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How to Drive Your Waiter Crazy — 42 Comments

  1. Nice piece. My only complaint is the allergy point. I have a “sensitivity” to mushrooms/truffle oil — it’s not a true food allergy in that I won’t go into shock or anything like that, but it’s almost guaranteed that I will be throwing up and/or spending some quality time on the toilet if there’s truffle oil in my food.

    But… nobody’s ever heard of a mushroom allergy. So, it’s not uncommon for me to get attitude from servers who think I just don’t like mushrooms.

    I’m sure there are people out there who fake allergies, but you should just let it go, since you never know when someone actually has a problem with certain foods.

  2. I have mixed feelings here. If she isn’t leaving an adequate tip on a regular basis, and you want to tell her her business isn’t welcome, fine. But the restaurant should not put an 18% gratuity on the check for a party of three when their menu states that parties of five or more will get a 15% gratuity added. That’s when the situation shifts from rightful frustration with a repeat undertipper to the restaurant discriminating against a customer. Inconsistent autograts piss customers off, rightfully so.

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  4. I thought it was wonderful. When i was waiting tables i always got asked “youre going to college right? what are you in school for?” I didnt want to say i wasnt in school because i got kicked out, was in a ton of debt, and couldnt do school and 2 jobs at the same time. It was just awkward.

  5. I just think it’s rude for a guest to ask me ‘what else do you do?’. I find it invasive, and quite frankly, none of their business. the same holds true for any personal questions. I’m happy to chit chat with you about your vacation, your day, etc. if you like, but my personal life isn’t your business. Of course, if you’re a regular I’ve gotten to know, that’s different, too…

  6. I worked at a place I really enjoyed for a while. A guy with his date was being somewhat rude through out their dinner. He asked me if acting wasn’t working out. I am an attractive male and I have long hair and it was in NYC. I said I am a musician. He then said, well I guess that isn’t working out either? I then told him the truth. (I said it in a friendly way)

    “I worked here before I got my publishing deal, and I love the neighborhood and MOST of the people that come in to dine, including my regulars. I can’t sit around and write songs all day or I will lose my mind. I have to go do some real work from time to time. I actually enjoy waiting tables and it helps keep a balance of my life. Oh yeah, I don’t usually tell people this, but if you choose to leave a gratuity, I donate it to various charities I care about, I definitely don’t need it.”

    Then I told him their dinner would be right out and winked at the date. She was definitely flustered for the rest of the evening and very curious as to if I had written anything she had heard before, which I guarantee she had. He immediately backed off and was a bit embarrassed.

    I can deal with people being rude to me while waiting tables because of their ignorance, but to stereotype me and judge me when I am just doing my job? I definitely think that was their first and last date because she came in a couple times afterwards and sat at the bar by herself.

    I love this industry.

  7. Okay. On the Kanpai thing, a few points were missed in the local news story that was run by CNN.

    According to Kanpai and a few locals…

    1. “bad tipper” was actually “no tipper”, none, zilch, not ever. As in 0% of the total

    2. Petition was signed by the ladies church, were she works, where her relative is the pastor. Many of the church members were not aware of the “real” details and thought it was a racial thing.

    3. TV reporter who ran story goes to her church and is reputed to be a personal friend of the lady.

  8. “I think people will burn in eternal fire if they’re rude to a waiter,” Steve Dublanica said.

    Really? Burn in eternal fire just for being rude to a waiter? Really?

    Waiter responds: Yes, they will burn in Hell. Goto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgP_rpwLlgA and jump to 1.45 into the clip for a pretty accurate description of what the Hades for rude customers will be like!

  9. Here is a post you might enjoy reading on the topic of “you must be a loser because you are just a waiter”.

    http://sorrynotmytable.com/2009/07/30/would-you-buy-a-used-car-from-this-man/

    I used to tell people that I was an actor, waiting for my big break as a waiter.

    Here in the Napa Valley, people ask me if I ever thought about making my own wine, to which I always wanted to reply, “You’re from Pittsburgh; have you ever thought about making your own steel?” or you’re from Indiana; ever thought about racing cars?”

  10. Did you really have to call the cook ‘Paco’?

    Waiter responds. Ah, I see the PC police are out again. I could have called him Ernesto or Guillermo or Pablo. But the Paco is a real Spanish name, a diminutive of Francisco – it’s like calling a guy “Frank.”

    Are you a Hispanophobe who doesn’t like Spanish names in general? Maybe, Dave, you’re the one with the problem.

