Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's an Art

From reading my blog, some people may gain the impression that I am ashamed of what I do for a living. Is it my ideal profession of choice? Fuck no. Am I good at it? Fuck yes. Believe it or not, I do take my job very seriously on occasion and I feel that if I am going to be a waiter, at least let me be a good one. Despite the thoughts that may be rolling around in my head (ie: I hate this job, this lady is annoying me, that lady is annoying me, when do I get off, of course I will bring your food to you when it's ready, that guy has ugly teeth, etc...), for the most part I keep those thoughts to myself and try to do my job with aplomb.

Years ago I saw a musical called Working. It was about all these different people and the jobs they had. One song stood out to me because it was about this waitress who kicked ass at her job and she really got a kick out of doing it. I must admit, that sometimes that happens to me. You ever have one of those shifts where your station is totally full and everyone needs something but nothing fazes you? You're in the zone and everything flows as easily as a frozen margarita goes down my throat. The girl who played the part when I saw it was really great and she had all this cool choreography that involved her spinning her tray and jumping onto tables and shit. I barely remember it though because it was about twenty years ago and if my calculations are correct then I would have been about four or five years old. (I am in my mid-twenties. I am in my mid-twenties, I am in mid-twenties...). Anyhoo, someone (holla out to Steven A.) sent me a video clip of the amazing Rita Moreno doing this number and I shall now share it with you. Rita is one cool lady. She was one of the first people to EGOT (win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) and besides that she was on The Electric Company in the 1970's, a television show that came on way before I was born. (I am in my mid-twenties. I am in my mid-twenties, I am in mid-twenties...). Next time you are at your job, take pride in what you do. Get that hot tea with pep in your step, Paulette! Polish that silver with joy, Jerry! And do some dancing on the tabletops. We are waiters and we are proud! (okay, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)

"It's An Art" from the musical Working


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

R.I.P. Ethel A. Smith

Is it creepy to let you know that I was reading the obituaries the other day? It's not a regular kind of habit or anything that I have to sit around and read about people expiring, but sometimes they're full of interesting tidbits about the life of a dead person. It's sorta like reading a biography but instead of a whole book, you only have to get through a couple of paragraphs and you're done. I found one that caught my eye the other day:

Ethel A. Smith, a retired waitress and Highlandtown poet, died March 11 in her sleep at Bonnie Blink, the Maryland Masonic home in Hunt Valley. She was 101.

Did you catch the word that made me stop and read this obit? Ethel was a waitress. And a poet too, but a waitress. I went on to read the rest of the write up and learned that she was a waitress for twenty years of her life and the last time she waited tables was like in 1946. So she hadn't been a waitress for sixty-four years and had gone on to marry, own a couple of businesses, get some poetry published, and have a really full life but the first thing mentioned in her obituary is that she was a waitress? Is that how I will be remembered when I go to that great big side stand in the sky? How horrible that no matter what I may (or may not) achieve in my life, the person that writes up my obit could be like, "oh, he was a freakin' waiter for about fifty years of his life. Just put 'Dead Waiter' and call it a day."

I refuse to be remembered as only a waiter. This crappy ass piece of writing that is spewing from my fingers right this second will be around long after I'm gone. Maybe my obit could read:

Bitchy Waiter, retired waiter, blogger and kick ass tipper, died yesterday at 101. He was totally bitchy but he did a lot of other shit that didn't involve holding a tray so don't think he was just like this loser or anything.

I say we all raise a glass in honor of this kick ass lady who lived to be a hundred and one fucking years old. She had kids and grand kids and wrote some poetry. In a whole century of living she only used twenty years to be a waitress. 20% of your life waiting tables is not too shabby. Right now I am looking at 50%. You go, Ethel A. Smith. I hope when you got to the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter, Paul or Mary was there asking you how you wanted your burger cooked and then they threw in a free dessert and comped your check.

(In addition to writing poetry, she enjoyed knitting and crocheting.)


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Must. Eat. Pie.

Does anyone else have their foot in their mouth so often that you have grown accustomed to the taste? Do you look at your toes as appetizers and your feet as the main course with a side of crow for dessert? Generally I am pretty good about keeping my thoughts just that: something that I alone can hear, but occasionally my insides bubble over with rage and frustration and my voice spews out what my brain is thinking. Sometimes it's possible to mask it with humor and people don't realize how much truth there is in the statement. Example: A customer comes in ten minutes before closing and says, "Oh, is it okay if we eat now? Are you going to hate us?" And then I say, "No. it's fine, but the kitchen crew will not be happy and are going to be cursing you and your unborn children." Then I laugh and roll my eyes and touch them on the elbow and say, "just kidding." But I'm not kidding.

