Anyone that’s ever stepped foot into the restaurant industry has at one point or another uttered the words “I love people”. The amount of truth that lies in that statement is equivalent to the amount of health that is contained in a tub or Ranch dressing. I do however believe that we, the hospitality industry folk weren’t always this jaded. I do believe that ‘I love people’ wasn’t always just a phrase you tell your interviewer out of sheer obligation. I do believe there was a moment in everyone’s life where they truly felt excitement and satisfaction from providing a customer with great experience. Such excitement still comes around once and again, reminding us why we’re still here and not working in a cubicle somewhere. Perhaps we should all stop lying to ourselves and potential employers and instead of saying ‘I love people’ just say the truth; I love this field and I’m great at dealing with any and all kinds of stupidity and obnoxiousness without letting it affect my professional demeanor. After all there is a major difference between being great at something and loving doing it. That’s why at the end of every shift we utter the words “I hate people; I wish I was drunk”.
It’s hard to explain why we love the industry so much given the amount of ugliness and retardation that walks through the doors of bars and restaurants on a daily basis. Part of it is the money; part of it is the fact that it adheres to our already insane dirty-minded lifestyle. Overall I think it’s the fact that there are so many others out there whom we can constantly confide in, knowing that they’re going through the same shit every day and that we are not alone.
The levels to which we hate people are different of course. There are the types of people that make you wanna claw both their and your own eyeballs out and then there are the types of people that just make you shake your head in disbelief and utter amusement. Here are just a few examples from my recent past. You’re bound to relate; either because you can share my pain or because you’re one of these people, in which case please do take this into consideration and be less annoying next time you go out.
- This lady orders an entrée that comes with rice and beans and a side of soup. Complains that the rice and beans are cold; demands that they give her a fresh order and wrap it up to go. Also asks for a to-go container for her soup. First of all, when I came by to check on you as your food was dropped off at the table, you said absolutely nothing about the rice and beans being cold. Now seven minutes later you’re complaining? Fine. Whatever. We live and breathe to accommodate every stupid request and it’s not like rice and beans are super expensive so neither I nor the kitchen would trip out about giving you a fresh order so hot that hopefully you’d burn your tongue. Oh but wait… You want it wrapped up to go? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Again, whatever. I bring her the box with scolding hot rice and beans along with the container she requested for her soup. She pours the soup into the container, eats it at the restaurant and leaves the rest behind. What in the hell is wrong with you, lady?
- This young guy comes in during happy hour; a happy hour so great that prices are practically slit in thirds. He orders himself a few margaritas and an appetizer; proceeds to ask me if we’re hiring bartenders because he’s looking for a job. I ask him about his previous experience to which he replies with ‘I work at a Deli’… Obviously I’m not gonna laugh in his face; it’s not my place. I’ll let management take care of that when/if he comes back with a resume. But seriously dude, not only have you no experience bartending but you leave me 13% on a check that should have been triple the amount? I hope you don’t expect me to put in a good word for you.
- Speaking of people with no experience… I get it, you have to start somewhere. A lot of knowledge comes with experience; especially in the restaurant/bar industry. However, there’s such a thing as common sense that needs to just exist. If you can’t tell two fundamentally different drinks apart then what are you doing here? One time I worked with a girl who was fairly new to the scene. She was picking up a drink order to take to the table. The ticket says: Classic Margarita, Strawberry Margarita, Corona, Jack Daniels and Coke. What do you think? She points to the only pink drink and asks “That’s the strawberry margarita, right?”… Noooo actually that’s Jack and Coke. This brown liquid in a short glass is a corona and that yellow bottle over there is the strawberry margarita…Massive eyeroll.
