Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tales from the trenches

Waiters are pieces of shit.

What? Questioning the title are we? How, might you ask, can he say that when he is currently working as a waiter? I'll tell you why, because the unmannered customers make us that way. Coupled with the ungrateful restaurant owners and the surly chefs, waiters often have to submit to hours of denigration every day. Sure they (we) make a decent living, but it's a career that seems to bring out the worst in people. What, too harsh? I think not. I have a long and colorful history in the restaurant business, and there are limitless ways to avenge oneself with customers, owners and chefs. I would never dream of doing any of the things I am about to reveal, though I may have been guilty of such acts in the past.

The most delightful feeling is to punish a customer who has wronged you in some way. What ways? Well, snapping your fingers at a waiter will surely engender rampant hatred among the staff. Making a negative comment about the food as soon as the waiter serves it is another. Basically, any kind of complaining is frowned upon - complain with your pocketbook and don't come back, the waiter just wants to get through his/her shift. One of my unnamed friends had the finger rule wherein the customer's drink is swished with one, two or three of the server's (greasy, dirty, not recently washed) fingers depending on the severity of the rudeness displayed by the customer. And this my friends, is tame. I have personally witnessed an HIV positive server prick his finger and let blood drop into the customer's soup. In his defense, the customer was Pat Robertson, and the disease can't be transmitted that way, but still - even I was flabbergasted (yay, I finally got to work that word in - I've been trying for days).

Owners are often tight-fisted nazis who have a hard time turning a profit which lends them a desperate and at times bitter attitude. So waiters respond by stealing from them, thus keeping the whole disfunctional cycle going. Waiters will take money if at all possible, and if not, their houses are filled with restaurant glassware, silver, coffee, sugar and anything else that's unattended and not locked up. This happens less with *good* owners.

The best way to avenge a hateful chef is to complain bitterly about how you only made $180, when everyone else made more, just within earshot of said hateful chef. That and attach "see server" to every order you submit and encourage your customers to ask for special changes to menu items (chefs love this!).

Five more little tidbits. (I told you I like lists.)

1. If, coming from the kitchen, something falls off your plate, say one of the fried shrimp or a roll, the greatest likelyhood is that it will be brushed off and re-placed on the plate. Well, you're probably lucky if it gets brushed off.

2. Any plate that includes multiple items of the same character, such as french fries, calamari and the like, will likely be snacked on en route from the kitchen. Choosing a restaurant with an exposed kitchen cuts down on this.

3. If you do not tip well, you will be remembered. You will be subject to acts of vengence on subsequent visits.

4. Do not touch your waiter. You have been warned.

5. Getty cozy with the customer generates better tips. You are being played.

So there you have it, the first of perhaps, well, more instalments (how's that for commiting) on the dynamic world of food service. Possible upcoming post titles might include "How to steal a table in three easy steps" or even "Dirty hygenic secrets" wherein the true efficiency of toilet paper is indelicately revealed. Until tomorrow.


Rebekah said...

"Basically, any kind of complaining is frowned upon - complain with your pocketbook and don't come back, the waiter just wants to get through his/her shift."

So, what you're saying is, even if the food is the wrong thing, overcooked or undercooked; a bone is in the chicken salad, or there's a bug in the salad, one is supposed to keep their trap shut?

tornwordo said...

No, people who make a negative remark right away. Like "that's ten ounces?!" or "the strawberry (garnish) is not even completely red" and the like. You'd be surprised at how many people are just looking for a negative experience.

You don't discover that it's cooked wrong until after the server leaves. But even so, you will let your frustration known to the waiter for the chef's error, and so, no we don't want to hear it. We want you to shut up and eat it. And go home and realize that the chefs don't know how to cook the food right at that place. Frankly, food is not cooked incorrectly at a place with good employees in the kitchen. Sure, an off event can happen, but then, you shrug and go "oh well, everything can't be perfect for me all the time" and get over it. What? too biting? Trust me, bad shit happens to everyone all the time, don't dump it on the waiter.
Nuff said.

tornwordo said...

Oh sorry, a bug in the problem but that's pretty rare, and even a little bit funny. But a bone in the chicken salad? Yeah, shut up about it and politely place it at the edge of your plate just like if it happened to you at someone's house.

petpirepet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
petpirepet said...

PetPiRepete means "Fart and repete it"
it is pronounced PET PEE RAY PET...
Just so you know I have my own "BLOG" now..under the pressure of the middle class trend!
I am new to this, so a LOTS of insanity wording will be posted on this blog.

Rick, you write well, I have a sense that you will still write better then me ever...
So come on down to the petpirepete blog in the next few days when I will be sober. PetPiRepete

Em said...

Ooh, that Pat Robertson story is far too scandalous. And I had never heard it before. Of course I would have frowned and been bitter about it. I'm suspecting that this new blog is owned by your halfside who has joined the middle class. I'm going to go find him now.

Nice writing...

Rebekah said...

Nuff said?

All some customers want to do is come in and eat the food they ordered.

I'm not done with this. I know there are some jerks out there on both sides of the plate... but me asking the waiter to take my rare steak/cold french fries/scrambled instead of poached eggs back is not unreasonable.

I order something, it's not what I ordered, I ask again for what I ordered.

And, the bug in the salad (it was a beetle) and the bone in the chicken salad? All true.

tornwordo said...

Don't forget, I'm giving the waiter's perspective. It has nothing to do with what you "deserve", of course you are entitled to have bug-free food (and really, no one would hate you at all for sending that back) and to receive what you ordered. I'm just saying that we don't like handling complaints. I'm sure the complaining mother of the student feels she is right about confronting you, but you certainly can't like it.