Friday, November 12, 2010

say whaaat?

note: i mainly work with a bunch of college kids, many of whom have never worked in a restaurant before. Most of them are also utterly devoid of common sense. Case in point--we keep cocktail sauce, sour cream, and tartar sauce by the window where we pick up our orders. They are kept in a container of ice to keep them cold. At the end of the night they're changed into clean pans, the melted ice is dumped, and they're put in the refrigerator. Or that's how it's supposed to be done--99.9% of the kids re-ice the sauces and THEN put them in the refrigerator the first time(and sometimes the 2nd and 3rd time) they have it as side work. When i point out that you don't have to ice something that's going into a cold refrigerator they look at me like i'm retarded every. single. time.

the other night one of server A's tables decided that they wanted to pay for one of my tables. My table was a young couple and a baby throwing alphabits everywhere, and their tab was about $30.00. A came over to me while i was ringing their food up to tell me that her table wanted mine's ticket. Okay, no problem...yeah right. Like most restaurants we do server banking, no cash register, and A couldn't figure out how we'd accomplish this feat. Then again, A also can't figure out how much change to give a customer back without using a calculator. I've actually seen her enter $30.00 minus $25.75 into the big adding machine sitting by the credit card machine. Yeah.

i told A that i've had other tables pick up other servers' tickets in the past, and it's no big deal. I just do the following: if they're using a credit card i tell them since there are 2 separate tickets with 2 separate servers i'll have to run their card twice. That way everyone's finances and tips stay separate and it avoids confusion (and if you don't trust your co-worker it keeps them from having the opportunity of claiming to be short changed). I've never had any problems with it and i've never had anyone not get tipped. A: blank look, followed by "if they're using a card can't i just add up the 2 tickets, charge them the total amount, and give you cash?" Me: "I suppose you could, but why go to all that trouble? This way our tips stay separate too." A: blank look.

as it turns out there were 3 people at A's table, one of them paid for their tab and another paid for my table. Even easier, right? Hell no--A came over to me with the 2 credit cards, totally lost. I handheld her through running the card for her ticket, then i ran the other card for my table's ticket. You'd think this would be the end of it--and you would be wrong. A never brought me back my ticket or credit slip and i had to go into her section to find it laying on her table. The person had tipped me 20%, and i told my table that they were good to go, another table had paid for them and tipped me, everything was taken care of. My table got all weirded out and acted like a stalker might be waiting for them out in the parking lot. They collected their alphabits spewing baby and made a run for it.

later A came up to me and told me that since i hadn't given her the tip i should at least sweep under one of her tables to make it up to her. Uh...what? Trying to figure out what she was talking about i said "oh, did they not tip you on your ticket?" "Yeah, they tipped me." Me: long pause. "And why would i give you the tip they left ME on MY ticket?" "Because it was my table, you didn't wait on them." "Yeahhh...but they tipped you for your service on your tab, and then paid for my table and tipped me for that. Why would you get my tip on top of what your table chose to leave for you?" "You should of at least given me half."

at which point my head exploded. (actually the above conversation went around in circles for a good 10 plus minutes. If i typed all that out your head would explode too).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

sorry i'm walking funny, but...

...apparently i have my head stuck up my ass.

i made the mistake of showing up early one sunny Sunday in August, and of course i was thrown several tables as soon as i walked in the door. One of the tables was out on the far reaches of the patio and the manager assured me that they had only just been sat. Now our patio runs the full length of the restaurant and has 7 tables, and there's only 1 door to access them, so to get to that 7th table you have to walk alllll the way down there, past all 6 of the other tables. Really, i want to emphasize what a looong walk this is. So i go out the door and start my hike to the last table and the people at it sit and stare at me all crazy the entire time i'm heading their way. It's a young-ish couple and a fat kid. I get there and do a short intro they have no interest in, and the man at the table tells me he wants the steak and eggs. The menu states that it comes with "up to 5 eggs". After saying "i want the steak and eggs" he sat there in dead silence so i had to prompt him with "how would you like your steak cooked?" and "do you want all 5 eggs with that?" "I only want 2 eggs, it'll be cheaper that way, right?" "No, i'm sorry, it's the same price whether you get all 5 eggs or not." "Well that's insane! 5 eggs is stupid! Who the hell can eat 5 eggs? It outta be cheaper!"

(ever get that sinking feeling?)

i pried the order out of the female half and Fat Kid, and went back inside to put the order in. Guy had wanted tabasco with his meal (it's not on the table) so i grabbed that along with anything else i could imagine them wanting and i treked back out with it. Again they STARED at me the entire time i walked to their table, even stopping talking to just stare, and i had to try to find things to look at on my way over so i wouldn't be staring back at them. RFA (really fucking awkward).

it was really busy inside the restaurant but i could keep an eye on my distant patio table through the windows. I watched Fat Kid hoover down his drink from afar so i trucked out with a refill. Yes, they STARED at me the entire time i walked over. Eventually i saw another server run their food out so i was obligated to go check on them. As soon as i walked out that door they stopped eating--and STARED. At this point i was running out of things to pretend to look at as i walked over, i had no other tables to interact with on the patio, just them. Me: "Everybody doin' all right here?" Guy: grunt. Me: "Okay" (in my fake cheery voice). Once i got back in i was heading for my normal tables when i happened to glance out the window, i saw Guy chug down his full glass of ice tea, get up, walk all the way over to the patio cart (that was by the door) and fill his glass from one of the covered pitchers sitting there. Whatever dude.