A few years ago, I was serving a a party of ten or twelve people. They were all really loud and none of them would pay any attention to me when ever I tried to talk to them. Throughout the meal, I got progressively more frustrated with them and they never even noticed. By the time their plates were cleared and I was asking about dessert and coffee they had completely forgotten that there was a waiter there. Repeatedly, I asked if anyone wanted anything and only the lady next to me paid any attention and ordered an apple pie ala mode. Clearing my throat, I repeat, "So does anyone want dessert or coffee? Anyone? Hello??" Again, they all ignored me. I had had it. "OKAY! So the only one that wants dessert is the full figured gal up here at the head of the table??" Did I really just say that? The table got quiet and all looked at me and then they looked at the fat ass who wanted pie. A deathly silence hung over the table and it seemed to last longer than The Blind Side (starring Academy award winner, Sandra Bullock) as everyone looked at Fat Ass to see how she was going to respond to the horribly rude waiter who had just insulted her in front of her friends. She paused. I held my breath. I looked at her. She slowly turned her head in my direction and our eyes locked. And then she said, "That's right I'm the only one who wants dessert, I guess, so bring it on!" And then she laughed. I laughed and told her I would be right back with it. I comped it. My inside voice thought it was the least I could do. I had once again firmly planted my foot inside my mouth which was better than having it in her mouth because she would have eaten it. Bitch was hungry.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Move, People, Move

Why can't people move the hell out of my way? Last night at work, the show had more performers than there were audience members. There were about 525,600 singers and about 15 paying guests. What that meant was all of the singers were milling about the room and sitting wherever the hell they wanted making it near impossible to serve drinks to the people who were there to see the show. Wouldn't you think if I consistently bump into your chair every single fucking time I walk past you, then just maybe your chair is too far out into the aisle and you should pull it in a bit? You would think, but not with these folks. One man didn't want to sit inside the booth, he wanted to sit with his legs sticking out of the booth so when I walked past him, I slammed the hell out of his knee. It was really hard, Like Joan Crawford on Christina kind of hard. It was an accident, but he didn't move it. No, really it was an accident. The first time. And then after the show, all the singers wanted to stand around and compliment each other and hope to get a compliment in return. It was ridiculous. They just stood there with needy looks on their faces that said, "Somebody please tell me I was good. Please?" But they didn't get out of the way. I had to squeeze past them about twenty times.Once a lady even said, "oh dear, we are totally in your way, I'm sorry." But she didn't move. She was just sorry.

And it's not just at work either. On an escalator, why do people have to just stand there? If you are going to stand on an escalator, then do it on the right side, so those of us who still recall how to walk up stairs can continue to do so. And at the grocery store, it is not okay to park your stroller with your sleeping baby in the middle of the aisle. I will push sleeping baby out of the way in order to get to my Amy's mac and cheese. And on the subway, when I am getting off the train, do not stand directly in front of the doors so I can't get off. I will shove through you and knock your ass out of the way, little old Asian lady.

Bottom line: Get outta my way, baby. Get. Out. Of. My . Way.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Smile, Darn Ya, Smile

On those days here in New York City where it's sunny and mild and the birds are singing and the daffodils are blooming, it sure makes it hard to drag one's ass to work. We have so few nice days here, that it seems a crying shame to waste one on something so lame as employment. Seriously, we get about two weeks of nice weather between blizzards and hot and humid and today is one of them. However, work beckons and I shall answer the call. But more than likely I will be in a bad mood unless I find a way to alter it. The first thought is some type of mood altering drug, but no I don't do that. A cocktail? No, too early in the day. Call out? Not cool. I am left with one possibility: tricking my mind into believing I am in a good mood.

I heard one time that if you force yourself to smile for at least eight minutes, the muscle memory triggers your brain into thinking that the smile is real and your bad mood will up and vanish. Weirdly, it actually works. Years ago when I was working at Black Eyed Pea on Highway 290 in Houston, I drove to work each morning. I was at the end of my Pea time and it was a real struggle to even pretend that I gave a shit. Then I heard about this little trick on National Public Radio. I listen to NPR because I am real intelligent and shit. So I tried it. I would get into my car for the twenty minute drive and I would plaster this fake ass smile on my face and keep it there. I be looking like The Joker or some lame ass Miss America pageant bitch with Vaseline covered teeth as I drove my ass through Houston. But by the time I got to work, I felt better. I did this every day for several weeks and every time it somehow put me in a better mood. Of course the shitty mood would come right back as soon as some bitch would ask for a second hot tea because she ripped the first tea bag, but at least the good mood was there for a while.

