Empathy, people. Empathy.

Holy GOD this is the most outrageous thing I’ve seen in a LONG time.

The other week, a banker left a 1% tip on a $133 check in order to ‘protest’ the 99% movement.

[Copyright futureexbanker.wordpress.com]

 

DUDE.

SERIOUSLY??!!

I ABHOR the Occupy movement. With a fiery passion. Ask anyone. I think they’re disorganized and sloppy, and they smell like a mixture of weed and mud.

But I would NEVER take my hatred for them out on HARD-WORKING AMERICANS.

Douchebag banker man, do you even RECOGNIZE the absurdity in what you just did??! Essentially, you are CONFIRMING everything the Occupy movement has been wrongly accusing the 1% of embodying. What is WRONG with you??!

And to make matters worse, he left a “tip” of his own, much like the ones posted in the Perspective portion of this blog’s menu: “Get a real job”.

EXCUSE ME???!! A REAL job??! Dear sir, please go tell that to the people destroying McPherson Square with their pointless protests while they interfere with the daily workings of the city and contribute absolutely NOTHING to society. Do NOT reprimand an industrious server for finding work and helping to propel the dying economy!

I have TWO Ivy League degrees, a year of PhD work behind me, and I’m working on a second Masters. AND I STILL WAIT TABLES. Why? (1) I need money, fool! I live in DC and am trying to make myself an upstanding and influential member of society. That takes HARD WORK. (2) I need the exercise ’cause I don’t want to get FAT (and, given your $133 tab, you probably don’t share the same fears). And (3) Contrary to what this blog would have it seem, I actually do like meeting new people. Not stupid, ignorant ones like you, but normal ones who have interesting stories to tell and perspectives to offer.

Do not even BEGIN to assume that you know what these servers’ lives are like OR worth. For all you know, that girl could be the concert violinist you just saw at the Kennedy Center last Thursday night who feels suffocated by the constant practicing and uses waiting tables as a social outlet.

YOU. DO. NOT. KNOW.

So leave the effing twenty percent tip and move on with your life. I assure you NO ONE wants advice from you.

No offense.

I don’t know what it is about the world we live in. I personally believe people must just be generally self-centered– more so than in previous lifetimes. Why? Because everyone gets so damn OFFENDED all the time!

People. Grow up. It isn’t all about you.

To those of you reading this blog, I have a piece of advice for you: DO NOT TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY. *Especially* when it comes to dining out.

I know you find this hard to believe, but the restaurant is not operating around you, your schedule, or your heinous preferences.

Look around. There are (gasp!) other people here.

The other day, I had a couple come in during peak hours and ask for a table for two. I looked at my seating chart, saw that I had three parties on the waitlist before them, as well as a 2-top reservation that was coming in the next 15 minutes. I quoted them at 25-30 minutes.

They accepted the challenge. Reluctantly.

Five minutes passed and I seated one of the waitlist parties.

Another 2 minutes passed and a table got up. We bussed it, set it, and I seated another of the waitlists.

Then, the reservation came in. I prepared a table for them and sat them.

This is when things got typical.

I saw the couple out of the corner of my eye indignantly shift towards the host stand.

My heart started racing.

At this point, my animal instinct is to pounce.

Literally.

When I see people take it upon themselves to run the restaurant, I get the urge to pelt them with the little mint candies we provide as a hospitable gesture upon exit.

I knew what was coming next.

Not only did they look questioningly in my direction, but they walked deliberately toward me and plopped themselves down ON TOP OF ME.

Here’s the problem with that:

Not only does it make the host INCREDIBLY claustrophobic, but it gives the impression to incoming customers that there is a line forming to the host stand when, in fact, there is not.

SO MOVE.

Anyway, they inched closer and closer until finally the man said, “Are we going to get seated soon?”

I plastered my best faux smile onto my otherwise flushed face and answered cheerily, “As soon as we can get a table for you, sir!”

Then I walked away.

Note: When as host does this to you, it actually DOES mean “Leave me the f*ck alone I have things to do”. Inexperienced hosts will be subtle.

