The old comedian’s standard about “I’ve got a million of ’em…” is just not true in our business. There are really only a few, but we’ve heard them a million times. So in the interest of letting you know that as servers, bartenders, hosts, and busboys, we really have heard it all; and the laugh track is definitely turned off:
- During a menu presentation, you do your due diligence by telling a table the kitchen has run out of a certain menu item, and your guests say, of course, “Oh that’s just what I was going to order, “ and then, “well, let’s go…” as they snap their menus shut and look around the table for the congratulatory smiles or laughs. Yes, that’s certainly well thought out and most original, sir…
- Presenting the check to a group of businessmen, or any men for that matter, and one of them, gesturing to the gentleman across the table who may or may not look older than him, says: “And give the check to my father, over there…” Well, you all look old enough to be MY father, so could you be a little more specific?
- Ordering the Halibut, just for the “Hellubit…” is just plain dumb.
- Cautioning me to “make sure it’s de-caf, because I’m going to call you at 2:00am when I can’t sleep, heh-heh-heh…” is a surefire way to guarantee that you will most certainly NOT get decaf when I refill your cup. Besides, I’m a waiter. I don’t go to bed until 3am, so here’s my number. Have a ball with that answering machine. And, incidentally, if you are the last table in the restaurant, I am most assuredly WILL be pouring you decaf when I refill your coup for the nineteenth time, even if you ordered regular; because the coffee station has been cleaned, and all the regular coffee dumped hours ago so the rest of the staff could go home. Warm-up?
- “Tell the Chef I hated it…” as your empty plate is being cleared. I must admit, though, that I have a standard reply to this one: “Well we certainly appreciate your struggling through to the end like you have. It helps save the fragile egos in the kitchen when I can take the plates back empty…”
- “Well, you don’t look any older…” when I come up to the table to take your order after the exorbitantly long period of three minutes since the last time I was there when you couldn’t break off your conversation with “your father, over there…” long enough to look at the menu or order a drink.
- Ordering an expensive bottle of wine and when presented with a taste for approval before pouring for the table, doing a fake gag-and-choke, and saying something like “It’s awful. Take it back….“
- Or when I open the twelve-dollar bottle of Chateau Schwag that you bought at Safeway on the way to the restaurant and, after I offer you a taste not for your approval, you moron, but to make sure I don’t pour a corked bottle for the table and then have to change all the glasses when it’s discovered, you say the extremely clever, “Well, I hope it’s good because it’ll be a long walk to send it back….”
- And the funniest one of them all, when you complain about an eighteen percent serice charge on your party of six, telling me “I usually tip 25% percent, but since it’s already been added…”