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Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Friday, June 30, 2006 ::

:: Server Tales Part VI ::
Having worked as a server at a couple of restaurants while in Miami (I just never thought about blogging about it until now, partly because other than The Girlfriend, I don't have much to blog about. And you don't wanna read about my love life, do you? Don't answer that), one of the things I've learned is that you?re always going to run into customers that no matter what you do, there's absolutely nothing you can do to make them happy. I'm sure you know people like this.

I'm talking about people who seek out the experience of being disappointed. People with an overinflated sense of indignance. People who love to complain.

Perhaps their mother never hugged them enough. Maybe they were spoiled to the point of decomposition as a child. Maybe they're the dining-out version of hypochondriacs who need to manufacture drama in their otherwise dull, insipid lives. Maybe they're pathologically insecure types who need to inflict their sense of superiority over us working stiffs. Maybe they're just having a bad day. Whatever.

The vast majority of my customers are nice people who just want to enjoy a nice evening out. But there are still way too many people who think their sole purpose in life is to point out faults. I've met people like this in my life and while I'm fairly successful in keeping these punctilious pricks out of my life, I can't control who can or can't dine in my restaurant.

A short sampling of what I've had to put up with recently:

  • I'm working the section near the door. A couple sits at my table and orders their drinks. Before I go punch in their order, the lady asks me where the restroom is. I point to the other side, "in the back, through the red hallway, on the left side." She looks at me and asks, completely serious, "do you have one closer?" I resist the urge to point to her empty water glass. I simply shake my head, which is followed by a gaze from her that leads me to believe that it's somehow my fault that I didn't drop out of high school, move to Miami Beach 15 years sooner, give up my future as an artist, to try to contact the owners of the restaurant while they're designing the layout, and try and convince them to install port-o-potties near the door.
  • A French guy comes in during lunch and orders a tuna steak cooked rare. He sends it back because "it's cold in the middle." Well, gee. Lee puts it back on the grill and cooks it a perfect medium rare. The guy now says it's overcooked. He asks what it takes to get a decent piece of fish ?in America.? I think about the 10lb tuna I caught last year and the great cevichè I made with it. I sarcastically tell him that there's great fishing off of Biscayne Bay. He doesn?t smile. (He wasn?t going to tip me anyway and I didn?t have my morning cup of coffee yet, so fuck him.)
  • Another server named Lisa waited on a 12-person birthday dinner for a 15 year-old girl and her extended family. According to Lisa - someone who doesn't exactly embellish details - this girl has been demanding and acting snotty the whole night. She selects the Crème Brule for dessert. When asked how it is, she doesn't like it because "it tastes like burnt sugar."
  • In order to drum up some late night business, we have a table tent that says you get half price on any bottle of wine if you get seated after 10pm. A guy virtually storms out - with his companion apologizing on his behalf - because I wouldn't let him have the discount. At 7:45pm
  • Another guy asks me if the promotion includes champagnes and sparkling wines. I tell him no, since it's for wines only. I quip "that being the case, White Zinfandel isn't discounted either." He stares me blankly and says "oh." He never cracks anything resembling a smile the entire night.
  • A fussy gay couple orders a lobster each. They have me running all night, once sending a glass of wine back because it was "too sweet" (he ordered a Riesling). They complain about their lobster being "stringy." After completely polishing them off. I kid you not, they picked the shells so clean maggots would have starved to death. I make them pay for it. You eat it, you buy it.
  • A young guy, trying to hard to impress his date, sent a bottle of wine back because the cork was made of rubber. A few days later, a redhead rejects a different bottle because it had a screwcap. She later complained that her Scallop Piccata was too tart.
  • My favorite: A middle-age woman and her mom take seemingly forever to figure out what they want. When I set down the bread basket they ask if there's anything besides butter. I say we have olive oil. The Mom doesn't like olive oil. Then why are you eating out to begin with? (I don't really say that.) They order tapas style, including the blackened fishcakes. She sends it back saying that "they taste burnt."
Again, these types of customers are few and far between but you can see why they're the ones you remember. Anyway, I need to get some sleep. I work a double tomorrow.

:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 2:23 AM [+] :: | 0 comments

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