Charlotte Rae Has Died and My Heart Is Hurting

I don’t know why I always loved The Facts of Life so much, but I did. And I still do. I have referenced it many times in this blog over the last ten years. The popular sitcom ran on NBC from 1979 to 1988 and for some reason it spoke to me. Perhaps it was a welcome respite from the TV shows that my two younger brothers insisted we watch. In the days before DVR, there was a constant battle over what would be playing on the television and, it being two against one, I would usually succumb to watching shows like The Dukes of Hazard or The A-Team. On the rare occasion when I could wrestle control over the television and watch The Facts of Life, I knew that the two of them would leave me alone so I could imagine what it was like living in Peekskill, New York and going to the Eastland School for girls. Each of the characters on that show spoke to me. Blair Warner was the girl I thought I should fall in love with and marry. Natalie Green was the girl I wanted to be best friends with. Tootie Ramsey wanted to be an actor just like me and in season two when Jo Polniaczek showed up, she was the person I wished I could be; confident smart, strong and not afraid of anything. But it was Edna Garrett who was the constant. She was everything to the girls on that show; friend, confidante, mother, advisor, boss, caretaker and cheerleader. Mrs. Garret was played by Charlotte Rae and she died on Sunday at the age of 92.

My first introduction to Charlotte Rae was when she played Mrs. Garrett on Diff’rent Strokes, a TV show that my brothers and I could all agree on. Later, when my college was doing a production of the musical The Threepenny Opera, I learned that Charlotte Rae was on the original cast recording as Mrs. Peachum and I listened to her sing “Ballad of Dependency” over and over again until my cassette tape stretched out from overuse. She also starred in the television show Car 54, Where Are You? that aired on NBC from 1961 to 1963 and that I watched on late night TV in my dorm room. She was a regular on Broadway, appearing on stage in ten different shows from 1952 to 1973, being nominated for a Tony Award two times. She also earned an Emmy nomination in 1982. And who can forget her moment in the film Hair when she jumps up on the table to dance?

I never met Charlotte Rae, although I did see her in a performance of Into The Woods where she played Jack’s Mother. That was in about 1987 and watching her in the flesh, with my own eyes, I felt as if I knew her which is so often the case with television actors who we allow into our living rooms and our lives on a weekly basis for years and years. Her warm smile and cackling laugh so familiar to me that I wanted to run onto the stage and tell her thank you for always being there for me. It’s not like I was devoid of strong and supportive female role models in my youth. My mom, my aunt, and my two grandmothers were always there for me, but none of them ever owned their own bakery called Edna’s Edibles or a novelty store called Over Our Heads, so Mrs. Garrett had that over them.

It’s sad when someone who we grew up admiring dies because it takes us immediately back to that time in our life when we first got to know that person. Watching someone like Charlotte Rae on a rerun, it’s hard to imagine that forty years have passed by. Her death reminds us that time marches forward. On TV, she will always be the happy, red-headed, bouffanted, Edna Garrett, quick with a joke and even quicker with a shoulder to lean on. In real life, she was a respected character actor with a seventy year career on the stage and on both the large and small screen.

In People magazine recently, she said “At 91, every day is a birthday. [In my book] I want to tell everybody to celebrate every day, to savor the day and be good to yourself, love yourself, and then you can be good to others and be of service to others.” Mrs. Garrett couldn’t have said it any better.

Rest in peace. Charlotte Rae.

Woman Stiffs Server Because Coffee Was Too Hot

Every day, we servers have our eyes opened to another reason that a customer feels like they should not have to leave a tip. Sometimes, it makes sense why a customer chooses not to leave anything, but other times it makes me curl up in a little ball of fury and scream “What the fuck?” over and over again. Such is the case with Anna.

Anna went for a meal at That Place in Ogunquit. She wracked up a bill that totaled $138.04 and when it came time to tip, she searched the world over until she found a reason: the coffee was too hot. Yes, people, Anna thought the coffee was too hot and decided that 0% was better than 20% and stiffed her server of $26. First off, we all know that Anna is the same person who would have stiffed her server if the coffee was too cold, right? Or if the coffee was too old or too fresh or too brown or too watery or served in a coffee cup that didn’t feel right to her lips. In other words, Anna probably had no intention of leaving a tip and that was all she could come up with.

The server sent me the photo and, after verifying that it was legit, I still hesitated to post it because I didn’t want Anna to go viral. (It may or may not be the first time Anna has gone viral, but in the past it was probably always something that antibiotics were able to take care of…) The server also told me that the restaurant has only been open for about seven years, so there is no way that Anna had been going there for 25. Even though it was clear that Anna was an idiot, I still wondered if I should post the photo, because I did not want to get the server in trouble. But then the restaurant itself posted it on their Facebook page, so that gave me free reign to spread the story around.

