Monday, November 13

I'm Not Here To Serve You.

I'm not here to serve you.

"Why I will never, ever, freaking ever be a waiter as long as I'm on this Earth."

-By: theCDP.

As a man with a sparkling personality, devastating sex appeal and an inviting scent, most people who meet me think I would make a terrific waiter. To support this argument, they remark at how good I am with small details and my ability to make large groups of people feel uncomfortable without even trying. They claim it's a gift from God; my therapist and I think otherwise.

I've had a lot of Public Relation jobs in my life. Bartender, Customer Service Representative, gas station attendant, strip club DJ, rock slanga’, cameraman for Guys Gone Wild and a brief stand-in for Peter Jennings shortly before he died. I've never been a waiter, however. My reasons for this are pretty simple, if you ask me.

I can't tolerate anyone, and I don't like to walk and carry things at the same time.

Me and the Missus go out to eat about 10 times a month. We do this because we're too lazy to go grocery shopping every 2 weeks, as initially agreed upon by contract when we started living together. Nope, we instead spend $60 a night, grinding our teeth in a nice restaurant, thinking of ways to telepathically poison the food of the party next to us and wishing we were at home.

For years, I cursed my luck, thinking that I was consistently sat next to the most annoying table at whichever eatery I happened to be dining at. Nowadays, I know better; every table is annoying, because everyone in the world is annoying.

Even you. Probably even the Missus, but not me. I'm sure of it.

No matter where I am, no matter the restaurant, no matter the city or state, I'm always seated next to one of the following groups. Allow me to elaborate:

Table #1 - Attention-seeking children; non-responsive parents. 96% of families in general.


Look, just because you've found a way to tune out the sound of your childrens' voices, that doesn't mean that everyone else at The Olive Garden* has. If your kid says "Mom!" one more time without you responding to them, I will pick them up by the ankles and beat you to death with your own kid. If you are physically unable to raise a child to keep their mouth shut when at a public place, you have failed as a parent and should never be allowed to enjoy a meal outside of your loud, and no doubt filthy, home.

*Still my favorite chain restaurant.

When I was a kid, it was naturally assumed that children had absolutely nothing of importance to say to adults, and the mere thought of addressing one was met with a look of disapproval and certain death. Not only does that teach respect, terror and good behavior, it also reminds you not to say anything unless it's important. For example, if his or her pants were on fire, or he or she was in the clutches of a registered sex offender. Any other circumstance- denied!

Furthermore, I always see parents and their horrid spawn at expensive and 'upscale' places. Why? Not only are you going to spend $200 on a meal that your kids aren't going to even touch, you've also ruined a decent night out for those of us who aren't inconsiderate mongoloids. If all you were looking for was an easy way to waste a bunch of money, you should have just donated it to Coats For Kids. Kids don't need coats, dumbass.

Another thing that I see all the time are children leaving their tables and walking around unsupervised. No less than 20 times have I been eating, only to look to my immediate right and see some kid staring at me, typically covered in a sauce of some sort. In most cases, I wave the knife around a little and they back away. However, there are those times where I run into a child that's more dense than a black hole, opting to stand next to my table and stare until their parents finally realize that they have strayed.

New rule, parents. If your kid stands by my table for one second longer than a minute, they become my property. I will then kill them, hollow them out and use their husks to smuggle meth across the border. You may have thought that story was just an urban legend, but I'm going to make it a reality with precious Tyler and Cheyenne.

Restaurants should also start stocking chairs that have seatbelts on them. Just a thought.

Now that smoking is pretty much banned in every restaurant in America, I propose that we have a section for families and groups of five or more people, and a second section for adult parties of four or less. Not only does that keep the noise and annoyance where it should be, but I can also fulfill my fantasy of eating an expensive dinner in the nude; this time, without Dateline NBC busting in with their fancy hidden cameras and litigations.

In short, children shouldn't be allowed into any restaurant that doesn't have a kid's menu. And even then, they probably shouldn't.

