Sunday, March 30, 2008

Waiting Squared

You may or may not know I am a server at a smallish restaurant here in Ruidoso and normally I like my job. Or maybe I just like the money and lack of stress to take home with me when the day is done. That’s not to say that many a night during the summer I didn’t have crazy awake-dreams where I thought I was still at the restaurant, or that customers were at my house waiting to eat or something, but usually most of the manic stress happens at the P.O.B.

This is also not to say that I haven’t broken down from time to time (what my boss refers to as "cracking up"). I try to keep those instances to a minimum and just keep my adrenaline to myself until later, but I have been formulating a list in my head about stuff that makes me NUTS about restaurant customers, and thought I’d share what I can remember here....

Special eaters - Go the F*CK home. No one wants to deal with your aversion to butter or salt or peas or cheese or meat or eggs or capers or cumin. That’s why you go out to restaurants... the food tastes better because the cooks use more of that "bad" stuff to taste up your normally bland food. And your server pretends to care, but we don’t. We secretly loathe you and honestly, unless someone has a severe allergy, I probably don’t even say anything and neither do you because -GASP- your food tastes good that way! ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the time someone designed a recipe one way because it works. They know what they’re doing. Leave well enough alone.

Ten percenters - The year is 2008, not 1958. The norm for tipping these days is twenty percent. If you can’t afford to tip your server, you can’t afford to eat at an establishment that employs people to refill your drinks, bring you your food, ask you if you need anything else. Go to Arby’s. They don’t expect tips because they get paid more than three bucks an hour. And seriously, I don’t think restaurant patrons know how much this means to a server. Give them the twenty percent, and maybe give them a dollar more. ONE DOLLAR. You have no idea how you could make someone’s day.

Well-done steak eaters - Stop kidding yourself when you try to order a steak medium-rare by saying, "Wellllll... What’s medium here? I like it just pink in the middle, but still juicy." "Medium is still going to be a little bloody, dear patron." "Oh, no, no, no. No blood." Mental note: Hmmm, ok. How about medium-well, you nasty bastard? And when you say it’s too dry and ask for steak sauce you can kiss my ass because we don’t have any.... Just effing order the steak how you want it. I won’t say anything to your face...

Flavored tea drinkers/straw users - Let’s start here with a question: Who started this flavored tea trend? Trust me, I love a flavored tea as much as the next idiot, but I would never expect an establishment to carry flavored teas unless it was like "Aunt Bea’s Flavored Tea Emporium". So stop acting so surprised when I tell you we only have regular iced tea. And to those of you who require a straw to drink a beverage... I don’t get it. If you have serious tooth sensitivity, you should carry your own straws with you. If you don’t like your lips to touch a restaurant glass, you are a lunatic. And if you’re a kid, too bad. You need to learn how to drink out of a glass like the rest of functioning society.

Obese people - You gross me out and I don’t even want to feed you because it’s like enabling an alcoholic. You ask for a fourth basket of bread and extra butter and another Diet Coke, and I die a little bit inside. Then you can’t decide if you want to get dessert because you’re so full. Just get it. You know you’re going to eat that half gallon of rocky road when you get home regardless. Might as well add another six bucks to my sales...

Old people - You don’t have an appetite, so don’t go out to eat. You want your coffee at temperatures that cause evaporation. You ask for ice to put in your wine. You tip badly. You smell. You ask for salt and pepper before I have even given you a menu (Which reminds me to tell you that you are an uncouth jerk if you season your food before you taste it). You complain more than anyone and that makes me hate you.

Wannabe sommeliers - Having you taste the wine before I pour you a glass is NOT to see whether or not you like the wine. It is to make sure the bottle has not turned because of the cork, etc. If you don’t like it, that’s your fault because you don’t know what kind of wine you ordered/like. And by the way, smelling the cork is for morons. If you want to squeeze it to make sure it’s not dry or rotted, be my guest. But smelling it forces me to probably give you a look of severe disdain that you don’t recognize because you don’t know me. And to those of you who drink white zinfandel... I am not even going to go there. You are just revoltingly lame.