Anna, c’mon! If the coffee is too hot, you fucking blow on it and wait ninety seconds. Or maybe you reach into your water glass and get a freaking ice cube to drop into your coffee cup. The server’s response to let it “cool down” is actually pretty good advice. It’s also common sense. And for the record, your server didn’t have the “audacity” to chase you down and demand a tip. What actually happened was another server went to tell you that it’s not the server’s fault that the coffee was too hot. You can say whatever you want in your petty little review, but there are two sides to every story and I heard the story from the other side. I choose to believe the server’s side of the story since anyone who justifies leaving zero on a $138 check is most likely an awful person. I don’t like to believe the stories of awful people.

I hope the next time you go out to dinner, you can find it in your heart to leave your server a tip. However, I know that you will more than likely find another reason to not do so. This time the coffee was too hot, but maybe next time the sun will be too bright. Or the music won’t be to your liking or the bread will be too doughy or the salad too salad-y. It’s clear that you simply do not like to tip. Just be aware that the net time you stiff someone and leave a stupid ass note on the credit card receipt, it might just go viral. And antibiotics aren’t going to help every time.

Woman Will NEVER Return to Outback Steakhouse

I really dislike when people complain solely for the sake of complaining. It’s almost as if they don’t care what the outcome is as long as they get an opportunity to let the world know that they were unhappy. Case in point: Amelia who had the “worst meal ever” at Outback Steakhouse.

According to her Facebook post on their page, the prime rib was so tough that even a dog would have a difficult time chewing and the steak also had a chunk of grisly fat on it. Even though the waitress and manager were very kind  and comped the prime rib as well as her replacement burger, Amelia has vowed to never return to Outback Steakhouse. This begs the question: so what the fuck are you complaining for?

First off, I have a dog and there is no steak in the world that is too tough for him to be able to chew. Seriously, I have seen him eat a rawhide bone in the time it takes me to watch an episode of Grace and Frankie and those rawhide bones are as hard as plastic. In fact, I think they are actually part plastic, so I cannot imagine him looking at a piece of prime rib, no matter how overcooked and fatty it may be, and deciding it wasn’t chewable. That steak would go down as easily as a tequila does for me. Basically what I’m saying, Amelia, is don’t exaggerate. And so there was some fat on your steak. Ummm, it’s prime rib, which means it’s heavily marbled and do you know what makes a steak heavily marbled? Fat, Amelia. Fat is what makes a steak heavily marbled. But whatever, you didn’t like it so they didn’t make you pay for it and then you ordered a burger instead which you also didn’t have to pay for. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me, but you still wanted to complain. Never mind that the staff at Outback did everything they possibly could to make up for your less than satisfactory experience, you are still unhappy. And even though you say you will never go back, you still felt it necessary to go to the Facebook page and complain. Why, Amelia? Why? If your meal was completely free, the people were nice and you will never set foot there again, what exactly is the point of complaining?

Wait, I know the answer to that!

You are one of those people who complains for the sake of complaining. It matters not that the situation was resolved and that your life will move forward, You don’t care that the staff wanted to make it up to you. You just wanted to make sure that the world knew you were unhappy and that you had the worst meal you have ever had in your entire life. It was free, but still you want to complain. It’s probably for the best that you don’t go back to Outback again because you have proven to them (and to everyone else who reads this) that you cannot be made happy. Really, you’re doing them a favor by not returning because now they won’t have to waste their efforts on a customer who is unappreciative. Outback Steakhouse bids you a fond farewell, Amelia.

Whenever someone goes to a restaurant, they absolutely have the right to voice their displeasure with their experience. Hopefully, the complaint will fall on the ears of a compassionate server and manager who will do whatever they can to make things better. However, if that person complains and doesn’t appreciate when the situation is amended, then that is a person we don’t want in the restaurant. If you are like Amelia, stay at home because you are not needed.

“Terrorist” Waiter Stiffed by Customers is a Liar

A few days ago, I shared a post onto my Facebook page about a Saltgrass waiter in Odessa, Texas named Khalil who claimed to be stiffed by his customers, saying they don’t tip terrorists. “I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists,” Khalil wrote. “Although, this is nothing new, it is still something that will test your faith.” After I shared the viral receipt, I read hundreds of comments from people, some who sympathized with him and some who floated the possibility that he had made it up. I vigorously stood up for Khalil, shooting down anyone who assumed that he was doing it for attention and potential donations. I banned several people from the page who spouted racist views. I argued with others, refusing to believe that a server would knowingly open up a can of racism.

I was wrong.

