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22 May

Tonight I worked at the restaurant had 6,000 in sales and nobody in my section paid a dime. How is that possible you might ask? Well, it’s basically a game of “biggest-dickus;” the owners want to impress the blue money investors and fifteen-minute-famers who attract business.

America is a backwards nation: the people who truly need food go hungry, while the people who have bought of half of New York eat for free, and throw away untouched food in the trash. It really devastates me to leave the restaurant and see people begging for food in the streets, literally asking for left overs from severs like myself, while the morally depraved drink twenty-five dollar tequila shots, that they don’t even pay for (That 25 dollar cocktail is paid for by people who wait in line to get a table to eat among the glitterati — it’s middle school social anxiety at it’s best; and if you wanna eat with the cool kids, you are going to pay for it).

Today after work I tried to give away two perfectly cooked untouched 40 dollar entrees in the streets, silverware and all. Alas, the homeless didn’t eat Fluke tonight. And this Robin Hood is going to bed without his kharma kick. I do have an extra stolen fork now.



21 May

I always have waiter nightmares after a hard shift. Usually it involves having an influx of people in the restaurant and being ill equipped to serve them. The patrons in the dreams are usually some sort of “difficult” type: a bus load of obese Midwesterners who have come for BBQ-ribs; a Medieval banquet hall full of fabulously bejeweled black ladies requesting all types of unknown hot sauces; Spaniards. 

Once I dreamt there was a whole football field full of white linen tables, awaiting a mass service. Every ten yard line was an individual sever “section” with Micros point-of-sale terminals at the ends of each ten yard line. The servers would spint up an down the ten yard lines, taking orders and entering them into the terminals. It was endless. There was a lone Asian man in the corner of the field, waving at me. I decided that he was just going to have to wait, maybe forever if necessary.

When I used to work at a fancy french place in midtown, I had a specific reoccurring dream that involved retrieving wine. It was always stressful retrieving wine in that restaurant because the wine cellar was so far away from the main floor, several floors underground in a dark, unorganized den of bottles, all piled on top of each other. I would always dream that a guest had ordered a glass of wine, and I would go downstairs to get the wine, but the stairs wouldn’t end. The stairs just kept going. And I would keep walking until it was doubtful whether I would have the strength to climb back up to the top where I entered. I kept telling myself I was getting closer to the wine cellar, but it never appeared. And all I could imagine was the guest upstairs, waiting for his wine, and yelling about being late for the curtain at Mama Mia!

My most recent dream last night involved George Bush Senior. For some reason, George Bush was part of a team of waiters who were all being shipped in trains to a sort of waiter concentration camp (I don’t mean to make light of the Holocaust, it’s just that, my imagination very clearly was invoking images from WWII movies). It was all very attractive waiters, and George Bush, leading us barefoot waiters, through the snow, and mud. We all were sprinting with trays full of cocktails and glassware to some unknown Master guest, who was situated on top of a mountain. Go figure. 

Inevitably all the dreams have a sense of frantic, helpless urgency. And also a comic sense of epic failure. 

“Don’t Pee for Me Argentina!”

23 Jan

I find myself really losing my “censor” at the table.

Tonight I had a PPX (that’s super important for you civilians) 12-top of asses. One of the guests, let’s call him Ken, was particularly successful at making my shit-list, and raising my heart-rate.

Ken prides himself on being an investor for a worth-less-than-piss South American wine. His wine is so bad that it is our designated freebee; we just give it away to people. He insisted on ordering liters upon liters of said Third-World Kool-Aid for his table, and taking the opportunity to make of photo-op of the dinner, thumbs-up and all, holding his wine as if to say, “Look mom, I made a wine.” Did I mention that he didn’t know what a Malbec was, and he makes wines south of the border. Hmmmmm.

Ken was an alcoholic. How do I know? Well, he was as nicely dumb as could be, until he got five drinks in him and became something larger than life, a reality TV show caricature of someone playing “incensed.”

The table was flawless, but, as usual, there had to be drama surrounding the birthday. Always drama around a birthday; I need to write a whole separate post about birthday dramas. Anyways, I was slammed at the moment the 12-top needed dessert. I managed to get six orders from the drunken idiots, but then needed to great a table, and come back to them. I honestly didn’t think anybody would notice I was gone for one minute, considering I had to literally clap my hands to get them to see me.

Ken didn’t like my plan. When he noticed I didn’t get the rest of the table’s dessert order in one sweep, he got up, came over to me, and while I was greeting my new table, grabs me by the arm and he starts to lambast me, “You didn’t take half the table’s dessert order. Where’s my wine I ordered? It’s her birthday and you didn’t even offer her anything for dessert!”