Now that I live in New York City, I don't employ this technique anymore. Sitting in my car alone with a huge shit eating grin on my face is one thing, but doing that on the 7 train is not going to happen. Here in the city, the only people who are sitting alone on the subway and smiling like demons are the same people who are taking dumps in their pants and swatting imaginary flies. So now I embrace my bad mood. I welcome it. I accept it. And I take it to work with me.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Je Suis Un Bitch

Sometimes a blog posting is hard to come up with. I scratch my head and ponder the possibilities and every so often I draw a blank. On the other hand, every once in a while a topic drops into my lap like manna from Heaven and I don't even have to think about it. Today's posting is brought to you by the Parisian bitch who sat in my station last night. I don't know what her name is so I will refer to her as Fifi le Douche.

When people come into the club, they are given a seating pass which tells hem where they are to be seated for the show. We escort them to their seat and then expect them to stay there, but Fifi needed some super glue on her ass last night because she was hop skippin' and jumpin' all over the damn place. What the customers don't get is that it's imperative for them to stay in the seat we assign to them because our totals have to match the totals of the host so that the performer knows exactly how many people were in the audience because that is how their pay is based. The more people they have in the audience, the more they can make. When people move all the fuck around it makes it difficult to ensure that all of the totals match. Get it? Simple, right? Fifi didn't get that. I went up to table 2 to take an order and Fifi coos at me that she is not sitting here really. She is "seating over zere" but she is just visiting this table. Fine. I go to her correct table to get her seating pass to write down her order and she asks for a suavignon blanc. Because she's French, you know. Two minutes later she is walking round the room and she comes up to me to ask where her wine is. Listen, le bitch, the bartender has to fucking pour it first, chill le fuck out. She wasn't even in her seat so how am I supposed to know where to put it anyway? I took her wine to her and the show started.

Fifteen minutes later, the other server tells me that table 1 wanted a Diet Coke (Coke Light, whatever) and he took it to her. Once again Fifi shows she has not the patience to wait for her server. She accosts anyone with an apron. At the end of the show, she of course wasn't at her table. She had floated off somewhere, so I placed her check on the table and went on with my business. About thirty minutes later, she was the only one who hadn't paid her bill yet so I went to find her. She was at the front of the club parlez vous Francaisin' to someone. I handed her the bill and told her I would be back in a few minutes to pick it up. Two minutes later she comes up to me with the check and says, "Excuse me, but I need to take care of this right away because I must leave." Pardon moi, but after the check sat on your table for half a fucking hour, now you're ready to leave and you act like I'm the one who is holding you up? At this point, all I wanted to do was slap this bitch with a piece of french toast, cram a french fry up her ass and then cover her with french dressing and say au revoir. Her tip was about ten percent which is spot on for the average French tourist. Fifi le Douche did a fine job of living up to every stereotype in the book. Au revoir, Fifi le Douche. Bon Voyage. Fuck off.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Write a Caption

Okay, so I am on my way to work this morning and thought I would try something new for the posting today. I am going to post this picture and see what captions people can write for it and then choose a winner. And what will the winner receive? My undying thanks and appreciation, that's what. And if it goes well, maybe I can do it once a week and eventually give out a prize. I am thinking prizes like an all expenses paid vacation to the Bahamas or a dinner at Bobby Flay's restaurant or a $5 gift card to Starbucks. One of those. We'll see how it goes.

So, what is your caption for this cat with fruit on its head?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh No He Di'nt

I have slowed down in my postings because I refuse to write unless I have something really worthwhile to say. I suppose I could type up some mundane crap every day and post it just to maintain some regularity, but it seems more substantial if the posts actually resonate with me. Well, something resonated with me. It hit a chord. Struck a nerve. Rang a bell. Punched me in the (sorry, Marlene, for the use of the word) cunt. And for something to cunt punch me it has to be really major because I don't even have a vagina. Anymore. Kidding. I never had a vagina. Of my own. Anyhoo.

