Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How To Suck Less

Today's episode of How To Suck Less involves nasty restaurant patrons. I have a lot of names for people who are rude to waiters and waitresses, many of them I will not repeat because my mother reads this blog and will already be vexed with me for saying "suck." I will settle for calling them Nasty People.

In the service industry you learn to pick up on which tables are going to be friendly and which are going to be nasty almost as soon as people walk through the door. Often you are pleasantly wrong: the woman had a sour face on because they had hit a squirrel on the way there; the man was looking grumpy because he bruised his shin on the car door. Or maybe they are just not chatty. These people will be brusque but not impolite. They just want their food and their drinks, please. No problem. These people Do Not Suck.

Nasty People are rude to wait staff, impatient with bussers, intensely particular about their food, and usually above the age of 50. OR they are creepy old men who want to touch the waitresses. Ew.

Everyone deserves a standard of service in a restaurant. Everyone who walks through the door will be treated professionally. This means a smiling waiter, getting the right food at the right temperature, and reasonably prompt service.

So here are the steps you can take to Suck Less and get better service in a restaurant.

1. Be patient with your server.
Look around you. Is the restaurant packed? If yes, then your waiter is probably slammed and will get to you as soon as you can. The phrase "When you get a chance... could you _____" will get you what you want MUCH faster than "I need _______." If you want it right away, show patience. If the restaurant is not packed but the waiter is still not showing up, it is acceptable to say "what was the hold up?" In the right tone of voice this is not a mean thing, and if the waiter knows that he or she was at fault, it could get you a discount.

2. The waiter has nothing to do with the food.
If you ordered a strip steak but got lamb? That is a waiter screw up, send it back. If you do not like the taste of what you ordered? Whatever, send it back, but don't blame the wait staff. We do not cook your food. We do not have anything to do with your food. We take the order and then translate it for a bunch of Hondurans and Frenchmen. It is not easy.

3. Don't lie about knowing the manager.
Personally I love it when this happens, because my boss will actually show up at the table and cheerfully embarrass you. Don't lie to us, we know when you're doing it.

4. Don't skeeve out on the waitresses.
Yes. Your waitress is flirting with you. It comes with the territory. Casually flirting with dads is how we make good tips. This is a business strategy, not a sign of actual interest. There is an old gentleman at my restaurant who we will call Phil, because that is his name, and he is a Class A Skeeveball. The last time I spoke with Phil he invited me to his timeshare in the Carribean, invited me for drinks, asked me to walk with him around the lake, and tried to convince me that my boyfriend lived too far away. When our 17-year-old bussgirl mentioned that she was Jewish to him, he immediately invited her out for drinks, and then said if she needed extra cash, she could come clean his house. If Phil is in the bar she will avoid it like the plague. None of the waitresses will make eye contact with him willingly. He also harrasses the jazz singer.

4a. If you are going to skeeve out on the waitresses, tip well.
Phil tips 15% max. If you're going to try to put your hands on the waitress, tip her at least 20%. It might make her reevaluate her previous desire to poison you.

LUCKILY the people who do not understand these four points make up the minority of restaurant patrons. In fact, the only person who breaks rule 4 on a regular basis is Phil. There are awesome people, and eventually I will post about How To Rock as a restaurant patron. This will probably not be right after work.

In better news, that languedoc BossMan gave me only got more delicious over a couple days. I'm drinking the last of it now, and the basil is really coming through. Also Boyfriend is coming over this weekend, along with Texas, who is my sisters boyfriend. This will be interesting since they are both conservative and my sister and I are very liberal. I imagine they will begin by comparing guns, which seems to be the butt-sniffing ritual of the modern conservative.


  1. Heh. "Texas". I find it funny that Reece's most memorable trait is his location. :P
    Mom reads this blog?

  2. yeah. and nags over my language.


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