at this point the hostess showed up and i asked her to check on them for me since i was busy. She did, and reported back with "They're weird--i don't wat to go back." Great.

watching through the window i waited until it looked like the meal was winding down. Sighing to myself i headed out the patio door. Again they all stopped what they were doing to stare at me THE ENTIRE WAY. I arrived at the table, bussed some plates, and offered dessert. "We're thinking about it" Guy responded. "Okay, well i'll give you a moment to think it over, the pie list is right here on the table, i'll be right back!" Sadly i headed back in without dropping off the ticket because they were considering dessert.

next thing i knew the manager was by my side, telling me that my patio table had come inside and wanted to pay--NOW. This was barely a minute or two after i left them, allegedly thinking about dessert. I found Guy huffily standing by the door and he wordlessly thrust his credit card at me. I ran it and brought it back to him and he said, and i quote: "I know it's busy in here and all, but everytime we sit on the patio we NEVER get the attention we deserve. It's just not right." To which i replied "And i'm sorry you feel that way", which is my polite version of "what the fuck ever". Later that night the manager told me that when he came inside wanting to pay he told her what a horrible server i am and that i had my head stuck up my ass. I have yet to figure out what i did wrong (other than come to work early), and the kicker is that he still tipped 15%. Da fuck??

in more positive news: last night we were insanely busy, and as i walked past the cookline i heard one cook yell to another "I need 4 metric buttloads of..." I didn't hear what this was in reference to but i know gold when i hear it, and i scribbled it down on the notecard i keep in my server book with off menu prices on it. I will henceforth be using this term regularly, as in "Jesus Christ! That bitch at table 32 is using 4 metric buttloads of ranch on her salad!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

andrew jackson

the first time i ever smoked weed was, of course, while i was at work. Way back when i was 19 i worked 3rd shift at the illustrious Waffle House, located across the street from the biggest redneck bar in town. My co-workers were all major drug addicts who'd disappear en masse around 3:30 every night, leaving me to "watch the front". After i finally got mad enough to cuss a drunk customer out (the 3rd shift version of earning your wings) and threw their BLT out into the parking lot the other employees decided i was cool/not a narc and i was expected to join in. Which leads to this co-workers would open the standing cooler and blow the smoke up into the ventilation system, right over the flats of shell eggs. I've always wondered if marijuana smoke affects eggs in any way--Waffle House regulars are a remarkably loyal bunch. Anyhoo...

that first night i smoked weed at Waffle House i got beyond stoned. I don't know if all drugs hit you the hardest the first time you do them but damn. There's no way anyone could miss how high i was. Of course i had a table at the time, and was also running the register. My customers were two doddering old people, out way past the normal old people hour. While they were sitting there gumming their eggs and wheat toast me, the cook, and the other waitress were lighting up in the back. We all came stumbling out bleary eyed and giggly right before the old man at the table creakily stood up and started his slow shuffle to the register. I met him up there and his quavery arm reached out and handed me a 20...i looked at the bill in my hand...Andrew Jackson stared solemnly back at me...but oh god someone had colored his hair in with a flaming pink marker. And i totally lost it--like i laughed so hard i fell on the floor, tears streaming down my face. Memories...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

freddy's nightmares

one night when i was working at the 24 hour chain a drunk white guy wearing a Freddy Krueger looking striped sweater came stumbling in. When i took his order he told me he wanted no lettuce. He elaborated on how much he hated lettuce and if there was any on his plate he'd send his food back and demand it be remade. Seeing as he'd ordered pancakes, eggs, and hashbrowns i felt pretty confident when i told him "absolutely!" Sure 'nuff his breakfast came out lettuce free and all was right in the world. Freddy shoveled it down all sloppy drunk style, dropping bits everywhere, and then he weaved his way up to the register to pay. (Dark clouds begin to gather on the horizon). I was working with a new girl that night and she went to cash him out. He paid with a credit card and after she swiped it she entered the wrong amount. Seeing her mistake New Girl called me over but it wasn't something i could fix, i had to go find the manager (K). Well when we headed up to the register we were greeted by a wall of stench. Freddy had dropped a bomb in my absence. It was like one of those Looney Tunes Pepe Le Pew cartoons (you know what i mean), where you see the stink wafting behind the skunk and the sun pulls a cloud over itself and people are jumping out of picture frames and running away and shit. I swear i saw the fake plant in the lobby wilt and a crack form in the glass on the door. Drunk guy emissions are the WORST. New girl stood there stoically while K fixed the problem and i ran away. I could feel my chromosomes mutating so i decided i had urgent business on the opposite end of the store to attend to. After Freddy left K hunted me down to say "you bitch! How could you leave me up there with that?!" Interestingly the new girl never came back after that night...

