I Hate Hipster Douchbags

Posted: November 1, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Life, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Last weekend was rough. I worked Friday night and Sunday brunch. It was busy at work, but the very worst kind of busy. One of my favorite pearls of wisdom in regards to restaurant/bar work is “It’s never the quantity of the customers, it’s the quality.” So true. To date I have had pretty terrific customers for the most part. I have written of some of the more difficult clientele, but that’s just comedic license. Who wants to read about a nice couple who ordered the scrod and tipped 21%? In all of these pieces I have included that on the whole I’ve been pretty happy with my customers. They have been friendly, generous tippers and pleasant to wait on and converse with.
Last weekend was the exact opposite. Friday night started with a party of three who had little to no personality and tremendous difficulty in figuring out a 15% tip.  I got $1.50 on a $23 check. “Gee thanks folks, you really shouldn’t have, oh wait… ha ha,  you didn’t”  I assure you, the crappy tip wasn’t my fault as all they had were some glasses of wine. The rest of the night was full of people who sucked for a variety of reasons. Camping out at a table and running me ragged over an order of buffalo wings and two diet coke’s.  “Can you change the channel, I want to watch the game?”  “Can you change it back now I want to see the news?”  “Is this diet coke?  It tastes sweet.”  “Now it tastes like diet coke but it’s flat.”  Then they stuck change in the guest check book to insure they wouldn’t break the 12% tip barrier. I picked up the book and the change went everywhere.  “Sorry about the change.” said Mr. Diet Coke. You’re not sorry. You’re a douchebag who just got reminded of their douchebaggery by having a poor waiter pick up the nickels and dimes you put in a booklet made for credit cards and bills. You get the picture. Sure, there were some nice people, but they were lost in the mix among the soul sucking cheapskates.
Sunday took the lousy weekend’s cake though. The cooks screwed up two of my orders, one in a major way.  One family called me over to point out that the burger I had just served them was raw. Not undercooked, not rare…raw. What was worse was that the man had taken a bite of the all beef patty, special E. coli sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. I felt bad and got the man a fresh beer on the house.  Later he and I talked about the neighborhood and the local restaurants. He was quite pleasant despite having just bitten into a rude shock of a burger. In all likelihood, he and his family wont be back though. My restaurant had one chance to make a first impression and the one we just made with the burger tartar surprise sucked rather mightily. He also had two children with him and his wife. A little boy and an infant daughter. They were well behaved kids and the little girl was as cute as a bug, but like most small kids they made a huge mess. 

How could you not think this is cute? Cause I have to pick up the drooled upon biproducts

Some parenting book has decreed every single parent must bring a small baggie full of cheerios for their little ones when they go out. Now, the infants don’t eat the cheerios. They drool and slobber on them and spew them out all over their table, hi-chair and floor for the benefit of their sub minimum wage server or busser to contend with. I have taken pains not to have children, doesn’t that mean that the people who have children and enjoy the tax benefits should be the ones picking up the droolios? Some parents call out “Oh, they made a mess, I’m so sorry.”  They just aren’t sorry enough to pick up after their larvae. I had a couple of “families” that day and many of the kids were whiny, messy little brats. The parents were too busy on their smart phones to actually be bothered with something as mundane as parenting.  I wrote a piece not too long ago about my thoughts on children, families and family restaurants (I’m not a fan), so I’ll spare you revisiting the topic. It’s a bummer when the kitchen screws things up for a server.  It’s a sad fact of the industry, but people take their frustrations out via their tip. A steak they felt was medium when they ordered medium rare, the beer seemed a trifle warm,  the music was too loud, or their meal came before they finished their appetizer…. It’s coming out of your end Mabel. I understand if a server is at fault, and often we are…but I wish people would consider the source.