(If you're one of the very few families that has children who are well-behaved enough to eat in public, pat yourself on the back. Then fly to the Space Station on the wings of a unicorn, because you don't really exist.)

Table #2 - Groups of teenagers. Specifically girls.

If there's one thing worse than a group of butthole parents and their equally-butthole children, it's a group of unmonitored teenage girls, demonstrating why they should still be chaperoned by Daddy and huddled in the back of a diesel-powered mini-van.

Now, before you start calling me a sexist, I'll have you know that I ran this theory by the Missus and she approved it. If at least one woman agrees with me, it can no longer be called sexist. Much like me making fun of fat people as long as one fat person thinks it's funny. Thanks Cliff, you've unlocked months of comedy gold for me.

Most teenage girls that congregate in groups like to talk quickly and loudly about tough issues that matter, like politics, religion and how fat Dakota's ass looks in that skirt. They laugh way too loud at things that are in no way humorous, are almost always rude to the waitstaff (if it's a woman, especially), and are usually so stone-dumb that it's embarrassing to even eavesdrop. Furthermore, they always want to talk to whoever's on their phone far more than whoever's at the table. Next time, they should really invite the person that's on the phone, and they can skip a step.

Oh, and it goes without saying that you may want to silence your phone before you go into a restaurant. If you happen to be sitting next to me, I have a little system I like to follow:

If your phone is silenced during the meal: You will live. Dinner will continue as planned.

If your phone rings, and you immediately silence it: I will be annoyed, but forgiving. Even I forget to silence my phone at times, but my ringtone is so rad that people actually ask me to play it for them again.

If your phone rings, and you let it ring until your voicemail picks up:
Your tires will be slashed upon exiting the eatery. Anything left on the dash will be stolen.

If your phone rings and you answer it: It's over. I hope you're having a good meal, because you'll be seeing it again when I tear your stomach open with a broken bottle of Pabst.

If it turns out to be an emergency and you have to immediately leave the restaurant, that's fine by me. Just as long as you don't get to enjoy your meal, and someone that you know is potentially injured or killed. What's important is that I'm happier than you.

Table #3 - The Snobs.


On most Sunday mornings, you can find me and the Missus at a place called Sir Hobo's. Hobo's is a diner a few blocks from our house that serves breakfast anytime and is run by a pushy Greek family. I like this place for a number of reasons. The food is cheap, the place is usually empty, everything's covered in grease, and it's owned by a pushy Greek family. If anything, I'm just happy that places like this still exist in big cities.

Me and the Missus can go there wearing hoodies and caps to cover our unwashed hair, still confident that there will be people at the bar looking worse than us. Nobody knows who we are, we're never approached by acquaintances or co-workers, and the waitresses don't want to chat. In fact, they all but throw your plates down on the counter, and everything's scalding, even the milk*. I enjoy this more than I can accurately convey.

*You'll laugh later; that's really, truly funny.

Last Sunday, we were seated next to a well-scrubbed family of four, who had clearly never been to Sir Hobo's before. They were dressed as if they just left church (which they probably had). I wouldn't be surprised if they had a Range Rover parked outside with golf clubs sticking out of the back, all set for a relaxing drive to the country club to discuss fine wines and munch on unborn baby Yak cheese, or whatever it is that rich people eat when they're around company.

Such a funny sentence.

So, the deep-voiced and not-at-all-to-be-messed-with Greek waitress comes over to take their order. For the next five minutes, she has to stand and listen to a lecture on the differences between wheat bread and whole wheat bread, even though I'm quite certain that Sir Hobo's has neither nor. When they finally settled on an order that suited them, I heard them continuing to berate this poor woman after she left, for being so clearly uneducated in the fine workings of wheatiness.

Unless it's deep-fried and over 1000 calories, you won't find it there. I promise.

I was vibrating with anger. It was completely unnecessary and unspeakably rude. The id in me wanted to jump the booth and piledrive both Soccer Mom and Country Club Dad with ruthless aggression, but I guess I'm not that kind of guy. Next time, however, they won't be so lucky.

