Tag Archives: waiters

Mean Girls

5 Oct

Tonight I got a signed credit card slip with a message on it. Usually the messages are something nice like, “Thanks So Much” or “We’ll be back,” or perhaps a “Call Me” with a phone number; but tonight I got a passive aggressive rant:

“HORRIBLE SERVICE! SO DISSAPOINTED!”

I’m a little embarrassed by how much this message, accompanied by a less than ten percent tip on a three hundred dollar bill, truly bothered me.  I felt like I had just been bullied.

The questions kept flaring:

What did I do? Why don’t the mean girls like me? Like me damn-it. Like me!

Why leave a message? Why do you have to justify your punk-ass cheapness? Just leave a tip you think is “appropriate,” and leave it at that. Why go for the obligatory “fuck you” at the end, and then smile when I pick up the check? 

And to top it off, it was written in the hand of a second grade teacher, perfect girly print, that insinuated stars, hearts, and smiley faces to follow. The two exclamation points, punctuating the end of two incomplete clauses, also really pissed me off (P.S. I hardly edit these posts, and I acknowledge that my complaining about punctuation right now is literal irony). 

People don’t realize that waiters can get fired over these middle-school notes (Correction: Women don’t realize… It’s always women leaving these silent slurs, these back-handed bitch slaps ((–yes, that’s right, I’m being sexist–, but you can still call me when he breaks up with you.)  The men don’t bother with it; they just don’t tip you.))

I once had a friend who was fired from an Elephant and Castle, when a woman wrote, “Check the attitude,” on a signed slip. Fortunately I showed the comment to my manager, and she just laughed.

“You have five seconds to get over this,” she said.

Well, it’s 1:04 AM and I’m still not over it. Maybe I should have passed the Girly Handwriting Lady a secret note of my own, just snuck it in the bill, or in the pocket of her windbreaker in coat-check, an innocent  ruse like, “Okay face! Awful shoes!” or “Fix your voice.”

Well, well… Look who’s being the mean girl now?

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“I don’t have my ID, but I do have my cellphone.”

30 Sep

“I don’t have my ID, but I do have my cellphone.”

Seat 3, Table 1, on forgetting her ID at home, in the Netherlands. 

For those of you who didn’t read my post  “The Ball’s Over Cinderalla: ID Please,” the New York District Attorney continues to crack-down on underage drinking in the city. And for the first time since they grew breasts, models from the Netherlands who are unable to produce a valid U.S. issued ID, are being told “No;” or, as my co-worker monologued in the service station:

“NOOOO! Your cellphone? Gimme an I.D. from the United Fucking States of America, ya’ fuckin’ six-foot-two, Bambi-eyed-ALIEN!”

When the future of a business might hinge on one illegal Kir (Who am I kidding, the kiddies don’t order Kirs), carding everyone seems like an obvious choice. However, an interesting dilemma has developed in New York establishments, where the girls have always been more notorious than the food:

If you don’t card the models you might get shut down; but, if you card the models, they won’t come back. And if the models don’t come, neither will the older men who follow the fawns to the breeding-grounds, and pay for their endless shots of Patron (Bambi’s no cheap date).

Fortunately, my restaurant is erring on the side of good lawful judgement. I card anyone who looks under 35 ( I once saw an undercover cop hand-cuff a server who had just served a minor -unknowingly-. The server was taken straight to jail, and faced over 5,000 dollars in fines, not including legal fees. Needless to say, he also lost his job). I don’t take risks.

But as you might imagine, giving servers the freedom to say “NO” against a privileged class of jetsetters, is a recipe for fine drama. Did someone say DRAMA? Entre moi, TheInsideWaiter.

Just tonight, an older male guest threatened to “have my job,” if I didn’t serve his date, who was prancing around New York without an ID ((Really a dumb move to begin with, considering you can get arrested in New York City for failing to have proper identification on your person at all times (Thanks, Department of  Homeland Security)).

I explained to him that I would certainly lose my job if I did serve the guest’s date.  At that very moment the girl admitted to being underage. Can someone say  — Awwwwwkward? Last time I checked you gotta have sex with kids over 18?

