Thursday, November 16, 2006 by Ospite.

Typical busy night and I'm boxing up food in the kitchen.

"Hey, check out table 61."
"It's a surprise, but do a walk-by. It'll be worth it."

Now, normally when people tell me to do this I end up talking to a long lost friend of the family and I get roped into a conversation that lasts 10 minutes, which can kill any waiter's groove.

I grab a bev tray and some glasses and step briskly by this relatively secluded booth in the trattoria. What I see slows me almost to a halt.

3 later-middle-aged women were chatting loudly. They had decorated the table with lace and doilies, three pictures of their late friend who had died on the anniversary of that evening, and a candle to represent his presence in spirit. I felt very bad for their waitress. It was clear they'd be there for awhile.


Anonymous Carrie said...

I normally like your posts and empathise, but all you felt was sorry for their waitress? That sucks. When my co-servers and I had a special table like that that was going to camp we each gave up one turn on one of our tables that night to help them make up the money and let the people enjoy their special event.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Ospite said...

Maybe I should specify. I hung out with those three ladies after my shift was done (they were still there.) and ended up singing to them (because they asked).

The point is, a restaurant isn't really the place for a memorial service. It's a business.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Sarah R said...

Exactly! Its a busniess. A business where people go to celebrate birthdays, promotions and anniversaries. Why would you feel sorry for that server, for this anniversary and not any other occasion thats celebrated there.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Lissa said...

I agree. Maybe your restaurant was their friend's favorite?

A special restaurant is a place where memories are created, and memories are celebrated. Show some compassion.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Pearl said...

You felt sorry for the waitress? Wow. If you don't have the patience to accept customers who have the audacity to think they're paying for a service, you're in the wrong line of work.

This is so much a part of why I never eat out anymore.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Kara said...

Don't worry waiter, I understand. Because those ladies camped for so long, that waitress might not have earned enough to pay her bills, go grocery shopping, or buy new books for school, while those ladies probably went home and woke up the next day with a secure paycheck.

Best wishes to you and that waitress! Hope you all had a good night regardless.

6:29 PM  
Blogger amber said...

Oh good God, where do you find these people making these commments. If I walked by, I would have laughed. You know I would...not because of their loss but I would totally find humor in the doilies and lace. It seems like something the hat lady cult would do. And your damn right I'd feel sorry for the waitress too.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

heh, if I was eating at a close table I don't think I could stop myself from staring & laughing.

BTW A restaurant is not a place to remember a loved one. There are other people there to enjoy their meal... what's the difference between a Birthday celebration and a Memorial Service? Hmmmm. I'm thinking, but I need some help figuring this out. Anyone?

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Noizu said...


Reminds me of the Anime "Banner of the Stars."

There are better places to hold that type of anniversery, or atleast keep things brisk. I recall a table (I never got them) that would come in and order two dishes. Their food and the meal their departed wife would always order.

Theres a difference between this and taking over a resturuant for an entier day to show how much you "cared" for a friend.

7:26 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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