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Thank You, Veterans (But Don’t Forget to Tip)

Thank you, Veterans

Serving food is easy compared to serving our country.

No matter how much I complain or whine about being a server, the reality of the job is that it is a very easy one compared to many other professions. Who would argue that taking orders and delivering food could even remotely compare to what a firefighter or a cop has to do each day? There are so many jobs out there that I would never be able to do and thank god there are people who are willing to do them. One of those jobs is that of a veteran and today is the day we honor them.

My brother is a veteran as was my grandfather and my uncle. They all spent time away from their loved ones in order to serve our country. Me, I’ll just stick to serving pancakes. When my younger brother decided to join the army when he was about 19, I could not fathom why on earth he wanted to do it. He looked at it as an opportunity while I looked at it as the scariest thing I could possibly imagine. But he joined and stayed in the military for about 6 years. It was scary for me to think that he was so far away in Korea somewhere and not knowing if he was safe or not, but how selfish of me to be scared when he was the one who was away from home, not me. I was living my life doing whatever I wanted to do while he was being the mature one and doing something I was too frightened to even consider. The only way I might be able to serve our country is if they let me sing in some USO Show or something. When he first came home after his first several months away, I was amazed at the change in him. He left as a 19 year old kid and came back as a grown man. I will never get over that transformation. Whenever I go to my parent’s house and see the photo of him in his uniform, I am reminded what a brave choice he made. He chose to protect our country and I chose to be a musical theater major. We could not be more different.

Today is Veterans Day; it’s the day we honor those who made that brave choice that so many of us wouldn’t. It’s the day we say thank you to them and show our appreciation for their service. Lots of restaurants in the country offer free meals to military personnel and I hope each and every veteran takes advantage of it. Here is a list of dozens of restaurants around the country that will offer veterans free food; anything from a free steak dinner to a free cup of coffee.

Here’s the thing though, veterans: even though serving in the military is way harder than serving at Applebee’s or IHOP (well, I dunno, I hear the overnight shift at IHOP can be brutal…), we all know that you will remember to tip your servers, right? The restaurant is giving the food away for free, but the waiters and waitresses can’t really afford to give away their service for free too. Please remember to tip your server, even if there is no bill. I would bet that working at Applebee’s on Veterans Day is a very busy shift albeit a rewarding one. However, no one who serves, whether it be in Iraq or Olive Garden, wants to do it for free. As the restaurant thanks you for your service, please make sure to tip your server for theirs.

Happy Veterans Day and thank you for doing what you do.

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Just When You Think You’ve Seen It All

Every day, people send in photos of things they think might be appropriate for this blog. I get pictures of good tips and bad tips and I get pictures of people making out in booths and of servers committing acts of horseplay in the walk-in. Every now and then, a photo pops up in my email that stops me in my tracks. This is that photo:

Father of the Year

Father of the Year

I don’t know where or when it was taken; all I know is that it is absolutely wrong, disgusting, vomit-inducing and makes me question humanity as a whole. From what I can tell, and I’m no expert at photo-forensics, it appears that some father thought it was perfectly acceptable to let his kid take a fucking piss in a plastic cup in the middle of a goddamn restaurant. Meanwhile, mom is sitting there eating her Combo #2 Meal and trying to remember when was the last time she gave a fuck. Perhaps this photo was taken in another country where peeing into a plastic cup is the norm. If anyone knows what country that might be, please let me know so I can be sure to scratch it off of my “Places To Go Before I Die List.” No one else in the picture is noticing what is going on but whoever took the photo thought it was unusual enough to merit a quick snap on their iPhone. I didn’t bother blurring out the faces because I sorta feel like if you’re good with letting your kid pee into a cup at a restaurant, you probably don’t give a shit anyway.

