My Super-Secret Server Identity

guest

Today’s guest post comes from Joey Rockenstein who wants to finally admit that he is a human being who makes mistakes. And by the way, all servers are human beings who are capable of making mistakes. Check out his blog, The Bitter Bistro and follow him on Twitter @thebitterbistro.  -BW

I can finally admit to the serving world, that I, your server, am human.

I know it’s hard to believe. Considering how many birthdays, anniversaries, and whatever other dog celebrations I have managed to work without having anything go wrong.  Or, at least, not with the customer knowing that anything went wrong.  My identity as “Super Server” has managed to stay concealed under the guise of my apron, just like Superman wearing his glasses has fooled mankind for all of these years.

However, the other day, my identity as a human was finally revealed.

A couple was sitting out on the patio during my opening shift and immediately waved for my attention after they had been sat.  I flew over to them, because whenever customers wave AT me, it a sure sign that they must be VERY important people, and that they should receive all of my attention.  And when I say all of my attention, I mean enough to fill my brain with the details of their craziness so I can talk about them later to my co-workers in the side-station.  The other part of my brain is thinking about how much of my soul I actually have left after 18 years of working in the service industry.  I feel I have been sucked dry by this point, but apparently I had a little soul left because I was able learn their names, Heidi and Jim Jones, and I found myself at the bar making them some Bloody Marys.  But not too spicy for Heidi, because she can’t handle spice.  But Jim can.  That’s why they’ve been married for 15 years.

I returned with the Bloody Marys and took their order.  They both got burgers.  Jim ordered his without cheese and fries, but substituted a salad.  Heidi order her burger with cheese, but without tomatoes and onions.  I smiled, asked how the drinks were, and flew away to put in their order.

Before the burgers arrived, I brought another round of drinks, and then I delivered the burgers.  Heidi must do impressions for a living, because she was pecking and picking at her burger as if she was a bird.  Jim ate somewhat normally.  Okay, he looked like a Sea Lion, but that appeared to be more normal than Heidi.  I checked on them and asked how everything was going.

“Everything is great!” Jim answered.  Heidi said nothing.  I assumed that Jim was answering for the both of them.

I returned again when Jim was almost finished with his burger.  I refilled their waters, and asked if they wanted any more Bloodys.  They said “no.”  Heidi still had barely moved her burger on the plate.  I asked her if she would like me to wrap it up to go.  She shook her head.  Keep in mind, that I work in Los Angeles.  For all I know, Heidi had eaten her fill, and couldn’t possibly eat another bite.  Pain is beauty.  Jim asked for the check.

I brought the check, and they signed it to their hotel room.  When I picked up the check, I discovered that Heidi had left me a little note on it.  Why is it when people write their servers notes on the checks, that it looks like they are holding someone for ransom?  (See attached pic.)  Well, I had been the one holding something for ransom.  I had  forgotten to withhold the tomatoes and onions, and Heidi was so upset, that she could only express herself in written form.  Yes, America, I am a server.  And we sometimes make mistakes.  Sorry, I shouldn’t reveal the identity of all servers, so I’ll just say that I made a mistake, and rang in their order incorrectly.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to fly over to another table and clean up the mess that a 5 year left, and I just got triple sat.  I’ll just tie my apron a bit tighter for this shift.

Complaining + Mosquito = Free Food

productos_parasitos1I am on vacation in Miami so if you hear of a sudden liquor shortage in Florida, now you know why. This post is from a reader named Jennifer who sent me a message that made me laugh. Since I was looking for guest bloggers, I asked if I could use and she was all, “Whatever…” 

I work in a fine dining steakhouse inside a casino in Tunica, Mississippi. My first table this evening was two ladies that I had spoken to at 4:00 that wanted to come in and be seated, but we don’t open until 5:00. They wanted to sit and wait I guess and watch me do my side work, but the manager frowns upon that 😁. Well they left and of course they came back before 5:00 because they were so famished they couldn’t wait any longer. They were seated in my station and I proceeded to get their order as quickly as possible so they didn’t die from low blood sugar. While I was taking their order one of the ladies saw a mosquito and was fanning around like she just let out a gigantic fart. I went about my way and turned in their order. When I brought their salads out the lady was expressing that she was upset because there was a mosquito flying by her table. I really didn’t know what to say because we live in Mississippi and that’s our state bird. I shrugged it off and offered her some fresh cracked pepper that I was hoping she would choke on. I went back to the kitchen to tell everyone about the insanity I was dealing with. A few minutes later I come out of the kitchen and she starts flagging me down. She was waving at me like there was an emergency so I quickly went to her table. She blurts out that she has something to show me. She lifts her bread plate and there lies the mosquito. She had killed it and was saving it for evidence. She was so upset. She expressed that she wanted to speak to the manager because we are a fine dining steakhouse and we shouldn’t allow mosquitoes to be in there. Bitch got a free dessert and pouted about how it ruined her dinner.

