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The 8 Ways This 5% Tipper Annoyed Me

Despite my bitchy pen name, I honestly try to give all of my customers the best dining experience possible. Hospitality flows through my veins just as passionately as the blood and tequila do. But with some customers, that can be a challenge. Take for instance, the couple I served last week. They must have been in their early 20s. Had I carded them when they ordered their cocktails, I might have saved myself the frustration of watching them sip those libations in slow motion. Never have I have seen someone take as long as they did to get through a Blueberry Lemonade and an Orange Breeze. Those two cocktails are basically sugar water with booze, but they sipped them as if they were made of lava and the liquid was burning their esophagus with each swallow. When they ordered another round five minutes before closing time, I knew I was in for the long haul. But that’s not the only annoying thing these two did. Allow me to enumerate:

  1. When I asked him what kind of cheese he wanted on his burger, he asked what the chef recommended. Really? It’s a fucking hamburger, kid. We have cheddar, Swiss, goat, bleu, and American. You can put foreskin smegma on it for all he cares. I suggested American since it’s such “a classic.”
  2. When they finished eating their appetizer of mac and cheese, he told me how wonderful it was. “I loved that spiciness in there,” he told me. There is literally no spice in our mac and cheese; it has pasta, cheddar, gruyere, flour, salt, pepper, cream, and bacon. There is no jalapeño, Tabasco, cayenne, cajun seasoning, or ghost pepper. Still, I agreed with him. “Isn’t that just lovely?” I replied.
  3. When I placed their burgers in front of them, he extended his hands over his plate, palms upward, and said, “Well, would you look at that??” He said it the way a grandpa would reply to his 2-year old grandchild after they handed him a scribbled drawing of a horse with two heads. My reply: “Yes, it’s a cheeseburger.”
  4. When they ordered the aforementioned second cocktail after perusing the menu for far too long, he asked about the one called Fallen Leaves. “Is it juicy?” He wanted to know. I told him I would consider it more  “boozy” since it’s primarily bourbon with a splash of maple syrup and a squeeze of lemon. “Hmmm, boozy, you say. Interesting.” His hand was on his chin when he said it like he was Sherlock Holmes trying to decipher if Mrs. Peacock murdered someone using the wrench or the rope in the library or the dining room. I don’t know why this annoyed me, but it fucking did.
  5. When I poured their two cocktails from the shaker and into their glasses, he responded by clasping his hands together and then did the “would you look at that” gesture again.
  6. Forty minutes after we closed and with them being the only ones in the restaurant for at least an hour, they finally asked for the check. It was for $92. When I picked up the check, I saw he had left me $5. Five. Dollars.
  7. At this point, I had no more patience, so I began to blow out candles and turn out lights. Fuck them. As I was removing the candle from their table, he wanted to ask me a question about his martini glass. “What would you say is the proper way to hold this type of glass? This way or this way?” He alternated holding it by the stem and holding it nestled in his palm. “I would hold it by the stem so your hand doesn’t warm your drink,” I told him. He acted like I had just deciphered the Rosetta Stone. “Ahhhh,” he said as he tapped his forefinger on his temple to indicate the brilliant idea I had given him. “And would I hold my pinky out?” he wanted to know. “Yes,” I told him, but the truth is the only place I wanted his pinky to be was out of  my restaurant.
  8. As they got up to leave, he told me his girlfriend needed to go to the restroom first. She was in there for five minutes, probably wondering where the candles had gone that were there on her first trip to the restroom HOURS BEFORE. When she returned, he then explained that now he had to go. “We have two restrooms! Why didn’t you both go at the same time so you can both get the fuck out of my life?” I silently screamed and literally locked the door behind them.

God, they were annoying.

Congress is Passing a New Law to Benefit Servers

A new bill has passed thought the house and is expected to sail through the senate with bi-partisan support. Introduced by Janky Fitzsimmons (D) from Rhode Island, the measure would allow servers who work in restaurants with ten or more employees the option to slap a customer upside the head once every two months. Which customer is to be slapped is entirely up to the server and the decision lies solely upon them. Says Fitzsimmons, “I believe the morale and overall job performance will shoot through the roof once servers have this opportunity to release a little bit of steam. It will lead to better service for other customers.”

Most servers are happy that elected officials are thinking of them, but feel the new measure misses the mark. Ally Gaiter, a server for eight years at a Texas Roadhouse in Nampa, ID says, “Well, I was really hoping for paid time off or sick days or maybe even a raise, but I guess if all I get to do is slap a Karen upside the head every once in a while, I’ll take it.”

