Tuesday, September 19, 2006 by Ospite.

She was late again. I like this particular waitress but she has this thing with being on time...she just can't seem to be. So I was left to open solo yet again. This means I have to fully prepare everything alone. Coffees, fresh brewed iced tea, lemons for water, full table and floor check and all the other assorted little things that go into prepping a restaurant for guests. On top of the that, we'd had a delivery so there were many boxes to be unpacked and sorted, etc.

So when the first guests arrived I was putting the finishing touches on my uniform. When the second table arrived, I was just getting drinks for table 1. When the 3rd table arrived, I still hadn't yet taken 2's order yet. 4 and 5 showed and I was trying to run food to 1 and 2. Luckily 3 was a table of, well not regulars, but close. They'd eaten with us on several occasions. They saw I was singlehandedly running the floor as the guests swept in surprisingly early, and were gracious enough to not take the wait personally. They finally received their food and all was well.

I ran checks and desserts all over creation, finally settling back with table 3 who had let me know to take my time. When a customer tells me to take my time because they are not in a hurry, I will take them seriously. These are dangerous words to utter to a waiter, expect him to follow through. They expected me to take them seriously and we chatted nicely as I bussed some of their dishes. I had her plate on my left arm, his plate in my left hand, a smaller side plate on that, and several utensils on there as well. I reached with my right to pick up her salad plate (which see insisted on eating slowly throughout her meal). We serve said plates chilled and it had 'sweated' considerably. The dear woman decided that I needed to also carry her coffee spoon on the plate in my left hand, so she placed it there. This changed my balance and caused the fork to slip which shifted the sideplate. I countered it with a balancing act keeping the sideplates from landing in her face...in doing so, I altered the grip with my right hand. The now wet plate launched from my hand, striking her glass sending diet coke (with lime) across her place setting and onto her lap.

I put the dinnerware down on a nearby table, helped her clean the table (not her lap, that's her husband's job) and appologized profusely. She was good-natured about it.

"Are you going anywhere immediately after this ma'am?"
"Thank God, no. Can you imagine the looks I'd get with coke on my crotch?"

Luckily I was on my way to box her lasagna and retrieve their check. The husband waited around as his wife walked outside, clearly embarrassed. I had her lunch comped and brought him the food wrapped and also the check.

"Sir, I've taken her meal right off the bill. I am very sorry about the mess."
"Oh, her jeans will be fine. Besides, the look on her face totally made my day."

He handed me the bill with cash, said "It's all yours." and joined his wife outside. The tip was 25% of what the original bill would have been including her meal.

The moral of the story is, don't disrupt the waiter's carefully practiced arm-carrying technique. Oh, and be kind when they occasionally screw up, especially if you had a hand in it.


Blogger Brad #1 said...

Yeah, it's amazing that there are as many people out there that like to tell us how easy our jobs are, but then they can't stay away from trying to help us do our own job.

Me, employee. You, customer. Let's leave it that way.

3:17 PM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

Last week I had put lotion on my hands (which i don't usually do before work) and went to take a beer to a table. Well, the beer was sweaty and my hands were wet and as I set the beer on the table it started to slip. As I was trying to recover the beer I knocked into his friends Corona, spilling both beers on the guy. To add insult to injury, when I brought him a fresh one I slipped on the wet floor and spilled the new corona on myself. Then i went and washed my hands....

4:26 PM  
Blogger caramaena said...

How late was the other waitress?

12:15 AM  
Blogger Thy said...


i'll remember that.

i've tripped over my own ankles and spilled drinks, even when i'm just holding one glass.

i'd make a horrid waiter

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate it when customers try to help me clear the dishes--yeah, let's just hand me the small plates with the olive oil before I have a chance to collect the larger plates. And when both my arms are full of stacked dishes, some of them like to try to hand me their glasses.

On the reverse side, I also hate it when I come by to fill the empty water glasses, and there's one just beyond my reach and they don't bother to move it towards me, and I take that as a signal they don't want water. But then they ask for it and look at me weird when I lean over awkwardly to get it.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One fine sunny San Diego day, I was waiting on a group of people on our large outdoor patio. They were good natured and fun. They proceeded to order margaritas for each of them. Easy enough. As I carried 6 16oz. margaritas from the bar, their dining table was called. I followed them to their table and they all sat. One of the men decided to "help" me and proceded to grab one of the margaritas off my tray. As I yelled, "No thank you, that's okay", the tray turned over dumped margaritas all over him. The crash was so loud everyone on the patio turned to look. Fortunately, he laughed it off. About 5 bussers came from nowehere and helped clean him and the mess up. I apologized and he told me not to worry. "It was totally my fault. Now, how about another round?" that is one of my favorite stories. A customer actually laughing as he's soaking in tequila and sweet & sour, and taking full blame.

2:22 PM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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