Guest Surveys Might Be the Most Evil Thing Amongst Us

trustyou-hotel-reviews-raves-tnooz-As I continue to soak up the rays and soak up the rum in Miami, here is another guest post from reader Allan Christensen. Once again, someone sent me a message and it was too good for only my eyes. Thank you, Allan.

I wanted to take some time out of your day to vent to you about “Guest Surveys.”

More and more, we all have them on the bottom of every receipt. And upper management thinks that “guest surveys” are the best thing since sliced bread.

Nowadays, I can’t go anywhere without some poor person being forced to beg me to complete a survey. I go to Home Depot, the cashier hands me the receipt and highlights the chance to win $1000. I go to Walgreen’s, the cashier robotically asks for me to fill out a survey with a chance to win $1000. I understand that they are forced to do this because I could be a “secret shopper” and if they don’t ask me to fill out a survey then they could get a negative review and lose shifts or even worse – lose their job.

In the restaurant business, I find the “guest survey” to be an extra special type of disease…

First: our income depends on it. With most of the restaurant employees that I have surveyed, if you are not getting enough surveys then your shifts are cut. In my restaurant, we are expected to receive at least two surveys a week per server. This leads us to beg or bribe guests into filling out a survey. What upper management doesn’t understand is that most guests do not care to fill out a survey. Surveys are kind of like the common man’s yelp review – “I have an axe to grind so I am going to use this survey.” So, to get our regular happy guests to do a survey, you find yourself constantly begging or offering discounts on their tab if they will just fill out a survey for you. And, just my opinion, but is this solicited feedback the feedback that is being yearned for by the home office statisticians that live for this data??? I don’t believe so.

Second: guest surveys are only used as a negative reinforcement tool by upper management. I could receive 100 positive surveys and never hear a word from upper management. BUT, one negative comment and you would have thought I left the cover letter off of my T.P.S. report because I have to answer to Bill Lumbergh and 4 bosses about why one guest said I didn’t smile enough.

Lastly, restaurant chains always use an “all or nothing” grading scale. So, if I don’t get a perfect score then I get a ZERO. On a scale of 1 – 5 with 4 being “very good” and 5 being “excellent”, if the guest says I was “very good” then the guest said I was “dog shit.” Because if I am not “excellent” then I didn’t “wow” the guest. And, only a guest that has been “wow-ed” is a guest that I have made an impact on. Yet, my regular guests seemed to be “un-wow-ed” on a regular basis yet still come to visit me every week.

I feel trapped by guest surveys. I can’t just ignore them because then the only surveys I will receive will be from the wanna-be yelpers. So, I openly solicit and bribe my regulars to do surveys for me. I also complete surveys using my phone, my home computer, my Dad’s computer, my computer at work, etc, etc. Very shady as far as I am concerned but I feel I was forced into a corner and was not left many options.

Trump Supporter Kicked Out of Mexican Restaurant

Photo: James Messerschmidt

Photo: James Messerschmidt

Once upon a time, a woman named Esther Levy decided that more than anything in the world, she wanted some enchiladas. She went to her closet and found the ugliest shirt she could find and decided she was too hungry to bother fixing her hair so she grabbed a “Make America Great Again” cap and slapped it on top of her head. “Good, that’ll cover up my roots,” she thought as she headed toward Cancun Inn Restaurant in Sugar Loaf, New York.

On the way, she picked up her friend, retired judge Alvin Goldstein, and they simply could not wait to have sangria and Mexican food at a place she had been a regular customer for 25 years. At some point before they got to the restaurant, Esther found a “Trump for President” button that was buried underneath some garbage in her car. She pinned it to her shirt. “Good,” she thought. “That’ll cover up that stain from last night’s Ben & Jerry’s binge.”

Once seated in the restaurant, all was right in the world. The friendly waitress took their drink order as Esther and Alvin smacked their lips in anticipation of sangria, enchiladas and a country where there would be great big wall separating them from country whose food they loved so much. Moments later, the waitress returned, but instead of carrying two glasses of sangria, she had nothing but a big ol’ bowl of “I can’t serve you.”

According to Esther and Alvin, the owner of the restaurant told them, “We don’t serve Trump supporters here. Get out of here and never come back.”

Mortified, and still craving queso dip, the two skulked out of the restaurant and then did what anyone would do who had been asked to leave a restaurant: they called the press and the police. Well, the police told them what you would think a retired judge would already know, which is that a private business can refuse service to anyone they choose.

In a Facebook post, the restaurant has responded saying that the pair was asked to leave because “they were being rude to the staff and rowdy due to intoxication.”

 

How will we ever know what truly went down? All we know are the facts:

  • Esther and Alvin support Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump wants a wall between the United States and Mexico and he continually makes jabs about Mexican people.
  • Esther and Alvin went to a Mexican restaurant.
  • The Mexican restaurant asked them to leave.
  • Esther and Alvin got their feelings hurt because it’s not okay to oppress middle-aged white people but it it okay to support a candidate who puts down Mexicans.

