Soy People

I’m waiting in line at the health food store as the Hippie Matron in front of me tortures the guy behind the counter.

“Can I have a sample of the wheat grass juice with ginger?” she asks

“I’m sorry,” the counterman replies, “But I can’t give out samples right now.”

“Why not?”

“Miss, there’s like ten people in line behind you.”

I’ve been waiting behind this lady for several minutes. She’s asked a dozen questions about tofu, made several special requests, and has, in general, been a royal bee jelly pain in the ass.

“Well I’m a customer and I want a sample,” Hippie Matron demands, using that artificially calm but passive aggressive tone nuts and twiggers seem to fancy.

“I’m sorry,” the counterman says, irritation creeping into his voice, “Maybe when we’re not busy.”

“I’m so disappointed,” Hippie Matron says, clutching her hemp purse.

I roll my eyes and start humming the tune to Jeopardy.

Looking over her shoulder Hippie Matron says, “I don’t think I like the energy I’m feeling around here.”

I reply by telepathing some “hurry the fuck up” energy into the chakra at the base of her spine.

The woman stares the counterman with a smug “the customer is always right” expression on her face.

“Sorry Miss,” the man says politely, gazing at her with the organic version of the thousand yard stare.

The woman grabs her hummus wraps and tofu and storms off.

“Next!” the counterman says.

“Hi,” I say, “I’d like a tuna wrap and a quarter pound of the Quinoa Bean Salad.”

“Right away.”

As the man wraps up my food I make conversation.

“Man, you have some fun customers around here.”

“Tell me about it,” the guy grunts.

“And I thought my customers were bad.”

“Where do you work?” the guy asks.

“I work at the Bistro over on (TOP SECRET)”

“Oh yeah,” the guy says, “That’s a nice place.”

“And we both have crazy customers.”

“Soy people,” he snorts.

I laugh out loud. “I have Atkins red meaters. You have soy people.”

“Exactly.”

“Can’t get away from them can we?”

“No,” the guy says, handing me my food, “We can’t.”

“Well try and have a good day,” I say.

“Will do.”

Now, at this point, you’re wondering what I, the cigar smoking martini swilling waiter, am doing shopping in a health food store.

The answer? High cholesterol.

I had my annual physical a few months ago. My lipid count was off the scale. How bad? My roommate’s total cholesterol is 150. My BAD cholesterol’s higher than that. So my doc prescribed my first official middle age medication and told me to eat better. Much better. Since I don’t want to end up face down dead in my tiramisu I’m heeding his advice.

But there’s only so much bland oatmeal, tuna, and plain grilled chicken you can eat before your taste buds end up in a straight jacket. The health food store is close to my job and whips up a daily assortment of tasty nutritious takeout food. I’ve been a regular for the past few weeks. The store is very well run and the knowledgeable staff has helped me make some good choices. I like this place.

And no, the irony of shopping in a nuts and twigs store is not lost on me.

I grab an organically farmed apple and some low fat yogurt and head over to the register. A pretty girl wearing a babushka is ringing the customers up. I notice she’s not wearing any make up. To my chagrin, Hippie Matron is in front of me again. She’s not wearing make up either. She should.

“Is all your produce from local farms?” Hippie Matron asks Babushka Girl.

“I don’t know Miss,” Babushka replies, “Some of it is.”

“Well I only buy from local growers.”

I get in line behind Hippie Matron and re-telepath some negative energy into her body. There must be something to all that chakra stuff because she turns around and looks at me.

I smile.

Hippie Matron shakes her head and continues peppering the register girl with ridiculous questions.

I wait patiently and look around. You know, this may be a health food store but many of the customers look pasty, thin, and weak – the very opposite of healthy. Some of them look like they’re five minutes from fertilizing one of those local organic farms.

I contrast the Soy People with the sleek carnivorous Yuppies who patronize my Bistro. In my little free associative rumination I compare them to Hitler and Stalin. Ideologically one guy was on the right and the other was on the left. But both men ended up dragging their people to the same hellish place. Sociopathic Darwinism versus dyspeptic utopianism. Ugh. It’s all the same shit in the end.

That, of course, is terribly unfair. There are nice Soy People just like there’s nice Yuppies. But I can’t help but notice how entitlement and self righteous certitude afflicts both groups.

Or maybe I’m just having a bad day.

Finally I move to the front of the line. I smile at Babushka Girl. She smiles back.

“That lady was a character,” I whisper conspiratorially.

Babushka Girl rolls her eyes in solidarity.