so a few weeks go by and Freddy pays us another visit, drunk again and wearing the same striped sweater. First he tells me he wants a big glass of milk with his meal, and then he orders buffalo wings with no lettuce, 'cause he hates lettuce and will send the wings back if there's any lettuce on the plate. I dutifully typed in NO LETTUCE on the computer screen just so i could hear the cook carry on about it. K came out onto the server line right when i was about to take Freddy's food out, she took one look at the combination on my tray and exclaimed "oh my god! Don't tell me he's eating THAT!!" The cook had just come out of the kitchen to see who the "no lettuce" guy was and we told him about Freddy's cash out adventure. Then the two bastards stood there giggling and watched me have to try to keep a straight face as i delivered his food.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creepiest Table of the Night awards

honorary mention: that would be my last patio table of the evening. A young hyper guy with spiky blonde hair and an older foreign woman wandered in 15 minutes til close and told me that they were just there for drinks. I had to ask Young Guy for his ID and it seemed awkward not to ask for hers too. So i checked out his "high on life" picture and her Italian identification card. Young Guy joked around about how it was his big chance to get a girlie drink since nobody else was on the patio. After a prolonged "so what's good?" routine i went inside to get their drinks, a Bloody Mary for him and a delightful drink we offer called a Berri White for her. I dropped them off and noticed that his pants were unzipped. Once i went back in they proceeded to make out. 'Nuff said.

1st runner up: mom, dad, 2 young kids (son and daughter), grandma and grandpa. All was going well until it was daughter's turn to order. She asked for chicken and dumplings, with a baked potato and macaroni as her sides. Mom: "No, that's too many can't have the macaroni, pick something else." Kid: "French fries?" Mom: "No!! That's a starch!" Kid: "Corn?" Mom: "No more starches!!" Kid: "But i want macaroni..." Mom: "I said no! That's too many starches--how 'bout some spinach." Kid puts head down on table and starts to cry. Mom: "If you're gonna act like that you're not getting anything." Meanwhile the son was allowed to order a grilled cheese sandwich with macaroni, no issues. Helloooo future eating disorder!

the grand prize winner: this award can only go to you, table 32. Yes you, lady drinking Miller Lite out of a wine glass and your bleary eyed husband (?) who kept knocking everything on the table over...they kept staring around all crazy throughout the meal and at first it made me think i'd messed something up, but once i realized they weren't really seeing me i didn't concern myself anymore. Toward the end of their visit i noticed a big glob of what appeared to be tartar sauce on the guy's chest. But--but--he was eating pot roast, and she had grilled chicken--there WAS no tartar sauce on the table. There was nothing on the table that could be mistaken for tartar sauce, such as salad dressing, butter, gravy, etc. I started pointing him out to the other servers and we all stared at him from across the dining room. He had a black shirt on so the big chunky looking glob of ?? couldn't be missed. Someone optimistically suggested it might be soap. But he'd never left the table and it wasn't there when he sat down...i'm probably better off not knowing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

side of thighs and a Dr. Pecker

not too long ago we had an ongoing issue with someone calling the restaurant and hanging up. They wouldn't just hang up the second the phone was answered, they'd wait through the "thank you for calling _____, this is _____, how may i help you?" spiel and THEN hang up. After multiple nights of this the GM went and got a set of new phones with caller ID. And what did we find? Turned out one of the (now former) cooks was going in the walk-in cooler and calling the restaurant number every chance he got and hanging up. I guess that's a better way to work out pent up workplace aggression than shooting up the place or starting a fire.

when i worked 3rd shift at the 24 hour chain i had to field prank calls on a nightly basis. I'd have people calling up to order food they knew we didn't have (pizza, burritos, raisin toast), i'd get numerous Sling Blade imitation calls, i'd have guys calling to ask me what type of underwear i had on. I'd also get a number of variations on the "i just left your restaurant/ya'll gave me food poisoning/i can't get up off the toilet" theme, complete with sound effects. But my all time favorite has to be this one:

years ago when i was still willing to train new people (those days are long dead and gone) i'd always have a hard time getting them to answer the phone. Anytime it'd ring they'd try to look busy or they'd walk away real fast like they had pressing business to attend to. Well on the night i'm thinking about i got the new girl to answer the phone and from a distance i watched her start to put a to-go order into the computer. Things seemed to be going well at first so i started doing something else, and when i finally glanced back her way i saw her looking franticly for something on the computer screen. I hurried over and i whispered "what are you looking for?" Covering the mouthpiece of the phone New Girl cried "He wants to get a muffburger--i've looked everywhere and i can't find it! It's not under sandwiches--where's the muffburger at?"

"you know, i really can't help you with that" i said, and i walked away. Eventually dude on the phone said he wanted to get a side of thighs with his muffburger and a Dr. Pecker to drink, and New Girl finally figured out it was a prank call. So see kids, you really do learn something new everyday!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

i dream of popsicles

we all have work dreams, right? Normally they follow the standard crazy busy/everything's going wrong/angry customers theme. A former co-worker once told me she had a dream that she was working at her current restaurant as well as a Waffle House up the road--at the same time. She kept having to run up and down the street to wait on her section in both restaurants. Personally, having dreams like that makes me feel more tired than i was before i went to bed.

friday afternoon i had this dream: it was winter and yet i had two tables inside and three out on the patio. Understandably i was pissed. There was a small snow drift alongside the railing surrounding the patio and it was windy. "So basically i just have a two table section!" i bitched to someone. Well lo and behold four people entered the restaurant and made a bee line for the patio, seating themselves at a table out there. They were all bundled up in coats and i could see them through the window doing the classic "craning their necks looking for a server" self seater routine. I took them menus. The two men at the table ordered normal shit on the menu, a country fried steak and a grilled chicken dinner. The women however went a different route.