I have written before about my last job and how they closed the place down only giving us four days notice. I had originally hoped to be moved to another one of the restaurants in the chain for at least some pick-up shifts and they told me that they would try to do that. I even went so far as to go and interview with a manager at one of the other locations. Yesterday I got a call from a former co-worker who, although he is totally funny and likable, is really, really old. He too was dumped by the restaurant but still has some friends at one of the other locations. Someone informed him that the reason the owner and manager didn't hire him or me at another store was because we had both put disparaging remarks about the company on our Facebook pages. Yeah, after we were fired with no notice and left totally unemployed, we both may have put something on our status' that said "VYNL sucks" or "fuck you, VYNL" because we were justifiably pissed off. And now we find out 6 months later that that is why they wouldn't transfer us to a new restaurant. To the owner, John, I have this to say:

You think "VYNL sucks" was bad on a Facebook page? The only people who saw that were my 296 friends. I didn't post it on The Bitchy Waiter Fan Page because over a 1000 people would have seen it. Now that would have been mean. If he got his crybaby panties all up in a twist over that, I wonder how he feels about me going to Yelp and posting some crap about his restaurant. Which I did. And how did he like it when I went to New York Citysearch and spread the truth about his shitty ass ways? Yeah, John, you suck. You have no ethics, no morals, no feelings and everyone who works for you hates you. Even the people who you think like you, don't like you. They kiss your ugly fat ass because you are the boss. They talk about you behind your back and question your policies and ideas. You suck. The only thing nice about you was your friendly wife who must see another side of you in order to stay married. I don't even want to work at your crappy ass restaurants anymore. VYNL closing was the best thing that ever happened to me and I hope the next time you are eating breakfast there, a piece of VYNL scrambled egg gets lodged in your throat and makes you choke. Not long enough to kill you or anything, but long enough to make you freak the fuck out. I pretty much hate you.

I feel better. Was that too mean? It's not like he reads this. But even if he does, it's all true. Thank God for the freedom of speech act or whatever law or amendment there is that lets me state my opinion without fear of retaliation. To you, VYNL and John, I say eat my mother fucking pud you sorry ass piece of crap.

The Bitchy Waiter

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover

Today is March 17th so it's the day that we all give ourselves permission to take off from work an hour early, pour ourselves a pint of green beer and celebrate the legend of Saint Patrick. I decided to do a little research on him so I delved into the wonderful world of wikipedia and learned that he was a Christian missionary in Ireland and he died in 493 AD. He spent some time as a slave and then he became a bishop and then he banished snakes from the whole island of Ireland. Now color me surprised, but I always thought that Saint Patrick must have been some Guinness drinking leprechaun who only had one purpose in life and that was to get totally trashed on March 17th. Turns out that the 17th is the day he died, so we are commemorating his death by slurping down shamrock shakes at McDonald's and wearing green ties and socks. When I worked at Bennigan's, St. Patrick's Day was a huge thing. We had some kind of countdown to March 17th and when the day finally arrived, people would cram themselves into the place and get trashed, all in the name of this wonderful Christian missionary who died 1500 years ago. And the only Irish thing about Bennigan's was the name. The kitchen would always throw together some crappy ass special of corned beef and cabbage and then we'd sell Guinness drafts for a dollar less than usual and people would pour into that place like it was St. Patrick's Cathedral. They'd all have on their "Kiss Me I'm Irish" buttons and their green berets and basically just get on my non-Irish nerves. If I could have anything today, it would be to find a four-leaf clover and make a wish that frat boys wouldn't get so drunk that they had to throw up on the 7 train. Do we really need another excuse to go to restaurants and drink to the point of no return? Can't people observe this special day by having a bowl of Lucky Charms in the morning, saying a prayer on a rainbow, finding a pot of gold and staying out of my station?

Happy St. Patrick's Day from The Bitchy Waiter.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Almost Famous

I worked a really slow shift a couple of days ago and it took a lot of effort to keep my eyes open. Seriously, I practically had to pull the olives off the toothpicks and prop open my eyelids with them. I sauntered up to table 25 and asked what they would be drinking for the evening. The lady looked up and squinted at me like she was trying to think of what to say. And then she asked me if I was an actor. "Yes." In my head I am getting all excited because maybe someone saw me in When in Rome. In the background. Standing on the steps. Yes, I am that famous. Then she asked me if I had done a certain show at a certain theater. "Yes." And then she tells me "I saw you! You were so great!" Suddenly, being a waiter wasn't so horrible because here I was holding a tray, but this lady had seen me doing something that I actually enjoy doing. It felt like I was meant to be waiting tables that night just so she could sit in my station and make me feel good about myself. I felt proud, happy and excited. And then I went and got her a glass of Cabernet. Very quickly I was consumed with bitterness and sorrow that I was just a waiter. Fame is so fleeting.