“Soy People!” I whisper.

The girl stifles a laugh and rings up my food.

I feel for Babushka. Yuppies I understand. But if I had to work with Soy People I’d end up running naked through the streets, screaming the words immortalized by Charlton Heston,

“SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!”

Because folks, whether you’re Yuppie or Soy, Al Qaedaesque extremism in either direction will drag us to the same gloomy place. And if you don’t know what Soylent Green is, don’t worry.

Its organic.


Comments

Soy People — 43 Comments

  1. Thank you big brother, you have been a big help, and you will be a great uncle. Sorry you got pissed on! Oh and folks out there in blogisphere, I’m the guy who taught the “Waiter” every thing he knows. Love ya bro…I’M BATMAN AND YOUR ROBIN BRO

  2. This one was particularly hilarious, Waiter.

    “the organic version of the thousand yard stare”
    “Soylent Green is made of people…but don’t worry it’s organic”
    “that artificially calm but passive aggressive tone nuts and twiggers seem to fancy”

    This stuff is pure genius!

  3. Can u guess from my name I’m a chef.Heres a story for you . One of my fav moments behind the line. A jamming Sat knee deep in dupes. I’m sauteing my ass off and as i turn I see a wait satff bringing back a dish. “what I asked” not skipping a beat. The customer said this isn’t Halibut. Well seeing that i sliced out 45 portions from a huge side of that great white fish this after I replied ” Assure her it is” .Well not more than 4 min later he returned , carring the plate . I snapped’ What the fuc** now. The waiter stressing in his voice said ” The women said this is fish and that she ordered a Halibut Steak”What more do I need to say about this asshol**.Customers !!!

  4. i live in the epi-center of Nuts n’ Twigs: Seattle and their sense of entitlement mixed with self righteounes, PC crap,and passive aggressive behavior is enough to seek the company of those demanding yuppies.

  5. so…your book is awesome. I work at a”family” italian joint in fort worth texas at the .moment. i am so tired of those “guests” (at least that’s what were forced to refer to these pcycopaths as)that come in pretending to care what they put in to their bodiee.how are you going to come in to an italian place lookin for health food? they must be absolutely retarded wth? so anyway…km done now. i appreciate the “rantabilty” of this site and the honesty of your book thank you.

  6. so…your book is awesome. I work at a”family” italian joint in fort worth texas at the .moment. i am so tired of those “guests” (at least that’s what were forced to refer to these pcycopaths as)that come in pretending to care what they put in to their bodiee.how are you going to come in to an italian place lookin for health food? they must be absolutely retarded wth? so anyway…km done now. i appreciate the “rantabilty” of this site and the honesty of your book thank you.

  7. Руки, ноги, главное – хвост © советский мульт. Всё это замечательно, интересно, в связи с кризисом кто куда поедет отдыхать, вот какой щас вопрос номер 1 в офисе :)

  8. I find it interesting in reading comments from waiters on the internet. They never have anything nice to say about customers, only ever talking about the bad ones. So why should we ever be nice? You never seem to remember the nice ones, only remembering the good ones.

  9. Just finished your book, soooo many truisims!!! I’ve been in the bus. on and off since I was sixteen; Carvel Icecream store in high school, high volume small cafe in college, now for the last eight years at an established restaurant of eighteen years in the Florida Keys with a very good local crowd with a generous amount of “visitors”. Would love for you to take a look at what I’ve been working on, a series of customer “events” I like to call them. I wrote quite a bit of poetry and short stories throughout the years, but never published. I can relate to your quandry though, feel you have the talent but tooooo scared to make anything of it. I am comfortable writing, and actually chuckle at my own stories. I think they are quite funny b/c I get it, but am not sure if anyone else will. I can relate to your sarcasm about the bus., it’s like a parasite that you cannot get rid of that you actually need to rely on. It feeds on you while you strive to feed it. Does that make any sense? I don’t want to post my story now, your’e blog is too popular to give up my one saving grace of a story. Any reply if any is appreciated, I hope you will at least take a look at what I’ve got. A writer is always going to be a writer, even if noone reads what they have to say. I think I’m quite funny I must say!

  10. just finished waiter book and couldnt put it down. very entertaining and so many things are similar to the taxi business i manage. reccomend it to every one . wont soon forget the comments and contents of this every time i dine out. thanks so much for your keen insight into your world.

