Why did you choose the restaurant where I worked at that particular time? A few seconds earlier or later, you would have been safe. But Fate dropped the piano on your head, and you drew me as your waiter. You could have been musing on highly intellectual and abstract non-problems like Whole Foods astroturfing or media “junk food” conspiracy theories, but the arbitrary whims of fate brought you to a most L Ron Hubbard-like consumer nemesis.
Forty-five minutes later you tore headlong shrieking from that restaurant, and you never trusted another human being again. People tell me, God, stop with the caterwauling already! It’s been over fifty years. Does shame have a statute of limitations? Not in my soul.
1. Nasty Customers!
Once I held back an order for seven clients on a busy Saturday night. They had to wait an hour before they received their food. A member of that party followed me into kitchen, a class E felony by the way! He cussed me out, a 22-year boy just 19 years out of diapers because he couldn’t grind his teeth on a hefty slab of prime rib, which wasn’t good for him anyway with all that fat. He was about fifty years old so he’s probably dead now. Or he’s over one hundred; which is unlikely, given his eating habits! They left me a stick of gum for a tip…
2) I Don’t DO Donkey Work!
I refused to do my “side work.” Which is what? That’s cleaning up your station for the next shift: filling the ketchup bottles, folding napkins, cleaning out the johns, polishing doorknobs, sweeping up the dead rats, menial tasks designed keep me from bugging out and getting drunk. (EDITOR’S NOTE: At least he doesn’t have donkey dentures or cheese on his face, unlike over here across the pond!)
Nobody ever told me about “side work” and I was trained by Janice at the Holiday Inn West. She was a lovely woman with two small children and an idiot for a husband. She’s probably in her nineties. The other servers reprimanded me severely because of my shortcomings and I kicked and cursed at them. They all died horrible deaths before they were fifty, but of course, I had nothing whatsoever to do with any of them!
3) Angry Caffeine Clients!
I poured a bottle of Coca Cola down a woman’s back. Accidently, of course….
Now back then, whenever a client ordered a Coke, you carried an open bottle with a glass of ice on a cocktail tray to the client’s table. You would then place the glass on the table to the right of the client, fill the glass with the beverage, then put the bottle next to the glass. You are not supposed to allow the bottle to fall on the tray, thereby spilling the liquid on the back of a female client who happened to be wearing a backless dress.
You can get away with it once. Just don’t make it a habit!
Well, the foolish client arched her back as the Coke dribbled down her naked spine, and she had the most comical look on her face, an exaggerated aggggggh. She was hamming it up, but of course I had the good sense and discretion not to tell her so! You do have to keep the moral high ground in these things; and thus far, it was fairly obvious in whose possession the moral high ground was, so we might as well keep it that way. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
But luckily, she was a guest at the hotel, and not exactly strapped for cash like the rest of us mere mortals; so she could easily change into another dress now, couldn’t she? What’s the problem? Of course, she and her party were good sports. I’d say she was around twenty-five years old at the time, which probably puts her in her mid-seventies today. They tipped me two sticks of gum.
Still, do not think for one second these are the only bonehead plays I made as a waiter. I could go on and on. What do you expect out of me? I was drunk, high on pot, or tripping on LSD the whole time! Or maybe just munching the wacky salema when the pedantic kitchen staff weren’t looking.
So now I think about it with the benefit of hindsight…
THAT’S why I was such a lousy waiter!
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