Carding has truly become the most stressful element of my job. You simply don’t know how people will respond, particularly the women.  One lady, Seat 1-Table 21, said, “You just made my day; seriously, I love you right now;” but, the very young girl that replaced her at the same table, winced at me with, “Why? You’re carding me? Why?” She was twenty-one. Twenty-one, and she was complaining I was carding her. You can only imagine how the women who are thirty-one respond. It’s like I asked them how many people they’ve slept with, or why they’re  Republicans. Why are they Republicans?

At the end of the night,  I decided card two twenty-three year old girls, who were out with two fifty-perhaps-sixty-something-year-old guys. I couldn’t figure out the fouresome’s relationship.  Were they co-workers? Was this a fathers and daughters dinner? Cute.

Fortunately one of the older gentleman blew his cover when I asked for the girls to produce IDs.:

“Just don’t card my other daughter, when I bring her out. She’s the underage one,” he said, winking at his significantly younger significant other, across the table.

Honestly, I’m gonna be glad when this whole “following-the-law” thing is over, and we go back to the good ‘ole days, when the girls could just drink, and they guys could get their rocks off because they paid for the girls to drink, and the third parties involved (i.e. the waiters) never got yelled at. Yeah, those were the good ‘ole days.*

*Legal disclaimer: I’m joking.

Be We Shrinks, or Be We Waiters?

27 Sep

“I’m sorry, but the hour’s up. We’ll have to continue this chat about your compulsive shopping next week. There’s a wait on this table.”

Sound familiar? For the record, I like this profession, waiting tables. Yes, I have a critical –one might say even acidic– tone in many of these posts; and yes, sometimes I feel truly victimized by downright cruel people; but for the most part, I like helping strangers.

In fact, sometimes I like serving the cruel people the most, because you can help them have a moment of clarity.  You can play therapist, while you’re playing servant.  It may sound grand, and perhaps its just my personal rationalization, but I like to think that people in the service industry are in fact public servants, helping the greater good, one table at a time.  

People are so determined to be miserable; yet, I am equally determined to  make them happy, if only for a moment.  Take this evening’s patient: a Russian birthday girl, dressed to defy the thirty-seven candles on her cake, in a naughty slip of black sequins.  Still a young woman, Ms. Sequins was quite the accomplished neurotic, even for a New Yorker, let alone a Russian. 

Before I even got to the table she was yelling at the hostess for placing her at such  small table, pointing fingers and all.  That didn’t get her anywhere with the hostess, and so, feeing defeated, Sequins asked me if her party of nine be moved to an adjacent table, because they were too tight.  She wanted an argument, a fight, an incident to assert her status, but no, all I earnestly said was:

“Yeah, let me see what I can do… I just want you guys to have a good time.” 

Sequins was soooo not going to take that for an answer.  She looked at me like I had insulted her intelligence.

YEAH, RIGHT!,” she protested.

The notion that I might actually care about her and her friends having a good time was offensive, if not obnoxious.  It was her party and she was going to cry if she wanted to, but oh NOOO, I was not going to let her. 

Situations like this call for tough love. A little bitch slap of reality.

“It’s your birthday right?,” I smiled.

“Yeah?,” she hesitated.

“Well, will you let me give you guys a good time? And get that table for you?,” I said.

“Uhmmm. Okay. Sure. Thanks,” she conceded, with an oh-my-god smile. 

Victory for humanity! And for the rest of the night she was like a debutante, blissfully seated at the head of the very spacious table 31.  I got my manager to agree to send Sequins out a bunch of desserts on the house, and then my manager personally delivered a round of champagne.

Sequins entered seathing, and left smiling. Too bad I can’t charge three-hundred-and-fifty dollars an hour for my psychological services. 

 

 

 

DON’T WORRY; WE TIP WELL.

25 Sep

“Don’t worry; we tip well.”

How many times have I heard that line, right after a guest just acted like an ass? I can’t seem to follow the logic of it: you treat me poorly, but it’s okay, because you’re going to pay me for my suffering? Sounds like a beautiful agreement.

Excuse me, you might treat your wife that way, but I’d rather not be the victim of your neurotic worldview. (A lot of women use this line too, usually when they are out in groups, drunk, and being embarrassingly needy.) 

“Don’t worry; we tip well.”

 How insulting,  the implication is that I’m a whore –faking this smile– and that I’m just going to  have to endure the pounding for the next hour.  And that’s okay, because at the end of the night, there’s gonna be cash on the table.

