Mein Kampf: A Server’s Manifesto Presents…People Who Come In Right Before Closing

15 Sep

Or more like a former server’s manifesto. Even though it’s been about a month since I left the serving game, the memories, stress, and angst is still bottled up, waiting to come out and spew onto this blank WordPress document. The one positive that comes from my time as a server is that I’m much more conscientious of everything that goes behind the scenes when I eat out at a restaurant. Not that I wasn’t before, in fact, my family in general has always been super nice to everyone in the service industry. But as a server, you know the little in’s and out’s. And now, as a blogger, I can inform all you oblivious numbskulls of what you’re doing wrong. There are some things you’re not gonna know. Like I mentioned in my last post, you’re not gonna fully understand the server’s plight against hosts and hostesses. This one however I feel like should be a no-brainer. But the fact I have to write about it means some of you still don’t get it. Ladies and gentlemen, do not show up at a restaurant less than twenty minutes prior to closing.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of times this has happened. After working a fourteen hour whale of a shift (with no break in between because that’s just how I roll) and the clock slowly approaches 11:45 PM, no guests have come to the door in the last half hour. You start to clean up so you can get home at a reasonable time and get some well-deserved sleep so you can work this slave job all over again in the morning, but then you see it. A table of two shows up at the door. You know what, at this point I’m not even tremendously pissed off. It’s two people after all. You sit them, go through your whole routine, and even though the cooks in the back are all cursing in Spanish and wishing terrible things upon your mother for having the audacity of not telling the customers to hit the road, you don’t really mind it.

You bring them their drinks, and then you see it. A family shows up at the door. You feel your blood start to sizzle a bit. Not boil, just a mild sizzle. You’re not getting home at 12:30, not a chance now. But you tell yourself, it’s a family. Just sit ’em, do your thing, and they’ll go home early. They have kids right?

You go to the back and now the cooks are incensed. They challenge you to a fight in the big walk-in refrigerator. They tell you they’re going to refuse to cook anything for these tables. They tell you to let them know what the guests want to eat, even though you haven’t even been to these tables more than once after they sat down. You tell them to go suck your nuts and to go back to their country if they don’t like it. Or maybe that’s just me, not ‘you.’

Now these two tables have their drinks. You stand there taking their orders. As you stand there writing down on your pad, you take a glance at the clock out of the corner of your eye. 11:56. Once you put in their order in the computer you’re home free. The night is over.

And how wrong you are. As you step away from the tables and make a dash for the kitchen you see a blur, dark ominous figures approaching the main entrance. Everything slows down. Your heart rate is jacked. You pray that it’s either the Bloods or the Crips, coming to take down everyone in this chain Mexican restaurant and put you out of your miserable existence. You pray for highway raiders, looking to bully your manager who’s in the back eating a sub into opening the safe where all the money is kept. You pray it’s ‘la migra,’ finally deciding to wise up and put all those cooks on the quickest flight back to Mexico. Anything.

They open the door. A group of four Indian teenagers. Your knees buckle and look up to the heavens in vain. There is no god tonight. And if there is, he’s cracking open a Rolling Rock and laughing his black ass off. You approach the group of teens and calmly explain to them that the kitchen is about to close. You plead them to go to the restaurant next door that’s open ’til one. You even tell them their food is better.

No such luck.

Now, it’s 12:20 AM and no one has their food yet. You figured to leave around this time and now you’re running around, getting refills, hurrying the cooks up. Once their meals are ready, you bring them all out. Now, the couple switched from an iced tea and a diet coke to the most complicated drinks from the bar. You know, cause the guy is trying to score. Never mind the fact he brought her to a crappy chain restaurant. I’m sure you can wrangle a handjob from taking her to a diner, she’s not that classy. Now the bartenders are pissed at you ’cause they’re trying to go home and you’re asking for mimosas or some other bullshit. The parents are now impatient cause their kids are tired and cranky. They probably should’ve thought about that before taking them out to eat close to midnight. What would Dr. Spock say? The teenagers are just terrible, certified ass clowns.

During all this, you’re calm and pleasant. Your phoniness/server skills have paid off. But when it’s time to collect the tip, you muster a feeble ten percent. Which you will now spend at the corner bar so you can forget about the shift.

The solution is simple: if you’re going out to eat and the place says that it’s closing, they’re probably not going to give you the greatest, freshest food. So instead of being a lazy bastard, get in your car and go somewhere else. Guess what, diners are open around the clock. They’ll be happy to take you in. And if you really are that lazy, drive your fat ass through the McDonald’s drive-thru. Yes, we will be forced to serve you if you really demand to come in. But honestly, do you really want to piss off the people that prepare your food?

I thought so.

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