Someone posted something the other day (shout out to Rebecca) that made me remember an event that happened years ago. She was mentioning that age old custom of giving your tables a survey or comment card to fill out to ensure that they had wonderful service and enjoyed their crappy pre-cooked food. Most of the time, people will only bother filling out a form when they want to complain about something. No one ever takes the time to really compliment you on these things except on very rare occasions. The little forms suck, but there is a way you can make them work for you rather than against you. It just takes some effort. And stamps.
When I was working at the now defunct Houlihan’s in lovely Times Square, we were always busy with tons of tourists who came into the restaurant because of its familiarity. Don’t ask me why anyone would get into an airplane and travel hundreds or thousands of miles and then end up eating dinner at a place that is also in their local mall. But people did. I guess once you’re in New York you get so homesick that you need nachos and Sysco food products. Now we didn’t have comment cards or surveys there but plenty of times people would ask to speak to a manager in order to complain about the quality of food or their service. It was always surprising to me when people thought their steak or salmon tasted less than ideal or that they thought the service was sub-par. C’mon. It’s Houlihan’s. In Times Square, for fuck’s sake. Of course everything there will suck ass. Eventually I had had enough of people dissing my service. Granted, my service sucked, but I was sick of bitches telling my manager about it. I devised a plan. A very special Bitchy Waiter plan.
One night I typed a letter from a “customer” that praised my serving skills. I went on an and on about how I went above and beyond their expectations. How I recommended what they would like the most on the menu and then how delicious the food was. I even wrote some fake ass bullshit about how good I was with their children and how I made them laugh and finish their veggies. I also wrote that I suggested which Broadway shows they would enjoy. Basically, I said that I was an angel sent from Heaven so that I could serve at Houlihan’s. I then put that letter into an envelope, stamped it and addressed it to Houlihan’s. Then I put that envelope into another envelope and sent it to my friend who lived in Georgia and mailed it to him. When Ron got the letter, all he had to do was drop it back into a mailbox so it would be postmarked Georgia and no one would ever suspect that I wrote it about myself.
A few days later, the letter appeared. My manager was elated. She was so proud of me that she stapled the letter to the bulletin board so everyone could see what high standards they needed to live up to. I was the superstar waiter of Houlihan’s Times Square. Only a couple of people knew that I wrote that shit myself while most people just couldn’t believe that someone would write that about me. But there it was in black and white and hanging in the kitchen. And it was postmarked from Georgia so it must be true. The letter stayed there for a few weeks. Best of all, my manager rewarded me with a $50 gift card for TGIFridays. Yep. And all it cost me was about ten minutes of time and two stamps. It really is one of my proudest moments. My manager would be so disappointed if she knew the truth. There was no family in Athens, Georgia who loved me. I’m sorry, Gladys. But thanks for the free food.