So it’s Memorial day today and I took the day off to take my lazy ass to the beach and now I am on my way to my regular Margarita Monday. But what’s this? The Bitchy Waiter has been named a “Blog of Note” today? I quiver with excitement. I tremble with anticipation. I hate customers. I just wanted to give a very bitchy welcome to any first time readers. And not only am I a bitchy waiter, I am also a greedy publicity hound and attention whore so I hope you will follow this blog, follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.
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No. No, they are not.
Someone sent me an article written about that old wives tale “the customer is always right” and I must respond. Is the customer always right? Of course not. They are very often misinformed, clueless, unreasonable or just plain dumb. But here is what may surprise you: the waiter is not always right either. There, I said it. Sometime I can acknowledge that I have made a mistake. I have found that when I do, the customer appreciates the honesty and it results in a better tip. Just ‘fess up. I have flat out told customers that I have forgotten to put their order in and that’s why it’s taking so long so here is a complimentary beverage and I’m sorry. I will also go out of my way to do what a customer wants but if it gets just plain ridiculous, we have to draw the line. I do not believe the customer is right when they demand that the music is too loud for their baby to sleep. Or when they want us to make something that isn’t on the menu simply because we have all the ingredients. Peanut butter and jelly in the house does not mean that the kitchen has to make a sandwich for your kid because that’s the only thing they will eat. If the kid doesn’t like what’s on our menu, then maybe they should be eating somewhere else or bringing their own stupid PB and J. And when this lady told me that there was no liquor in her strawberry daiquiri, I knew for certain that the customer was not right because there was most assuredly liquor in her drink. So in those instances, customers are wrong.
The article questioned why so many companies are willing to side with rude disgruntled customers rather than siding with their loyal employee. If management was more willing to ignore this antiquated rule, then employees would be more willing to give excellent customer service and in return the customers would have a better experience. Once, I was explaining to a woman that an egg white omelet was an additional charge. It was clearly on the menu but she couldn’t understand why. “I’m only using part of the egg and not the whole thing so it really should be less‘” she said. Never mind that it takes more eggs to make an egg white omelet, she was not having it. I kept telling her it was the policy and there was nothing I could do. She called a manager over who then voided off her additional $1 charge in order to appease her making me look like an asshole even though I was the one who was following policy. “The customer’s always right,” he sighed as he swiped his card in the computer to void the charge from her check. So now this woman will always expect that every time she goes back to that restaurant. And I now resent trying to do my job. Had the manager explained that it’s policy and made her pay the dollar, I would have had respect for the manager and the lady would now know she either has to deal with our rules or go somewhere else.
Before you jump all over me, anonymous poster, I do try to make my customers happy. If I can bring some extra bread because they are “starving” I will or if the sun is shining in their eyes, I will adjust the blinds. But if they want me to comp their steak because it “didn’t taste right” but they still managed to eat all but two bites of it, then the customer is wrong. If they ask for a discount because sitting on the patio was too loud for them to hear themselves think, that customer is also wrong. Is the customer always right? No. We give them the benefit of the doubt but sometimes they just are wrong wrong wrong.
In 1984 many wonderful things happened. The groundbreaking film Ghostbusters was released, Cyndi Lauper earned the Grammy for best new artist (criminally beating Madonna) and Apple introduced their first Macintosh personal computer. But these are not the only momentous occasions of that year, for it was also the year that I was born. Today is my birthday. Uh huh. I am 26 years old. I repeat, I am 26 years old. Anyone who says otherwise is completely and utterly wrong. To celebrate, I am taking the day off from work. Actually, I only work two days a week so taking Saturday off is a regular thing for me, but today I have a reason other than laziness and no direction in life. Today I will be having lunch and dinner at restaurants and I expect nothing less than a group of waiters singing to me as they place before me a stale piece of cake with a dirty candle stuck in it. The restaurants should be comping my drinks, simply because I was born. The whole restaurant should give me their undivided attention because it is my special day, dammit. And in case you are wondering what I would like for my birthday, there are a few things. You can always go here if you want an idea or here for another great gift option. The Bitchy Waiter is also on the look out for a new Mac Book, running shoes, a watch, jewelry, vacation home in Provincetown, free airline tickets, tequila, tequila, tequila or anything else of value. Or you can always go here to express your birthday wishes upon me.
Seriously, thank you for the birthday love and thank you for reading this blog. It makes me happy that even one person reads it or comments on anything. Thank you. And to all you other May 29th birthdayers out there, happy birthday to you too! Oh wait…was I born in 1984 or was I a sophomore in high school in 1984, I’m not sure.
I recently wrote about how frustrating it is when someone takes both copies of the credit card slip effectively keeping me from getting a tip because I don’t know what they had written on the tip line. It really sucks when this happens, but a few days ago a miracle occurred. Let’s play a game and you decide which miracle is true.