And not too much cash, mind you, because we all know that anyone who has to announce their generosity,  clearly has anxiety about being percieved as a scum-bag.  “Don’t worry, I tip well, I tip well.” It’s a  lot like a racist saying, “Dont’ worry, I have black friends,” or a flaming closet-case saying, “Don’t worry, I like pussy.” And my responses respectively are, “Okay, NAME them,” and, “well EAT IT then.”

I’m worried, man, I am WORRIED about you, when you say that line. You know what wouldn’t make me worry so much? If you’d stop the oppressive barbs coming from your mouth, just started  talking to me a like person.

Victims of a Full Moon Thursday

24 Sep

Wow, tonight’s post pretty much wrote itself straight off of my waiter pad.  I’ve changed the names of the servers, and the menu items, but the following shit went down.

1)  A guest pretended to be pregnant, so that I would break the Chef’s rule about not ordering individual appetizers without the full entrée order.  She claimed to be starving, pregnant and feeling faint. Of course I made an exception, saying,

“Well, I guess if your pregnant, of course I can send out some appetizers first.” I even asked her if she had any food allergies to make sure I didn’t endanger the “growing baby.”

Then things got shady when she finished half a bottle of wine, and then asked for a double shot of espresso. I didn’t say anything, until she asked for a shot of Patron.  

“Uhhhhhhhhm…. Are you sure?” I said.

“Yes, really. My baby’s got a high tolerance.”

2) A married man, out alone, got so blitzed that he couldn’t keep his eyes open. He started making out with a woman he just met, then he started making out with a man that he’d just met, and then he started raving,

“Oh my god, I have kids. “

3) People were doing drugs at tables.  ‘Nough said there.

4) Another wasted group of low lifes knocked their waiter’s wine bottle into the air, catapulting the liquid all over the table, and themselves.  The man who knocked the bottle was enraged at the server, and asked,

“How could you doooo that?”

The server, thank god, stood  up for himself and said,

“Sir, you just did that.”

The guy then asked for a dry cleaning bill. The managers complied. The server disagreed entirely with management’s call, and asked for the table to be thrown out. The manager stated blankly,

“We don’t throw people out. This is what we do.”

5) Table 21 allowed their birthday boy buddy to act like a devilish 8-year-old, without stopping it.  The guy was a complete embarrassment, and I stopped serving him drinks.  At one point, I’m fairly certain that the adult birthday boy, vomited in his water-glass, and his friend asked me to clear the glass, without informing me exactly what had happened. So yeah. Vomit on the hands. Great. The friend simply stated, after I had already picked up the glass,

“Yeah, he sauced his water.”

I asked for clarification, as to what this meant, seeing as I could feel wetness in my hand, but the friend didn’t offer me any more info and said, “don’t ask.”

6) Along similar bio-hazard lines, somebody left a syringe at their table without the cap. I’m guessing it was a diabetic, but come on. It’s just a little out there. I refused to come within five feet of it, and instructed a busser to get a latex glove, first, and THEN pick it up.

That’s all. Yeah. That’s all. I’m kinda pissed. And am too tired to edit this post.

“I’m Swipin’ Sexy Back”

22 Sep

Despite previous Socialist musings, I would like to take a moment to lust over the Amex “Black-Card,” officially marketed as the Centurian Card.  Does anyone else suffer from a class hard-on, every time you swipe that sleek,  Titanium? I do. 

With “no personal spending limit,” the Black-Card is something fantastical, the consumer equivalent of  Willy Wonka’s “Golden Ticket.” You could probably kill someone with its Titanium edge to the jugular, and still get a Personal Concierge to clean up the blood (full benefits listed here, *notice Carnage Privileges).

For those of you who do not handle thirty credit cards a day, the first thing you’ll notice about the credit card is its weight, a heft worthy of the $250,000 requisite.   One of my co-workers Anika, who is from New Zealand, encountered her first  Black Card, tonight.  Her response, was much like mine: sensual.

“Oh my god, feeeeeel this,” she said.  

Anika then began to smell the card, as if inhaling its metallic scent, might transfer the cardholder’s funds into her personal checking account. And she didn’t stop there. Anika kinda started to kiss it, like a young bride-to-be might kiss an engagement ring (or other things).