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  12. If you cannot go out to eat, contain your children, keep your rude comments to yourself..and most importantly leave your waitress who is putting herself through college on her own-a DECENT tip..then stay home=hamburger helper :)

  13. This reminds me of the few times I had to work breakfast at my old restaurant (if you think the lunch shift sucks. . . don’t EVER work breakfast . . . it doesn’t pay). People would have the nerve to order belgium waffles and fried chicken (we served southern cuisine), and then ask for the sugar free syrup, claiming to be diabetics. Sometimes I feel like “liar” should be stapled to the backs of the offenders.

  14. So I was working the other night, I had this upper class table and they sat at my table from 4PM until 1AM. “Friends of the band.” I like to think of them as the same people who are “friends with the owner!” The lady who was the heaviest drinker of the bunch, definatly trying to keep herself paced with the others, asked me for another Stella. I said of course and got it back within a minute. It wasn’t a three minutes later I was walking by the talbe and she grabbed me by my arm and caused me to spin around. I politely asked her what I could do for her, she replied, “where’s my drink? You forgot to bring me my drink.” I said no, mam, “your drink is right there you are drinking it.” (Mind you the drink was in her hand and maybe two sips were taken out. She then proceedes to tell the entire table, “Can’t remember anything, these stupid waitresses.” It took everything I had to tell the entire table that no I didnt’ forget the drink, their friend was a raging alocholic trying to keep her pace to theirs so they didn’t notice. I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep my job that night, but maybe I would have kept a little dignity. And you people wonder why we have nothing nice to say about customers!

  15. Been a fan since the beginning, rereading b/c I need some vicarious outlet for all the ranting built up in my brain lately! I am not in this biz, but it is astonishing (or is it?) how similar clients, customers, guests – what have you – behave.

    I just had to comment on the silly poster who claims Waiter “never talks about the good ones, only the bad ones” – So ridiculous, as WaiterRant often offers kind, warm anecdotes about good customers. Although frankly, I find the “bad ones” much more fun! Silly Poster obviously hasn’t followed the entire blog. Color me surprised.

    I can guarantee that Silly Poster is the kind of client who would call and ask me at my Vet Hospital WHY there are no appointments available (Um, b/c, like, people, you know, are, like, OCCUPYING ALL OF THEM) or expects me to find her pet’s record by just telling me her pet’s name and is annoyed when I ask her last name (b/c really, how many cats named “Princess” could we possibly have in our system?) Don’t I know who she IS? She is a close personal friend of the Vet!

  16. Loved your book, especially the part about 50 ways to tell you are working in a bad restaurant. I actually emailed that part to my old manager because about 35 of them applied to that restaurant.
    It gave me great satisfaction to do so.
    I got so sick of stupid management that it encouraged me to get my degree in hospitality management so that when I do become manager I can do better than all the restaurants I have worked in.
    Thank you so much for your witty writing, keep up the good work!

  17. Soy people can be the worst. I can’t stand when I’m in line at starbucks behind one of “those” types of people. It seriously makes me nuts! They have a five minute order and then it doesn’t come out right— it tastes like the milk has cream in it or something. Ridiculous. I feel sorry for the people that work there and am glad I’m not one of them.
    -Sylvia

  18. You had my undevided attention from page 1 of you book because i swear your were working side by side with me. Yep, i am am a fellow server.

  19. Just started your book and I love the way it is written. I am from the hospitality business as well and working in Germany – we have our share of strange customers as well, mostly nice people but a small percentage which are the ones we rant about. Just one example: One clients complains that the costs for the minibar are too high but pretends that we order bottles of water for him at the supermarket and bring it up to his room (naturally charging him the price of the super market and him using the minibar for his bottles)!

  20. you can always remember the good customers !! after 4 years i start again my old beloved job(waiter) and i still remember the good costumers and they remember me too , even my name .. so good polite people never change :) but the bad attitude unpolite customers are the same and even in their own life !
    its funny that the customers is the same in every country :)
    great blog , greetings from Greece ..

  21. Waiter, I was seriously laughing out loud! You are so funny, and I love reading about your perspectives on things like the “soy people.” I love to go to health food stores not only for the food, but seriously just to people watch. It’s cheaper than a movie (sometimes), and just about as fun. Cheers!

  22. Just finished your book. I loved it!
    I was in retail for many years the people are the same. I had a steady customer that was so rude and demanding that all the staff would disappear when she walked in. She used to call me Stella even though I told her my name many times over a two year period. One day she called me “hey, Stella”, I firmly told her that was not my name but she
    Insisted it was and haughtily told me “I know your name is Stella”! My co-workers started to call me Stella.

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