Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"It's amazing that more waiters don't kill people,.."

After all those years working in various positions at 9 restaurants between the ages of 15 and 22 - almost continuously - I was very amused at the depth of this NYTimes article about various waitstaff complaining on - wait, you guessed it - blogs about low-tipping customers and loud and bratty kids. ( like www.bitterwaitress.com, www.waiterrant.blogspot.com and www.webfoodpros.com) . There really is no court, no police, no referee to rely on when you are undertipped as a waiter. So, the only get-back-at-em available is some public 'outing'.

The Shitty Tipper Database is fantastic. This link brings you to a page where real people are named (I guess from their credit card receipts) and what happened at the restaurant. "What happened: These people were all dressed in business outfits, all had special requests, and had something that crawled up their ass and died. "

I recall the efforts of one very exciteable waiter that wanted to follow the customers to their car and risk his job to complain to them over a big party service in Seattle. For him it was not only about them impeding his earning a living, but I think it was also his skill that was brought into question. Sure, there are arguments along the lines of 'there is no law requiring us to tip' or 'they do have a base salary', etc. But what you don't realize is what can happen in the kitchen before the food gets to your table.

Did you ever see Betty Blue where the pizza is prepared after the customer yells at Betty. The cook takes the scraps out of garbage can to concoct the pizza. Worried? You should be.

But this discussion only would interest people who worked in the fast paced, highly entertaining, usually lucrative world of table waiting, bus boying, car parking, and cooking at restaurants. You are really missing out if you never lived and partied and complained and enjoyed the sex, drugs, food, the glorious food! of this profession.

The stress is incredible though. And the pay not being fixed? I can only quote one line to explain it all ""It's the only job where your hourly wage is totally dependent on how random people feel about you". Too bad that doesn't apply to the many arrogant investment wankers I know.

Of course, while restaurant work was incredibly exciting, strenuous and fun, never under any circumstances go out and try to own/run a restaurant. Sheesh!

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