I was chatting about this the other day with my buddy Randy, who works in San Jose as a waiter for a popular Italian restaurant chain. I was telling him of my latest dining experience, which didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I felt the wait was excessive, the food slow to the table, the chicken was overcooked and the ambiance was negated by the shrill screams and wild running about of small, unattended children. (Honestly, my wife and I now cringe and debate about leaving whenever we see children in nice restaurants. It’s just a knee-jerk reaction.)
He just smiled and nodded knowingly and asked me “so did you leave a lousy tip, then?” Well, no, I didn’t. I am usually quite generous with tips, especially with having had my kids and many friends in that profession at one time or another. I left the waiter a regular tip. As a rule of thumb, I just double the tax and round up, which comes to about 18% or so. I leave more if I feel the waiter did an exceptional job.
Always he insisted that it be packaged in a particular way in a tray and placed in a bag a particular way with the bag folded a particular way by someone who had sanitized their hands. From his car he watched with binoculars to make sure the server had someone open the door for them so their body didn’t touch anything that might contaminate the food. If he saw that the person delivering his food made contact with the door or door frame he would send it back to start all over again.
So that’s what happened to the bubble boy! Someone needs to get that guy a hazmat suit!
With the economy being in the tank, a lot of people have been trying to save money in unexpected ways when they dine out. At his restaurant, the child’s meal comes with free soft drink refills. Wary of this, parents are ordering water for themselves and when the meals arrive at the table they grab their kid’s soda and give them their water. *eye roll*
It’s not uncommon for their guests to purchase the cheapest meal on the menu, to share, and then request 5 or 6 loaves of the free French bread to eat with it. Or sometimes they will purposefully lie about bad service to get the manager to comp them a meal or get money knocked off their bill. The people that do this have it down to a science and keep coming back to the same restaurants and playing the same game every time with the same successful results. And of course when it comes to the tip, all the servers get for enduring the abuse and running themselves ragged is a derisive smirk when the customer leaves.
Despite the hardships and lack of respect, they still manage to have a good time at work most days. Randy told me a fun distraction common in restaurants is for the wait staff to let others know when a hot girl comes in so that that person can go check her out, sometimes with comedic results.
Naturally this gets the attention of some of the other servers and kitchen staff who now are all madly curious about the angel that is sitting in seat one at table 43. One by one they file on back there, trying not to look too much like stalkers as they pretend to wipe a nearby table or replace the salt and pepper shakers. A total of eleven guys and three girls took turns checking out the pretty girl and echoing Keith’s sentiments. So I go back there with their drinks and they are laughing, apparently not fooled in the slightest as to the intentions of the other staff.
Apparently some of the guys couldn’t help but stare like a deer in headlights. Subtle. Real subtle.
But instead of being mad, the cute one tells me that if we will shut down the parade she will let me take her picture.”
So I ask him, “So then what did you do?”
“Well, hell! I did what any other red-blooded American man would have done. You want to see her picture?”