It’s no surprise that men flash them about like an expendable penis –a black one, nonetheless–.  If the nebbish cardholder at table 32 had seen Anika’s response, he just might have been able to swipe his way into some Elite Status Kiwi.

Later in the evening I opened a check presenter to find my own Golden Ticket.  I wondered what would happen if I swiped my ass with it? What would happen… Might I turn to gold? And so I tried –just between the pants, not the flesh mind you–. No luck. I guess not even Midas could afford the $5,000 joiner fee.

War with a Butterfly

20 Sep

Tonight’s drama centered around a “butterflied” steak.

Certain assumptions must –and should– be made about a person who orders a $50 filet mignon,  “butterflied, extra well-done.”  Such a person, who would ruin a divine piece of meat, by requesting to have it sliced down the center, with the intention of grilling all the juices out of it, until it is a charred, tasteless, brown nugget of nothing, surely hates himself, and life.

Mr. Butterfly was no exception.  When I served the first  filet to Mr. Butterfly, he reacted as if I had just served his first-born, rare, on a platter. Without even prodding the steak he exclaimed:

-“This is… You people are… you have got to be kidding me… (no words). ”

-“Oh, I’m sorry. So you didn’t want it butterflied? Or, is it too grilled?”

-“It’s not even charred on both sides. It’s just… it’s cooked on one side.”

-“So you want it charred on both sides?”

-“That’s butterflied, yes!”

-“Oh, okay. I’m sorry.  I’ll talk to Chef. ”

-“Okay? No, it’s not O-K. Are you people sure you know what you’re doing?”

I wanted to say, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing, Sir?”  I had a feeling that nothing short of inviting the guest’s masochistic Mother, to personally butterfly grill his steak, was going to make him happy. Unfortunately she wasn’t in Midtown tonight. Too bad, because two filets later, we still couldn’t get it right. And by the third filet, Chef told me to, “Educate the fuck.” 

Four manager visits, and $300 worth of free wine and food later, Mr. Butterfly still refused to touch his filet. Of course, I removed it. And he was content to be a martyr, sitting in a silent rage while the other guests ate their meals.  

Every time I came over he seemed to get more mad. Mad that I graciously conceded to his requests without question, mad that I didn’t flinch at his threats to “handle this with the owners,”  mad that I could even look him straight in the eye and ask him questions like, “Would you like an espresso?”

My new mission was to make him internally combust.  And I’ve found that the most affective way to throw an ego- possessed New Yorker into a violent rage, is to be truly kind to them.

Now, to generate unaffected kindness after being subjected to cruelty is a difficult feat. Indeed, it’s damn near impossible to generate the quality of kindness I am talking about, considering the previous circumstances. One might be taken for being “fresh.” However, such sincere kindness is absolutely essential to make the guest lose themselves in a fit of rage.

But how can one possibly achieve such an emotional effect?

Well, today on the train, I was listening to a Deepak Chopra’s daily affirmations on empathy. In the back server station I began my affirmation, “this is someone’s son; a mother loves this lost child,” and then proceeded to imagine Mr. Butterfly as a child, a six year old, lost in a shopping mall, crying for his mother (I don’t know, that’s what came to me in the moment, and I just went with it). I g0t lost in a daydream for a few minutes, until I was fully related to the horrifying pain of this child, crying for his mother, and then I entered the dining room, completely immersed in the daydream, forgetting my past hour of hell with Butterfly the Elder.

-“Your check, Sir. Of course, my manager took off the filet. And she also wanted to send you the Barolo. Again I’m, so, sooo sorry we weren’t able to get that right. Have a wonderful night.”

(Pause.)

-“Let me talk to your manager.”

-“Oh, you’d like to speak with Sonia again?”

-“I DIDN’T ASK TO SPEAK WITH HER THE FIRST TIME! AND I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO HER… I WANT TO TALK TO THE GUY IN THE SUIT!”

Dare I say, “Mission accomplished!” Butterfly started a yelling match with Sonia, who he claimed, “Didn’t look like a manager,” (Yes, she has incredible breasts).  Butterfly became so heated that Sonia flagged security for back-up.  Unfortunately for Butterfly, the six-foot-four, two-hundred-and-fifty-pound, former center tackle from Florida State University, was not “the man in the suit” that Butterfly had requested.