"A Chronic Case of Waiter-itis…"

Three of us went out after work the other night to a local spot for drinks and a late night snack. We were, of course, sitting at the bar, right next to the waiters’ service station.

My friend commented on how much he liked his drink, a “specialty cocktail”, and that we should taste it. The other two of us simultaneously reached for straws, stuck them in his drink, put our fingers over the end, and tasted his drink.  It occurred to me that “normal” people, with “real jobs”, would probably just pick up his glass and take a sip.  They would have no knowledge of the “straw-siphon” tasting method; it’s a technique only people in “The Biz” would know.

That got me thinking, and I started to notice a kind of sick pattern of behavior, due to my many years in hospitality and the restaurant business.  So feel free, if you are so inclined, to add to my list of the times that

“You know you’re REALLY in the Restaurant Business when…”

  • You’re at the gas station, or the dry cleaners, and you are handed your credit card slip, and you have a pen out of your pocket before the clerk can find one…

Or…

  • You reach for the pen and you pull a out a crumber …
  • You feel naked without a corkscrew in your pocket…
  • You straighten the barstools at places even though you don’t work there…
  • You find yourself stepping aside to “yield to the guests” but you’re not at work, you’re at the grocery store…
  • You are at lunch or dinner somewhere, and one of your tablemates puts an empty Sweet-Low packet on the table.  It totally breaks your concentration and you find yourself fixated on this little piece of garbage on the tabletop, and how can they just leave it there like that?  Isn’t someone going to pick it up??!!

Or…

  • You actually know that it’s “Sweet-Low”, not “Sweet AND Low”…

And…

  • …at the same lunch, you are completely distracted by the fact that your friend’s Ice Tea or water glass is over half empty, and you begin looking around to see if someone ‘s “on it.”
  • You re-fold the napkins at your dinner table at home when someone gets up during dinner…

Or…

  • You re-fold your own napkin as you get up to use the bathroom…
  • You are always wondering if you should tip someone like the UPS Man or the guy at the Dry Cleaners…
  • You are out to dinner and, after you order your appetizer, you look at your watch and begin timing your order …
  • You carry a Bic lighter in your pocket at all times, and you don’t even smoke…

And…

  • Wherever you are, you have said lighter out and ready if someone pulls out a cigarette, or there are candles to be lit at a birthday party…
  • You recognize bottles of wine in movies or TV shows, even if they are shown for just a few seconds in the background:  “Hey, that’s Charles Krug Chenin” that Kelly McGillis is drinking with Tom Cruise in Top Gun; or that Carmela Soprano seems to drink a lot of Clos du Val Chardonnay…
  • You can figure out immediately what 20% is when you are filling your gas tank…
  • You feel uneasy when you are away from your table in the restroom, wondering if they are holding your order until you get back…

Or…

  • …you’re on your way back to your table and, as you stand aside to let a departing group go past on their way to the front door, you stop yourself just before you say “Thank you, and Good Night”
  • You squirm, either mentally or literally, when you are out to eat, and another party leaves and no one comes to clear the dirty table…

Or…

  • You squirm, either mentally or literally, when your party has paid, there are people waiting, and no one is making a move to get up and go…
  • You know everything that’s happening on “The Soaps”, or who was on Oprah yesterday…
  • You snicker, thinking about all the white shirts and black pants and/or skirts in your closet, when someone invites you to a “Black And White” party…
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7 Responses to "A Chronic Case of Waiter-itis…"

  1. was wait staff says:

    What about when your party is waiting for a table and you can see a table that has oviously been finished for 10 minutes and they have NO FREAKIN CHECK YET!!!! Or worse when you are out at an ‘obligation’ dinner (in-laws or co-worker whom you hate) and the table must sit in uncomfortable silence looking around, while waiting at length for the check. Horrors!!!!

    • nativenapkin says:

      Or while waiting for the server at the beginning of the meal. You know it’s going to be long night…

  2. janet says:

    of course I have a cork screw in my pocket at all times. You may borrow it, if you bring it back in 30 seconds. Why don’t you have your own?
    just another server.
    Janet

    • nativenapkin says:

      I know, right. We should have signs, like the mechanics, that say “I make my living with a lighter, a crumber, a pen, and a corkscrew. Please don’t ask me if you can borrow them!”

  3. When you’re at a bar and automatically take all the empties to the bar when you get a new drink.

    You overhear the next table talking about what the steak cooking tempratures are and feel like you should go explain.

    You find yourself explaining the wine list to strangers when you go out for drinks.

    You find yourself explaning to the bartender at other places how to make whatever weird drink those strangers asked for.

  4. Xiao Gou says:

    I parked an elderly customer’s car for him at a restaurant I don’t work for. It just seemed he needed help and was grateful for it. I told him to give the offered gratuity to the hostess or another staff member he preferred. He gave every member of staff $5; not just one.

    They ended up really, really appreciating their “new” valet car parker… we had a fabulous meal; and dessert and coffee with my “customer.”

  5. Montana Skinny says:

    You call ahead to ask about corkage, then bring in a worthy rare/older bottle. When you are charged $20 corkage, your tip is based on the restaurant value of the wine and not on the $20.

    While waiting at the bar, you show a server how to split a check or pay multiple CC’s on their POS system, just to speed things up.

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