Table movers/chair swappers - I’ll keep this simple. The host seated you in one place for a reason. Stay there unless there is a REALLY good reason to move. And leave the chairs where they are. If you have a bony ass or hemorrhoids, carry around your donut cushion because that is not my fault.

Wow. I honestly probably have a list ten times this long with more nuggets you can’t live without. It’ll get worse. Maybe I’ll get some more written down. Until then, if you haven’t seen Waiting, watch it. It’s incredibly accurate where restaurants are concerned and if you’re never going to wait tables to see what it’s like, you need to be taught a lesson by Ryan Reynolds and Luis Guzman. Watch it immediately if not sooner. If nothing else, it’s funny as hell.


Springs1 said...

"Special eaters - Go the F*CK home. No one wants to deal with your aversion to butter or salt or peas or cheese or meat or eggs or capers or cumin. That’s why you go out to restaurants... the food tastes better because the cooks use more of that "bad" stuff to taste up your normally bland food. And your server pretends to care, but we don’t. We secretly loathe you and honestly, unless someone has a severe allergy, I probably don’t even say anything and neither do you because -GASP- your food tastes good that way! ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the time someone designed a recipe one way because it works. They know what they’re doing. Leave well enough alone."

That's SOOOO MEAN and EXTREMELY UNCARING. You want us to tip 20 percent or more, which lots of times I tip 25%, but yet, you do NOT "CARE" about us customers. HOW can you expect us customers to CARE about YOUR TIP MOENY if you don't care about if they like their food or not? Caring is a 2-way street.

Just as you said "No one wants to deal with your aversion to butter or salt" well, NO ONE wants to deal with a LAZY ASS SERVER. Don't you get it? WORK IS WORK, NOT PLAYTIME AND FUN TIME. If you don't like it, GET ANOTHER JOB!

We go to restaurants as an outing as well as for the food and drink.

You say you want customers to pay you 20%, well that REQUIRES GOOD SERVICE. You cannot just get 20% if you want to be lazy.

It's YOUR *OPINION* that the food works for EVERYONE, because EVERYONE has VERY DIFFERENT TASTES. I personally hate ketchup and pickles. MOST of the world loves ketchup and pickles. For you to act like EVERYONE likes the food exactly the way it comes according to the menu is totally RIDICULOUS and it's TOTALLY UNTRUE. I, 99.9% of the time, ALWAYS ALTER my order with some extras or things left out. I hardly EVER, EVER, EVER, order "AS IS" exactly from the menu description. If I am getting a pasta dish, I usually get it "as is", but NEVER sandwiches or burgers or ribs for instance. I always order extra condiments on the side. I also order my fries with no salt, because in my opinion, a lot of restaurants put so much salt, I feel like I am eating a mouth full of salt. I order my salads with extra ranch on the side. If I get bacon on something, I order it extra crispy. If I get a burger, I will ask for extra onions, cheese, and lettuce only. A person designed a recipe, because it may be a MAJORITY that likes it like that, but NOT EVERYBODY DOES. The recipe works for SOME, but NOT EVERYONE. You sound SO DAMN LAZY ASS. GET ANOTHER TYPE OF JOB if you hate it so much.

You "loathe" us kind, because YOU ARE SO GOD DAMN LAZY you don't want to do the ********EXTRA WORK********* that we want you to do TO ****EARN**** YOUR TIP THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE. Also, WHY should someone that has an allergy get preferential treatment over someone that just wants their food a certain way? If that person is allergic to something, they could just simply order something else. There shouldn't be "preferential treatment" just because someone has an allergy. There should be SOMETHING on the menu they can order they aren't allergic to if customers like me cannot order the food the way we like it. What's FAIR for customers that have allergies is FAIR to customers that just want their food a certain way. Allergy customers aren't MORE IMPORTANT than ANYONE ELSE. My wants are JUST AS IMPORTANT as their allergies. There's NO REASON why you should make a DIFFERENCE. Those customers do NOT have to order that item they are allergic to just as I don't have to order that burger with lots of alterations. I could simply order a pasta dish "as is" if I wanted to, just as they could order something they aren't allergic to.

"Give them the twenty percent, and maybe give them a dollar more. ONE DOLLAR. You have no idea how you could make someone’s day."