I could go on for a few hours longer, but in short, I wouldn't be a very good waiter.

Enjoy your day; sound off in the comments section and let me know if you would want me as your waiter.

Comments:
I know this'll break your heart... I promise you that your ringtone is not rad. Quiet vibration is the only acceptable ringtone.

If I owned a restaurant, I'd build a cell phone booth or two in the lobby, and that would be the only allowable place in the building to have a phone conversation.
 
You're probably right about the ringtone issue, although 'My Humps' is still very popular amongst some circles.

A cell phones-only section at a restaurant? Brilliant!

I also like the fact that phone booths nowadays are just empty spaces where you have to provide the phone yourself. Ha-ha! There's one for Life In These United States.
 
I'm with you on your general hatred of people, though. I love pay-at-the-pump and self-checkout. I'm waiting till I can punch in my own order for food at Burger King and walk out without uttering a word to anyone.

In a bigger sense, I think it's a troubling trend that says a lot about our society and lack of community. On the other hand, I don't want to discuss my purchases with the people taking my money.
 
I concur. Nothing like going through the checkout lane and having to endure "So,having spaghetti for dinner?", 'Is this stuff any good?", "You must really like macaroni", etc.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I see no reason why clerks need to exist at fast food restaurants. There should simply be a computer screen and a window where the cook hands the food off to you. And even the handing-off could probably be done with a mechanical arm of some sort.

I think that as a society, we can come together if need be, but most of the day we just want to be left alone.

When I was studying the mechanics of electricity relating to audio in college, we were forced to memorize a little thing called "Signal Flow." It was basically a map of every component that went into getting an electrical signal from Point A to Point B. Any breaks in the signal would destroy the signal flow, leading to electrocution or simply a lack of sound coming out of your amp.

The point is this. The more obstructions, annoyances and faulty equipment that you put between Point A and Point B, the more chances it's probably not going to work. Simplify Signal Flow, simplify your life and minimize error.

I should write a business manual.

And yes, I know how terrible it sounds to equate human beings with annoying obstructions in the Signal Flow of life, but seriously, aren't they?

Not you guys, though. You guys are the best.
 
I think I'll write a book on serving food when I get a teaching job. Just the other night, I had a party of 23 people (shared with another server), and they only have four entrees to choose from and had to be out by 8:00pm. Sounds easy right? Wrong! They all had separate checks (which made a bitch to split because they were all standing around drinking cocktails at the beginning of the evening- the trick is which drink goes where?) After all the orders were taken and all the separate checks were figured out, one of the gentleman informed me that he was waiting for his son, and that he was walking into the restaurant right at that moment. I asked him, "So, you'd like me to hold the whole food order until he comes?" He looked at me and answered, "Yes, of course." So, I wait for him to sit down and make a decision, and he gets out his cell phone. I intently stare at him and ask "what can I get for you this evening?" In between holding a conversation with his friend on his cell phone, he annoyantly tells me that he'd like the chicken. I asked him, "Can I get you something to drink with that?" and the stupid man continued to carry on his conversation without even looking at me. As he turned to me, I said, "well nevermind" and hurriedly walked out of the room. Things like this happen every single time I work.
 
Screw that. If someone's talking on their cell phone, I'm not waiting for them. They can get my attention when they're finished, and when I'm ready.

This falls under category #3, for those following along at home.
 
"you'll be seeing it again when I tear your stomach open with a broken bottle of Pabst."

That is the single greatest thing I've heard all week.

As a former waiter, I have to say that, by far, the sheer awesomeness of my regulars usually trumped the ioiocy from others.

Also, I am crual and clever and will find ways to make you miserable that are not easily traced directly back to me if you piss me off.
 
When I used to work at the gas station, I'd find little ways to get back at rude customers. For example, if a rude person bought a candy bar or a bag of chips, I'd put the goods deep into the paper bag and crush them to pieces. That way, they wouldn't know their candy was ruined until miles down the road.

