Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Monday, August 25, 2003

Chief Negotiator

Me: And do we have any questions about the menu?
Guy (looking like he smells something bad): No.
Me (thinking: uh-oh): Great! What would we like to order?
Guy (sighing heavily): Do you have a meal with chicken fingers and hot wings?
Me (antsy, because I have another table to greet): No, sir. But we do have the adult chicken tenders platter, which comes with a side item and a salad.
Guy (looking back and forth across the menu, as though hoping something will just LEAP out at him): But you don't have anything with both of them on it?
Me (What did I just say? I turn and nod to the table behind me, so that they know I see them): No, sir. But the chicken fingers appetizer comes with fries, and although the hot wings appetizer comes with chips, we can substitute fries for a small up-charge.
Guy (sighing heavily): I don't know what to do. See, I want chicken fingers, but I also want hot wings.
Me (having a sudden inspiration): Well, you could get the chicken fingers platter, and we can coat them in the hot wing sauce. Then it would be like boneless buffalo wings.

Guy looks at me like I'm crazy. There's a moment of silence.

Me (oooo-kay, then. I close my order book): Well, just an idea. Why don't I give you another minute or so to look over the menu?
Guy (raising his hand): No, no, no, no, no! We're ready to order.
Me (opening my book again): Great! What have we decided?
Guy (sighing heavily): Well, I really want the chicken fingers, but I also want hot wings.

Oh. My. God.

Me: So, what's the solution, do you think?

How about pick one and live with it?

Guy: Well, if I get the chicken fingers platter, can I get potato skins instead of fries?
Me (You want an entire appetizer substituted for a side item?): No, sir. But we can do a side of cheese fries with bacon and sour cream or ranch dressing for a small up-charge. It's almost the same.
Guy (shaking his head): No. It's totally different

No, actually, it's not.

Guy: How about an order of chicken fingers, and an order of hot wings. But I want fries.
Me: Well, the chicken fingers appetizer already comes with fries. Did you want more fries?
Guy: Well, if you can just sneak them into the basket with the hot wings...

I just walk away. Later, as I bring out the two appetizers he ordered, and the steak his date ordered...

Guy (look up, incredulous, and says loudly): It only comes with three chicken fingers?!
Me (realizing that other guests are looking at us): Yes, sir. It's the appetizer basket. But it also comes with a side of fries.

He sighs heavily. Dear god. Will you grow the fuck up and stop with the dramatics?

Guy: But, only three?
Me: Yes, sir. Do you guys need anything else to go with your entrees? Worcester sauce, Heinz 57...?

Guy is picking up his chicken fingers, looking at each one, and tossing them back into the basket, like a four-year-old.

His date: How much would it be for just two chicken fingers?
Me: Let me go see what I can do.
Guy (sipping a Roadhouse Tea): Do I get to keep this glass?
Me (Giving him a look that I hope says, "Is there anything else you don't want to pay for?"): No.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Fools' Paradise

I minored in psychology. Those classes are a fool's paradise. There is no village idiot because the whole village is inhabited by idiots, with a few others of us wandering around simply confused as to why was it that we chose this minor. I thought it was supposed to teach me to better read people. You know what taught me that? Waiting tables. I swear, that's the best PR and psychology education anywhere, and I get paid for it. Fucking brilliant! Anyway, I'll be posting a few excerpts from my forthcoming book: "When I Was Young and Stupid: A Psychology Undergrad Exposes the Bitter Truth About Psychologists - They're Really Just Guessing."

Friday, August 15, 2003

Five Minutes to Closing, and My Last Customer is A. S. Shole

We get this certain kind of person every once in a while, the kind who can kill a restaurant if the management lets them. They lie and steal to get a free meal, pulling hair out of their own heads to put in their food, complaining about even perfect service, and making a scene if they don't get their way. They are selfish and make others' lives harder for no reason other than it makes them feel more in control, or that they're getting something they're owed anyway.

This is their story.

Me (distributing entrees to table. Two steaks, one rack of ribs, and one Southwest Chicken): Now, do we need anything to top off the meal? Heinz 57, extra barbecue sauce, or perhaps honey mustard for your fries? I know I use a vat of it on my fries.
Stupid Bitch (looking with theatrical distaste at the chicken): What's this?! I didn't order this!
Me (laughing): Yes, ma'am, that's the Southwest Chicken you ordered. Chicken, topped with barbecue sauce, cheese, onions, bacon, and mushrooms, with a side of fries.
Stupid Bitch (shaking her head): No, that's not what I ordered.

The members of her table are eerily silent, staring at their plates. I sense that high noon was approaching, meaning, she was about to pull some crap she'd pulled somewhere before. I realized I'd probably be discounting their ticket, regardless of what happened from this point on. As a matter of principle that, frankly, I can't afford, I decide that's not going to happen this time.

Me (pulling out my notebook to check): Gosh, that's what I'd written down. What did you intend to order?
Stupid Bitch (narrowing her eyes at me): I didn't INTEND to order anything. I ORDERED the 16 oz ribeye.

I smile, but return her stare. No fucking way she ordered the 16 oz ribeye, and I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the steak is $10 more than the chicken.

Me: Really? Then I wish you'd corrected me when I called your order back and said southwest chicken.
Stupid Bitch (getting really angry and shoving the plate across the table at me): Just get me my steak.
Me (smiling and taking the plate): How would you like that cooked?
Stupid Bitch (smiling back, thinking she'd won): Well done.

