You Call That Service? HA HA HA HA!

26 Jul

July 26, 2012

Being a waiter is a tough job, no doubt. You have to pick up the food, carry the food, and put down the food. Whew! I’m winded already! But seriously, being a waiter really is hard. For instance, you have to make sure that the food gets to the right table. And you usually can’t take a bite out of someone’s dinner.

OK, ok, before you start screaming at me, I’m just kidding. (This blog is called, after all, the Tepid Ride. What else do you expect from a bad title like that? Shakespeare I am not.) Being a waiter is hard. You carry heavy trays, take confusing orders, deal with annoying customers. You are always on your feet, deliver lots of food but don’t get time to eat anything yourself, and you work long hours for low pay hoping to make it up in tips. I get it.

Now all that said, this blog is going to be me complaining about all the lousy service I’ve gotten in restaurants lately. Aren’t you lucky you clicked on this post? Wait until tomorrow when I blog about paint drying and how spicy mustard burns my tongue. Can I be any worse? Yeah, and you know it.

Saarah and I are in the middle of a run of bad service. In the last five places we’ve been to the service has ranged from “non-existent” to “almost-but-not-quite-terrible.”  To make matters worse we get stared at. She thinks it is because we are an interracial duo but I think it is because people see she is a normal woman with me, some sort of stooped-over troll-like Bavarian shoemaker from the deep dark forest of Germany. But I digress.

1- My Local Diner

This place is very well-regarded for their food, winning some sort of “Best Diner” award for three years running. Ok, the last time they won was 2006 but it is still a very good place.

I have inherited a reputation there for being a great tipper. My mother, on those rare nights when my brother and I would dust her off and take her out into the sunlight, would tip anywhere from 40-200%, no joke. We’d walk in and waiters would-LITERALLY- jockey their way over to us, elbowing each other out of the way to get to us. Eventually one particular waiter won and he became out regular waiter. And why not? Mom put three of his kids through college with her tips. So when I go in with someone I try not to get noticed. I wear big hats, dark sunglasses, vampire capes, whatever, just so I can get a table with a waiter or waitress I don’t know or else I have to live up to family name and tip huge. I can’t do that; I have a car to pay off.

We were there for breakfast and we had a waitress I never saw before, thank goodness. Problem was, she wasn’t that good a waitress. She didn’t refill the drinks, took plates away before we were done eating, and when she came to the table she focused on me and ignored Saarah. And worse? Dirty fingernails. The worst part was when she started rambling about the different sizes of orange juice when Saarah ordered the smallest one. Like she doesn’t know that a small glass will not last as long as a large glass? What is she, four? The lecture lasted and droned on for a good ten minutes. At one point Saarah interjected “Sheesh, I also wanted a soda!” Good thing too because I had fallen asleep in my scrambled eggs. Then when she assumed we were done with our breakfast she bought the check over without asking if we wanted anything else. Hello? Coffee?!! I’m not sure what I tipped that day but it was a low point in my family history. It may have been $2 and I’m sure Saarah thought it was too high.

2- Naniwa Sushi

We went to a Japanese sushi place in the neighborhood. Is it redundant to say “Japanese” and “sushi”? What other kind of sushi place is there? Well before you think I’m asking pointless questions, there is a kosher sushi place not far from me run by a family named Feldman.

The place was nice, the food pretty good, the waiter clueless. No matter what we asked him about the menu he had no idea. When we asked him about the ingredients in the rolls he was incoherent, like his tongue was literally glued to the top of his mouth. He had to walk away and ask someone else and he usually didn’t come back with an answer. He was confused about the specials on the menu, confused about what we ordered, needed help remembering what we asked for, had no idea how anything was made, and was just generally on Japanese cloud 9. I had to explain the menu to him at one point. He always smiled, albeit vacantly, always treated us politely, and always had a pleasant tone in his voice. I think it was because he was mentally unstable. I’m sure he smiled the same way during a mugging or a violent bout of stomach cramps.

3- Arirang

This time we went to a well-known Japanese Hibachi place. Is it redundant to say “Japanese” and “hibachi”? What other kind of… oh never mind, I already made that joke. 

I took this!

We sat at the grill and except for the guy across from us sneaking video of Saarah (until she gave him THE LOOK – copyright Saarah) we had a lot of fun. The chef flipped food in the air and we caught it in our mouths (well, one of us did, the other got conked on his head with a shrimp) he sang odd songs that he obviously rehearsed with the other chefs because they all sang the same odd songs, made a Lady Gaga out of rice, and made a really good show out of the cooking. But our waitress? Ugh. Taking plates away before we were done, not understanding what we ordered, asking us every two seconds how everything was, hovering like a UFO over our shoulders, she was so annoying. Why was she in such a hurry? I have no idea. At one point she almost hit me on the head with a salad bowl and stole Saarah’s  salad bowl while she lifted the fork to her mouth. Literally. She lifted the fork to her mouth, lowered it to get another bite, and the fork just clinked against the table. Saarah was so miffed there was smoke coming out of her mouth. That waitress does not know how close she came to the precipice that night. By this time I’ve learned to let Saarah handle the tipping so I’m not sure what it was but I’m pretty sure the waitress got about what she deserved.