Miracle #1: I woke up late and was rushing around getting ready to start my day. I was out of Cheerios so I had to go to breakfast option number two which would be two pieces of toast with grape jam. I put my bread in the toaster and two minutes later I sat down with my breakfast ready to eat. All of a sudden, I noticed an image peering back at me from my multi-grain bread. Jesus had appeared on my breakfast food. I quickly took a picture and sold that shit on Ebay for $23.99. It’s miracle!
Miracle #2: In my backyard, I have a statue of the Virgin Mary. Every day, I go to her and thank her for watching over me and keeping me safe. I talk to her and explain my day and when I am done I feel better. Well, one day as I was telling her how thankful I was for the ten percent tip that someone left me on a $100 check, I looked into her eyes and saw that she was crying. The Virgin Mary statue was crying real tears and I knew that I was on the path to righteousness. It’s a miracle!
Miracle #3: A few days ago, someone came into the club and told me that they had inadvertently took the credit card slip that had my tip on it and they owed me twenty dollars. It’s a miracle!
Can you figure out which one really happened? I’ll give you two clues. Never am I out of Cheerios and I do not have a backyard. Uh huh. Someone actually came back in to tip me from the week before. It made my night and it also restored my faith in all humanity and made all things right in the world. Like Anne Frank, “in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Until someone asks me for a glass of water, a bowl of lemons and Sweet and Low packets and then I go right back to hating all people.
Maybe I have said this before, but it bears repeating. I cannot stand when I ask someone what they want to drink and they respond with some dumb ass response like “what do you have?” It makes me want to grab their nipples, twist them off and use them as a garnish on their Cosmopolitan. Seriously? What do we have? We are a bar. We have what all bars have. There’s a pretty good chance we’ll have what you want unless you’re asking for the milk of the aloe vera plant, a glass of water from the Fountain of Youth, or Tang. And then they look at me like they think I’m really going to recite a laundry list of every possible beverage. I would think that most people have a pretty good idea of what they want to drink. Don’t we all have our usual suspects? A Coke, a gimlet, a water. But maybe this asswipe was new to our planet and really wasn’t sure what we offered. Perhaps I should have been more patient with our inter-planetary friend but I was not in the mood. I responded with “the usual things that a bar has to drink, so I’ll let you think it over and come back later.” I don’t have time for that shit. If he really needs help, there is thing we have in the club that is made for that purpose. It’s called a menu. Look at it. Choose something. I will bring it.
So let’s review. If you have a question about a beverage, make it a good one. Like “what reds do you have by the glass?” or “do you have any non-alcoholic beer?” or “if I have six margaritas, you’re not gonna to cut me off, are you?” (Okay that last question might be just for me when I go to Margarita Mondays.) Just don’t ask some broad-based stupid ass question like “what do you have?” It will piss me off. And pissing off your server right before he hands you your Coors Light is not a good idea.
It was a special night at work a few evenings ago. The whole audience knew each other because they were all there to support one of their own from their local Long Island Community Theater. It was like they were there for the yearly trek into New York City and I was the one who would benefit from this mass migration. I knew things would be odd when I went to my first table.
After I explained the whole two drink minimum thing and they let that sink into their over-processed heads of hair, lady number one informed me that she would like a “milky drink.” I wasn’t sure what she wanted since we’re not a fucking Dairy Queen. I suggested a white chocolate martini since it has a cream liqueur . “Naaaaa.” I then suggested a Bailey’s and cream. “Naaaaa.” Her friend suggested a Pina Colada. I had to tell her we don’t do Pina Coladas because we don’t have a blender since we are a performance venue and it would be too loud, but her friend said I could just stir it. And to make sure I knew what she meant, she spun her fingers in a circle. Oh, stir it, thank you. “Naaaaa.” Tap tap tap went my pen on my pad. She finally decided on a Kahlua and milk, very little Kahlua and almost all milk. Yum.
Table number two. Three Pinot Grigios and one white zinfandel. With two sides of ice. Do I need to say anything more about them?
Table number three wanted a Dewar’s and water, but not too strong. I gave her a rocks glass filled with Dewar’s and water just like she asked and I put extra water in it so the glass was pretty full. “Is there water in that?” Yes. “Are you sure?” Let’s see, unless my short term memory is so bad that I can’t recall what I did 45 seconds ago, then I am certain that put water in it. Besides that, the glass is almost full to the top, so that would have been a lot of Dewar’s. Three minutes later she was at the bar asking for more water because she wasn’t sure I had put any in it. Okay. Next time order a glass of water with a splash of Dewar’s.
When it came time to give them the checks, one table was confused by the total. Surely I had made a mistake and added something extra to their check because there was no way that four people could spend that much in such a short amount of time. I looked at the check. It was right. New York City is expensive. Maybe a glass of Zinfandel is cheaper on Long Island but I bet you don’t get to have your drinks brought to you by The Bitchy Waiter. Have a safe return to your own little world.