Make the customer's day by getting the food prepared the EXACT WAY THEY WANT IT by putting the order into the computer correctly and bringing the food out correctly as much as you can possibly SEE without having to touch the food.

You want payment, we want our food the EXACT WAY WE LIKE IT. So unless you do your part, WHY should we do ours?

"And to those of you who require a straw to drink a beverage... I don’t get it. If you have serious tooth sensitivity, you should carry your own straws with you."

Are you just TOO DAMN LAZY TO GET A STRAW FOR A CUSTOMER OR SOMETHING? WTF is WRONG WITH WANTING A STRAW? Obviously, you are PROVING you are SO FUCKING LAZY you don't want to get a STRAW for a customer. As you said above "Go the F*CK home", well "GET ANOTHER F*CKING JOB that is not SERVING customers!"

"If you don’t like your lips to touch a restaurant glass, you are a lunatic."

Sometimes there is lipstick on the glass, so it's actually less germy if you drink out the straw. Also, some restaurants, the server takes your glass to get a refill and doesn't give you a new glass, so their germy hands sometimes touch the rim of the glass. So YOU are the "LUNACTIC" who cannot understand things obviously.

"Ten percenters - The year is 2008, not 1958. The norm for tipping these days is twenty percent."

20% or more is for GOOD SERVICE. If you suck, you will receive 10% or less.

Sack said...

Sometimes people like to use CAPS to MAKE A POINT that is completely USELESS.

This is a BLOG. People often blog OPINIONS, rants and other things OF THAT NATURE.

If I am behind someone at a stoplight, and they take more than three seconds to move after it turns green, and I enthusiastically call them an "assf*cking piece of shit retard", I don't really think that they are a mentally handicapped bowel movement that enjoys sodomy...I just want to rant.

So save your TIP MONEY, go to the GAS STATION, buy a LOLLIPOP and then go sit in the SUNSHINE.

Sarah said...

"springs1" - Nice pseudonym! It's indicative of your writing and comprehension abilities. I have to tell you, though, someone has probably defecated in your food at some point if you behave in public in a manner comparable to your rant. You quite possibly would have absorbed the point of my blog if your reading level was beyond that of a first grader.

And furthermore, not every restaurant is Applebee's. I don't work at a chain. We don't even have ketchup. Or straws. Or uncouth morons like you dining at our establishment.

Come back and visit this blog again after you take the GED. :)

Sack - "mentally handicapped bowel movement that enjoys sodomy". Classic eloquence, my friend.

Springs1 said...

"Come back and visit this blog again after you take the GED. :)"

I graduated high school in 1995 by the way. I also have an associates degree. You may have a better education than me, but look at YOURSELF. You are TOO LAZY to get what your customers want. So what does that say about you? You can be very educated, but not act like it such as yourself. You actually act very LAZY. You cannot tell your customers to stay home just because they want their food a certain way. Your money for your bills has to come from somewhere, so if that means doing more stuff for those customers so you can **EARN** a REALLY GOOD TIP, then WHY NOT DO IT? WHY COMPLAIN ABOUT IT? If a customer wants to change 6 things on an entree, they should be able to without ANY PROBLEMS unless the cooks cannot do it. YOU should be glad you have extra work, so you can EARN MORE MONEY, HOPEFULLY, if they are fair with you and you get the order right as much as you can possibly SEE of course. If you just do the minimum work, they might only tip you 15% instead of 20% or more.

You may have a better education in college than me, but at least I am not as LAZY as you are. Laziness does affect doing well and keeping jobs.

"We don't even have ketchup. Or straws."


You act like it's a crime to ask for a straw as if you are being asked to run a marathon or something. I think you are being RIDICULOUS about it and you don't even have straws at the restaurant you work with.

You have nothing back to say, because YOU KNOW that you are a VERY LAZY PERSON and I have PROVED THAT by your complaints you have on this blog.

Sack said...

"I also have an associates degree."

I'll alert the media.

I truly hope you don't just toss that little morsel in when talking to people in person...mostly because it's hilarious.

