Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Restaurant Tales

Back in the early 90's, I began my illustrious hotel/restaurant career as a young 23 year old waiter with a large restaurant chain. It was one of those restaurants where dusty antiques are hanging everywhere on the walls and ceilings, ready to fall into your booth if they weren't thankfully bolted down securely. I know, there were a couple items I tried to take for my apartment but couldn't seem to pry loose.

The money sucked, but my coworkers were my best friends. I am still close with many of them almost twenty years later. Lots of fun memories were made. We worked together, were roommates, and partied our asses off until sunrise. We would get up at 9:50 am, be at work by 10 am, and do it all over again!  It also helped that my apartment was 1/2 a block away. I literally rolled out of bed into my dirty green server's shirt and khaki pants and ran down the street.

Some of the funniest incidents were people misreading our menu or just not being able to speak. I would frequently have people order frimps with ketchup. What are frimps you may ask? Well, apparently they are related to the lowly shrimp.  Our diners would also rave about our "mapped" potatoes.  I didn't know about our diners, but I called them mashed potatoes. Just because you have created a pile of potatoes in the shape of a map of the United States doesn't change the name.  Isn't mashed potatoes 1st grade level food knowledge?  The restaurant served a sandwich called the Brentwood. I had so many people ask for the "Bent-wood", it made even a freak like me blush!

When I had parties of 6 or more, I could add a gratuity of 15%. There was no 18% back then.  If people refused to pay the gratuity, we couldn't enforce it. I would simply have to bid them farewell and collect my $1.25 tip on a $100.00 check. Ever the optimist, I would try and look on the bright side.  Hey, at least I made over 1% gratuity! That'll buy me a beer down at the local watering hole 'Oh! Shea's'.  Quite often, the diners would argue with me that no one ordered the 'gratuity' and I needed to take it off the check.  They would then ask the other table members loudly, "Did anyone order the gratuity?"  I would roll my eyes, sigh, and just walk away from the table imagining my tip getting smaller and smaller.

I would have people curse and scream at me that they couldn't taste the alcohol in the their virgin daiquiris or pina coladas, or as they sometimes called them, their penis coladas. "Uh ... excuse me Ma'am, ... there is no alcohol in your 'penis colada' because it is a virgin colada!!! There is not supposed to be alcohol in it!  That's what makes it a VIRGIN!"  I would then get yelled at because I didn't explain this to them before hand, apparently never having understood the concept of a virgin drink. 

The only thrill I would end up getting would be hearing the screams from the table when I was in the kitchen. I would run back to the table and see everyone covered in rancid ketchup. We had a habit of "marrying" ketchup bottles ... which later I found out was illegal. Ooops. The newer ketchup would be poured on top of the old ketchup time and time again until the pressure would build from the old ketchup and explode all over everyone and everything! It was great. The restaurant comped more meals from exploding geysers of ketchup.

Lastly, one exchange happened on a Saturday night. A couple came in for dinner. They were from, let's just say, the wrong side of the tracks.  I asked her if I could get her anything and she immediately yelled interrupting me, "You aren't my type!" and started guffawing loudly. Classy. Her biker boyfriend started laughing and 'high-fiving' her, "Good one Babe!"   Yeah, good one if it was 'idiot joke telling night.' Like I hadn't heard that one before. I did my customary eye roll and said flatly, "I'll give you a moment to compose yourself and look at our menu." I stayed away for 30 minutes.

Eventually I wandered back. The biker babe yelled at me, "Where were you!" I lied and told her I was giving the Heimlich maneuver in the bar/lounge area. She said "Heim what?" I said, "Never mind."  She stated she had a couple questions on the menu and then finally ordered her entree.  "I'll have the chicken vagina." I did a double take, "Excuse me?"  There was the longest awkward pause. I quickly was thinking, Do chicken have vaginas? I don't even think chicken have vaginas. She repeated herself, "I said I'll have the chicken vagina! Are you deaf or sumpin'?"  I realized she was completely serious.  "Uh.... how about you just point it out to me on the menu just so I make sure I know what you want, OK?" She pointed to the chicken fajitas.

2 comments:

  1. Your typed words are as great as your stories shared face to face..another round of the The Life of Marc...as usual, thanks for sharing. Good stuff! You are on a roll!

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  2. Now if the "Life of Marc" could only make as much money as the "Life of Brian" by Monty Python! Thanks!

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