Table 16 Says Something So Stupid

NoWaterDropWebAnyone who works in the service industry has had their fair share of stupid questions and comments from customers. You certainly do not have to be waiting tables to deal with morons, but if you want a helpin’ heapin’ servin’ of dumb ass comments, then put on an apron and just wait for ’em. Sometimes people say things that I cannot decipher. In other words, it’s hard to tell if they are serious or giving me some feeble attempt at humor. This was the case not too long ago.

As I approach Table 16 with my pitcher of room temperature water and my attitude of lukewarm smugness, the lady at the table immediately reaches towards her glass. I think she is going to slide it to the edge of the table to make it easier for me to fill, but instead she pulls it closer to her and covers it with her hand. Maybe she knows that I didn’t bother to put ice in the pitcher and she is going to ask for cold water or maybe she is one of those people who want to first hold the glass up to the light to inspect it for water spots, lipstick stains and food remnants, which could all very easily be present since I was not the one who set that table and therefore did not give the utensils and glassware my usual eagle eye of approval. (That’s funny.)

“No water for me,” she says. “Water’s gross. Fish swim in it.”

Really? Is this lady kidding me? She doesn’t drink water because fish swim in it? They also poop in it, reproduce in it and die in it. People pee in it, oil tankers spill in it and factories pour garbage in it. Sea lions get their period in it and spring-breakers who have had too many Coronas throw up in it. The water that is in my pitcher was not just scooped out from the Hudson River nor did it come from Coney Island. It did not come from a pond nor a stream or even a babbling brook. It came from the tap and the last time I checked, there were no fish swimming in the faucet.

“So, no water?” I confirm.

“Blech,” she replies while making a face implying that water is the nastiest thing to have ever touched her lips. Looking at her husband, I know for a fact that her lips have touched something much, much nastier than water.

I have had people tell me before they don’t want any water and I am happy to oblige because it is one less glass I have to keep my eye on to make sure it’s full. Truth be told, even the people who say they love water and will require lots of it don’t necessarily get my undivided attention for keeping their glass full. There are other priorities in food service like hot food and frozen drinks and I am referring to my french fries that I keep in the sidestand and the leftover frozen margarita in a to-go cup that I keep next to said french fries.

I could tell she was waiting for a response from me, like maybe she wanted me to be all, “Oh my God, you don’t drink water??” or “But water is so good for you!!”

Instead I say, “Okay.”

Listen, if you don’t want to drink water, it’s fine with me. But “fish swim in it” is not a good reason. My sister-in-law doesn’t like water. She drinks only Diet Coke. She told me that she drinks nine cans of it a day, which means she probably drinks at least a dozen. The only time water ever makes it into her mouth is when she brushes her teeth, and yes, I too am surprised that she has any teeth to brush. When she goes to bed, she takes a glass of Diet Coke with her and sips it throughout the night. When I asked her why she doesn’t drink water, she just said ‘I don’t like it.” Fine. I don’t get it, but at least she didn’t say some stupid ass bullshit like “fish swim in it.”

When it comes time for the lady at Table 16 to order, she decides she wants the calamari appetizer and the grilled salmon for dinner. So I guess water is so freaking disgusting because fish swim in it but the fish themselves are so freaking delicious that she eats them anyway. Some customers are so eccentric. And by “eccentric” I mean fucking stupid and annoying.

17 thoughts on “Table 16 Says Something So Stupid

  1. Kimberly

    I had a customer once who wanted the “sterilized” water. I thought maybe she meant bottled water which is not exactly sterilized, but okay. No, she just wanted to make sure that the water was coming out of the soda fountain and not the sink. I didn’t feel like explaining that the water that comes out of the sink and the water that comes out of the soda fountain is pretty much the same and those soda fountains are hardly sterile (it was part of our side work to take the little nozzles off and soak them in disinfectant every night which I think is pretty rare for a restaurant, but we certainly weren’t autoclaving the damn things). Anyways, she got her “sterilized water” and seemed happy with it so hardly the worst thing I encountered as a server.

  2. Emma

    An unrelated stupid question by a guest: “The fried pickles, Um, is that zucchini?” I can usually hide my judgemental face and smile through any batshit thing people say, but this one I couldn’t fight it.

  3. Caoimhe

    Recently I had some who “didn’t eat beef” but “liked steak”….coincidentally the restaurant owner was related to her and was paying for the meal…..