"what type of popsicles do you have available?" I admit that i'm not sure but i'll go find out. I went back inside and headed to the kitchen. We have a big pie case by the salad station (we regularly have twelve plus pies available on any given day) but in the dream there was a large standing freezer in it's place. I opened it and it was full of popsicle boxes. Just like it would be in real life it was in total disarray, some of the boxes were totally empty, others were mis-labeled, a few boxes just had a lone empty wrapper in it, and i had to root around in there to see what we actually had. I scribbled all the varieties on a cocktail napkin and went back outside to recite them. One woman ordered a blue popsicle called Aquarium and the other ordered a red one called Red Ignition.

so then i'm running the food. I'm walking through the dining room with two plates on one arm and two unwrapped popsicles in the opposite hand. I drop the Aquarium popsicle. I cuss while picking it up off the floor and i take it back to the kitchen. I rinse it off in the sink, kinda shake the water droplets off it, and notice that now it looks shorter than the red one. "Maybe they won't notice" i tell myself, and i run the food.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

sorry kid, i ain't takin' THAT ID!

late Saturday night two surly looking girls wandered in and sat themselves in the back of the restaurant. They looked to be college aged and had a smug entitled look to them. Once i decided to finally acknowledge their presence i grabbed two menus and headed back to where they'd seated themselves. One of them was avidly inspecting the drink menu and the other was just sitting there with a general look of disdain. I asked what i could get them to drink and the girl looking at the drink menu ordered a foofsy Peach Tea Vodka Lemonade thing we have on there.

"can i see some ID?"

cue a beleagured sigh and eye roll. The girl dug an ID out of the depths of her pocket and handed it off to me. Now let me tell you about this ID...the back was in perfect pristine shape but the front--seriously it looked like it had been placed face down in acid. There was a vague ghost outline of a person on it and i could almost make out some letters. Hell, i couldn't even tell if it was from my state. There's no way an ID can get that f-ed up on one side only unless it's intentional, ya know? So i lied and said "i'm sorry but i'll have to show this to the manager--we have a policy about damaged cards like this." (That card was too good not to share with someone). I received an even louder sigh and more dramatic eye roll for my announcement. Normally i'd make some sort of jokey "Whoa! What happened to your card?!" type of comment to see how they'd react but i really didn't see the point with the wall of attitude i was getting. I took the ID over to where the manager was sitting and i said "hey ____, would YOU take this ID?" "What the hell is this?!" he said, holding it out at arms length with a furrowed brow.

(needless to say these girls got mad and left when they got the official Hell No, taking my potential 50 cent tip with them. Geez.)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the mystery salad...SOLVED!!

in April i posted about a woman who sent her food back to the kitchen and received a free salad from the manager while she waited for the re-cook. I saw her push the salad away like it was poison and when the manager asked her if it was okay she responded "No, i didn't want any lettuce". And me and everyone i ran it by was like "what the f--". Well kids, the mystery has been solved!

Tonight's main event!
customer: "Can i get a salad, no lettuce."
me: "Umm, okay. So you don't want any iceberg or romaine lettuce, just the purple cabbage and shredded carrots?"
customer: "That's right, with bleu cheese. And let me get cheese added to the salad."

and there you have it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

good luck...

to anyone working the nightmare that is mother's day. I hope you too get to see a grandma throw a tantrum, cry, and refuse to eat because her family said she wasn't going to get to pay the bill. R.I.P. ya'll!

Monday, April 26, 2010

toast rage

"did a tractor pull or monster truck show just let out? Shit!" That was the question we were all asking ourselves Sunday night since that seemed to be our customer base for the evening. With it came lots of complaining, massive consumption of soda, and rampaging little kids. Every night the manager dims the lights a bit during dinner for ambiance, well Sunday night he dimmed them and a large woman in my section yelled out "we didn't come here for romance, we came here to EAT!" She yelled it loud enough to be heard by the manager on the opposite side of the dining room, he got the "deer caught in headlights" look and turned the lights back up. That was actually pretty awesome.

not so awesome was the pretentious wankers i had at table 21 in the front of the restaurant. We were on a wait but they demanded that table, ignoring the people ahead of them and seating themselves at the still dirty table. The manager cleaned it off and got their drink order. He dropped it off for me and said the standard "your server will be right with you" and started to walk away. The man at the table loudly said "you're not our server?!" I had just walked up and i told them that i was their server, and i was about to launch into my "specials" spiel when his wife interrupted me to ask "so what's the quote of the day?" There's a chalkboard hanging behind the bar that lists the drink of the day and also a lame ass quote of the day, from the sound of it i think it's copied off a fortune cookie or the back of a cereal box. Usually everyone ignores it--but not today! I had to trudge up to the bar to see it and then fight my way back through the packed dining room to tell her "the only normal people are the people you don't know yet". She savored this bit of wisdom, thoughtfully repeating it after me and asking her two daughters what they thought about it (cue pre-teen eye rolls). The philosophy discussion over she ordered a mimosa and a breakfast with wheat toast.