I laugh. She's either going to eat that fucking chicken, or she's going to go hungry. Hell with her.

Me: That's going to take at least 20 minutes.
Stupid Bitch (mouth open): TWENTY minutes?!
Me (looking up in feigned surprise): Oh, yes. That large a steak, that well cooked, it's AT LEAST 20 minutes.
Stupid Bitch (looking around at her table mates. They're intent on their meals): I've NEVER heard of a steak taking TWENTY minutes to cook.
Me: How unusual. What side item would you like?
Stupid Bitch (realizing I don't give a crap): No, I don't want to wait 20 minutes.
Me (How long can I stall putting her order in without getting in trouble?): Like I said, it might be more. There are other orders ahead of you at this point. (A blatant lie. Recooks get first priority)
Stupid Bitch (huffing): Well, I ORDERED the steak. YOU wrote it down wrong.
Me (shrugging): My bad. What side item did you want?
Stupid Bitch: Did you hear me say that I didn't want to wait 20 minutes?
Me: Yes, but it's an unfortunate fact that I can't make the steak cook any faster. Unless you'd like us to microwave it for you.
Stupid Bitch (loudly): MICROWAVE?!

I see that her next tactic was going to be a temper tantrum, I decide to end this charade. Fuck my tip, and fuck her. I'm not as nice or philosophical a person as Waiter Rant. He's probably much smarter, and from what I read, works at a much better establishment. Yet, I digress.

Me: Those. Are. Your. Options. Now, I'll tell the kitchen to cook anything you want, any way you want it. But next time, if you'd just say the right item the first time, we won't have to play this game. Either way, I'll have to adjust your check to reflect the item you eat. If you'd like to speak to a manager, I'll be happy to have Dave come to the table. But I still need to know what it is you'd actually like to eat tonight.
Stupid Bitch: Well, I DON'T want to wait. I guess I'll just try the chicken. But I ORDERED the steak.
Me: Whatever you want. Will there be anything else?

Silence.

Me (turning to walk away): Enjoy your meals. I'll check back by in a couple of minutes.
Stupid Bitch (huffing): Uh! Now my food is cold!
Me (turning back with a smirk, seeing steam rise from the point she cut into her chicken): Like I said, we'll be happy to microwave it for you.

Stupid Bitch stabs at her plate angrily... but silently.

Me (returning): And how do we find everything?
Table, except for Stupid Bitch, says variations of "Fine."
Me (seeing that Stupid Bitch has eaten half of her chicken): And how do you like the Southwest Chicken?
Stupid Bitch (refusing to look up): It's not a steak.

I wait. There is silence.

Stupid Bitch (looks up, thinking I'm gone): It's FIIiiinnne-uh!
Me (smirking and walking away): Great! Be sure to save room for dessert, guys!

Cheap-ass fuckers should go to the Wal-Mart meat department. Incidentally, although everyone but that one lady tipped me 20%, one of the guys discretely pressed a $5 bill into my hand as they were leaving. It was nice of him, and I appreciated it, but I'd rather they kept their friend on a short leash.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

This lady is the reason postal employees shoot up their offices.

I know most of my posts are bitchy, and I'm really not a bitchy person. I just work in an economically depressed area in which everyone segregates themselves by income level. Although I make decent money for the area, I work in a casual steakhouse that serves giant mugs of Long Island Ice Teas into which they also mix freaking grain alcohol and a flavored liquor. People come here to get wasted. It is frequently a very unpleasant mix of people who act with very little class in the first place, and who see me as lower class than them because of my employment. Oh, gods of the degree confirmation, I await your reply.

Lady: I'd like the hot wings. Now, are those hot?
Me (looking up from notepad to see if she's serious. She is): They're about medium, I'd say.
Lady: How hot is that?
Me (midway between hot and not-hot?): I suppose hot enough to taste, but not hot enough to burn.
Lady (looking pleased): Okay, but I want them double fried.
Me: Sure, I -
Lady (interrupting): Now, I don't want them fried twice as long. I want you to fry them, take them out of the grease, sauce 'em up, fry them again, and sauce 'em again.

I have no intention of telling the kitchen this. It will ruin the oil and render that fryer useless for the rest of the evening.

Me: Sounds great. No problem.

Later that meal...

Me: And how do we find our meals?
Lady: These wings is greasy.

Must... control... fist of death... She wanted her wings fried a really long time. Did she think they would come out all low-fat?

Me: Oh?
Lady (holding one up and actually squeezing it): See? It's just dripping!
Me (seeing as how I don't really give a crap): Would you like for me to have the kitchen make you another batch?
Lady: I don't know. These is making me sick.

ARE! ARE! As in: Your lack of education ARE making me sick!

Me: Shall I get you something else? Here, feel free to choose something else off the menu.
Lady (hardly even glancing at the menu): Just give me some fried cheese sticks.
Me (looking up from notepad to see if she's serious. She is): So, because they're too greasy, you'd like to replace fried hot wings with fried cheese sticks?
Lady (oblivious): Yes, thems sound good.
Me: My pleasure. That will be just a few minutes.

Ya'll, seriously, it isn't even the stupidity of this woman that irritates me. It's that good grammar costs nothing.