4- Bab Al Yemen

I have to say right up front that this Yemeni place had the best food out of any place on this list. I loved it. Don’t ask me to describe any of it or pronounce it, but it was awesome. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

No I wouldn’t. The service was worse than awful.

There were maybe six tables with customers but there was only one waiter, who was new, and was not familiar with the foreign (to him) menu. He had no idea what the food was, did not speak the language, and was totally swamped. He had a kid in a dirty t-shirt helping him carry stuff, and the kid sometimes even managed to get some of the food to the correct tables. I guess child labor was not a question but a matter of real life practice. When someone came in who did not speak English the chef had to come out and take orders. Just waiting for the check took longer than eating the meal. We waited for tea (which I loved), we waited for water which was never refilled, we waited for our food, we waited for our check. I think I’m still waiting. I may still be sitting there, blogging and starving. Please someone, come and save me. So what was the tip? For the first time ever I left no tip. If it were up to me I would have left a buck or two but I know how much I value my life versus being slogged by the shoe (copyright Saarah.)

5- Memo Sish Kebab

Pretty good food, pretty mediocre service.

The waitress was meh. She was tired and unhappy looking. Her eyes oozed her anger and disappointment and it was so obvious that she would rather be anywhere but there. This was a woman who CLEARLY was disappointed with not only her life and her fate but her entire cosmic karma. She served us small portions (not necessarily her fault) and she screwed up the takeout order. She was never around when we needed her. We had to ask the other waiter to refill our drinks. After we told her we would like a takeout order, we actually had to remind her to give us the bill. Like what waiter doesn’t want to get paid? She even screwed up the bill but it was in our favor so score one for the good guys. Tip? Again, no tip, and since we were not charged for one of our drinks we came out with extra money in our pockets to boot.

The only time in my life I tipped worse was years ago in England when due to me being totally confused by the exchange rate I’d either tip extravagantly or somehow tip in the negative numbers. I was never sure if, when I walked out, I had just bought the waiter a Bentley or stiffed him 20 pounds. But this is really not about tipping (though you may very well be ready to yell at me for stiffing the waiters) but is about the horrible service I’ve been getting. Did I really expect anything out of line? All I wanted was a clean pair of hands, to be given an answer to question about the menu, and not to wait for the check longer than it took the cook to make the food.

So waiters beware. There’s a new attitude in town, and I’m ready to settle my scores with cash, or lack thereof.



Thank you Saarah for your help with this post! Readers, anything you enjoyed in this blog is due to her.

9 Responses to “You Call That Service? HA HA HA HA!”

  1. Saraah July 26, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Lolz………………… You forgot to mention and thank the shoe properly 0_o…………………… I was laughing so hard I snorted ………………. Just wished the ending was funnier but then I might have just chocked…………………….. and turned purple


    • bmj2k July 26, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      Wow, thanks! Glad you survived, and yes, the shoe must be given the proper resepct.
      And thanks again for your help.


      • zathra July 26, 2012 at 1:32 am #

        I have a custom to which I stay pretty true. If the service is crappy – NO TIP. If the service is moderately good but not spectacular & I’ve spent a moderately small amount of money, I tip $ 2.00 are most. If the service is GREAT I’ll give a $10 – 15 tip & agree to come over twice a week & give neck massages, whatever. But crappy service, even if the waiter / waitress has had a bad day, or if there’s a big party at the next table. whatever – NO TIP.


  2. Thomas Stazyk July 26, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    We don’t have tipping down here which is fantastic. With my American accent I generally get better than average service because people think I’m a tourist who doesn’t know that tipping is not in the culture and are hoping for a handout.


  3. pennycoho July 26, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    It’s late, I’m going to bed but wanted to catch your post first. Now I get to go to bed laughing. It’s a good thing. Thanks!


  4. Mac of BIOnighT July 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Great 😀 My favorite is no 3 (and I can’t help wondering why a Japanese restaurant has a Korean name?), fantastic! 🙂


    • bmj2k July 29, 2012 at 12:57 am #

      Not THAT is interesting.


  5. Mac of BIOnighT July 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Oh, and in Italy we don’t tip, either


    • bmj2k July 29, 2012 at 12:57 am #

      For someone who’s not enamored of Italy, you’ve given me a good reason to visit!


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