- An older guy comes in; after not being greeted by a hostess for about a second and a half (she was seating another table) he frantically runs to the bar asking if he can get some service around here. He’s that guy. Immediately I knew his presence was going to be annoying as all hell and sure enough I was right. I advised him to pick any table he likes and that I’ll send a server right over. He opts to sit at the bar. Go figure. Orders a blended margarita and immediately proceeds to ask me questions about food, which I wouldn’t mind if in the middle of his questions he didn’t ask me where his drink was. Really? I haven’t even walked away yet to make your drink because you’re holding me hostage and you dare to inquire about why you don’t have it in front of you? You’re extra special aren’t you? Here’s your blended margarita; I wonder what ridiculous question you’re going to ask me next. And we have a winner! “There’s no alcohol in this” he tells me. Wrong, sir, the alcohol has been purposely diluted when you decided to have your drink blended with a shit ton of ice, but I digress. Asks me for an extra shot on the side; no problem. Now he wants steak; no problem. I tell him we have one kind of steak; a 10 ounce skirt cut; thinly pounded and marinated; juicy and delicious. He asks me if we have ribeye. Didn’t I just say we only have the one cut? Alas, I repeat myself. He then asks me if we have filet. What part of what I just said twice was unclear to you exactly? We do not have any of that; we have one steak and one steak only. He asks me if I’m sure. Wow, just wow. A couple more rounds of that and he finally decides to order the steak, well done with a side of flan; whichever comes out first. When I listed the things that come on the side he said he doesn’t like cilantro but he still wants pico de gallo, which I advised him has cilantro in it. “Can’t they just pick it off?” he asks me. Can’t you just go to the supermarket and buy your own steak and cook it however you like it with a side of whatever the hell you want it, how you want it? At this point the only thing I could hope for is that he wouldn’t complain about it not being juice like I’d said; otherwise I might just have to take a bite of his steak myself just so I could spit it back in his face. He didn’t, thank god. He did however have a complaint about everything else; the chips having speckles on them (seasoning, duh); the music being too low; the lights being too bright, the steak taking too long to come out, etc. The fact that he left 10% after all that wasn’t surprising either.
- This chick orders a round of drinks for her and her boyfriend; pays in cash; doesn’t leave a tip. After about a half hour of sipping on her drink she finally asks if she can order artichoke dip. Why she decided that it’s an item we carry is beyond me, so I hand her the menu and briefly tell her about her options. She looks through it and puts it aside. Mind you, this is a Mexican restaurant. Some places give out nuts as a free snack; others provide their patrons with bread and butter; we have chips and salsa. She looks around and comments on how weird it is that we give salsa with our chips because “usually when you go to places, they give you artichoke dip”. What the hell kind of places are you going to that they give out artichoke dip, you dummy? That’s not a thing. Also, this isn’t Applebees. Also, you’ve been sitting here, occupying my bar stools for over half an hour; you had one drink, you didn’t tip and you’re not planning on ordering any food. Go away with your stupid commentary; no one likes you.
- This guy orders a round of drinks; pays cash and walks away before getting his change. I leave it on the bar in the check presenter. He comes back several minutes later and orders another round, inquiring where his change went. I’m not your personal assistant dude; there are other people at the bar. Maybe don’t leave your shit unattended and then have the balls to say that I ‘probably just put it in my tip jar’. Trust me, if I’d taken your money, I would have no qualms admitting it.
- This other guy knocked over his empty wine glass right over my well during rush hour. I had to burn the ice of course; you can’t take any chances with broken glass. He watched me the entire time I was doing it while the other bartender and I struggled to share the second well; didn’t even apologize. I would be mortified if my drunk ass caused so much havoc and inconvenience. He didn’t even bat an eye; also left zero tip – Asswipe. Hope you choke on your leftovers.
- Then we have the ‘bartender’s choice’ guy. He came in and asked for a shot of bourbon. I asked him if he has a preference and he says “Bartender’s choice” – so I pour him Maker’s Mark. He drinks the shot and then points to a happy hour menu where it says that house whiskey is $5 during happy hour; claiming that he doesn’t want to pay full price for something he can have for 5 bucks. I told him that Maker’s isn’t even on happy hour and that he did absolutely nothing towards making a choice, leaving it up to me. He tells me I should have known better. No sir, you should have known better. Next time don’t leave it in the hands of a bartender; be a man (however shitty of a man) and make your own damn decisions. You forfeited the right to complain the moment you said “bartender’s choice”.