It's the little victories that count.
 
Stupid comments not working.
 
i used to work as a barman here in the uk. i could never understand how people can be so rude as to walk up to a bar to order drinks whilst talking on their mobile.

i used to just ignore them. if i'm not your first priority buddy, you're not mine...
 
Amen, Doctor P. Also, thank you for bringing a little International flavour to the CDP.

Two days ago, I got an e-mail from Winnipeg, and now this? How cool.
 
He's back!!

After much frustration, I've finally gotten my computer to hook back into the internet... it would seem the ex-fiancee screwed with a lot more than I realized... let's just say it's a good thing I'm out of that one...

I also have a new and improved myspace address, even if it is the devil. And a very metal looking picture of me.
 
And I've got a much better rude gas station story... my boss (Dan) was rude to me, so I locked up at 5 on labor day Saturday and left!

What a jerk.
 
And changed the message on the receipts. That ruled.

Or was that Aaron? Whichever one of you that was, it ruled.
 
Yeah, that did rule.

I'm Passive-Aggressive, so I just stole $10 from the till every day until I had over $50,000, then I moved to Madison and bought a new car.

Ex-fiancee, eh? Well, didn't see that one coming. You're better off, dude.
 
Yeah, who needs a wife anyway? Wait a minute...
 
Beh-heh-heh.
 
I, personally, am better off without one, but my ex did not like me playing video games, and was not amused by my drunken shenanigans.

She also hated my friends and made me watch The OC and lots of reality television.
 
Me and the Missus still have plenty of differences in opinion, but I honestly think that we're functioning as a team more now than we ever have.

She plays video games with me every once in a while, enjoys almost all of the same TV shows and proofreads my essays to make sure they rock properly. Pretty much everything else is split down the middle; her tastes are my tastes and so forth. I think couples' personalities start to meld together after 8 years, and there's just no turning back.

We share the same group of friends, although if we ever split up, they'll side with her and I'll be alone for the rest of my life. I'm only their friends through association; I've make a point not to take on any new friendships since 1998. Besides, all of my female friends are taken, so I'd have nobody to go out with when the divorce is final.

In short, if I didn't have the Missus, this page would be a lot less funny. In fact, it would just be a daily webcast of me crying in my pajamas.
 
She was also a Nazi that ate babies for breakfast.
 
Well, now we're getting somewhere. Quite frankly, you had me at "She made me watch The OC."

On second thought, me crying in my pajamas everyday would actually be pretty hilarious. To everyone but me, of course, but still quite funny.
 
Especially if they were women's pajamas.

...wait, did I just cross a line?
 
You lost me at "Olive Garden is my favorite chain restaurant." Minus the breadsticks and salad, everything there is so terribly bland. And they don't cleverly call anything there "slammers" or "extreme" or "poppers" like a proper Ugly American Chain Restaurant. Also with the lack of "flair."

Hmm. Apparently I hate Olive Garden. Who knew?

(And psst: Your "such a funny sentence" is missing a critical 'n.'" Yeah, I'm "that guy.")

I also enjoy that you deleted a comment that The Missus made... That'll be a fun conversation :)
 
I would have no issue being a waiter, especially in a fine dining establishment. Sure I'd have to deal with the worst snobs in the world, but the $500-1000 I bring home at night would really make up for it. Not to mention the fact that when I do get off work, I don't actually have to worry about work when I get home - no paperwork, no stress, and no matter what the economy, I can always find a job.

Also, while cashiers/waiters tend to not be the smartest people in the world, as a chef, I desperately need them to decipher the crap that the customers want and 'think' they are ordering, into something that is understandable, uniform, that I can attempt to cook for them. If you had customers trying to order food directly, you would have no chefs left, we would all be in prison for murder. Seriously, half of them are on parole for something anyway and simply need a slight nudge to turn them into "crazy chef with a giant butchers knife."