at this restaurant we turn in a hand written ticket to the kitchen and any modifications are highlighted with a yellow marker. I dutifully highlighted WHEAT TOAST in blazing yellow and went about my business. Of course the cooks put white toast on the plate anyway, and whoever ran the food didn't bother to look at the ticket, so when i went to check on the table i was confronted by an irate Mimosa Lady. She started yelling "why can't you people ever get my order right?! I always order wheat toast and every time--you people give me white toast!" She pushed the offending toast toward me from across the table with the end of her fork. "This is ridiculous!" I told her i'd have an order of wheat toast for her in just a moment and i quickly walked away to escape her tantrum. I told the manager about the angry Mimosa Lady and after muttering obscenities he said he'd bring the toast out to her. By the time he brought it out she had decided she no longer wanted any toast at all because her meal was ruined.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


back when i worked 3rd shift at the 24 hour chain restaurant i dealt with wasted drunk people on a nightly basis. Have you ever seen a wasted drunk person eat? It's like watching a pack of hyenas ravage a carcass on Animal Planet. Really.

one night a lone wasted mexican guy came stumbling in and sat himself at the head of a table big enough to seat 10. The other server was on break (therefore out in the parking lot "smoking a cigarette") and the manager made it clear she was having nothing to do with him so it was on me. I picked a menu up and headed over. I could smell him before i got there and he was sitting there looking confused. I placed the menu in front of him and asked what he'd like to drink. "Hores!" he replied. (I have no idea if he was saying WHORES or HORSE, he was drunk and english wasn't his first language, so i'm going with HORES). I went back to the server line and decided to give him a coke. I came back with it and he was rifling through his wallet so i saw that he did at least have money on him. "Do you know what you want to eat?" Blank look. "The menu--food." He pointed at a picture of buffalo wings on the front of the menu and asked "hores?" So buffalo wings it was!

as soon as i placed the hores in front of him Drunk Mexican Guy attacked them. Like totally decimated them starving animal style. I was busy with other tables but i kept an eye on him from a distance. Drunk Mexican Guy began to fade. His head started to droop and a buffalo wing fell from his hand onto the floor. I swung by and moved the coke out of spilling range. Soon he was face down in the buffalo wings, but since he was snoring loudly i knew he was getting oxygen so i didn't concern myself with it. Something you learn fast is to never try to wake a passed out drunk person--i've seen too many freak out and start flailing. The other customers were enjoying him so it was all good.

eventually he shifted out of the plate of wings and started leaning precariously to the side. We all knew what was coming next--everyone waited in anticipation--finally both man and chair fell sideways. This didn't wake him up though, he just snored even louder laying on the floor surrounded by half gnawed on chicken bones. After i'd been walking around the passed out man on the floor for a good hour the manager decided to take action and called the police. Soon a cop car pulled up out front and one of my regular cop customers (J) came in. I pointed over at Drunk Mexican Guy on the floor and J sighed loudly with a long drawn out "maaann!" He walked over and yelled "Hey! You gotta get up now!" No response. So J grabbed and cuffed him and Drunk Mexican Guy started flailing, yelling "Hores! Hores!" After a brief struggle and more buffalo wings being knocked everywhere J hustled him out the door. The next night some of the cops came in to eat and they told me that even in the drunk tank all Drunk Mexican Guy would say was "hores".

Friday, April 23, 2010


i have some sort of genetic defect that causes me to be at least 15 minutes early every shift, no matter how much i don't feel like being there. I've even tried hanging out in my car and listening to the radio but i get all antsy and have to go on in. So there i am, touching up my section and assigning everyone's sidework. Frequently i'll pick up a table or two before the rest of the servers show up and this was the case last Thursday. It was a breezy sunny day so the patio was popular, and one of my first tables was a 3 top at the second patio table. It was Ma and Pa and their chunky teenage son. They were your average unremarkable table who i knew would leave me an average unremarkable tip so i was giving them regular service (none of that above and beyond crap here!). The only things of note about them were A.) they were sucking ice tea down at an unholy rate and B.) Junior's acne covered ass was hanging out of his pants for all the world to see. I pointed it out to some of the other servers and we decided to try not to seat the one table with the direct view of it.

well Ma and Pa turned out to be campers. They hoovered their food down the same way they did their drinks but they wouldn't leave, telling my they might get dessert later. Eventually the table with the view got sat, it was a young couple best described as "trailer park-esque". Their server was trying to get a drink order out of them when my table finally decided to pay, and i collected a beat up looking credit card from Ma. I went inside to run the card and Pa followed me in, heading for the restroom. A moment later the male half of the young couple came in and also headed for the mens' room. A few minutes later i dropped the credit card slip off and was about to head back inside when Pa and Young Guy both came through the patio door, Pa yelling "you need to have some respect!" Like a dummy i went on into the dining room--i'm not currently working at the type of place that has fights break out so i don't watch for the warning signs like i used to. The next thing i knew screams broke out on the patio while Pa and Young Guy threw chairs and ice tea pitchers at each other. Inside the restaurant it was like when a fight breaks out on the field of a baseball game and the entire team pours out of the dugout--all the employees and customers went racing to the windows looking out on the patio to stare at the guys throwing shit and yelling. The bartender started to call the police and someone yelled "she's calling the cops!" Young Guy heard that and jumped the railing surrounding the patio and took off running, leaving his girlfriend behind. Somehow he also left his shoes behind in the process, so he went running barefoot and ice tea drenched across the parking lot and out of sight.

to me, the jaded restaurant employee, the best part of all this was that nobody got anything for free. Ma and Pa had already paid up and left me $3 on a $37 ticket (woot!), girlfriend was required to pay for her and Young Guy's drink before she could leave, and the woman with the little kid on the patio didn't get her meal comped no matter how much she complained about her little angel being traumatized ('cause you KNOW two men throwing chairs was the highlight of that kid's day).

