Dear Bitchy Waiter

Time for another installment of Dear Bitchy. I dug into the mailbag and found this question that perhaps I can shed some light on. You can email me here if you have a question that needs attention. Or email me to say hello. That’s nice too.

Dear Bitchy Waiter,

I need your advice. I work at a bar and grill and for whatever reason people constantly ignore the HUGE “please wait to be seated” sign and mosey on in and seat themselves. I have tried very hard to be nice when it does happen but it has become a daily occurrence and I just can’t take it anymore! What would you do?


Dear Alicia,

Oh this problem again, with those stupid buckets of Thousand Island Dressing that we call customers. No matter how HUGE the sign is, they will not read it. They will ignore it the same way they ignore menus, their children and my crushed dreams. I once worked a restaurant with a patio which had a HUGE sign that said, “Please see the hostess if you would like to sit outside.” People constantly sat directly under the sign paying no mind to it. Even if the sign had been lit up with neon and sparklers and had photos of naked men and women on it, they would ignore it. It’s their way.

What can we do? Here is what I suggest: when someone sits down at a table without being seated there by a hostess, ignore the fuck out of them just like they ignored the fuck out of your sign. I have done this many times and it’s very satisfying. When I see someone sit down without the proper protocol, I walk past them continuously until they practically have to pull their arm out of its socket in order to wave at me hard enough to get my attention. They will usually say something all Bucket of Thousand Island Dressing-ish like, “Uh, excuse me, but we don’t have menus.” My reply is then, “Oh, that’s odd. I don’t know why the hostess didn’t give you one when she sat you. I apologize for her behavior, she does this all the time. It may be time to mention it to the manager so they can get someone in here who knows how to do her job. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I hope she has her resumé up to date because it looks like tonight may be her last night.” And then Thousand Island Family is all, “Oh, well, we sat ourselves…we don’t want her to get fired…uh, we’re sorry, we’re dumb.” Then they feel stupid and like shit and it makes me feel better.

Or maybe after sitting there for ten minutes, they’ll say to me, “Uh, is someone going to take our order??” And then I can reply, “I thought this was so-and-so’s table, have you been waiting long?” And then they will say, Uh, yeah, for like thirty minutes.” And then I say, “He must not realize you are here. Did a hostess seat you or did you seat yourself, because that would make all the difference in the world.” And then they mumble, “Oh, well, we sat ourselves here…” And then I say, “A-ha! Now we know why no one came to take your order. It’s because you sat yourselves. You should always wait to be seated by the hostess so these things don’t happen.”

Basically, there is no way around stupid people ignoring signs and seating themselves so all we can do is try to embarrass them enough so that the next time they will do it correctly. It is highly unlikely that embarrassing them will teach them anything at all, but from our point of view it is immensely satisfying. Try it. You’ll love it.

(Anonymous, this is your cue to tell me that “the customer is always right” and that I should be ashamed of myself for trying to embarrass a guest just to prove a point. But here’s the thing, Anonymous: I don’t care.)


Please email me here if you have a question for me. I love to help people. It’s in my blood. Also in my blood is a very alcohol content.

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18 thoughts on “Dear Bitchy Waiter

  1. ChiTown Girl

    Let me just give Anon a preemptive "Go the fuck away!" You, sir, are a freakin' laugh riot! I don't know how you manage to keep your cool when dealing with so many assbags on a daily basis. Keep dishing out the great advice.

  2. terry

    I love you writing too, no one wants to go to a resturant to eat. And have to listen to out of control children, shut them up people. Bitchy Waiter you are great!

  3. Mary A.

    I think you should walk over, put a check on the table & say "I'll get that when you're ready". Then when they say "We just sat down", you can argue with them like they are trying to cheat you.Just for fun.

  4. kiddoc

    These are the same type of people who would park in a handicapped parking spot if they knew they wouldn't get a ticket. And they probably don't pick up their dogs' poop in public either (I do!). Rules exist to make things happen more smoothly, but there will always be those with a sense of entitlement. The customer is NOT always right.