To be clear, servers will not be using their own hands for the slapping upside the heads. Each restaurant will be issued a federally mandated “slapping stick’ very similar to what is seen in children’s obstacle course where they dodge padded arms that spin in a circle. The slapping stick will be kept in the manager’s office along with an official slapping log to ensure no server slaps more heads than they are entitled to.

Kyle Rufus, a waiter at a Applebee’s in Prescott, AZ already has a plan. “Dude, I know exactly who I’m gonna slap. We have this regular named Carl who is so annoying. If I can slap him every two months, can I slap him, like on May 1 at 11:59 PM and then slap him again at 12:01 AM on May 2 and then just not do it again until July 3?”

Representative Fitzsimmons has not responded to requests to explain if Mr. Rufus’ plan is allowed under law or not.

If you work in a restaurant and want to register for your slapping stick, please click here to find out more details.

One Year Ago, Life Was Normal

One year ago today, March 8th, 2020, I had my last my meal in a restaurant. You now, like a real “sit at the bar and have cocktails and dinner” kind of experience. At that point, I had certainly heard of the coronavirus, but it wasn’t all-consuming quite yet. My diary entry for February 27th was the first mention of it: “Coronavirus. I just wanted to acknowledge it in case it becomes this huge thing that brings down our world…” On March 6th, I wrote “So, coronavirus… does it actually have me worried? Yes, a little bit it does.” On March 7th I wrote “Coronavirus is cray cray.” The next day, my husband and I went out to dinner, aware enough of this possible pandemic to make sure the bartender wiped down the bar, but not aware enough to know what was to come. We went to a restaurant in Astoria called Sugar Freak. 

It was a crowded Sunday night and I was so eager to eat all the fried foods and drink all the spicy margaritas. I remember sitting next to another couple and talking to the guy about his fried catfish and how delicious it was. He was probably only six inches away from me instead of six feet. The bartender was friendly, the food was incredible and it was a great night; one of those New York City evenings where everyone can sense that Spring is right around the corner. When I posted a photo of my cocktail onto my Instagram page, someone immediately commented “No way!!! I work there!! See you soon!!!” Within minutes, a young woman named Veronica was introducing herself to me and she bought my husband and I a round of tequila shots. I had no idea that this was our last night of normalcy, but I’m so grateful that it was so wonderful.

Five days later, Broadway shut down, leaving my husband with no place to work having worked there for 25 years. Two days after that all the restaurants in New York City were closed. Two days later, my other (non-restaurant) job laid me off. On March 16th my diary entry was very short: “Hi. Are we all gonna die?” And here we are, one year later with a lot of the same concerns. Broadway is still closed. I work part-time at my restaurant while hoping my other job will eventually find room for me to return. Its still scary, but not like it was when 1000 people a day were dying in New York.

A lot has changed since March 8, 2020. Twelve months ago, there was no immediate hope for a vaccine, but I’m happy to say that I have been fully vaccinated as of three days ago. One year ago, we thought stocking up on our groceries meant an extra loaf of bread and some canned beans, but now we can go to the grocery store, we just wear two masks while doing it. Time has given us a new perspective on what this pandemic can do to us. Over 500,000 people in our country have died of Covid since that night I had cocktails and fried food in a restaurant. It’s been a long, hard year for all of us, but for the family members of those who have been lost, it’s been way harder. Sure, I miss eating out. I hate that my glasses fog up because of my mask. I long to travel again and be able to socialize with friends like I did 365 days ago. But all of those inconveniences pale in comparison to what others have suffered through. I am incredibly grateful to be healthy and that we have had enough money to get through this last year. It may have been boring and tedious staying inside for months at a time, but I’m here.

If we look at how much has happened over the last year, imagine how much more will happen in the next twelve months. Maybe by March 8th, 2022, we will be looking at Covid as a terrible chapter that is complexly behind us and we will all be celebrating with a brand new version of he Roaring Twenties. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait all the way until 2022. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And as soon as we reach that light you will find me sitting at the bar of Sugar Freak, drinking a spicy margarita and talking to whoever happens to be sitting next to me.

Two Men Face Charges After Gun Threat at Ay Caramba Restaurant

Tensions are running high in restaurants these days thanks to the added stress of Covid, but it nearly boiled over at a restaurant called Ay Caramba in Asheville, NC earlier this week. Asheville police charged two individuals after they say threats were made during a dispute over takeout food. Yes, takeout food became such an issue that two men, George Christian Anagnostopoulos and West McCaskill Hunter, were freaking arrested because they were so upset about their Ay Caramba order.