  4. Connie

    I had woman the other day, who wanted no bacon in her omelette. She asked if she could have chicken instead, I told her she would be charged for the chicken, of course she didn’t want it. Brought out said omelette, she calls me back “there’s sausage in this”. Yes, you said no bacon, she replied, “bacon and sausage are the same thing” No, they are both pork, not the same thing!

  5. Gina

    It happened to me….

    -Excuse me Miss! The chicken WINGS are with the bones or is it boneless? ?
    -Hmm.. Just a second, let me quickly double check with the Chef…

    😀 😀

  6. Gilbey

    So what did she drink? I can’t think of a thing that isn’t water based. Tea, coffee, soda, anything you would’ve made with the same water that was in the pitcher. She could’ve had wine, beer, or liquor, they’re all water based but not made with NYC water. Did she order milk or bring in blood? Both are still water based, but a little more refined.

    I realize that we may be drinking molecules of Hitler’s piss or piss from that gross kid from 3rd grade, but what are you going to do? Everything is recycled. Just like that soup spoon the guy with the hare-lip ate with last week. Recycling doesn’t deter me from a bottle of bourbon, iced tea with my meal or maybe trying the soup (which I’m sure is also made with your nasty water, just like what her dishes were washed in).

  7. Steve DiGioia

    It’s funny, we in management are so concerned about the employees not saying something inappropriate to the guests that we forget all the dumb things they say to us. Hopefully it gives us a chuckle now and then, thanks.

  8. Brad Wills

    Not restaurant related, but certainly stupid. Many years ago, I worked as a doorman at Grauman’s (Mann’s) Chinese Theater in Hollywood, site of the world-famous forecourt which features footprints of famous movie stars from past and present. Daily…DAILY…some boob would come up to me and ask “Are these people buried here???” Me: (blank look)

  9. theblonde

    I have a regular who does the same. His wife and friends always order coffee and water and he always orders “Coffee, but no water!” When I say, “okay”, he asks me if I know what fish do in there.
    Hilarious that she ordered seafood after all that, though!

  10. Nick

    Ironically enough, a water incident happened to me the other day.

    At work, I had a table with a husband and wife. First off, please let me introduce myself and give you my name before you bark your drink order at me, I don’t like doing it just as much as you don’t like hearing it, but it is common courtesy to let a server introduce themselves because you can and WILL want to get my attention and I don’t respond to “Hey!” or a whistle (ok rant over, on with the story).

    The wife asked me if our water was filtered. I gave her a weird look, not because I thought the question was stupid, but because I was never asked that before and I didn’t know the answer. So I tell them “You know, I don’t know off the top of my head, but I’d be more than happy to find out for you.” Well she wasn’t having that “What kind of fancy establishment restaurant doesn’t have filtered water or doesn’t let the servers know for when people ask?” First off, despite what you may think, the restaurant I work at is not “Fine Dining” nor is it “Fancy” despite our look and the name (for purposes, I won’t say where I work, but trust me, despite what is shown via our look, we are not 5-Star Dining). Second of all, I’ve never been asked that at ANY restaurant I work. If someone wants water, they say “Can I have water please?” and I say “Sure” and that’s that!

    So I go to my manager, which is another headache and ask “Is our water filtered?” (before I did this, I asked a few co-workers, who also didn’t know the answer) and instead of saying yes or no, he decided to make me feel like an idiot “Of course it’s filtered, it has to be, it’s the law!” and gave me a weird look. Well SORRY for not being aware of the Water Laws in our state!

    This table was a pain the rest of the dining experience too, but that’s a different topic for a different post. Never knew water could be so upsetting.

  11. steve warren

    Actually I think it might have been a WC Fields quote. A notorious alcoholic often turned down water by saying “Fish fuck in it.” Maybe she was attempting humor by stealing the line. (Love your site by the way. I often judge people by how they treat the wait staff. I’m proud that I’ve raised kids that are unfailingly polite in a restaurant. …Or is that just as annoying? They are, however sincere, knowing how hard your job is.)

  12. Server forLife

    Not water related, but a co-worker related this one… We serve Basil Pesto Fries with one of our entrees… Her customer actually asked “what does Basil taste like?” Ummm… Basil? That one even threw off the chef!


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