  11. Having been a Bar/Restaurant Manager, bartender/server for 25 years, I can certainly sympathize with the staff of KanPai. I feel however, that the situation could have been handled in a more diplomatic fashion. Immediatly after the “final straw”, management should have discretely advised the customer of her repeated infractions and reminded her of her options to dine elsewhere.
    As manager of a local steakhouse, I found myself repeatedly being summoned to the same table, where a neighborhood couple dined almost daily, sometimes twice daily. The husband, a large, quiet fellow always ate his entire meal with no problem or complaint. His wife, on the other hand, a self important, self absorbed foodie-type, could not eat a meal without finding fault of some type. My staff and I would bend over backward to try to please this harpie, and her reward was to leave a sub-standard tip and an abused waitstaff. Finally, one evening, after months of this ridiculous dance, I took their dinner check to their table, sat down with them briefly, and explained the situation to them. I quietly told them that dinner was “on us”, as a kind of parting gift. Seeing that we, as a restaurant, could never seem to meet the ladies expectations, we (the staff) felt it would be best if they (the couple) took their business elsewhere, and tried to find an establishment more to their liking. I thanked them for their patronage, wished them well in life, tore their check in half and bid them farewell. They never came back, the staff thanked me, and I had more time to attend to other matters.

  12. @#2, Julie F.

    You make a very good point, but the issue is of people who outright lie about allergies.

    I am allergic to shrimp, lobster and crab. So I would not order spaghetti marinara or anything in a shrimp sauce.

    I have a weird quirk with onions: I like the flavoring onions give to food, but I do not like to eat the onions themselves. I am not allergic… so I would ask the waiter about how the dish is served, if the onions come in big enough pieces to be pushed aside and so on.

    Other people might have similar quirks, but instead of asking, and talking, and working a solution, they claim to be ‘allergic’ and act rudely. I do not like carrots and beets, so I do not order a salad that includes those. Some people claim allergies and go instantly into rude-mode to get things their way, instead of saying “I do not like that, can I substitute something?”.

    It seems the fake-allergic are preemptively trying to not receive a ‘no’, instead of ordering something different or eating at another place.

  13. I’m with Dacatus; I don’t care for mushrooms, sour cream or blue cheese dressing (among other things) so I either ask they be excluded or something else substituted. I’ve never had anyone cop attitude on me for those requests; BTW – buffalo chicken wings are very tasty with honey mustard dressing/sauce :)

    Waiter – I had a work friend who waitressed in a coffee shop during college; there was a regular who ordered a breakfast of “eggs sunny side up [or whatever is the least cooked version of eggs] with rare liver” – he got what he ordered. That said, she said the staff flipped coins to see who would serve him :)

  14. @diamonddaveeO

    We had a similar customer very close to what your experienced. The husband, when his wife wasn’t dining with him, was easygoing and never was a problem. Whenever the wife was around, there was always a problem. After repeated issues, my business partner did pretty much the same thing you did. There was a degree of indignation on their part, and there was an attempt on their part to boycott our restaurant. The exact opposite happened. Business picked up for some time and as time progressed, we heard many of our favored customers discreetly voice their support of our decision. Obviously, the couple were annoying to others, not just us. Needless to say, it was not only amusing, but an unexpected affirmation.

  15. If you expect a tip, here’s a tip: YOU’RE A FUCKING MORON. You are a low level food fetcher. You expect tips because you are a self-entitled BITCH expecting others to foot your bills. Here’s another tip: GET A REAL JOB. If you don’t like your job, QUIT, YOU FUCKING IDIOT. Why would you blame the customer? Did they force you to take the job? NO. YOU CHOSE IT YOU FUCKING RETARDS. It’s not the customer’s fault you have a single digit IQ rivaling tofu and you’re too fucking dumb and/or lazy to secure a REAL JOB.

    And there are tons of other service jobs that DON’T get tips that are much more difficult than fetching food. What makes you think you are so special that you automatically deserve a tip? And why don’t you fucking hypocrites start tipping EVERYONE in the service industry? Because you CAN’T. It’s funny how you bitch about not getting tips and yet you don’t tip the same people who perform more difficult services than you do. As far as I’m concerned, you are pathetic desperate leeches of society. YOu are bottom feeding losers for a reason. If you live and die by tips, then why not just cut to the chase and DIE ALREADY and save us the suspense of wondering whether you will be able to afford your next TV dinner.

    Fucking pathetic.

    Waiter responds: My diagnosis of the above poster? Anger management issues brought on by a mood spectrum disorder and too much time playing World of Warcraft. Sad. Subject needs to be put on lithium with side of Prozac. Or he or she need to get laid, which, judging from the anger seething below their surface, rarely happens.