  5. Anonymous

    LOL!!!Where I work there is a sign that says "please go to the host stand to be seated" and people will litteraly stand there with the huge sign staring them in the face. They look around confused and we all just ignore them until they figure out the sign. They will also grab the attention of any server that walks by "do we see you to be seated?", "where do we go to get a table?". People are such idiots. The sign tells you what to do, figure it out! Also I ignore self seaters and when they ask "where are the menus?" I do the whole "the hostess should have given you some".

  6. Jamie

    Hilarious! I hate people who do that! I'm not even a server, it just irks me how stupid some people can be. Also, where can I find the episode of Dr. Phil you were on? I desperately wanted to see it, but it played at 5pm, and I was in class =[ I can't seem to find it anywhere online

  7. kayla.rose

    I used to have this happen all the time. I worked in a restaurant that was in an old converted church, and our outside seating was out the front of the restaurant — meaning that unless they came inside and asked for a table, we had no idea they were there (unless we were sitting peering out the tiny windows, because we all know how waitstaff have plenty of time to do that on a busy shift). I loved ignoring the shit out of those people. I would go out of my way to ignore the sweet baby Jesus out of them. Until they get grabby. Then I got stabby.

  8. Noelle

    Happens at my place too. We have a sign that says "Please see Host" or "Please see Hostess". We like to be gender correct since host is one of those words.Maybe would should remove the word please. 🙂 Customer is not always right and you restaurants who policy this should thank us for training guests that is NOT the way it is. WE will show you a good time trust us!

  9. Anonymous

    I sugested flashing lights on the "please see host to be seated" sign to grab guests attention. But all that is going to do is make them be like "oooh pretty lights" and ignore the message.

  10. Anonymous

    I'm a hostess. I hate self seaters. It always happens on the deck all summer. Yeah, they walk right past the sign and seat themselves. Sometimes I happen to see them through the window or on my way back from seating less stupid customers. Then I decide that they're going to sit there until they either get sick of waiting for a server to come to them and they come and complain to me and I embarrass them, or I walk by them a few times and look at them, go in and out the door a few times, and then go over and say, "Has a server been over to you yet?" Then they say no. "Ohh…Did you guys seat yourselves?" Then they say yes and look stupid. Then I come back with, "Yeaaah (fake sweet voice) you're supposed to come see me up front first to get seated outside, like the sign says right there…just so you know next time…" OR if they're really looking like assholes, or I'm already pissed, I'll come out and tell them that they can't seat themselves and that table happens to be reserved. I will then move them to the table next to it. OR they do this when we're on a wait and have people waiting half an hour to sit outside, and I tell them they need to come in and get on the wait list. The wait is actually 30 minutes but I'll tell the assholes that the wait for outside is an hour so then they decide to sit inside with no wait…in the too cold air conditioning that they will bitch about. Warfare.

  11. Dale

    I work self check. I have a register at the front. It's a terrible register, I have one bag, and people like to walk all the way around to my side, invading my space and thrusting their junk (double entendre intended… that was a very bad day) into my hands. So I have a "Lane Closed" sign, to ward them away unless the lines are backing up.My record is five signs, one at eye level and one in spanish. And I still had six people ask if I was open. People don't read. They don't read the instructions on the screen, they don't read the return policy… reading is a dying art. I recommend a cattle prod to remedy this situation. If they try to get past you, shock the effing crap out of them. They'll learn quick.

  12. Anonymous

    my favorite is the people who demand certain tables. I will seat them at a spacific table in a servers section, then they get up and move to a booth. Why is the location of a table soo important?

  13. Dilligent Hostess

    Ohhh the damn booth obsession…we only have 3 booths which always causes trouble when I'm trying to seat certain sections going in the rotation. So, if I do have a reservation for a 2-3-4 top, I will reserve the booths just for the pleasure of telling all those people that say, "Can we have that booth?"…"Sorry, it's reserved." Ohhh it's the little things…

  14. jMAN5

    How about those people who, when you tell them you have no tables available, will crane their necks in an effort to find one and then go "what about that one?" "It's reserved""oh, well, we'll be quick"…shut the fuck up and sit your ass down…


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