Monday, April 19, 2010

5 + 3 = duh

i know math can be challenging. Really, i sucked at math back in my school days. My senior year of high school i had to write a two page paper about measuring the breadth of a river using nothing but a 6 foot piece of rope and the shadow of a tree and it was destined for failure from it's onset. But filling out a credit card slip shouldn't be the most challenging part of a person's day...

saturday i had one table determined to sit out on the patio despite it being a blustery 60 degree evening. It was an old couple, a teenager with Down's syndrome, and a little kid. Once they decided they couldn't take the cold anymore the old lady fished a credit card out of the depths of her purse to hand off to me. Later when i had time to bus the table i glanced at the tip written in (9.07) before sticking it in my server book. But i didn't notice the math...not til later when i went to enter the tip into the credit card machine. I couldn't decide who at the table had filled it out. The bill total was $54.93. The tip written in, clear as day: $9.07. They even wrote out the "carry the one" addition activity over top the numbers (i can just imagine the sweat beading on Whoever Did The Math's brow right now). The total shoulda been $64.00. Their total?

+ 9.07
oh well, at least they didn't write their phone number in the tip area like some male customers do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

real men drink frozen strawberry margaritas

last night Larry the Cable Guy's identical twin came in with two friends. They walked right past the hostess and sat themselves out on the patio and proceeded to act like jerks. First they were angry that their drinks didn't come out instantaneously, grabbing another server and telling her to go check on them. I went back to their table and pointed out that while the two friends had ordered beer Larry had ordered a frozen strawberry margarita, and there was only one blender in the entire store and there were several milkshake orders ahead of them. Then they were pissy 'cause their little half appetizer didn't appear the second they ordered it. Again i helpfully pointed out that you know, we had to cook it. They lorded over the patio for about two hours--while the friends chugged their beers Larry daintily sipped on his frozen margarita. Of course he wanted his one and only "re-fill" the second the bartender went out back for a smoke break.

Monday, April 12, 2010

uh, we close at 11...

i close 5 nights a week and i know the occasional last minute customers are to be expected. It doesn't happen that often so i deal with it. Sunday night it was about 10 minutes to close and i was in the back cleaning--i hadn't had a table for the last 30 minutes and everything was about done. That's when the bartender came bounding back to tell me she'd just sat me a table (thanx!) and they had no idea what they wanted to drink. After a long dramatic "fuuuuuck!" i stalked out onto the floor to get a look at them--it was a burnt out hippy looking couple. Duuude had a beard and long blonde dreadlocks and the woman--well she was his female equivalent, just way older. They were on some seriously good pills...Old Girl did most of the talking and i could barely understand her disjointed whispery speech as she struggled to keep her eyes open. She told me that Duuude worked at a liquor store so he's very particular about what he drinks, and she used to be a server and she hoped i didn't mind them coming in so late. It's not like i'm allowed to say "yes, i do mind" but you'd think the cook, manager, and bartender glaring at them from the end of the bar would have been a hint.

11 pm--finally, a beer order! They had no idea what they wanted to eat but they did know they were interested in pie later.

11:05--i let them know the bar was doing last call...if they thought they'd want more drinks later they needed to let me know. I had to go ahead and ring it up now because, like, we're closed. After looking at me blankly they agreed upon another round of beer. Then Duuude decided he wanted a Stoli white russian--but he didn't want it til the end of his meal. I pointed out the bartender was leaving soon (cause we're closed) and he said he'd take it right before she left. They still had no clue what they wanted to eat and Old Girl said she'd wave me over when they were ready.

11:15--sunday night i was working with Half Assed Manager, who always wants out of work at 11:45 at the latest. He'll huff around and act exasperated until everyone's finished, yelling "rapido" at the dishwasher and sighing at me. One time he pulled his truck around to the front of the restaurant and stood out there smoking cigarettes and glaring in til i was done cleaning. So the burnt out hippy couple's existance was pushing him over the edge, he kept muttering "this is fucking ridiculous" and staring daggers at them. Finally he stormed over to their table and informed them that they needed to order NOW because the kitchen was closing.

11:20--i'm back at their table, trying to extract an order from them. Surprisingly it's nothing bizarre. I sprint over to the edge of the bar where the cook's still standing and pass the un-rung up ticket to him like it's a relay, yelling "Run! Run!" I slapped her side salad together and checked out what pies we had left. That's when the cook let me know we had no bacon left for Old Girl's order. Fuck.

11:25--i bring out the salad and drop the No Bacon bomb on the table. Even though the bacon is not a major part of her entree Old Girl is not happy with this news. She completely changes her order and asks for more salad dressing. Meanwhile Duuude's confused--even though he ordered a vegetarian meal he thought the No Bacon bombshell was about his meal. Old Girl pats his arm and tells him it will be okay.

11:35--the meals hit the table! Old Girl wants still more salad dressing, Duuude's ready for his second beer.

things really start going downhill from here. They're barely touching their food, too busy playing with each other and staring off into space. Half Assed Manager is pacing around, still muttering "this is fucking ridiculous!" Our store has a written in stone rule that you cannot hurry the customers in anyway. I cannot do any closing duties that make it look like we're closing, like putting chairs up, turning lights off, telling people to get out, etc. Half Assed Manager starts slow--first he turns the music off. Then he turns the neon beer signs off. He glares some more. At this point the bartender's about to leave so i go tell Duuude it's now or never on the white russian. He decides to cancel it so now i'll have to comp it off his ticket. Old Girl hasn't touched her beer and has just picked at her food.