The next night, I was at a bar drinking. Shocking, I know. During my second pint of Anchor Steam a very attractive girl came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. "Excuse me, but do I know you?" she asked. In my head I'm thinking, "Oh jeez, another person who saw me do a show somewhere or caught my (brief and practically non-existent) appearance in Enchanted. When does it ever end?" I looked at her and smiled. Her face filled with recognition and she said "I think you were our waiter at VYNL on the Upper East Side?" Crestfallen, I tell her that yes I was in fact her waiter there. "Oh my god!! I loved their granola!! See I told you it was him!" and she playfully slapped her friend on her arm as she laughed and they trotted off. Fame is so fleeting.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Enough time has passed since I spoke of my true love The Brady Bunch and I must revisit that classic series. I am thinking back to episode #83, "Goodbye, Alice, Hello." The original air date was November 24, 1972 and I just want to reiterate that this was at least ten years before I was born. Do not question this. Just believe that I was born in the 80's. Yeah, the late 80's. Anyhoo, this is the episode where the kids feel that Alice is a snitch and they don't trust her anymore. Peter broke a vase and when Carol asked Alice who did it, she told the truth and got Peter into major trouble. Then some other shit happens that makes Marcia and Greg think Alice is wronging them so Alice says "fuck all y'all bitches" and she ups and leaves for a new career. As a waitress. Now I don't know how much money Mike Brady was paying her ass, but it had to have been more than she was making at The Golden Spoon Cafe (at Fourth and Oak). They only show her working one shift at the cafe but there are only a few tables in there and unless she is working 100 hours a week, it ain't gonna cut it. Plus all of a sudden she had to start paying rent and buying groceries. She had it pretty good at 4222 Clinton Way when she was living with the kids. True she had to clean up and cook for eight people but she had her own room, didn't pay rent and got to eat all the leftovers she wanted. Plus the uniform at the Brady residence was way cuter than that piece of shit they made her wear at The Golden Spoon. Who knows, maybe Alice shacked up with her piece of meat, Sam the Butcher during that episode. I mean, how could she quit her job as a maid and then the next day have a new job and an apartment? So the Brady kids feel all bad and shit for making Alice leave and they really hate her replacement, Kay. Kay is all business and won't even play a game of basketball with the boys when they ask her to. What a bitch, that Kay is. One day Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy all go to the restaurant to check on Alice and ask her to please come back home with them. And of course she does. She throws her apron off and hugs them and is so excited that she got her old job back and off they go, leaving The Golden Spoon in a lurch because she was the only waitress and she just leaves in the middle of a shift. She totally burned that bridge and I hope she doesn't ever need a reference from Mr. Foster (he's the owner) because he was probably totally pissed off at her for bailing like that. Someone else that was probably royally screwed was Kay. She just started this cushy new job at the Brady's and then Alice decides she wants her job back, so now Kay is unemployed? I dunno, maybe she can talk to Mr. Foster and pick up some shifts at The Golden Spoon.

The fact that Alice left her waitress job to go back to the kids says a lot about waiting tables. Waiting tables must really really suck if she chooses to be a fucking maid for all those people (and Tiger too) rather than sling hash at The Golden Spoon Cafe. Waiting tables ain't easy. Go ask Alice. She knows.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Need a Drink

We all have regulars who come in all the time and we welcome them with open arms and warm greetings. Unless of course they are really annoying and in that case you pray that they won't sit at your table. I have been known to intentionally dirty my tables if I see someone coming into the restaurant that I don't want to serve. Just run to the bus tub, grab some dirty dishes and throw them all over your station so they are forced to sit somewhere else. Is that so wrong? Well, last night I had one of my nice regulars. This guy comes in maybe two or three times a week and he's pretty okay if not just a bit creepy. But just because he comes in up to three times a week does not mean that I serve him every time. I only work twice a week so chances are good that he will come in on one of my five days off. He sat down and looked at me like I should know what he wanted to drink. Now I have not served him for at least two or three weeks so I don't fucking remember what he usually orders. And honestly if I would have served him the night before I probably wouldn't have remembered anyway because I really try not to waste precious brain space memorizing orders. That's what pens and paper are for. I ask him what he wants to drink and he gives me this little smirky ass grin like he can't believe I have to ask. He batted his eyes (I totally think he is flirting with me but I refuse to admit that) and says all coy-like, "I'll have a TP with no ice." So I write down TP and wonder what the fuck it is. I didn't want to ask him because he is minutely important and I think he is ordering his own special thing that the bartender will know about. A lot of these regulars get all bent out of shape if they have to remind you that they want rum and Diet Coke without fruit or an order of mixed nuts, but just a half order or a gin and tonic with a glass of water. I walk up to the bartender and ask if he knows what Joe Blow means when he says TP. Toilet paper? Technology Programming? Titty Poppers? I have no fucking clue. Of course the bartender has no idea either and I have to go back and ask him specifically what TP is. Joe Blow laughs and says, "I can't believe you just wrote it down and left. I want tap water. Hardy har har snort snort har." What a freaking comedian this guy is. He acts like he just made up the funniest joke in the history of time and Jerry Seinfeld better step aside real quick. (And I know Jerry Seinfeld is so not a current reference to stand up comics, but I hate stand up comics and he is the only one I know.) So then I look all stupid for trying to get him what he wants without having to question him and he's just being a joker? TP=tap water. Hilarious. So I took him his TP but I put ice in it. Just to be a dick. I hope it didn't bother his sensitive gums too much. When I brought a second TP later, I left the ice out and apologized for forgetting it the first time. But I didn't forget. I was just being a joker.

Fucking regulars. Can't live with 'em can't spit in their TP. Or can you?


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who All Gets Tipped These Days?

As a tipped employee who only makes a mere hourly pittance, is anyone else sick to death of the fucking tip jars at every possible place? Now I get it that everyone would like a tip. Who doesn't, but why is there a fucking tip jar at the grocery store? I know these women aren't making $20 an hour or anything, but I am sure they are making more than the $4.65 that I make. These dog-gone blasted tip jars all over the place are desensitizing the world to people who actually rely on tips to survive. Is Susan at the Starbucks claiming those tips that she makes and then paying taxes on them? Hell, no. Or is the dry cleaner? Why in the pudding pops do I need to feel obligated to tip the dry cleaner? Isn't it enough that I don't tip him at Christmas time but now I have to not tip him every week? Before anyone jumps all down my throat about how the lady at the grocery store isn't making enough money and the tips help her, let me say this. Nobody is making enough money, grocery store lady. She at least gets a paycheck, which I do not. My most recent paycheck was for sixty-eight cents. I had to walk my lazy ass all the way to the bank to deposit 68¢. It hardly seemed worth it and I almost tossed the check in the trash, but if it was two quarters, a dime, a nickle and three pennies I wouldn't throw that away so I deposited the check. But after customers tip the grocery store lady and the Starbucks bitch and the dry cleaner by the time they get to me at a restaurant they're all thinking "I'm sick of tipping these bitches all day. Fuck it. I stiff this one!" and I'm all, "But wait, my paycheck is only gonna be 68 cents..."

Tell me, am I wrong? Is this clearly not a desensitization (major points for the six syllable word, right?) of tipping resulting in less money in the pockets of those who rely solely on tips alone? I say revolt. Pocket your spare change and save it for something that really matters. When the bagel guy gives you two dimes back as change, don't put it into that styrofoam cup taped to the register. You save it and give it to the next waiter you see. The guy who only makes $4.65 an hour and gets paychecks for 68¢.



Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rolling Silverware Really Bites

Anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows what a roll-up is and I ain't talking about the fruit kind. I'm talking about the silverware that gets "rolled up" into a napkin and placed lovingly on the table in your station. This is only a facet of your job if you work in a high class establishment that uses linen napkins and not some skanky cheap ass bitch place that uses paper napkins, also known as most of the places I have worked. Doing your roll-ups usually is a part of your sidework at the end of the day. I personally never minded doing them because you got to sit at a table in order to do it and what other sidework is there that lets you sit? It's probably the last thing you do at the end of your shift and you just want that shit done so you can go home. I can't tell you how many times I have looked at a rack of sliver and figured that it was clean enough and rolled those bitches up into a napkin. Depending on the place, you have to roll a certain number of them to be considered finished. At Houlihan's we had to do fifty. We had to roll them up and lay them in a row of five and then stack five more on top of that until we had a big stack of semi-clean silver ready for the dinner rush. Since we all hated doing it at the end of the day, we started getting into the habit of doing our fifty before the shift started and then hiding them somewhere so at the end of your shift all you had to do was pull the stack from the hiding place, show it to the shift manager and call it a day. This eventually turned into a problem. When we had six servers who all wanted to do their roll-ups in the morning and then hide them, it meant that we were short 300 roll-ups to put on the tables for lunch. Now I don't know about your restaurant, but most of the time utensils are moderately important. So of course, that practice was put to a halt. Another thing we did to avoid the nuisance of rolling silver was to share the same stack. For instance, Jane, Randie, Corrine and I would together roll fifty. Jane would then take the stack to the manager to show him that she had rolled her necessary amount and he would give her the all clear. She would then bring the stack to Randie who would then go to a shift leader and show the same stack of fifty and also get the all clear. Then Corrinne would show the stack to a manager and then I would show it to the shift leader and then bolt the hell out of there because it would only be a matter of time before someone working the dinner shift would notice that instead of 200 roll-ups, there were only 50. That only worked for a few times before they caught on, but I think it was pretty fucking genius of us. Not to mention lazy.