Customer: "Yeah, I'd like the French Onion Soup - but can you hold the onions? Thanks"
Chef: "You need to leave now. Leave now or I will kill you. In fack, stay. Please stay." ::starts to sharpen knife::

While I hate all people as well, I am unfortunately blessed with great customer service skills, large vocabulary, and a winning smile. I'm born to be in this industry. And as soon as I pick up a coke or meth habit, I'll really fit in.

I will not talk to a customer if they are on a cell phone. I have no problem asking a family with rowdy kids to settle down or leave if need be (I'll pick up the family's tab if it means keeping the other customers from getting pissed and leaving, those are the customers I want in the first place).

However, I'd never work in "Family Dining" or places like Outback, etc. I really do hate kids, and families do not tip. They will leave a giant mess to clean up, and throw a dollar on the table. Church people are just as bad if not worse - they are rude, pushy, and won't tip (I'm not Aaron Sorkin, it's just restaurant fact and I don't know why.). I also have no interest in conversing with a customer as if they were my friend (yes, YOU, Outback). There is a proper distance that should be maintained between customer and server. It can be "friendly" with out crossing the line into imagining you were anything other than parasites using each other as a means to get what you really want: food or money. It's a good system, don't mess with it.
 
I love what waitingforgodot says, only because I'm afraid he'll poison my food if I disagree. And he hates Outback like the plague, which I find amusing.

Seriously, though, I'm a very good tipper, and I always feel awkward praying before I eat because I know there's the fact that "church people" are lousy tippers... I don't want them to automatically write me off and serve me poorly. I don't know if there's a tie-in there with the assumption that people will tip poorly making a server serve them poorly...

And Aaron Sorkin didn't tell me to write this, because he was too busy making pretentious comments about people who disagree with him while at the same time trying to work "those disagreeing people" into his scripts in a condescending way and patronizing their points of view.

(Sorry..I just got finished watching this week's "Studio 60." I wanted to love it, but the soapbox is just too tall...)
 
The other thing wrong with Olive Garden... No crooked pictures or signs hanging on the wall, indicating the casually hap-hazard casualness, a place where you can be you.
 
Great comments, seriously.

I like how it's just naturally assumed and mentioned in passing that we all hate the general public. I swear, the CDP has rounded up the neatest people in the world, and for that, I am grateful.

By the way, Todd, I corrected my spelling error. The Missus is supposed to watch for those things, but even she is prone to oversight. I appreciate that I have editors reading my every word, it helps the credibility. Oh, the comment I deleted was a double-post, so I still get to sleep in the bedroom tonight.

I know that defending the Olive Garden is a lost cause, but I enjoy it because I still think it's the quietest of the chain restaurants. They have more booths than tables and it's not just one huge room full of people. They have plenty of vegetarian food and the waiters seem to be people that I get along with. Other than that, you're right, Olive Garden can go straight to hell. I'm also a fan of bland food, so maybe- just maybe, I've got far bigger problems than my choice of eatery.

Godot, thanks for backing up some of my agruments. It's good to hear the opinion of someone on the 'inside.' Makes me sound like less of a ranting old man.

Todd, I think you have a good point about the pre-emptive poor service. I've been a victim of that in many places; people not giving me and the Missus the time of day because they think we can't afford something. That's one of the more frustrating things I've experienced in adult life.

Boy, Aaron Sorkin's really pushing everyone's buttons. By the way, after this week's episode of Studio 60, I said the same exact thing to the Missus that Todd wrote above. Even I thought that this week's episode was more of a political statement than solid entertainment, but I still think the guy's probably the best writer on TV, and irking people is what he does best. Not sticking up for him or anything, but if I got to write a TV show, it would probably look a lot like this. Only in my show, I'd have a lot more Yunjin Kim.

"An alligator wearing sunglasses? Whatever!"
 
I really liked the episode. I guess it doesn't bother me since he's really preaching to the choir, when it comes to my beliefs.
 

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