11:50--Half Assed Manager decides to create a new company policy for the occasion so he marches over to the table and tells them that "for security reasons" customers can't be in the building past midnight. This of course is a flat out lie since i've had customers hang around past midnight before but it's not like i can over ride his decision. He brings them to go boxes and tells me to get them 2 pieces of pie to take with them. Then he disappeared in the back, leaving me to deal with the pissed off hippies. Duuude is just silently disappointed but Old Girl rambles on and on about the injustice done to them. She was mad at me for not letting them know about "the midnight rule", which i couldn't do since the manager had just invented it. She was totally convinced that if her and Duuude had just sat at the bar they'd be allowed to stay as long as they wanted, never mind the fact that the bartender was gone and all the lights were off behind the bar. "If you people had just let us sit at the bar like we wanted, we wouldn't be rushed out of here like this!" I thought about pointing out that the bartender was the one who sat them in my section, they obviously knew we were closing because of the "i hope you don't mind" comments she'd made, and that it doesn't matter whether you're sitting at the bar, on the can, or at one of my tables, when we're closed we're closed. But why bother. Old Girl demanded to know the manager's name, told me i needed additional server training, and that i'd better have the manager tip me because she wasn't 'cause this was all my fault.

12:00--Half Assed Manager comes out of hiding to see if they're gone, of course they're not. Duuude's dithering around with the to go boxes while Old Girl fumes. Then they start inspecting the hell out of the ticket i had dropped off with the pies, i can see "does not compute" all over Duuude's face so i go back over. He tells me that he's confused. I walked him through the ticket, pointing out how i'd removed the two drinks he's pre-ordered. Then Old Girl starts saying that they should get the pies for free because the manager had been glaring at them their entire meal (which was true) and he made them feel unwelcome.

12:10--Duuude's sitting on the floor beside Old Girl's chair while she digs through her purse and drops shit everywhere.

12:20--Duude goes outside with their to go boxes, Old Girl disappears into the restroom. Half Assed Manager gallops to their table and swoops up their cash payment. The change was $2.25. As long as Old Girl was taking in the restroom i was starting to worry she was taking a dump on the floor as retribution (i've seen that happen before). Duuude pulled his car up outside and waited...and waited. Finally she comes striding out, and yells "i was a restaurant manager at 23, good luck to you !!" as she slams out the door. I immediately check out the sign of foul play.

after Half Assed Manager wrote up his incident report and had me check over it we got out of there just before 1 am. While i in no way condone the manager kicking them out i can't help but wonder just how long they would have stayed. They were making no effort what-so-ever to have their meal in a timely fashion and obviously thought nothing of keeping a business open way after close just for them.

Friday, April 9, 2010

makin' gravy!

this afternoon i went to a bookstore and saw a book i just had to leaf through--it was one of those "chain restaurant recipes...revealed!" types, with do it yourself versions of Applebee's orange chicken, Red Lobster cheese biscuits, etc. But what really caught my eye was that they had a recipe for country gravy from the 24 hour chain i used to work for. It was a nice homespun recipe, picture yourself in the kitchen whisking together your heated milk and flour...i call mega BS!! That shit comes outta a bag! You go in the stockroom, wrestle the giant box of gravy packets off the top shelf, blow the dust off it, rip it open and dump it in hot water. Hell, if you want gravy that bad, my suggestion is that you stop by that restaurant after 2 am (the manager will be gone at that hour no matter how busy it is), slip the server a few dollars and they'll give you a few packets. If i was still working there and someone made me that offer i'd trot right back there while the cook was disappeared on his drug break and give you some. So much easier than buying a book and ingredients!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

pie assault in the 1st degree

over the years i've seen a lot go down. Fights, drunks, and general mayhem have characterized many of my nights at work. But every once in a while something new comes along...

one evening an older woman pulled her SUV up along side the restaurant, completely ignoring the ample parking lot, and came in and placed a to go order at the bar. While she waited on it she had a Heinekin and talked at the bartender. She was one of those dreaded customers known as "Talkers", a group generally made up of older customers that won't stop talking to you no matter how busy you are and how much the other customers are evil eyeing you 'cause they all need stuff. Personally i just start slowing backing away, nodding my head and "uh huh"ing until i'm far enough from the table to bolt. In this case the bartender escaped via ringing phone. Deprived of her audience, To Go Order Lady turned on her bar stool and started talking at a table of three men behind her. Time goes by...the to go order is brought out to her, her credit card run and the slip placed in front of her with a pen so she could sign. The three men finished their entrees and moved on to pie. To Go Order Lady kept talking at the men, who had politely been trying to blow her off the entire time. Finally one of them asked her to leave them alone, two of them were from out of town and they hadn't seen each other in awhile and were trying to catch up.

To Go Order Lady snaps! She grabbed the pen off the bar, jumped up from her seat and started stabbing the man's peanut butter pie repeatedly, all Norman Bates style. The GM came racing from across the room to escort her out while she cussed at everyone who had "done her wrong". She took off in her SUV squealing her tires, all the customers in the front of the restaurant craning their necks to watch. Later she called the store to complain about her treatment, saying she felt "threatened".

