I’m convinced that food service has to be the first circle of hell.
When I was an undergrad, I worked at a local restaurant for about two years until my manager caught me trying to drown myself in a deep fryer (okay, so maybe not. But I sure thought about it). One night during homecoming (also known as our busiest night of the whole freaking year, folks!) this guy asked me for another set of silverware and I told him very genially that he could grab a set from the very next table. I was delivering food to a huge table now, mind you, so I couldn’t very well bend over, pick up the silverware and hand it to this guy.
He looked like I had slapped him and his wife exclaimed “You are so rude! How dare you speak to a man that way!” In my nicest waitress voice, I said, “Well excuse me, I’ve got to get back into the kitchen, where I belong.” and, under my breath, “Don’t choke on your food, now!”
If only I had known about Bitterwaitress.com then! It’s a website where waitresses can go to share their customer horror stories and list their crappiest tippers. There is often the odd encounter with a rude celebrity recounted on the website, too, like this run-in with Dan Marino, who, according to the waitress, tried to charge kids for his autographs.
It’s also a useful website for restaurant goers as well, to hear about their awful fellow patrons and realize some of the thoughtless things that they have been doing as customers.
One of my favorite parts of the site is the glossary, where they define such terms as “Hostess”:
In most cases, the bulimic 19 y.o. woman sleeping with the manager. In some (rare) cases, your greatest ally. In almost all cases, someone who is tipped out unnecessarily because the owner is too cheap to pay her.
and “Check” :
The thing you pay, and on which you tip 20% after tax. Check is a physical object, and not a command to be uttered. It is acceptable to make the pen gesture to request your check. If you have misbehaved, you will often find things added on to it. After all you are only meant to pay it, not to look at it.