The answer to this issue is clear. We should all use paper napkins and plastic utensils. Not only is it much easier for the servers, it is also cost efficient for the restaurant and also good for the environment. Okay, so maybe it's a bit more expensive for the restaurant, but all they have to do is add twenty cents to the cost of a soda and it will blanace itself out. And maybe it's not all that great for Planet Earth, but hey, we are talking about making life easier for servers and I think Mother Nature would want it that way.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Party of 25

I read an article or blog the other day about someone who was complaining that when they went out to eat one night they were seated next to a large party and were pissed off about it because they were too loud. The writer said that there was a table of twenty-five women next to him who were celebrating something. If I know women, it was probably that one of them was engaged, pregnant or getting a divorce. Yeah, a big group like that is going to get loud. They just are. This guy was whining that he couldn't hear what was happening at his own table and the restaurant didn't have any place to reseat him so he had to "suffer through it." Wow. The horror. This poor guy had to eat dinner out at a restaurant and then he had to listen to other people who were doing the same thing. Maybe this douche should realize that if he goes to a restaurant, there is a really good chance that other people will be there too. It's kinda how it works. If he needs to be able to control the volume of other people it may be a good idea for him to just eat at home. Now I don't know this guy, but he probably also asked for food that wasn't on the menu and then asked the waiter to change the music that was playing too. True, the celebrating ladies were probably really loud, but get over it. He could have left when he saw that he was going to be sat next to them. I am sure they weren't whispering when he first sat at his table and then all of a sudden pumped up the volume in order to irritate him. He said that at the end of the meal, the manager came over and apologized that it was so loud but he didn't offer them free dessert or anything. I hate this guy. I really do. Why would he think he should get free dessert because other people in the restaurant were having a good time? Can't we all picture this guy? I bet he was sighing and groaning and rolling his eyes at the ladies the whole time and they were all, "Fuck this guy. Let's be even louder."

He should have left or waited for another table. I would never ask another table to be quiet because a table asked me to. It has been asked of me before and I respectfully say "nope." I tell them that if it's bothering them then they should be the ones to say something. Besides, like I want to ask my twenty-five top to simmer down and jeopardize my fat ass tip just so the two-top next to them can have a nice quite evening. If you can't handle being with other people, eat at home. Eat. At. Home.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Choking Hazard

Working in a restaurant for so many years, you know that eventually you are going to have to deal with the prospect of someone choking on a piece of food. It ain't pretty and I never want to have to deal with it. I myself choked once and had to have the fucking Heimlich performed on me and that is the last time I try to eat a frozen fucking Snickers bar. For real. Scary shit. Amazingly, with my 83 years of food service experience, I have only seen it happen one time. Black Eyed Pea, Houston, Texas, West Gray Street. Some man who was not in my station started to choke on something. It was probably a grizzly ass piece of chicken fried steak that got all stuck in his wind wipe and shit, but he started doing that waving of the arms and freaking out thing. Since I didn't know the Heimlich and I had never bothered to look closely at the poster that showed how to do it, I took myself out of the equation. Plus, it wasn't my station, so whatever. Well, the man stood up at his table and everyone in the place started to freak the fuck out. People are running around and screaming and yelling. "Call 911!" "Somebody do something!" "Can I please get some more gravy??" He's gagging and gasping for air and the people at his table don't know what to do. Finally, someone at the next table comes to his senses and wraps his arms around the old guy's chest and starts heaving and ho'ing and eventually saves his life. The restaurant applauded the hero who shrugged it off and went back to his meal, no doubt chewing each bite twenty-three times before swallowing. Meanwhile, the old man, excused himself to the men's room to freshen up and wipe off the sweat and gravy from his face. I was surprised that no one from his table went in with him. They all just started eating again like it was no big deal. Maybe they were disappointed that he was okay because they thought they were about to cash in on their inheritance. A while later, Choking Charlie came back out and went to the man who had saved him and shook his hand. It was all very touching and shit. He ended up picking up the tab for the hero and his table and I thought that was pretty cool.

After all was said and done I thought that it was time I take a class on first aid or at the very least look at the poster for choking victims. If this ever happened again, I wanted to be able to take charge of the situation and be the hero and get all the fame and glory. Oh, and save a life too. It occurred to me that as someone who serves food, I should be able to be there for my guest who needs me to reach into his mouth, swipe the airway clean and breathe life back into his body. It was the least I could do and maybe I would get better tips if I informed my tables I was a certified life saver. But I never did it. Shit was too complicated. So if you are ever in my station and piece of hot dog gets lodged in your throat, you are on your own. I ain't got time to be saving no life. I got ketchup bottles to fill.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Have you ever been at work when something happens that requires the call for an ambulance or fire truck? It doesn't happen often and of course we hope that it never does, but occasionally, shit happens and you gotta bring in some emergency medical technicians who are gonna get all up in your space. When I was working at Bennigan's we had an occurrence that ended up with a lady being carted away in an ambulance. It was many years ago at my first ever waiting job. The main thing I remember about that place is that I wore suspenders and had buttons and crap all over me. We were encouraged to be unique in our "flair" so I pulled out my sewing machine and made my own aprons and then started charging people $5.00 to make them one if they would supply the fabric. Anyhoo, the details of that job are a blur, but I do recall this event.

The restaurant was your typical Bennigan's with a big tiled foyer where the host stood and handed out crayons and balloons and whatever else the crap we had to pass out to our tables. The tiles had a tendency to get slippery if it rained or if we spilled food or sodas on them. People were always slip sliding their asses all over the place there. I don't know why we didn't just throw a mat on the floor or something, but I guess that was too much effort for the managers. One day, the inevitable happened. A lady fell. An old lady. A really old lady. A really old lady fell really hard onto a really hard floor. I was shocked, horrified and amused all at the same time. Call me an asshole, but if someone falls I can't help but think it's the funniest thing ever. Seriously, I can watch America's Funniest Home Videos and laugh my ass off every time they show a bride running through a haze of celebratory rice and she trips on her veil and face plants into a sidewalk. The shit is funny. When the old lady hit the Bennigan's floor, the manager rushed over to assess the situation. Of course he wanted to cover his ass and make sure the floor didn't have a big puddle of honey mustard on it that she slipped in. But the floor was miraculously dry. Could it be that Senior Citizen Sally just lost her balance due to missing her blood pressure medication? Could he be that lucky? And then he spotted the culprit. A lone fork was on the floor next to her head. She had tripped on a piece of silverware. So what did he do? He did what any self respecting and model manager would do in this situation. He kicked the fork out of the way so she wouldn't know it was there. Yes, people, he hid the evidence. I saw it with my own delighted eyes as the fork slid under the host stand and he bent down to check on the well being of the lady in pain. Of course, he called an ambulance and they put her in a gurney and rolled her broken ass outta there. I never heard what happened to her. I assume they just gave her a new hip and called it a day.

As she was leaving a fellow server came up to me to discuss the incident. Her name escapes me but I always liked this girl. She was the one who informed me once that she only ever serves decaf coffee because she doesn't "need a bunch of hyper people" in her station. She leaned over to me as she watched her guest beining rolled out of the restaurant. "I wonder if I could have gotten her anything else. Coffee, tea, a splint? Oh well."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hey, Hey, Hey

You know I dream of being that wisecracking smart-ass waiter that we all see on television. I have written before about the vision of loveliness that is Flo "Kiss My Grits" Castlebury from Alice, but there is another waitress that I aspire to be and it is none other than Shirley Wilson from What's Happening! The part was brilliantly played by the amazing actress Shirley Hemphill and the show had a brief run on ABC from August 5, 1976 to April 28, 1979. Now some of you may be wondering how on earth I can remember the show since I wasn't even born yet. Well, I caught it during it's syndication because I repeat, I was not even born in the 70's. Shirley was the waitress at Rob's Place which is where the leads of the show, Raj, Rerun and Dwayne would hang out. She would dispense words of wisdom with a side of fries and she was always quick with a comment. She loved to make fun of the character Rerun because he was rather large, but what made it so funny was she was rather large too. Oh, who am I kidding, they were both enormously fat. They would insult each other about how fat they were and that was good fucking television. Now that I think about it, the restaurant never had anyone in it except those three kids so I don' know how she made any fucking money, because we know teenagers don't tip. But I loved her. She was a total bitchy waitress, she was lazy and all she did was complain about her job. What's not to love?

Please don't tell me I am the only one who remembers her. She died On December 10, 1999 of kidney failure at her home in suburban Los Angeles, California and she was found by her gardener. I'm thinking if she had a gardener, she was doing alright. Don't only rich people have gardeners? Rest in Peace, Shirley. You were one bitchy ass waitress and I loved you.