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the mystery salad

customer: "My catfish tastes burnt and the hushpuppies are soggy in the middle."

me: "Oh, i'm so sorry about that! Let me take that back and have it remade for you! Would you like to keep your sides while you're waiting?"

customer: "No, i want everything made fresh."

the manager came out to tell her the new catfish would be ready soon and asked if she'd like a complimentary soup or salad while waiting. The customer said she'd like a salad with thousand island dressing, which the manager promptly dropped off. From the server line i watched her push the salad off to the side and ignore it. The manager came out with the fish and noticed the untouched salad.
manager: "Was everything all right with your salad?"
customer: "No, i didn't want any lettuce."

Monday, April 5, 2010

happy easter

we were overstaffed for Easter so of course it was a slow day. An old couple brought in a box of Peeps marshmallow chicks and gave it to their server as part of her tip. Shortly after i noticed a crowd of servers and a manager gathered in front of the microwave, giggling and carrying on. Turns out they were trying to set the Peeps on fire, an experiment that ended in much disappointment and heartache and one server saying "man, our microwaves suck, they can't even melt Peeps!"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

two dollars

toward the end of Saturday night i had a couple that looked kind of familiar but i couldn't place them, which generally means they didn't order anything unusual or tip badly the last time i waited on them. How wrong i was...midway through the meal the female half of the couple spoke up, asking me "didn't you use to work at (insert redneck bar name here)?" And then i remembered--they were the last customers i dealt with on the night i quit. Now i worked at Redneck Bar last spring-summer, and due to bustiness i was frequently assigned to being the shot girl. For anyone not in the know that means i had to traipse around the bar, fighting my way through drunken crowds while schlepping a heavy tray of shots. The shots come in test tubes and are 2-3 dollars a piece, of which i got 25 cents for each one sold plus tips. As a regular cocktail waitress i had an official Redneck Bar tshirt to wear that had "tequila--helping women lower their standards" emblazoned on the back but as shot girl i was encouraged to wear something tight/low cut and to leave my hair down. The other waitress that shot girled would give titty shots to guys she liked the looks of (push boobs together, stick test tube between them, enjoy!) but i refused to, despite being asked to all night long (i do have a few priciples, ya know). So on what turned out to be my last night i was out on the smokers' patio with my tray of shots when this huge drunk girl grabbed me, telling me it's her birthday and demanding a titty shot. She about ripped my shirt off in the process. I didn't feel like fighting about it so her boyfriend and all the other people on the patio watched me give a fat drunk girl a titty shot. And for what you ask? A two dollar tip, that's what! That's when i knew it was time for me to leave Redneck Bar...i guess the server moral of the story is that i can put up with having my body parts grabbed nightly, cleaning toxic waste customer restrooms, drunken bartenders ripping me off, and a live country band playing the same crap every night, but two that's the limit of human endurance!!
so back to last night--to sum up, as a regular waitress i was tipped five dollars and some change, but as a purveyor of boobies i got two dollars. This is a crazy world we live in...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

so sad

here i am kinda looking forward to work because: A). i went to Office Depot to buy some more boxes of pens for customers to steal and i found they now offer boxes of 12 purple Bic pens and not only are they purple they're also a dollar cheaper than the blue Bics i normally buy. AND B). i went to Goodwill to scavenge some new ties for work and i found a weird Santa Claus tie to wear tonight. You can tell it's Santa but his hat and mouth are green. We'll see if anyone even notices that i'm wearing an Xmas tie in April. (My bet's on NO. I could have a pair of horns growing out of my head and no one would notice as long as i remember their extra ranch and beer refill).

Friday, April 2, 2010

thar's beans in muh soup!

a couple Tuesdays ago the soup of the day was Sausage Lentil. Big surprise here, it contains sausages...and lentils. A stuffy old woman couldn't wrap her mind around my description of the soup (which was a heap of a lot better than what i just typed) so i brought her out a little sample bowl of it. She gingerly swam her spoon through it and looked up at me all aghast, exclaiming "there's BEANS in it!" Needless to say she got a side salad instead, with a zillion modifiers.

that reminds me of a night when a young woman ordered a piece of butterscotch pie. I dropped it off and shortly after i noticed she had the "i need something" look on her face. I stopped by, saying "everything all right here?" Using her fork to point down at the pie she asked me "what is this?" Grim silence as i tried to figure out what she wanted to know. "'s your pie??" I mean really, what was i supposed to say? Turns out she wanted to know what the meringue was. I played off the awkward moment with "whoa, i thought i'd brought out the wrong pie! You had me scared there!" Le sigh.

while you wait...

some restaurants serve yeast rolls. Others serve bread sticks. There's plenty that offer you jack while you wait. My store has baskets o saltine crackers. Used to be we'd take it out automatically with a ramekin of butter. But that has now been sacrificed to the great god of Cutting Costs, and we're now required to ask "wouldja like me to bring you some crackers while you wait?" in the standard fake cheery voice. Butter is to be brought out only upon request. We cannot put the idea in the customer's head, they have to ask unprompted. Of course the customers (many are regulars who've been coming in for years) have not been apprised of this change so they think i'm just the big lazy slob who forgets their butter. Cue "MISS--could we get some butter here" and "excuse me, WE need some butter!" Awesome, extra trips back and forth for me! Maybe the owner will use the few cents he's saving to bust out the fancy ink to print out my next $0.00 paycheck.