Monday, March 10, 2008

Restaurant Behavioral School

As a waitress, I am subject to the whims of the most abominable people. Though I may be standing with menus and silverware in hand, when customers walk in the door, they immediately hail me to seat their party of fifty. They proceed to order drinks we don't serve and become disconsolate when I tell them so. Their children, who make up at least three quarters of the party, without delay rip their menus to shreds and toss them  to the floor. Before I can even take their order, they have run me back to the kitchen ten times for extra lemons, crackers, and silverware and napkins to replace the ones already littered beneath the tables. The whole time, the males of their party are ogling me without discretion. They make rude jokes and shriek like a banshee if I'm delayed in bringing a refill. They do not order desert, but continue to guzzle ten, twelve, or fifteen free refills, and stay from five o'clock till midnight, when we close. One boy has vomited his dinner on the floor and the last one to leave is a young man who must be physically removed from his seat, because he refuses to go until I give him my phone number. In their wake, they leave hash browns mashed into the carpet, spilled drinks, half-melted butter in ponds, which takes all the hours between closing and opening to clean thoroughly. My reward for this stretch on the rack of knives and forks is ninety-seven cents, in pennies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a professional. I could rattle off every item on the menu and take those fifty orders without writing them down. With my expert training, I can balance three trays of hot food. My accomplishments did not come naturally, though. I had to weather the rigorous training that must come before a server ever receives a tip. Why should not the same go for customers? Doctors, lawyers, servers all are educated for years in order to succeed at their jobs. Customers are so slack in their efforts and achievements that one would assume they'd never had a thought about it! We also, in our society, put much emphasis on training before driving an automobile. The same responsibilities to their fellow men applies to restaurant customers. I humbly put forth, for the benefit of all, that prospective customers be required to attend merely a six week course in restaurant behavior before being allowed to enter a  public eatery. At the end, if they pass their final exam, taken in the secure environment of a simulated restaurant, they will be issued a Class A Restaurant Customer License.

In training, prospective customers will be taught the appropriate voice level and language to use in a restaurant. Their handbook will  contain such useful information as: parties of no more than four allowed; the 1:2 child to adult ratio; a customer is only allowed one "extra" request; the reminder that your refill is secondary to someone else's hot food. They will also receive a packet containing a stopwatch - customers are allowed up to, but not exceeding, five minutes after the last member of their party has finished eating; a chart to assess the messiness of your children and whether they will be allowed in the restaurant; a large, shiny sticker to remind men that their eyes must be kept at all times on the face of the server or not directed at her at all; a calculator to assure accurate figuring of at least the standard 50% tip.

Customers who do not follow the rules set forth in the official Restaurant Behavior Manual will be subject to citations and embarrassing displays of their idiocy by Restaurant Police. One may have his License revoked and be sent to a remedial course in restaurant behavior.

As far as my vast knowledge encompasses, I am unaware of any other suggested solution to cure the customers. This would, additionally, have a wonderful effect upon the whole of society, as the customers would find themselves in a far pleasanter atmosphere and the lessons learned in Restaurant Behavior School would carry over into other areas of their lives. One would certainly notice a decrease in the smoking habits of servers, customers being the main cause of their strife. I press my audience to advocate for this sensible cause with all possible zeal and hopefully you shall all soon carry Class A Restaurant Customer Licenses.


Matthew Katinsky said...

Hullo. Just linked to your blog from a comment you left on People Reading, and liked this entry. In a previous life, I was a cook at a Pizza Hut, and one of the waitresses (not a professional such as yourself), accidently-intentionally spilled a pizza on a rude, hassling customer. This was Atlanta, not New York, and believe it or not, the customer got the message and apologized for his misbehavior. Life is funny that way sometimes.

La Deedah said...

Ooooh la-la! A 50% tip? I would definitely give someone an A+ for that in Restaurant Customer Etiquette School. Even if they did ask for four re-fills. 20% would net them a B+. The teachers who forgot to tip me last week got an F.

babooshka said...

As a former waitress a very, very long time ago, i shuddered in a post traumatic stress disorder kind of way at this post.

Always remeber, you are in the main far superior, intellectually and on a human level than the pondlife you "serve."