30 to catch a rerun of Touched by and Angel or they'll turn into a fucking pumpkin. Never mind that I stayed at their party until 2:30 on Saturday night when I had to be at work on Sunday morning at 9:00. When the tables are turned, they can't do it. Happy hour ends at 7:00 and that is it. Done until Friday.

So maybe I resent them a little bit. Or a lotta bit. It would just be nice every once in a while for those who are off every weekend to acknowledge what a service we do for society. We are there for them. We serve. And we have Tuesdays off sometimes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dear Bitchy Waiter,

Someone posted something the other day (shout out to Rebecca) that made me remember an event that happened years ago. She was mentioning that age old custom of giving your tables a survey or comment card to fill out to ensure that they had wonderful service and enjoyed their crappy pre-cooked food. Most of the time, people will only bother filling out a form when they want to complain about something. No one ever takes the time to really compliment you on these things except on very rare occasions. The little forms suck, but there is a way you can make them work for you rather than against you. It just takes some effort. And stamps.

When I was working at the now defunct Houlihan's in lovely Times Square, we were always busy with tons of tourists who came into the restaurant because of its familiarity. Don't ask me why anyone would get into an airplane and travel hundreds or thousands of miles and then end up eating dinner at a place that is also in their local mall. But people did. I guess once you're in New York you get so homesick that you need nachos and Sysco food products. Now we didn't have comment cards or surveys there but plenty of times people would ask to speak to a manager in order to complain about the quality of food or their service. It was always surprising to me when people thought their steak or salmon tasted less than ideal or that they thought the service was sub-par. C'mon. It's Houlihan's. In Times Square, for fuck's sake. Of course everything there will suck ass. Eventually I had had enough of people dissing my service. Granted, my service sucked, but I was sick of bitches telling my manager about it. I devised a plan. A very special Bitchy Waiter plan.

One night I typed a letter from a "customer" that praised my serving skills. I went on an and on about how I went above and beyond their expectations. How I recommended what they would like the most on the menu and then how delicious the food was. I even wrote some fake ass bullshit about how good I was with their children and how I made them laugh and finish their veggies. I also wrote that I suggested which Broadway shows they would enjoy. Basically, I said that I was an angel sent from Heaven so that I could serve at Houlihan's. I then put that letter into an envelope, stamped it and addressed it to Houlihan's. Then I put that envelope into another envelope and sent it to my friend who lived in Georgia and mailed it to him. When Ron got the letter, all he had to do was drop it back into a mailbox so it would be postmarked Georgia and no one would ever suspect that I wrote it about myself.

A few days later, the letter appeared. My manager was elated. She was so proud of me that she stapled the letter to the bulletin board so everyone could see what high standards they needed to live up to. I was the superstar waiter of Houlihan's Times Square. Only a couple of people knew that I wrote that shit myself while most people just couldn't believe that someone would write that about me. But there it was in black and white and hanging in the kitchen. And it was postmarked from Georgia so it must be true. The letter stayed there for a few weeks. Best of all, my manager rewarded me with a $50 gift card for TGIFridays. Yep. And all it cost me was about ten minutes of time and two stamps. It really is one of my proudest moments. My manager would be so disappointed if she knew the truth. There was no family in Athens, Georgia who loved me. I'm sorry, Gladys. But thanks for the free food.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Food Service For Four Days

I am on a blessedly wonderful reprieve from carrying trays of food and drinks to disgruntled customers because I found another job for a week and dropped my waiting job like a fucking hot potato. Luckily, I have a manager that is cool like that and helps me cover a shift if something better comes along. And when I say better, I mean pretty much anything. It could be a vacation, and audition, a trip to the dentist or a really good bowel movement. In this case, I got a four day gig selling pottery at a trade show. I know, I know, what won't I do for a paycheck? Well the answer to that, my friends, has yet to be found. If someone will wave $20 an hour under my nose, I will follow it to the ends of the earth. Remind me to write about my days as a costumed character trash can who walked around at recycling dumps around New York City. They paid me $22 an hour and I gladly dropped my pride, put on the costume and even marched in the freaking Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade dressed as a fucking trash can. Anyhoo, I am on day three of selling pottery. It's basically like waiting tables. People ask me which one I think is best, I make up some shit or point at the piece that the last customer bought and proclaim it "the most popular" and they will eat it up. Or in this case, buy it up. The down side is there is no bar at the convention center and I have yet to figure out a way to have a cosmopolitan while working. Coffee thermos, anyone?