The rest of that Sunday just got worse, climaxing with a table of hipsters. I hate hipsters. I always have. They are cheap, pretentious, snotty, rude, inconsistent in their attitudes and beliefs, and they are generally a pain in the ass. They are the human equivalent of pubic lice in my beloved New York City. It’s not that I don’t get the anti-fashion, anti-subculture stance, it’s that I do get it… and it’s lame, low frequency and weak. Commit to a subculture. Be a punk, a skinhead, a hippie, a leather daddy with handlebar mustache, be a bull dyke or a gangsta rap thug. They are all infinitely more interesting than hipsters who are, in my opinion, just yuppies pretending to be poor for a couple of years with appalling taste in beer and music.
Stand for something with anger, vandalism, humor, or wit…not bored, apathetic miles from funny irony.  I’d rather deal with people who are mad at the world, or disgusted with it.  I’ll even take someone who is idealistic over one who is perpetually and snottily bored with everything.  I abhor cheapness. I just hate it, especially cheapness at the expense of the others (in this case, me).  I briefly worked at a bar with $20 cocktails. That’s just foreign and wasteful to me, so I don’t go to, nor can I afford to go to, such places. The difference is I don’t complain to a bartender because they charge .50 cents more for a Heineken than the place down the road. Hipsters are generally full of shit and hypocrites, but this is lost on them.  Hell, everyone is full of shit to some degree, but hipsters roll and wallow in it like little pigs in their faux precious, ironic Yanni “vintage” t-shirts and John Deere hats that cost $50 and look so chic and used. I’ve never met people so thoroughly convinced of how cool (or “deck” as the wee hip children of Williamsburg call it) they are, yet without one sense of the absurd irony that goes into the ever so carefully crafted anti-fashion look. I’m still praying for the skinheads to make another comeback. Working class ideals, a simple working class look, soulful ska and angry oi music, plus they’d generally delight in beating the crap out of hipsters.

Image from stephenmalkmus.com


The hipsters arrived in two pairs. The first was a young couple who looked about one promotion away from yuppiedom. They weren’t too annoying. They began with the ultimate hipster cliche of asking me what was the cheapest thing available to them. They had to ask, they couldn’t, you know, read the menu. They wanted me to earn the lousy tip they planned to give me. We had one beer on special and I also informed them that happy hour would begin in thirty minutes. Later they were joined by two guys.  A young black man with dreads and a zitty faced white kid with scraggly hair and one of those mustaches that weaselly guys and 15 year old boys are so fond of. Of course they too wanted to know what was the cheapest thing on the menu. They made me repeat the Happy Hour options several times so that I could stand and wait for them to order while they discussed the merits and pitfalls of Pabst Blue Ribbon vs Bud Light Draft. Such aficionados. Naturally they ordered PBR, that’s just what hipsters drink.
Happy hour coincided with the changing of the brunch menu. The early football games were ending and the afternoon games were beginning. The hipsters sipped their beers and ordered buffalo wings. Then they decided that the view of the games they wanted was not ideal near the bar so they got up and moved to the dining room. I cleaned their former table, and apparently the games they wanted to see were not on in the dining room. So, they asked the owner to change the stations just for them. We have over 10 TVs in the establishment with a direct TV sports package. Changing the channels generally requires an advanced degree from MIT and is not as simple as a point and press on a remote control. They asked for menus but couldn’t make up their minds within an hour. This didn’t stop them from calling me over and asking me questions about the cheapest appetizers every 5 minutes. Yes, it was on the menu, but what fun is that when you can make someone hop to and translate for you? After about a half an hour and 5 channel changes, the weaselly one decided he was cold and wanted to leave the dining room and go back to the bar. His friends were comfortable and the girl who was with them said that if she “didn’t have a problem with the cold, then it wasn’t that cold.”  This just made weasel boy sulk and eventually storm off to the front. They asked if I would mind if they moved again. I “joked” that it didn’t really matter if I minded, and that I had serious doubts that this was in any way a factor in their decision. So, they got up and took a new table at the bar. Another table for me to clean up. Thanks guys.