The photo brings a few questions to mind:

  • Does this restaurant not have a restroom?
  • What is the dad going to do with that cup of piss when the kid is finished urinating in it?
  • Will I ever be as cool as this kid is and be able to master the “Fuck it, I’m just peeing into a cup with my hand on my hip” stance he has so perfected?
  • Is this what the restaurant means when they advertise free refills?
  • Where might I find that cute little red plaid sweater vest number?
  • If the boy needed to do a #2, would he need to use a to-go box?
  • What the fuck is wrong with people?

Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset. All we ask is that you let us not have to watch your fucking kid pee in the dining room.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go wash my eyeballs out with Purell and try to erase this image from my thoughts by drinking straight grain alcohol and napping for three hours.

 

 

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Is This the Sneakiest Waitress Ever or an Honest Mistake?

Shifty bitch

Very often, this blog is criticized for being “too negative” or “always on the server’s side.” Well, not today because I got wind of a shifty server trying to pull some wool over the eyes of her customer and it makes my blood boil.

According to Bamboozled, a man named Joe Lentini went to a business dinner at Bobby Flay Steak at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. La di da, la di da, everything was fine and dandy for this party of 10 until Joe decided to share a bottle of wine with a couple of his friends. He told the waitress he didn’t know a lot about wine and so he asked her to suggest a bottle. She pointed to Screaming Eagle Cabernet, Oakville 2011 and when he asked her much it was she told him it was “thirty-seven fifty.” He agreed to the wine, the sommelier presented it, he tasted it, approved it and went on with his meal. When the check came, he had to pick his face up off the floor because the bottle was $3,750 and not $37.50.

All together now: awwww, hell no!

He disputed the way the wine had been sold to him and the restaurant was ever so fucking kind enough to lower the cost of the bottle to $2,200. I never have wine that comes out of something other than a cardboard box, a screw-capped bottle or was leftover in a customer’s glass, so $3,750 wine must taste much better than the ass I am used to. I looked up Screaming Eagle on the Internet and found it for $1,498. It is described as a “sexy, upfront, precociously styled wine exhibiting a dense ruby/purple color as well as lots of licorice, camphor, black currant jam, new oak and spice box characteristics.” Ummm, okay, but does it do my laundry and give back massages because at that price, it needs to. Joe paid the bill with his friends and then probably went home crying and refused to pee for five days to make sure he kept the wine with him for as long as possible.

This guy got cork-screwed.  (David Gard/for NJ Advance Media)

This guy got cork-screwed. (David Gard/for NJ Advance Media)

Now let’s get to the server and the way the restaurant handled it. We all know this waitress was trying to be a sneaky bitch. If someone tells you that they don’t know anything about wine, why in the fuck would you offer them one of the most expensive bottles on the menu? I’ll tell you why: she wanted a bigger tip, that’s why. And when he asked her how much it cost, we all know that she said “thirty-seven fifty” to imply that it was under $50. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s worse than when the server tries to make you feel like an unsophisticated slob because you refuse the bottled water and settle for “just tap.” Of course the restaurant feels that “the proper practices were followed” and they say that because they very often serve bottles of wine at this price, they didn’t see anything different with this particular transaction. But it was different, Borgata, it was. This particular diner freely admitted he knew nothing about wine and was lead to believe that the bottle he ordered was 100 times less than it was. Had she told him that bottle cost $3,750, he would have dropped that menu and asked for a refill on his tap water. You really think the waitress didn’t know what she was doing? I call total bullshit.

I have a feeling that once this story makes the rounds, Bobby Flay will crawl out from behind his grill, step over a basket of poblano peppers and offer to reimburse the man for the “misunderstanding.” We know that he can certainly afford to do that and it would only make this public relations nightmare fade away. (I hope you will share this so we can see if we can make that happen.)