What do you think really went down?

Yet Another Reason to Hate Children

I am at work attending to the needs of my customers when I see a woman and her young daughter being seated in my section. The girl is about 5-years old. I go to the table to greet them. I smile at the little girl and ask them how they are doing.

“We’re good, thank you. My husband will be joining us shortly,” the woman tells me.

I tell them I will be back shortly to take their order and as I am leaving I notice that the girl’s eyes are transfixed on me. It’s not uncommon for children to be mesmerized by the awesomeness of my hair and I think nothing of it. Hell, I have had complete strangers on the subway ask if they can touch my hair and I willingly oblige as long as their hands are clean and they agree to go to my website later that day. After a couple of minutes, the father is still not there so I go back to the table to see if they need anything. As I am reciting the specials, I watch the little girl stare at me, her eyes looking like they are about to pop out of her head with curiosity. She is desperate to look at me, making her neck move in such a way that she reminds me of Regan in The Exorcist. It’s like she can’t stare at me hard enough.Q8qj8

“Gracie, stop staring!” her mother scolds.

It is now that I realize she is not spellbound by my locks, but confused about the rubber bands in my mouth. Yes, I am 49 years old and I wear braces with rubber bands.

“Are you looking at these?” I ask her. With my forefinger, I plink them, making a sound like the saddest ukulele in the world. She nods her head. “I have to wear these so that my teeth will grow straight. They’re called braces.”

“Oh,” she says. “I wear braces on my feet but I’m not wearing them right now. Only at home.”

I smile at her as the mother apologizes for her daughter’s brazen attitude that allows her to say whatever she thinks. It is not a problem, I assure the mother and continue on with the specials. They tell me what they want to drink and three minutes later, when I return with beverages, I can’t help but notice that the little girl is staring at me again. Maybe she has a rubber fetish. But then I realize she isn’t looking at my mouth anymore. It looks like her eyes are focusing on my hair and all is right in the world again, because everyone should always focus on my hair. It’s my strongest suit. She tilts her head with wonder and I can tell she is about to ask me another question.

“Why are your ears all pointy like an elf?”

“Gracie!” hisses the mother as she spins toward me. “I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry.”

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” I say. “It’s totally fine. Gracie? I’ll tell you why my ears are pointy. My Dad was an elf and when I was a little boy, my ears weren’t big enough so he used to pull on them all the time until they got real big and pointy.”

She stares at me in disbelief.

“And now they look like this. Crazy that my dad is an elf, right? But I’ll tell you one thing. It came in real handy at Christmas time.”

Gracie, unsure of what to say next, shrinks back into her chair and finally shuts the hell up. The mother apologizes to me again.

“She’s adorable,” I tell her. “Do you know the movie To Kill a Mockingbird?”

The mom tells me that she knows it very well.

“Well your daughter reminds me of the little girl who played Scout, with her big innocent eyes and eager face. Such curiosity.” I leave out how they both have teeth like a beaver that needs a root canal and how they have identical haircuts that look like they got them from a blind barber with no thumbs who was using a pair of gardening shears for scissors.

mockingbird9I can tell that the mother isn’t quite sure how to take my “compliment,” but she says thank you nonetheless.

“I just love how kids will say anything they want to. It’s what kids do, right?” I continue. “I’ll come back in a bit when when your husband gets here and you’re ready to order.

Little does the child know, she has cut me to the quick. My ears are on my rather long list of things that I am sensitive about and my feelings were hurt just a wee bit. Out of the mouths of babes. Ten minutes later, when the father of the babe has arrived, I go back to the table to say hello. Gracie remains silent but her dad tells me hello. And then:

“Are you wearing braces and rubber bands?”

“I am.”

“How much did those cost ya, like $8000?”

“John!” says the woman. ‘I am so, so sorry,” she tells me yet again.

“It’s okay,” I say. “They were expensive, but when I was a kid, my parents couldn’t afford them. Now that I’m an adult, I can spend my money on whatever I want. Are y’all ready to order?”

It’s one thing for a 5-year old to say whatever is on their mind but when a grown man does it, it just means he’s an asshole. Good luck, Gracie. Now I know where your lack of tact comes from. And the mother should have some business cards printed up that say  “I am so, so sorry.”

EDIT: I have removed an reference to actor Geri Jewell which some people took offense to. (By “some people” I mean Barb Chandler who took it very personally in the comment section. Jeez, Barb. If you didn’t like it, all you had to do was bring it to my attention with an email. You didn’t have to be a bitch about it.) It was not my intention to offend Geri Jewell or anyone with cerebral palsy. I simply take every chance I get to refer to The Facts of Life. I’m sorry. –BW