Tiny Torments

Posted: March 17, 2016 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

I have recently joined a group on Facebook of FOH restaurant employees.  I have been posting short attempts at humor on the group’s page and everyone has been really wonderful and appreciative.  I am so grateful for their appreciation and they have motivated me to write again.  Its a pity that positive feedback seems to be in such short supply in this world.  It is a great way to jump start creativity and work.  Thank You!!

I also wanted  to include a brief preface about my sense of humor.  In an attempt to be kinder these days we often have to “step on eggshells” with what we write and say so we don’t hurt other people’s and groups feelings or offend anyone.  If you’re easily offended, don’t read any further and don’t read any of my writing.  The world is a hard and unfair place. We all have our own things that we are sensitive about. Please know, I would never intentionally hurt anyone with something I write. I am not mean-spirited.  If you don’t think it is funny…fine. But be advised that’s what I am aiming for.

TINY TORMENTS:

Restaurant work is never easy.  Dealing with the public is also seldom easy. In addition to the general public not always being generally very polite, there are a thousand and one little things that we must do to earn our tips.  We live on our tips.  Most of us earn every cent of them and more. To be able to do this and keep the job we need, we must remain pleasant at all times.  We must bear a customer’s rudeness with a smile. We have to remain steadfast in keeping a good attitude despite often being treated very disrespectfully.  We can’t argue with people who are being unreasonable, petty, cheap or rude.  This adds to the pressure of our jobs. With pressure of any kind one must find a hopefully constructive way of release before we have a meltdown, lose our cool and then our job.

Remember, as long as we are pleasant, then we can’t get in trouble.  The key to tormenting people is to make it look unintentional.  If you keep smiling and being nice, then that nasty, rude, difficult customers can’t get you in trouble.  They can’t run home and bang out a scathing review on Yelp etc. One would also hope for cool co-workers and managers to assist in these suggestions.

1. The Speech Impediment:
When that douche-nugget party comes in, get them a server they haven’t had before and have them pretend to have a severe stutter.  It will take some acting skill, but many servers here in NYC and LA are also struggling actors and actresses…so here is a good chance to work out.  People can get uncomfortable as well as impatient with someone who is having trouble speaking. Yet, they wouldn’t dare be rude to or complain about you. They’d look like even bigger assholes. Just delight in taking 20 minutes to get their order.  Be VERY thorough.
“Hello, My name is Scott and I’ll b-b-b-BE Your server Tuh-Tonight. Our specials are M-m-m-m-mMuh-Muh Mahi-M-m-m-m-mMa-hi with P-p-p-p-PUH-PUH PUH PRO-Sucto ” Menu items starting with Ps, B’s and D’s are especially fun because then you get to spit gently on the shitty customer and make it look like an accident.  Just apologize.  “Oh I’m s-s-sorry, I’ll g-g-get you a napkin for your guh-guh-Glasses.”

2. Hard of Hearing:
I do this one at work all the time, especially with customers who mumble their orders when the joint is jumping.
Annoying Drunk: “Hey  gimme another Budweiser”
Me: (Pointing at my shirt)  “Oh thanks…I bought it on sale at Macy’s”  Then I walk away.

3.  The Name Game:
I started this way back in the 80s with a regular customer who used to show up every Friday 10 minutes before closing and camp out.  He owned a music venue and bar himself, so I never understood why he would breach this basic of restaurant worker etiquette. He would joyfully keep us waiting.  So we started getting his name intentionally wrong.  This is a better gag to do with multiple servers.  The cock-scratcher we did this to was named “Jordy”  This was a fun name to get wrong and there are many varieties.
” Hey Gordy, how ya doing tonight ,we are closing soon you know?”
” Um  It’s Jordy”
“Oh  sorry Jody,  did you want another beer?”
“Uh yes and it’s JOR-DY”
” Sorry,  another beer for Joey”
“It’s JOR-DEEEE”
“You got it Joy”

You get the idea.

4. Vanity:
Human beings are vain creatures.  We’re all insecure about something…our weight, our height, what we’re wearing, wrinkles, glasses, hair loss etc. Now, the trick here is to attack the nasty customer on something they’re sensitive about, but pretend it’s a nice compliment,
Waitress: “I LOVE that blouse you’re wearing”
Cunty Customer: Yes…it IS rather flattering”
Waitress”  I KNOW, my friend Marie bought the exact same one at the “Big-N-Sassy” store a couple weeks ago, but it looks even better on you”

5. Acting Stupid:
Many people have little to no respect for servers and bartenders.  They think it is a simple job where “all you do is bring a plate from point A to point B”.  We are also bombarded daily with stupid or thoughtless people who feel entitled. Why are we supposed to have an i-Phone charger and a place for you to charge?  if you can’t live for 20 seconds without your cellular life support system, maybe you should have brought a charger with you.
Customer: “Hey can you find me a i-phone 5 charger?”
You: “You need to charge your phone?”
Customer: ” Um Yeah…”( being snotty)
You: “But you don’t have a charger?”
Customer: “No”
You (cheerfully) “They sell all kinds of chargers at the Radio Shack”
Customer: “I KNOW that, but I don’t want to buy a charger”
You: “But you just asked me for a charger”
Customer: Um Yeah cause I need to charge my phone”
You” Well, why wouldn’t you need to buy a charger then?”
Customer: I HAVE a charger, I left it at home”
You: “Oh  I see, so you didn’t bring it?”
Customer: “Yeah”
You: “So you need a charger now?”
Customer (getting pissed ) YESSSSSS
You: “Sorry, so you need or want me to find a charger for you?”
Customer:  Yesssss
You:(To yourself)  “I don’t know where we’d keep chargers around here….”

and so on.

Please enjoy these helpful suggestions and let me know how they have worked with your less than pleasant clientele.  Just remember to keep YOUR cool, keep smiling, be pleasant and you can’t get in trouble.

Comments
  1. Robert Doyle says:

    Hilarious…yet of course trying to always be a courteous customer myself, somewhat painful too at what you have to deal with on a daily basis. I like numbers 2 and 3 best I think. And I totally find it rude these days that bartenders are expected somehow to have every type of phone charger cable available for general usage. Just because they see your phone charging by the register does not give you the right to use it. Or to ask to use it. For a bartender, that area by the register is personal space. Its a desk for lack of a better word, same as the desk I have at my job. Its my area for my coffee mug, my bag, my phone, my umbrella. Perhaps you should work that in the repertoire as well. You want to borrow my charger? Going into John Cleese Fawlty Towers mode now…anything else. Do you want my umbrella your majesty? Oh by all means take it because I won’t need it at 4am when there are no freaking cabs and its pouring down rain. Need a coffee? Sure have the dregs of my Dunkin Donuts cup I walked in with at the start of my shift, its no bother.

  2. Mary Ellen Diemand says:

    I love that you take subjects, thoughts, ideas that are bothering you and give them a wonderfully humorous spin. Way to stay afloat in this sea of garbage we call humanity! You are always looking to be better in some way, to rise above, to conquer. You ARE very funny, but most of all your ever-optimistic soul shines through, and we see it. 🙂

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