Now the dread locked hipster wanted nachos. He asked what they were like and I described them as “busy”; meaning there is a lot going on with our nachos, chili, beans, jalapeno’s, cheese, sour cream guacamole and salsa. Of course he couldn’t just order them or not order them…he had to have me return to their table (their third table) to

Four...no wait...THREE hipster douchebags! AH AH AH

answer more questions about the nachos, all the while bringing them more PBRs. They also committed another common faux pas, not exclusive to hipsters, but an oldie and a goldie with many types of annoying customers. They would order two beers, which I’d bring and then order another when I arrived, then when I brought the third beer, they’dorder one more. “What’s the matter, Sesame Street wasn’t sponsored by the number ‘4’ this week?” Eventually, dreadlocks ordered the nachos with extra cheese which I brought to him with extra plates so they could share. I’d forgotten to bring them napkins, so in all fairness I had hit a sour note as a server that day. Hey, fuck em. They messed up not one, not two but three tables and they were New York Jets fans which to me is unforgivable.

My day was coming to an end and I hadn’t made much money. Just then a party of 8 walked in and I had to take them. It was my turn to be seated, and I needed the money. The bummer was it was 20 minutes before the end of my shift, which meant I was staying longer whether I wanted to or not. I had 4 parties to finish with before I could go home and call my editor and best bud Gow with my epic tales of trench warfare on the working class front lines. Gow was a waitress for years and she understands.These things aren’t as easy to discuss with a non-veteran of the restaurant grind. One party was a nice couple who were having a couple of beers and sharing an order of calamari. (Yes, the really fried variety) Not much money for me, but not a ton of work either, and they were a pleasure to serve and talk to. I had another table of two guys who had been there for a couple hours. First they had burgers and bloody marys and now they were nursing beers watching the games on TV. They were pleasant too, and low maitenance. The third party was the party of 8 who had just sat down, but they seemed nice and I joked around with them as they ordered drinks. Rounding out the batting order were the hipsters. The couple and the two guys finished up, paid and left. The new party was running me rather ragged with drink orders. They had been moving into a new apartment all day and were hungry and thirsty.  I didn’t mind. Heavy drinkers generally equal heavy tippers and as I said before they were nice. Plus, they were running up quite a bill that just might salvage a day full of slim pickings.
The hipsters, of course, were still being annoying. After changing tables three times and having the owner switch from this game to that, they weren’t even watching the games. Finally they asked for the check…separate checks. God forbid a Hipster would pick up a tab for their friends. I’ve never seen it in all my years in the business. Old ladies never pick up a check either. They all want separate checks that they can scrutinize with the zeal of an IRS auditor with OCD before finally digging into their ancient change purses and calculating an 8% tip.
I checked on my big party who were settling in and being nice as could be. They inhaled the appetizers I’d brought and were drinking pretty heavily, which was keeping me busy. I don’t fault a big party for ordering more drinks every time I drop some off.  It just puts fire ants in my boxer briefs when people are ordering another round of the same thing and force me to make 4 trips rather than one.
I returned to the Hipsters table and saw dreadlocks peering at his check intently. Any waiter, Maître d’ or bartender knows that look. It’s a patented expression of a trifling cheapskate who is going to argue about this or that. “You charged me $3 for extra cheese.” he said with a tone more fitting for “You set fire to my house after sleeping with my girlfriend and spitting on my grandmother”.  I explained that I didn’t set the prices.

Arguing with the waiter over the bill has been around longer than I have. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

“There wasn’t extra cheese on it either” he continued. I countered that there was extra cheese on it, and I saw it.  He gave up taking that route. He went on to explain that $3 was entirely too much for extra cheese. I reminded him again that I don’t set the prices for the establishment. Anyone who may think he had a point would generally not bat an eye at paying $1 more for cheese on a burger and that’s just one or two slices of cheese. “How about ONE dollar?” He suggested. I told him for the third time that I do not set the prices for the restaurant. “Two dollars.” He tried again. Now he was arguing with me over 100 pennies. A dollar. An amount of money he wouldn’t even get angry about or notice if he had lost. Then he tried to demand that it be taken off his bill and that I should have told him that it was going to be a whopping $3 more. I informed him that I could not take anything off the bill, that one of the owners had to go into the computer system to do that, and at present none of the owners was available. He told me that $3 made the difference between him coming back to our restaurant or not returning. I thought silently to myself that if a measly $3 would keep him and his friends from running me ragged and pestering me, then it was the best bargain I’d heard in ages. Finally I reached in my back pocket, pulled out my wallet and took three singles and placed them on the table. Gow later told me that she thought this was a bit of an “F-You” to Ziggy Marley. After we discussed her theory I could see her point, but I honestly hadn’t meant it as such. Believe me, next to coin collecting and film; f-bombing people is a major hobby of mine. I just wanted the PBR and Nacho auction to end. $3 may have been enough for this trifling Lenny Kravitz wanna-be to take a stand, but after 8 going on 9 hours of being on my feet continually, drooling baby’s, their slobbered on cheerios, apologizing for raw burgers and profusely thanking others for lousy tips, I just wanted them to leave so I could finish up with my big table and go home.