- How about this guy? Hands me a $20 bill and asks for change. I ask “10, 5 and five singles?” to which he replies with “However you want to give it to me”. So fuck it, I give him two tens. He then rolls his eyes and asks me to break a 10. So I gave him 10 singles. Could I have just given him the 10, 5 and five singles? Sure. More importantly, should he have answered with ‘yes’ instead of that vague line with zero directions that he pulled? Absolutely.
- Then there are people that can annoy the hell out of you without even being present; that would be the people on the phone. First of all, if you’re calling ahead minutes prior to coming there, it’s not called making a reservation; it’s barely called giving a heads up. Everyone is supposed to drop what they’re doing and set a table for your highness because you decided last minute that you need a ‘reservation’. It doesn’t work like that. By the same token, it’s okay to inquire about the menu; it’s not okay to go down the list and ask about every single item and how it’s prepared and where the ingredients come from. The hostess or whoever is lucky enough to answer the phone that day isn’t your personal consultant; nor does that person go by Google. If you wanna know which part of the cow skirt steak comes from, look it up on the magical place called the Internet. The internet will tell you both the fact that it’s located below the rib cage and the fact that it sure as hell won’t be juicy if you order it well done.
- Four people go out to brunch and get bottomless mimosas. Here’s a hint, when your server comes around and you have less than a sip left in your glass and you know damn well you’re gonna have another, don’t say “not yet” when everybody else says ‘yes’ to a refill. That makes you an inconsiderate c*nt; especially if you’re gonna throw around phrases like ‘I’m a bartender’. If you were truly a bartender, you’d back it up with a fat tip and you wouldn’t be annoying throughout the entirety of your stay. Also, opening beers and pouring wine for your mom’s catering company a couple of weekends doesn’t make you a bartender. How dare you claim to be a bartender? Bitch please.
- A group of three sit down and order margaritas; simple enough. Then the girl in the middle asks for hers to be mango flavored and blended, which of course makes one of her friends perk up and go “Oh ya’ll got flavors?!”… I list the flavors and he picks strawberry, which he now also wants blended. Needless to say the last guy didn’t wanna be left out of the flavorful parade so he decided to ‘upgrade’ his margarita to a raspberry one. When I asked him if he’d prefer his on the rocks or blended, he kinda shrugged because I guess he didn’t care either way and then responded with “What the hell, blend it, make it easy”. FML. While rinsing a blender isn’t exactly one of the most difficult tasks I’ve faced while bartending, I assure you, doing it three times for one round of drinks at a ridiculously low happy hour price is much more annoying than it is easy.
- A gentleman sits down and orders a glass of red wine. I list the options and he says he’ll have whichever one was open most recently. It’s not an entirely unreasonable request, I suppose. I tell him that we go through our wines very fast so they were all open today. He seems annoyed and instead of picking an actual option like Malbec or Pinot Noir, he says he’ll have whatever’s cheapest. I pour him a glass of Cabernet, not letting it bother me that his request for the best/cheapest wine is completely retarded; he takes a sip and proceeds to tell me that it wasn’t open today. Uh, yeah dude, it was; I was there; I opened it. You’re annoying and you don’t know what you’re talking about.
- Unfortunately there isn’t just one retard that walks around complaining about quality of things when such complaints aren’t valid. Another one of these comes to the bar and orders a chilled shot of Cazadores tequila. I quickly chill it for him so as not to over-dilute and the mother*cker has the nerve to tell me that it’s not Cazadores and that we fill our bottles with water. Get the f*ck outta here!
As you can see it’s a love/hate relationship; a never-ending battle between loving the industry and hating the people. There’s much more where that came from. It’s a constant stream of examples that are very much the reason more than half of the restaurant industry workers are alcoholics. We need that sweet nectar to deal with you f*ckers.