Just for kicks, I checked how long the couple had been waiting. Just as I’d suspected: 12 minutes. Less than HALF the time I’d quoted them. I went about my business as usual, unconcerned about their ‘predicament’. They could wait. After all, they didn’t HAVE to accept the Quote Time Challenge.

Finally, I seated them. But I didn’t want to. What I’d WANTED to do was to stop production in the restaurant and explain to everyone in there that WE. HAVE. A. SYSTEM.

While yes, at this moment I DO, in fact, hate you, I DIDN’T before. *Hate* is not the reason you don’t get seated within 3 minutes of putting your name on a list. *Priority* is.

Here’s how PRIORITY works in a restaurant:

(1) Owners & family
(2) Reservations
(3) Top of the waitlist
(4) Bottom of the waitlist
(5) Walk-ins
(6) Annoying kids from previous post or angry lady who didn’t even put her name down & then proceeded to yell at the host.

That’s it. Nothing to it.

So learn it, love it, and wait your turn. Do NOT get offended. Or your host will give you something to get offended ABOUT.

Waiting to Save Your Life

A few hours ago, two Australia men decided to try their hand at jumping into and crossing the Yarra River:

Beautiful, right?

Only one made it.

And HE wouldn’t have been so lucky had a brave waiter not dived into the frigid water when he saw the man needed help.

The two friends, both in their 20’s, wanted to see if they could make it to the other side. Now only one knows the answer: No.

After hours of search-and-rescue, the other is presumed dead.

Australian news continues to update this story, but for now– take care of your waiters. They could very well save your life.

#whiteboyproblems

Copyright Mathew Growcoot/newsteam

Apparently, a 19-year-old law student in Birmingham (UK) was gradually ‘eased out’ of his job at an upscale Chinese restaurant because– wait for it —

HE WASN’T ASIAN ENOUGH.

Go ahead. Read it again.

[Checks watch] I could’ve SWORN it was 2012 and we were pretty much past racial discrimination? That must only apply on certain continents.

Anyway, the details of this story are that this kid was a waiter at Ocean Dragon, and he started noticing that he was getting fewer and fewer shifts throughout the week. Until he realized he had been given no shift at all. He noticed, too, that he had been replaced by waiters who had been brought over straight from China.

When he called the manager to complain about the shifts and to request more, THEY PRETENDED NOT TO KNOW WHO HE WAS!!

In the words of David After Dentist, IS THIS REAL LIFE?

Seriously. If this were an “All American” restaurant and an African- or Asian-American had this happen to them, that lawsuit would be slapped on so hard, they’d fall into the souffle. And not just by the waiter. The ACLU would join forces with every alphabet organization it could FIND and they’d make sure that restaurant showed up to work the next day with a black eye. And empty wallet.

This time? The poor kid won his lawsuit, but has yet to reap a penny of the rewards. In the meantime, he doesn’t even have a job to keep him afloat.

Where has the justice gone?

This ish has got to end, folks.

Racial discrimination is so 1960.

RestauRANTS: Valentine’s Day edition

You KNOW there has to be a Valentine’s Day post. I know it’s a day late, but, sadly, last night I was too busy enjoying a romantic evening with 30 DC couples to come up with a post.

Most of my night was spent answering the phones.

Which brings me to my first point:

DO NOT CALL A RESTAURANT AT 5:30PM ON VALENTINE’S DAY EXPECTING TO GET A RESERVATION.

Hey. SCHMUCK. You screwed up. Your lazy butt did not get itself in gear early enough to find and make reservations at a decent restaurant and now your lady friend is gonna give it to you. And not in the good way.

Do NOT take this out on the person at the other end of the phone.

Last night, starting at 5:30 and not ending before 8:30pm, I got about 20 calls from frantic men asking if we were still taking reservations.

We weren’t.

And when I TOLD the poor souls this, they got mad. AT ME.

I’m sorry, but I GOT my sh*t together before the day– nah, the EVENING — of. And so did my boyfriend. And the boyfriends of all of my friends. So did my brother (who can’t even remember my birthday– and we’re twins.)