I waived down another server to pick up the greet where I left off, and then returned to Ken’s table. Ken pointed to the birthday girl and started yelling, “It’s her birthday… don’t you know! And we ordered a bottle of wine twenty minutes ago, where is it?” He’s yelling at this point.

“Sir,” I said. “You’re wine is right here, I’ve been maintaining the glasses all the time. Now, can you see anyone else who needs a glass? No. And yes, I know that half the table has yet to order dessert. My apologies. I was just about to finish that, if you would be so kind as to let me complete the order?” And yes, I do speak with people in this kinda stilted British over-the-top way, just to shame the fuck-faces.

He looked a little dumbfounded and commanded me, as if he was a silly little Dauphin, who had a Whipping Boy his whole life, “I need a glass of wine! And she needs DESSERT!”

At this point, the censor was gone.

“Just sit down, and lemme’ do my job, okay? Thanks,” I said.

That shut him up. Poor Ken. Drunk on his own Argentinian produced piss. He tried to apologize in his own popped-collar manner, after I had brought out the bday girl’s cake. I wasn’t accepting apologies tonight. When he asked where his wine was, I just put some coffee down in front of him and said, “Drink this. It’s better for you, at this moment, Sir.”

Better Than Reality TV

11 Dec

I have worked five shifts since my last post. The restaurant during this holiday season has been totally exhausting, and as you can see, I’ve been getting home at 3:30am, with little time to write.

The rich quotes have been building up though, and I can’t keep them all on my waiter pad any longer.  From guests, to front of house staff, here are some of the gems that must be shared:

1) “Please, please, can we order? We’re starving. We’ve been shopping up and down 5th Avenue all day. My arms are about to fall right off!”

-Life’s a bitch when you’re rich, isn’t it? The girl who said this was certainly younger than twenty-two. Her date, and benefactor, was certainly over fifty.  His last name on his coporate black card was “de Gaudi.” Yes, insert verbal irony -“gaudy”- here.

2) “Done? You’re done? You guys suck. I’m going to a strip bar.”

-Apparently the night is not over till you spend a few thousand more on Patron shots. This i-banker wanted more meat than just a 10oz. filet.

3) The Prince’s Table

Manager:-Do you have the Prince’s table?

Server: -Prince is here? Oh my God, he’s like, at the top of people I’d like to fuck list.

Manager: -Uhm, not like the artist.

Server: -Damn.

Manager: -Like, the prince of Saudi Arabia or something.

Server: -Oh, Is he cute?

Manager: -No.

Server: -Damn.

4) “Twenty-five years ago I’d be doing an ‘eight-ball.’ Tonight I do a shot of tequila.”

-This was said by a true high-roller. Twenty-five years ago, he would have been twenty-five. Is cocaine ever going to make a come back? You bet it will, however, at the moment an eight-ball is  –well– it’s just gauche.

5) “Who’s on table ‘1’? They are fat, loud, n’ ugly. Get them out. Now. Like do whatever it takes. Take their water. Take their chairs. I don’t care. OUT!”

-We have a very sensitive Maitre d’. 

6) Irregular Moles

Guest: “So you’re going to help me out. You see that chick behind me, don’t look now, like right behind me? Not the old one, not the mom, but the young blonde. Yeah, you see her? Well, I think her name’s Dr. Reynard. I think she’s my dermatologist, and she just like, checked out a mole on my dick. So, tell you what. Can you like, you know, go over and say, “someone in the bar asked if you are Dr. Reynard.” Don’t be stupid, be subtle like, but find out if it’s Reynard. And if it is, can you send her a round on me?”

Me: So… you’re saying you want a second opinion about this mole, tonight.

Guest: Exactly.

Me: Let me see what I can do.

It’s 3:48. Not too shabby for a late night post. Tomorrow I’m going to write about all the guests who insist on touching me. It’s driving me nuts.


Attack of the Clingers

27 Nov

Tonight I could not get the married, middle-aged, British woman at table 48 to stop hugging me. She was holding on to me drunk, tight, and desperate.

 “You’re sooooo fabulous. I’m going to have to introduce you to George Clark. You know George? Oh, you know him don’t you? He used to dance with what’s her name Margot, at ABT. Fontayne. Yes! You know George? Yes! He’s my friend. What are you doing for brunch Sunday? I’m going out with my designer friends. You know Zeda Ramir? The Zeda. You don’t know Zeda? Oh, she’s a sensation; she’ll love you. After brunch we can go shopping and then… then… do you go to the Boom Boom Room? My fashion friends will lo-o-o-ve you. You look so European. Oh,  you’re just like my son, except he’s not gay.” (If her son is anything like me, he is most certainly gay).

