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All about working as a waiter, pursuing my dream, eating vegetarian, and loving where I live!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Unexpected Generosity

The holiday season brings some of the oddest situations and guests, and the cheapest and the most generous tippers to the restaurant. Last year, on Christmas Eve, I had a woman tell me she was ready to kill herself or her entire family because they were driving her crazy. She said this in front of her family. It was awkward, to say the least. Then, we served raw chicken fingers to her kids. *sigh*

That's the other thing about the holiday season. The restaurant undergoes such a huge influx of customers, usually all at the same time in big waves, that it definitely puts strain on the kitchen. I would say that they do a great job 99% of the time during the entirety of the year, but during the holidays, things start to fall through the cracks. Trust me, they still to a great job, but you start to see about 4% more issues.

The other day these two poor ladies got steak that was rare when they asked for medium and a meatball that was cold. The first time, they were upset, the second time they were just about livid.

ACTUALLY, A VERY NICE LADY: Look, I know you're busy and have all of these big groups come in, but to have a raw steak and a cold meatball is just ridiculous!
ME: You're right, that's unacceptable.
LADY: Now, I can take this meatball home and re-heat it, but...
ME: No, ma'am, please, can I take it back to the kitchen so the chef can see it? He really should know when something isn't right, and I'll have them bring you something better.

The very nice lady continues to huff and puff, and in about two minutes I bring her two piping hot meatballs. Luckily, these are much better and she's pleased that she gets an extra one to take home. Our executive chef brought out the steak himself and apologized profusely. The ladies were charmed. We took off the meatballs and the steak and the very nice lady who had done all that huffing and puffing actually left me $30. On a bill that was only about $30.

On Friday, I was stuck in a shit section for lunch. Four tables (no booths) in an area nobody wants to sit in. Every other server had 5+ tables.... for some reason, I got screwed. Normally, I get great sections, but... c'est la vie. On top of this, I had three of my tables reserved for a party that was due to come in at 12:30 PM. So I spent the first hour of my shift twiddling my thumbs, folding napkins, and helping other servers. For my entire seven and a half hour shift, I only had one party of 13 and a 3 top. That's it. Once the party was done at 3:30 PM, management would not let me leave! Even though the entire restaurant completely died, I was held prisoner until the dinner crew came on. Here's what I accomplished:
  • folded 250 napkins
  • swept the entire restaurant
  • refilled all of the oil and vinegar containers
  • lit all the candles
  • restocked/zoned just about every area of the place. 
Why they complain about labor costs and then do things like that is beyond me.

On the bright side, for having only two tables, I did leave the restaurant with $85, some chocolate, and a hand-blown glass sea turtle ornament. One of the guys at my party was showing his co-worker a gorgeous glass sea turtle ornament he had made. I commented on how pretty it was, how impressed I was that he had made it, and that I sort of had a "thing" for turtles. At the end of their meal, our maitre^d came up to me and said "Merry Christmas." The guy gave me the ornament! Luckily, he was still there, so I was able to thank him profusely, and he told me about the gallery he represents. The group also left me a little wrapped chocolate because "I probably don't get 'treated' very often."


Excuse me while I wipe away a couple tears, alright?

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