So if THESE guys can get it together, I have faith that you could have, too. I’m already bored with watching all of the couples “single-side” it over a plate of French toast tonight, so please do not add to my ennui by yelling at me for something that is absolutely none of my responsibility.

Here’s an idea: Suck it up, buy some noodles, watch Rachael Ray on Netflix for the next 26 minutes, and make her a meal, boy. ‘Cause otherwise you’re in the doghouse. And it ain’t my fault.

THEN, NEXT year mark the day January 14th in your calendar as the day you should be making a reservation for that special someone. Then you won’t even have to ASK!

Genius!

That’ll save us BOTH the agony- because, quite frankly, on the day that’s estimated to bring in over $3.5 billion dollars to restaurants, I just don’t have time for your shenanigans.

SECOND POINT:

Dear men,

Do NOT make reservations at 12 different restaurants and then “let” your girlfriend choose which one she wants to go to… and then just NOT SHOW UP.

Last night, we had about 37 reservations from 5:30 until 10pm.

Roughly 25 showed up.

Remember, people: If you do not show up, I click that glorious “No Show” button and YOU get kicked in the face with the OpenTable consequences.

This means that in the future, you might not be ABLE to make your precious reservations. And then your girlfriend will hate you.

This lovely young man spills to the world some of the problems with Valentine’s Day at restaurants, including this one. Heed his advice:

Dining with the Stars

I sing.

If you don’t know me, now, at least, you know THAT.

Singing is pretty much my passion. That, and talking to people.

So, it wouldn’t phase anyone to learn that Ellen’s Stardust Diner is my FAVORITE place on earth to eat.

If you ever go to New York City, make Ellen’s your first stop. The moment I get off the Megabus (ANY time I travel to NY), I make a beeline for 52nd and Broadway.

After college, I was supposed to go to Columbia to get a Masters in Teaching American Sign Language (little-known fact!). I HATE New York, but I was excited about two things: (1) My best friend is at Columbia, too, and (2) I was going to be able to finally audition at Ellen’s.

Yes. You read correctly. AUDITION.

The waiters and waitresses at Ellen’s are not your average, run-of-the-mill servers. These people are ALL in New York pursuing theater and musical careers on Broadway. And Ellen’s is where they start.

In fact, the wait staff at Ellen’s changes weekly because agents come in every day scouting talent among the staffers and grabbing them from their tables to ship them off to their new life on Broadway.

Oh, did I mention that all of the servers sing? WHILE they serve.

That’s right. While they whisk your food and beverages around the retro, 1950’s diner-style restaurant, they intermittently break out in full-scale Broadway numbers, climbing atop booths, interacting with customers, whirling trays around with flair.

And they are all wonderful.

This happens pretty much every 10 minutes or so, and everyone THRILLS at the sight.

So, it’s no wonder that the audition process would be excruciating. In fact, there really is no formal audition. If the manager thinks your voice is good enough, they throw an outfit on you and launch you into the sea of patrons for your debut. If you make it, bravo! You’re in.

If not, you walk out, yummy grilled cheese in hand.

I’ll point out that the food is NOT the best in the city. It’s very diner-y and a little overpriced, but you’re not paying for the food, really.

Either way, grab a vanilla milkshake and enjoy the performance.

Weighting Tables

In an earlier post, I mentioned that one of the reasons I choose to wait tables is, among other things, the exercise it affords me.

I wasn’t kidding.

I love me some gym time, but walking (and sometimes running) around for nine hours straight, 3-to-5 times a week, will get rid of some of those pesky calories, too.

And I’m not alone on this.

Lots of people have seen the difference waiting tables can make. Not only do you develop your interpersonal skills (and demolish your tolerance for nasty people), but you also getchoself in shape!

Now, obviously waiting tables shouldn’t be a substitute for healthy eating and regular exercise, but it’s definitely a fabulous supplement. AND people PAY you to do it! Many servers make $150-$300 a shift waiting tables, which means that you’re getting paid hundreds to get into better shape!

From personal experience, I was never in better shape than when I was running AND employed as a server.

And NOW, for your personal enjoyment, a little comedic glimpse into the [true] life of a restaurant server: