I’ve come up with a new book idea: Tales from a Waitress. Just discussing tonight with two of the girls I work with, I realized I could have a million dollar idea here. Especially in this economy, so many people are having to fall back on a job field that has been around centuries. Sure, in the 1920s there may not have been “advertising agencies,” “CEOs,” “pharmaceuticals” or “garbage men.” But there have always been some form of waiters because people have been dining out, or at least drinking in bars (legally or illegally – remember the Prohibition era?) for as long as anyone can remember. We learned in my Colonial History class at William and Mary that some of the most popular people in Colonial Williamsburg in the 1650s were the barmaids at the infamous taverns on Duke of Gloucester Street. Millions of people would eat up this type of book/website/blog… so don’t steal the idea, asshole.
I’m thinking I ask for anonymous submissions of stories about the dumbest customers, stupidest questions, rudest table, most annoying habits of a customer… it could go on and on. Some ideas (because these have happened at my place of employment either to me or someone I know):
– “Do you have Jesus in your life, honey?” Asked by a grandmother. Response, with a look over the shoulder: “Well… he’s around.”
– A customer walks in and has to wait. He’s visibly pissed, but that’s the policy – you can’t be seated until your entire party is present. After being seated, he reams you out about the fact that he, out of all people, had to wait. Do you know who he is? He owns buildings downtown. How dare you make him wait?! He’d like to speak to a manager… and his wife is a caterer at the Holiday Inn by the way. She’s never recommending someone to step foot in this establishment again! Huff. Huff. Huff.
– Being stiffed by your first table of the day. However, you now know her name and where she works (cough, cough… Areva… cough cough) so she has it coming.
– Picky eaters. Now, I have allergies. I understand. And I’m picky. But it’s a PIZZA PLACE. There are a billion different things you could eat without changing anything. Or just build your own pizza. Also, if you have a gluten allergy, newsflash: PASTA AND PIZZA DOUGH AREN”T GLUTEN FREE. NEITHER IS BEER. WHICH WE SELL IN ABUNDANCE. So if you want to make your own salad, just tell me. Don’t order a Greek but without olives, cucumbers or onions, no feta cheese, dressing on the side, and instead I’d like just lettuce, mixed with spinach, mushrooms and ranch dressing. Wait, you don’t have ranch? *Rolls eyes* Alright, blue cheese. None of that either? Ok, I’ll take half balsamic, half caesar, both on the side. Oh, and did I say please? No? Ok, just bring it out. Now. Oh, and about that drink… half lemonade, half sweet tea… that’s right, an Arnold Palmer. No ice, cup of ice on the side, two lemons and no straw. *Drinks it down* Refill required.
– The talkers, the uppities, the slow eaters, the lingerers after you’ve been cut, the loud cell phone talkers, the awkward ones with headphones in while you take their order, the moms who come in with 6 kids and their goldfish, the grandma that disputes every last dollar of the bill, the over-tipper, the college kids who only drink water (like fish) and split a pizza between 10 of them, the families with very polite kids who will never have personalities, the families with kids glued to their Nintendos, the business meeting that doesn’t want anything to do with your interruptions even if they’re in a restaurant and haven’t ordered after 45 minutes, the first dates, the old ladies and their hot tea because it’s SO COLD IN HERE IT’S LIKE ANTARCTICA and leave ONE dollar on the table because they just drink hot water with lemon and ate a quarter of a salad so slow mortar could have set in between bricks faster, the wedding anniverseries that want you to take a picture in 5 different locations, the drunks who are loud and don’t tip after all that work, the flirts who leave their number for you…
The list could go on. And I bet every one of these types was in our restaurant… just today. Not to mention the drama that goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant. How come this book hasn’t been written already (I looked it up… it hasn’t) when the movie Waiting was actually quite funny and semi-popular? Perhaps I’ve found my calling.