But what about the waitress? I think she intentionally inflated this check all for the sake of a tip. I can’t believe I am saying this, but she needs to be held partially responsible; if not monetarily, then at least fucking own up to it. Tell us your rent was due and you thought you could get some extra bucks by taking advantage of Average Joe Lentini. Tell us that you truly believed a man who was ordering a $45 rib eye was cool with drinking a $3,750 bottle of wine. Tell us you are a dishonest lying piece of shit who makes servers look bad. Just don’t tell us you thought you were doing the right thing, because anyone who has waited tables for for more than ten minutes knows the truth: you’re shifty.

As usual, this is just my opinion and if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other places to waste your time on the Internet.

 

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The Real Tragedy That Happened at Olive Garden

Oh, God, NO!

Oh, God, NO!

Something horrible happened at Olive Garden last week and it’s surely traumatizing for all involved. According to a post on the Olive Garden Facebook page, a woman in Corpus Christi, Texas found an earring in her Toscana soup. The woman was disgusted by this event, but she was able to generously accept an apology. When the bill came, she was shocked and dismayed to discover that the only thing that had been comped for this tragedy was the soup. The rest of the food remained on the bill and she was expected to pay for it still. Naomi wants to know: “What kind of service is that?”

 

 

 

Well, Naomi, it’s pretty standard service, if you ask me. (And I totally know that you didn’t ask me, but I’m going to give my opinion anyway because if you post something on a public page you have to expect that strangers might pipe in.) Mistakes happen in restaurants just like they do in every other aspect of life. Of course no one wanted to have their earring fall off in to your soup, it was an accident. The cook didn’t put her earrings on that morning before work and specifically chose a pair that would look great floating among spicy sausage, fresh kale and russet potatoes. Somewhere in the course of her day, the earring fell off and it ended up in your bowl of soup. The manager was apologetic and did not expect you to pay for that bowl of soup, but why would you expect anything else to be comped? Did you find a bracelet in your bruschetta, a necklace in your gnocchi or a ring in your rigatoni? No, you didn’t. You worry that your 13-year old daughter could have swallowed that earring and yes that is a valid concern. Here’s the thing though: she didn’t. And neither did you. So you can’t expect things to be compensated based on “what if.”

You also wonder why no one explained why it had happened. My guess is that the manager gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed that you understood what an accident is. There was no good reason an earring was in your soup just like there was no good reason you were at Olive Garden in the first place. (Unless of course you were celebrating an anniversary or birthday because then of course you would be at Olive Garden because duh.) You want a reason? I will give you one:

Marta the cook was wearing her special earrings that day, the ones she loves so much, because they make her feel good. They brighten her day and when she catches a glimpse of her reflection in a stainless steel reach-in, she is able to momentarily forget that she works at Olive Garden. The earrings were given to her by her sister and she lost one of the backs a few months ago. She still likes to wear them though, so instead of an earring back, she uses a piece of pencil eraser to secure it to her lobe. Well, gravity got the best of her that day and when she was portioning out your precious bowl of fucking Toscana soup, the pencil eraser failed her and the earring slipped into your food. Marta didn’t even realize the earring was gone until much much later and she was heartbroken to realize that one of her favorite earrings was gone. Yes, you got the earring, Naomi, but you should be grateful you didn’t get the pencil eraser.

It seems these days that people who go into restaurants expect so much more than what they deserve. You don’t get a free meal for your whole family because of some silly little mistake. Most people would find the earring and be a little surprised and then be grateful to not have to pay for the soup, even though I’m sure they gave her another earring-free bowl of it. However, today no one is satisfied with a little and they always want more which is why Naomi posted this complaint on the Facebook page to begin with. She wants more. And you know what? Olive Garden will give her more. They will read the complaint and then send her a coupon for a free meal and that will teach Naomi to always be on the lookout for something else she can complain about, because maybe next time the complaint will get her even more. It’s a vicious vicious circle.

I leave you with these questions: What about Marta? Did she get her jewelry back? When does her Go Fund Me campaign begin so we can all pitch in to buy her a new earring back? And what the fuck does “I just felt customers should be aware and cautious of their there” mean?

 

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Screenshot because the original post will be deleted any second now.

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