It is truly puzzling why someone would say that. Is that a badge of honor of some sort? "I struggled 18 long months learning long division and how to curl hair. Now look at me; I'm on the top of the world with my associate's degree". Awesome.

Sarah said...

Oh, I have plenty to say. :)

Show me another server who has over $1,600 in sales for a three hour shift at a restaurant where the average plate would cost, oh, about $30-40, and then call me lazy. That is laughable.

Once again, you have failed to grasp the point of my diatribe (if you need to look that word up, I suggest

I have customers leave our restaurant happy every day who return for the food and service regularly. It just amazes and irritates me that people expect the same restaurant environment in a small, family-owned place as they do a Chili's. And while large corporate chains have their place in the industry, they can't dictate what the small businesses do, as we quite literally keep things interesting, and teach people like you a lesson every once in a while about etiquette and trying something new.

I am reconsidering my comments to you, springs1, after processing the idea that you used ketchup and pickles as an example of an order modification. I don't know many dining establishments that automatically spread ketchup on their burgers as opposed to having a bottle on the table. This tells me that your primary choice for dining is McDonald's or the like, and ergo negates your entire argument.

And congratulations on all of your academic achievements. They have clearly paid off.

Sack, remember that one time we were at a University, earning degrees in how to write properly? Yeah, that was pretty cool.

Sack said...

I do remember those glorious days. I just wish I had learned that typing in caps was universally indicative of desired emphasis. Oy vey.

I guess I'll have to pursue the rigorous academic program offered at DeVry (or perhaps another of the esteemed two-year institutes of higher learning) if I want to grasp such a complex literary concept.

Aaron said...

Wow, This thing really escalated quickly! Where to start....

As a lifetime restaurant employee myself, I constantly struggle with a lot of the things that have reared their heads in this blog. My biggest peeve is customers lack of understanding that different restaurants offer different things. If your favorite thing is a generic quesadilla at applebees, you probably shouldn't march into a restaurant you've never been to and expect the same thing. One of my least favorites is when a customer asks you to do something and when they are informed it can't/won't be done, they spout off with "well, they do it at Applebees" or "Maybe I'll just take my business elsewhere.".

I'll put it to you this way: Folks who cook, and I mean REALLY cook, consider it an art form. They design their menus to compliment their skills, and showcase their talents. Someone who opened a small French restaurant with a unique menu, can't be expected to delight at the idea of cooking spaghetti and meatballs. It's like walking up to Picasso and offering him a job doing sketches for a greeting card company. He would surely spit in your face. Health department regulations forbid expectorating on customers, so occasionally, a blog like this pops up.

My restaurant is probably somewhere in between the place that Sarah works and Applebees. My requirements are more basic than Sarah's; I just ask that you order something that's on the menu. After all, that's what I claim to be good at cooking, so why not give me a chance. Yet still, once a week, the same lady comes in and asks "Can I just get a grilled chicken breast, and some salad?"

Yes, you can, in your grocer's poultry aisle. What I serve is on the menu. See it there? That's what I do, right there for all to see. Sorry, but I worked my ass off for a long time on this menu, and I'm proud of it. If your tastes are more suited for another establishment, I understand.

Further, in the age of the internet, and well into the age of telephones, this information is available to you long before you walk in the door. If you're unsure, check out the website, or call and ask.

I don't agree with everything Sarah said, but it is apparent that "springs1" imagined his/her normal restaurant environment and applied it to Sarah's blog. She doesn't work at a chain restaurant. She works at a place where the proprietor has designed a specific environment, and finds her suitable, perhaps even ideal, to carry out his wishes. She would surely be fired if she worked at the Olive Garden, and I think she knows that. That's why she works where she works. She is a fit for that place, not the Olive Garden.

Playing devil's advocate, there's one fundamental concept that hasn't even been mentioned by either side in this rant. Both parties in this scenario are people, who despite their job descriptions and duties, are prone to emotion, both good and bad. If you walk in to a place you've never been and start demanding things that are not available, and then get shitty about it, expect to get some shitty back. Customer service is one thing, but basic human decency applies regardless. Servers are not lesser human beings. They are in many ways more learned about what matters than you could ever achieve with schooling. All you have to do to avoid most of this, is treat the staff like your piers; Like fellow human beings who do something different than you to pay their bills. Guaranteed, THIS is the source of most of any restaurant employee's frustration.