  16. I can’t believe you are still harping on people with allergies! I have some strange and LIFE THREATENING allergies and waiters don’t seem to believe me! Yes, you can be allergic to lettuce and cucumbers! Would you like to see a Dr.’s note? You can also be allergic to onions, I have seen the effects and it’s incredibly painful for the person I know who is allergic. Shut up and stop trying to get people killed. You have become very pessimistic and self-righteous since your book was published and this blog is no longer an enjoyable read.

  17. GREAT article! I’m forwarding it to my grandfather (who has never served). Read your book in 3 days can’t wait for the next one!

  18. I laughed out loud when I watched the CNN video, mostly because of what I’ve picked up by reading the comments section here.

    I did wonder why doesn’t Kan Pai have the “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” sign? Is that illegal in a restaurant in S. Carolina?

  19. love when people go to a site called waiter rant and complain that waiters rant. what do you expect??? Quit spewing hate and get a life.

  20. @Vick,
    mmmm,PLEASE come into my restaurant, I’ve got something very special to serve for you, you pathetic low-life, no-self-esteem loser.

  21. In a perfect world, you should tip well, and get excellent service, and vice versa… but this is not a perfect world. Around where I live, It goes like this: You tip well, and earn yourself a reputation as an excellent tipper. So when you show up again, theres some competition between the servers as to who gets to serve you. Usually that privilege goes not to the best server, but to the one who has the most clout, the Alpha Server. The alpha server always has more than his or her fair share of tables, so your service is likely to be shitty, more so if the servers know you will tip well no matter what the service was.

    You tip well, but your service is shitty. While a server asking a patron if the service wasn’t up to par when getting a low tip is a rarity, a patron asking a server if the tip wasn’t enough when getting shabby service is unheard of.

    Since I’ve started tipping a flat 5%, I notice that the alpha servers are no longer interested in being my server, nor are most of the servers, so I get to get waited on by the new girl. The new girl usually is trying to do a good job because she wants to keep her position… she might make a mistake or two from time to time, but she’s trying real hard to please not only the customer but her employer as well. The result is, I get excellent service, and I don’t have to deal with that snotty alpha server who thinks he’s entitled to 20% and then some.

    It’s sad, but it’s reality. Get a reputation for tipping well all the time, and you become the alpha server’s lowest priority. Get a reputation for tipping poorly, and the alpha wants nothing to do with you, and you get good service every time.

    (I’m sure I’ll get a lot of comments about people spitting in my drinks from the commenters here, but the truth is, no server in their right mind would dare spit in a drink, because if I see spit in my drink, I’m calling the sheriff, and my server’s going down for a felony).

    Thank you waiter dude, for showing me the error of my ways. And enjoy the 5%, go buy yourself something nice with it.

  22. JR:

    I think it’s sad that you have to think that much about what percentage you are going to tip or not tip your server, while trying to manipulate them as well. Trust me, you do have a reputation, and nobody will wait on you, not even the “new girl”. Obviously you just can’t go out and enjoy a meal… Dude, why all the anger and resentment towards servers?

  23. @M
    Are you f*cking kidding? He is not harping on people with allergies, he is harping on people who FAKE allergies! You should be pissed with THEM for pretending to have a condition they don’t have, and casting doubt on YOUR credibility!!

  24. Don´t know about spitting in your drink, as you say, it can be quite obvious. But I know a waiter who rubbed a clients steak on the staffs toilet bowl…

    Don´t f#ck with the staff!

    Love the blog!

  25. Dear Assholes who shit on waiters for expecting at least 18%,

    You must have had a silver spoon in your mouth your entire life & just be down right out there to not realize that sometimes people have to work hard for their money. Mommy & daddy don’t always hand their American Express over. Regardless of the fact that a server may be an actor, writer, a single mom/dad, working through college, trying to find their calling in life or a porn star get OVER it! Waiters get paid WAY less than minimum wage & your “tip” is what we hope will take us up to that expected wage. If you feel like your not entitled to pay that percent stay home & cook for yourself! Please do us the favor, we want no part of you!
    As for that lady that was banned from the resturant for not tipping…She deserved it & hopefully she gets banned from any future resturant she chooses to go to because now people know who she is. There are servers who are trying to make an honest living & if we recommend a wine to go with your dish you should probably take our word for it unless you are the winner of the 2010 Wine tasting Championship & think you can recommend something better. Half the coustomers out there cannot tell the difference between a merlot or a cabernet because you are to busy takin up time trying to impress your date/party with your “knowledge” that you can tell the difference between a red & white wine!