When I was a younger waiter, I used to like this type of attention from a table.  Back then, I had inserted myself into a narrative of victimhood: educated young artist waits tables to survive. “Poor me!” And every now and then, a gushing guest would come by, reminding me that indeed, I was truly fabulous.

Waiting tables is less personal these days. I’m quite grateful for my job, and the money I make.  And tonight, I wanted nothing more than to get the British “clinger” off my arm. She simpy would not let go, and her big-ass diamond ring was literally grating into my underarm.

A “clinger” is an insecure, unstable restaurant guest, whose singular intention is to make you -the server- their best friend, but just for the night. 

Clingers are usually very wealthy people, who like to make friends with the hired help, immediately endearing themselves to us, through any means necessary, and assuming a false sense of familiarity -calling us by our first names, insisting we sit down with them, and touching us like animals in a petting zoo-.  Clingers have a fetish for YFBWs (young, fabulous, broke-waiters); they have romantic notions about poverty, and what it means to be “real.” Clingers love to take on charity cases, dangling empty promises (connections, jobs, financial backing, trips to their time shares, hot dates with their celebrity friends) in order to win us over.

My British clinger insisted that I give her “my card,” like I had a professional waiter card that I handed out to people. “Give me your number then, we must meet up,” she insisted.  Quite frankly, I didn’t want to spend my afternoon with a washed up trophy-wife, as she strolled her four kids down fifth avenue. It didn’t matter how many drinks she was buying. And besides, I knew very well that she had no intention of calling in the morning; she just wanted to collect numbers, like a Chelsea chorus-boy on a bender at Barracuda.  

If I was a younger lad, this British lady would have certainly fooled me. I would have sent out dessert wine to their table, and removed the mandatory 20% gratuity on their party, in order to not insult them. Whatever.

Now I know better.  Five years ago, in another city, I had a real stage-one clinger: the Heir to the Virgin Records empire. He was a total Playboy, with all his bunnies seated around him. And for some reason he loved me. He wanted to add me to his entourage, inviting me on his personal jet to cross the pond, that very night.  It would be the Heir, me, and a lot of titties. Atleast, that’s what he was promising. 

At one point he offered to pay my rent for six months, if I could answer a riddle. In return I was to comp the entire meal, if I could not answer the riddle. Of course, I declined the offer. Regardless, he buddied up to me, and was so determined to invert the master/servant relationship, that he insisted that I “ride” him piggy-back style, around the restaurant. I definitely did not think it was a good idea, but, seeing as his bill was over $8,000, my manager also insisted that I ride on his back, atleast until another bottle of Dom was sold.

By the end of the night my manager was perfectly fine with me giving up my post, and sitting down with him at the table to drink that bottle of Dom. Little did I know, that the night would end with me running out the restaurant door with an unsigned check in my hand, sprinting down a limousine through one, two, three lights, pounding on the limo door, and demanding a signature. How fabulous am I now?

No, no, no. Tonight I would not be fooled. Once the clinger had relinquished my arm, and I was able to deflect her drunken gaze, I added the twenty-percent gratuity. When I returned with the check and she demanded that I give her my number for our Sunday brunch date, I simply said, “Oh, I’d love to see you Sunday. Come in. I’ll be here. Working.”


26 Nov

I left the restaurant for a month, to work on a project.  When I came back Wednesday night, it was jarring to interact with the guests; my restaurant caters to a subculture of people so entitled, that their behavior is truly out of adjustment with the rest of world, and I had forgotten just how pathological some of these people really were.

Enter my first table of the night, two twenty-something female business suits, who drank ten “grey goose n’ sodas” between the two of them, in two hours, while discussing sales demographics, and dirty office assignations.

The blonde alcoholic seated in the banquet asked me if “there were any bones in the chicken,” as if bones would certainly render any entrée inedible. I responded, “yes, there were some bones in the thigh meat,” and “no, we couldn’t remove them from the dish.” The notion that a chicken had bones, which could not be removed, revolted the blonde to such a degree, that she opted for the chilean sea bass instead.

When the sea bass arrived at the table, I checked back with the blonde. She was indignant, and began a passive aggressive tirade.