So it sounds like "Springs1" has ventured out of his/her element a time or two, which is o.k.. Some of us are at home with fried chicken, and some with frog legs. Some of us don't like to try new things, and some do. That's why there is a McDonald's in every town.

As for Sarah being lazy.... that's for the owner of the restaurant to decide. If she's been there very long, I'll bet he thinks she's a great fit.


Amanda said...

I don't really have much to say on this subject since I've never worked in a restaurant besides a brief stint as a hostess at TGI Fridays in college. However, springs1 clearly you don't understand the point of a blog. Secondly, Aric, did you mean peers? Because I'm not really sure why you would want to treat the staff at a restaurant like an aquatic support structure.

Aaron said...

Sorry, I was actually waiting tables at the time I wrote my comment, and though I noticed it in the preview, I didn't have time to go back and fix it. It should have known better then to feed myself to the grammar sharks. I'll be more careful in the future.

Sarah said...

My dear love Aaron, you basically said what I said, but in a “nicer” way (you are such an impartial Libra). All I ask is that people order off of our menu (you said this), which someone we know designed because she is one person cooking for upwards of one hundred individuals on some summer nights. I understand her plight - that she not be bothered with alterations because it’s hard to keep up with when you’re one person preparing meals for that many people. And I understand where people are coming from when they ask for things a certain way. What happens too often, however, is people ask for a Croque Monsieur with no b├ęchamel sauce on it (or whatever alteration you can imagine) and then, after I get bitched out by the cook because someone’s changing a classic recipe, the customer complains to me that it’s a dry sandwich…

I am kept in employment at Bistro for more reasons than one. One of them is that I have grown accustomed to saying no to people and making excuses for the restaurant's “shortcomings”. Not because I want to, but because that’s what I am expected to do. I would love nothing more than to tell people they can have anything they wanted within reason. We’d all be so much happier! But my special talent also validates my employers’ behavior and elitist attitude, of which I do not approve.

This blog was simply my way of conveying to whomever may read it that every restaurant is not the same, customers should be willing to try new things, there are way too many hick MF-ers out there, and just because you are the customer does not necessarily always mean you are right. You’re going to piss some people off one way or another. I just like to try and keep it at a minimum and keep the people I like to serve coming back again and again (which are most people, in all honesty).

I would have to say these instances of me being seriously pissed off at customers are few and far between and that my true irritation comes from my work environment. Imagine constant sexual harassment, being belittled by customers who assume that because you are a server you must be lacking in the mental capacities, being patronized by customers and your bosses’ friends, having the cook make you feel like it’s your fault that someone doesn’t like… hmmm, olives maybe? Then you have to tell people they can't have things they should be able to have, like decaf coffee, because it wasn't ordered or someone "forgot" to buy it at the store.

And as for me being fired from a large corporate restaurant, not only did I work at and enjoy working at Starbucks while I was there, I also served super-bitchy queens Triple Grande Half-Caff, Half Soy, Half Non-Fat, Two Splenda, One Raw Sugar Lattes in Venti cups with a smile on my face because that was not out of the ordinary and it’s Starbucks… It’s like the Burger King of coffee houses (picklessss… bun seedssss)! I knew that and was at peace with any request, except asking me to put the honey in your tea… that’s just nasty and actually in violation of some health codes.

So, Aaron, I resent your comment about me being fired from any job, as I never have been. I am not lazy, I am a good server (maybe you don’t see that because I purposely ignore most everyone who sits with Richard when I have “real” customers to tend to), I usually have a good attitude, and I put up with an exorbitant amount of shit from my employer, his friends and family, and lastly, customers. If anything, I have been groomed to put up with more than the average server because we clearly don’t have guidelines for certain things that need to be in place. You should know more than anyone that my rant comes from deeper issues than a severely undercooked hamburger being sent back to the kitchen for more cooking.

Eric said...

All I know is that the next person who asks for ranch dressing is getting monkey-punched in the pee hole.

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