He looked at the three singles on the table and said nothing. My mother later said it wasn’t so much of an “F-You” as it was a dismissal. That sounded more accurate in how I meant it to be perceived. I was dismissing him. Sure he got his way, but not though his powers of persuasion, or what he deemed to be a serious financial slap in the face. He took an inordinate amount of time to actually sign his credit card slip and I had to return to his table 3 more times. I’d like to think he was unsatisfied with the outcome of ‘The great $3 extra cheese debate and auction of 2011’, but what could he say? He got his precious $3. I think he wanted an admission from me that the restaurant’s proprietors were indeed price gouging in regards to cheese, and for me to acknowledge that I was on cloud nine at the prospect that we may have avoided his boycotting our establishment. Eventually they left, and good riddance. I kind of do hope they come back. There are lots of ways I can get back at them and make it look unintentional.  My days of tampering with the food and drinks of disagreeable customers are long since gone.  But a savvy waiter has plenty of tricks up their sleeve to ensure a trying and unpleasant dining experience while making it look completely undevised.
Things were smoother with the big party although the kitchen botched one of the orders. They had made a swordfish steak prior to the other entrees and it was cold when I served it. An old lady in the party called me over to inform me her granddaughter’s swordfish was “freezing cold.”  I’ve noticed that customers feel the need for vast exaggerations when addressing an issue. “Could you warm this up?” wouldn’t do. Customers often have similar exaggerated complaints with things such as the restaurant’s temperature. If it’s 72 degrees, they will shiver uncontrollably and put their coats on prior to asking if you could turn up the heat, and if it is 73 degrees they will fan themselves dramatically with menus before asking “Is the AC even on?”  The old woman was a bit of a mean drunk and barked “Where’s my wine?” at me a couple of times during my numerous drink runs. But, there were 8 of them and the other 7 were pretty pleasant. 1 bad apple in a basket of 8 isn’t a bad ratio in life to my way of thinking.
They paid and left a so-so tip, maybe 17%. It was a fair amount of work, but it could have been worse. They could have stiffed me. They could have been hipsters.
  1. OMG – What a bunch of hipster assholes. I would have been embarrassed to be so broke that I had to argue about $3.00 for something I actually ordered. Sadly, he is probably too ignorant to ever notice. I would have told them that it’s a $5 fee to switch tables more than once LOL.

  2. Walter says:

    I hate Los Angeles hipsters and now they are EVERYWHERE. If I see one more Members Only jacket on some dude I’m gonna hurl. Apologies if you wear Members Only. I second your hatred of hipsters. I would bomb Echo Park if one of my oldest friends didn’t live there and he’s lived there for 20 years.

  3. danielle says:

    I waited tables for 9 fucking years… so i get you.

    Love the cheerio part and the climax of the story was def the hipster part!!! I loved what you wrote.

    Nice use of short sentences, quick-witted, and to the point with dry, sarcastic, honest humor….

    i would love to see some angry skinheads come back…

    and i also liked the part about their “vintage” shirts and $50 fucking john deere hats…

    long live the PBR… How shit beer can be popular is beyond me

    ah waiting tables… we all sell our soul in one way or another i suppose 🙂

  4. Tallkronan says:

    Lovely piece! So, so entertaining! I would have loved to just go on reading for days!


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