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.