Khalil has come out to say that he fabricated the whole story. He is no longer employed at Saltgrass and his post has been deleted I owe some of you an apology. To those of you who considered the idea that he was an attention-seeking drama queen, I’m sorry. However, I am not sorry to those that were banned from the page, because whether the story was true or not, I won’t tolerate racist comments and narrow-minded assholes, so those assholes are still banned. To everyone else, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for sharing something that was not true and I’m sorry for defending a liar.

And to Khalil I have this to say:

What the fuck were you thinking? Isn’t there already enough racism and hate in this world without having to stir up some more? Maybe you didn’t expect your Facebook photo to go viral, but even if you only thought your friends and family would see it, why did you want to lie to them? Was it some pathetic attempt to remind everyone that racism exists? Guess what, Khalil, we already knew that. Turn on your fucking TV and watch the news from CNN to FOX to MSNBC to BBC and you will 100% see something about racism in the United States. We don’t need you to create some fucking social media experiment to prove it. It’s in our face every day. You are contributing to “fake news” and reinforcing a few stereotypes while you do it. Thanks to you, the general public is going to keep assuming that servers are idiots. Thanks to you, even more people will think that folks in Odessa, Texas hate anyone with a name like yours. Thanks to you, the next time a server actually does get a receipt with something vile and hateful written on it, no one will believe them. Your little stunt did nothing but hurt people, including yourself because for the rest of your life, when anyone Googles your name they are going to know about the time you made up a story and created a social media firestorm just became you thought it would be fun.

Once again, I am sorry for posting it. I do my due diligence before sharing things, but this story already had traction, being covered n USA Today, CBS and the Washington Post. It seemed real. To everyone who questioned its legitimacy that I fought back against, I’m sorry. And to Khalil, fuck you.

Waitress Kicks the Ass of Man Who Gropes Her

Every so often, the restaurant gods bestow upon us a savior; a hero in an apron who reminds us all that servers are not people to be fucked with. A video posted on Reddit this week introduces us to one of these heroes. We know not her name, her restaurant or the city in which she resides, but we do know one thing; she is a fucking bad ass. The headline of the Reddit post is all we need to know:

My cousin takes down this pervert for grabbing her ass. He is later arrested in front if his wife and 2 kids when the cops arrive.

Too often, I hear from female servers who are groped, hit upon, felt up and demeaned by sleazy men who think they have the right to treat a women any way they want. Well, this guy picked the wrong waitress to demean, because she doesn’t hesitate to put him in his place. With catlike reflexes she grabs his collar and brigs him down.

Whoever you are, hero waitress, thank you. Thank you for reminding customers that just because we are serving them doesn’t mean they own us. And thank you for encouraging other waitresses to release their inner bad ass when someone treats them poorly. You have earned all of my respect.

And to the guy in the red shirt with the wandering hands: I hope the shame you feel from this viral video teaches you a lesson. I hope your wife used this humiliating experience as a teaching moment for your two children to make sure they know how NOT to treat a woman. That is the one good thing that come from seeing their daddy arrested for being a sleazeball asshole.

Buy my book, The Bitchy Waiter, by clicking here. 

Little Girls Steals Tip and Gets Publicly Shamed For It

A restaurant in Mansfield, Texas is publicly shaming a little girl who stole a tip from a table and it was all caught on surveillance video. (Video below)

I am living for it.

The owner of Our Place Restaurant, Benji Arslanovski, has no regrets saying, “That’s the only tool we have to catch those people. So we’re going to use it. It’s not okay, but we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt to make it right. Our rule is if you come pay for it today or the next day, we’ll take the video off.” This is not the first time he has done this.

The video clearly shows the child thief in action, picking up the $5 bill off the table and then hiding it under her menu when the waitress approaches. You know that little girl knew what she was doing was wrong because why else would she hide it? It also appears as if she shows her mom the money. Well, when Benji saw that video footage, he posted it on the restaurant’s Facebook page (click here if you want to give them some support for sticking up for their servers)  and what do you know? The next day the mom came back with the five bucks claiming she didn’t know it had happened and she thought her daughter got the money from her piggy bank. Uh huh. Yeah. Right, Mom.

Whether the mom knew about her juvenile delinquent daughter or not, it’s clear that the little girl is a lying, thieving, no-good, con artist with no soul and no future other than that of stealing hubcaps and selling loose cigarettes in front of the 7-11. She’s nothing but an alley cat, dirty rat, double crosser. Then again, she’s only four years old, so maybe there’s hope.

I just want to take a hot minute to thank Benji for looking out for his staff. He knows that servers in Texas only make $2.13 an hour and that tips are the livelihood of anyone who wears an apron for a living. If a person chooses to not tip, well, that’s their prerogative, However, if someone steals a tip that was left by someone else, that’s straight up bullshit and that person deserves to be shamed, even if it’s a little girl. As for the Mom, I hope she finds a way to turn her daughter around and get her on the straight and narrow path of honesty.

Keep up the great work, Benji.