Dudes, calm down. Was it really worth these charges:

  • Assault by pointing a gun (3 counts)
  • Going armed to the terror of the public
  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Open container of alcohol in a vehicle

Both men were arrested on bond, but surely they woke up the next morning and thought, “what the fuck did we do?” While we cannot know for certain what went down in that Mexican restaurant, we can imagine it, can’t we?

(insert dreamy harp music here)

Becky: Welcome to Ay Caramba! Are you picking up food that you ordered?

George: Chorizo.

West: Schlimazel.

Both of them: Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

Becky: Okay…so are you picking up food to go then? What’s the name?

George: My name is Luka!

West: He lives on the second floor!

Becky: I don’t have time for this, boys. I’ve been wearing a mask for the last six hours and my glasses are so fogged up I can’t even see how drunk you are, but I can smell you. What’s the name on the order?

George: I like big butts…

West: …and he cannot lie.

Becky: Okay, is this your order? I have a Nacho Supreme with extra guac, jalapeño poppers, a burrito fajita, and an order of flautas.

George and West fumble around for their wallets when a gun falls from the pocket of one of their hoodies. And then another gun falls to the floor, landing in a small puddle of pico de gallo.

George: Aw, man! My gun got salsa on it!

Becky: I’m gonna ask you both to leave right now.

George: But I want my burrito!

West: He likes big burritos and he cannot lie.

Becky: Get out or I’m calling the cops.

West: Hey, look his gun is all covered with salsa and my gun isn’t covered in anything. No fair! Can I have some sour cream for mine?

West points the gun at Becky.

Becky: Sir, does this look like a Wendy’s? Put the gun away.

George and West put their guns back into their pockets.

Becky: Give me one minute to get you order together, alright? If you’ll sit over there and wait for ten minutes, I will give you a complementary order of churros, alright?

George and West: Churro! Churro! Churro!

They both do as Becky asks and they sit down to wait for free churros. Meanwhile, Becky calls the cops who show up five minutes later and drag their asses to jail.

Of course we don’t know if this is how things actually transpired, but wouldn’t it just make fucking sense?

 

A Thank You To Servers For All You Did in 2020

If there’s anything the year 2020 taught those of us in the restaurant industry, it’s that most people think we’re unimportant. Well, 2020 didn’t necessarily teach us that because we’ve known it all along. It’s been a difficult year to be a server. (Hell, it’s been a difficult year to be a human being.) Most of us have had to endure restaurant closures or working fewer shifts in less than ideal circumstance. And then there are some of us who continuously wore the apron throughout the pandemic dealing with whatever consequences came with it, be it fewer customers, getting sick or at the very least being worried about getting sick. My guess is that some of you never heard a thank you from either your bosses or your customers, so please allow me.

Thank you for your willingness to do whatever was asked of you this year to keep your restaurant running. Wear a mask for hours on end while at work? Done. Wash your hands so many times they feel as dry as a well done burger? Done. Deal with outdoor dining during rain, heatwaves and blizzards? Done. You did that because your bosses asked you to. So, thank you.

Thank you for your resiliency. Some of you were laid off from your job and then asked to come back only to be laid off again. But you did it. You bounced back because you knew you had to in order to make some money to pay for frivolous things like rent and car payments. You persevered even though you didn’t know if it was the right decision or not. So, thank you.

Thank you for doing your best to make your customers feel welcome at your restaurants. As they sat in your section laughing, talking, and eating, you diligently wore your mask and served them so they could have just a brief respite back to something normal while your life was anything but that. I bet a lot of you were smiling underneath your mask even though no one could see it. Your customers might not have said thank you enough, so I will: thank you.

Thank you for all the hours you spent on the unemployment website or on the phone with someone trying to understand what benefits you were eligible for. It’s navigational nightmare trying to decipher what you have to do to receive some financial help while our livelihood is dying, but you did it. You spent hours figuring it out because no one else was going to help you understand it and you needed that money. Your family needed it for groceries. And after you fell into that black hole of an unemployment website and wasted so much time, you immediately had to do something else like cook dinner for your kids. Thank you.

Thank you for being a good parent and learning what remote learning is making sure your kids are okay. They’re struggling just like we are and you were there for them every step of the way. You swallowed your stress so they’d have less of it. Thank you.

2020 has taken a lot out of us, but it didn’t take away our hope. Every year, we step into January 1st full of hope for a better year to come. This year is no different. Servers are innately optimistic, because every time we approach a new customer we don’t know what to expect, but we always hope for the best- a big tip, a kind customer, or an experience that will remind us that waiting tables can sometime be very fulfilling. That’s the last thing I want to thank you all for: your hopefulness. Don’t let it go. You hold onto that hope tighter than you hold onto a credit card receipt on a windy patio. Your hope is what’s going to get us through 2021.

Thank you.