    Obviously if you are a person who felt the need to compalin about any of the postings on this website you are a coustomer that is a pain in the balls & feels like you are entitled to the entire world. Well here’s an update, stop giving your server a hard time because your right they want nothing to do with you when you act like that. Its fine if you don’t like or are allergic to something-that’ll get taken care of. But when your asked for the 20th time if your ready to order & your still consulting your date about which salad dressing will go best with your ceaser salad of course a servers going to be annoyed & won’t want any part of your table. Your wasting precious time. And folks we all know no matter what profession your in time is money.

    <3 The Server Who Should Also Start a Website.

  26. @Marie, you had me up until the bit about recommending wine. No wine is “better” than another. If you ask the 50 best wine critics in the world what their favourite wine is, you’ll get 50 different answers. Surely if one wine was TRULY better than the others, a large proportion of wine critics would agree. But they don’t. And if you serve two glasses of the SAME white wine to a wine critic, but dye one glass red, they will give two completely different descriptions of the two glasses, even though they’re the same wine. Wine tasting is a completely bogus art. Right up there with art critics, who I’ve seen offer thousands of dollars for a work of art that they didn’t realize was made by a preschooler.

  27. My younger brother, much to his dismay, developed a severe alergy to onions. Since I know he loves onions, I know he is not faking it when he says that he is now alergic to them (he gets severe stomach cramps when he eats anything with onions in it.) When he dines out he politely tells the server that and asks if there is anything on the menu that is not prepared with any onions. He makes sure to try to work with the server to be able to order something that he can eat because he figures if he went to the restaruant he should try to order something. I’ve never found a server that wouldn’t work with him. Just goes to show it always pays to work with your server.

  28. “It’s sad, but it’s reality. Get a reputation for tipping well all the time, and you become the alpha server’s lowest priority. ”

    You obviously aren’t a known regular anywhere worth a damn. Well-known good tippers are absolutely blanketed by the whole staff. Managers are alerted, owners make a table visit, drinks are comped, specially priced bottles of wine are brought forth and offered in hushed tones, and support staff are told to make that table their number one priority.

    You must be a regular at the “Olive Garden”. Try a place with class, and you might get a better result. So-called “alpha servers” at a quality restaurant walk with 300-400$ a night. They aren’t stupid enough to let a real “whale” leave un-thrilled. However, some customers are stupid enough to think they are whales when they are actually minnows. In our place, 5% tippers wait hours for tables and get tired of standing. They soon get the message that there are plenty of tables at Red Lobster for check-card, smart-assed, little bitches.

    Well-known good tippers are hustled around the crowd and seated without reservations while you are standing there while your date thinks “Why did I go out with this Zero who can’t get a table? That 6’3″ alpha server sure is hot. I bet he could rock my world!” Have fun carrying that beeper around and know that you are getting line jumped by the guy who has a good-tipping rep. Hell, my hostesses would bump your reservation to seat Mr. Black Card and his party of 6 who spend 600-1000$ every visit and tip 30+ percent without fail.

  29. So – afraid of the comments you would get on you dream post, huh? I guess that’s understandable considering your belief that the dreamer is plays everyone in the dream. I hope you are seeing a psychiatrist.

  30. Sandy,

    It’s actually a common belief that all the characters in a dream are some manifistation of the dreamer. Perhaps if YOU were seeing a psychiatrist you would be aware of that.

  31. For the toxic misfits like Vick: stay the fuck home–the restaurant won’t miss the $4.95 you spend with them every two years ;) LMAO

  32. Great article! I also have a comment on the food allergy part: When I order something and it has something listed that I don’t like, like green peppers, I just ask if they can leave them off. They either say “yes” or “no”. Why do people feel the need to justify why they don’t want a particular item in their food? Do they think if they just say “I hate green peppers” the waiter or the cook will be offended somehow? What’s with the “allergy” part?

  33. Waiter, you’ve only blocked comments on a very small number of entries in the history of your blog. Hopefully you are doing okay.

  34. @ Jr
    Oh, i wouldn’t spit in your drink, honey, and with the threat of police too??? too funny. I would make you a well deserved drink. Most people cant tell the difference between nornal “well liquor” and 100 proof shit, until they taste it the second time around. Im not entitled to 20% and u are not entitled to anything either. Its fair game, and you are fucking dillusional to think you are always smarter than the people who serve you. Game on, bad tippers! i am confident you are no match for me, and its likely, you chose the short end of the stick most of the time with anyone that has spent any time in the service industry. You keep telling yourself otherwise, if that helps you choke down your food.

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