“I’m not difficult. I’m not,” she said. “… But you remember how I asked you if the chicken had bones?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, I can’t eat something with skin. This has skin on it. You didn’t tell me there was skin on it. I can’t eat this. It’s disgusting.” (the very thin  and tasty skin –easily removeable– was on one side of the filet.)

“Do you want Chef to remove the skin in the kitchen?,” I offered.

“No, now that I know it has skin. I can’t think about it. Just get me whatever she’s having,” the blonde said, pointing to her friend’s plate, and waving me away with her wrist.

I personally brought the blonde her new couscous entrée, but she had to get a little dig in first, before I was excused.

“Are you new here?,” she said.

“No,” I said.

“Well, I guess you’re a little slow on the learning curve then.” (her implication being that someone who doesn’t like bones in chicken, obviously can’t tolerate skin on a fish). 

“Yes,” I happily agreed. “I guess I’m a little slow on the learning curve.”

“Going forward. If there’s skin on a fish, you really should mention it.”

“Thank You,” I said, with the most saccharin smile I could muster. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I will make sure to mention it… Going forward.”

I kept my cool, but couldn’t resist when the perfect opportunity to one-up her presented itself: the blonde at the banquet paid with a novelty “alum” credit-card, sponsored by my alma mater. We were both graduates of the same over-priced university. Cute! And she was treating me like shit. Cuter! 

The second she handed me the card, I noticed our alma mater’s iconic university building, clearly featured on the card-front, and I uttered the building’s name under my breath, as if it was a passing thought.  The blonde was drunk, but she picked up on my cue immediately. Oh, the look on her face. I didn’t even give her the satisfaction of apologizing. I just dropped the check and said, “Have a wonderful evening, ladies.”

Chilean sea bass, at a swanky NYC restaurant: $32 dollars.

Ten Grey goose and sodas, with two-limes: $160 dollars.

Letting a privileged bitch know that she’s a bitch, without calling her a “bitch,” and losing your job: Priceless.

44 Patron shots in 10 minutes

24 Oct

Last night I had a twenty-two top that waited over an hour for a table.  It was a bunch of trust fund kids (by kids, I mean early thirty-somethings who have fake jobs, and are drinking with the same people who they invited to their Bar Mitzvah.)

Needless to say, by the time I got them they were already drunk from waiting at the bar, and very, very irritable.  My manager sent them a round of shots at the get-go. And then another manager sent them another round of shots, with the rationalization, “These people run in some crazy circles.” That’s 44 shots delivered in a matter of ten minutes -not fun to carry on one tray, and run around a crowded banquet table-.

For the record, I’m a high-volume rockstar, if I do say so myself. They could not have been in better hands. I can handle that many people. I just can’t handle that many people who aren’t aware that they ARE that many people, and that it does take some time to get an order in, when a party is that large.

Of course once I got to the table I was held there for twenty minutes taking a food and drink order, despite the fact I had other tables. It was IMPOSSIBLE to leave. And of course, it took another ten minutes to make the twenty-two specialty cocktails ordered. And it takes another ten minutes to deliver their drinks. So— yes, some people had to wait twenty minutes for their drinks.

This one guy kept saying, “I’m waiting on the Goose Rocks that never came.” By this time I was pretty pissed and just said, “Oh yeah, well, it takes a few minutes to make twenty-two-drinks.” He responded with, “Well, since it’s taking so long, put in three more Grey Goose rocks in, now.”

Did I mention that five “joiners” came to the table, making it 27 people? And there was nowhere to put them. Nowhere. And we were so busy that nobody could help me. I delivered all the drinks, cleared the table, put down their miss en place for the entrees, cleared and entrees and put down the set-up for desert. (My busser was probably eating a filet somewhere in a side-station.)

Basically the night consisted of me cocktailing my ass off till there tab was at about $2,700. They started a small food fight when they couldn’t agree who would pay the bill. First they handed me 12 credit cards. When I explained I couldn’t split the bill that many ways, they played Credit Card Russian Roulette, and settled on 8 cards.

By the time I was done running around for this table, and bussing it, I had sweat through my shirt and was fairly delirious. I was so out of it in fact, that the table adjacent to the douche-bags offered to let me sit down with them. I did sit with them, and conversed, while I waited for the douches to play Roulette.

It took me about seven minutes to apply the cash, and split the bill 8 ways. One of the douches came back to the server station and demanded to know what was taking so long. I just looked at him and said, “I’m on check number 8 right now, Sir.” He responded with, “Oh, man, thanks, right… I mean, it’s not your fault. You’re great man… I mean, you’re really cool.” I had to wonder why he was yelling at me then if I was “really cool.”

They were a classy group.