They’re Back!

“Where are the mints?”

I stared hard at the stumpy little man asking for–demanding, actually–a breath freshener. People ask for mints all the time. And, an equal amount of times, I take a rather out-of-character, sadistic delight in telling people, “Sorry, no mints.”

I grin an evil grin as I say it. Usually, no one notices.

Stumpy did, however–from the tops of his multi-colored crew socks, to the hem of his too-long cargo shorts, to the tip of the collar of his aloha shirt. He noticed. And he fumed.

“Why no mints?”

“Sorry.” Evil smile. “But we have matches, toothpicks, postcards, business cards.” Bigger evil smile.

“I want mints.”

Still evil smiling. “We just don’t have them, sir.”

“Yeah, well where do I get them?”

Evil smile now hurting cheek muscles. “Next door at the pharmacy?”

One of our ace hosts, who is only on the job for another week before he heads back to college, wasn’t paying the least bit of attention to this exchange. Rather, he was performing another of the key host duties that keeps our place humming–spritzing Windex on the glass panels of the front door. These would be the glass panels that almost EVERYONE uses to push the doors open, despite an ample amount of wood framing, handles, push bars, and other assorted surfaces that civilized people could use to push open the doors. We clean them 796 times a shift.

Stumpy glared at me, clearly not amused at the suggestion that he purchase a mint somewhere else.

So, I replaced the evil smile with my I’m-bored-with-this-stupid-conversation-move-along-pal blank look.

Might have made a mistake with that.

Stumpy tried to stare me down, failed, and then turned his mint-fuled anger on my seater. Just as my seater finished polishing a pane of glass, Stumpy pressed his hand on it, rubbing his fingers around every so slightly.

My seater stared at Stumpy, a quizzical look on his face that adroitly pondered: “What the f— are you doing?”

Stumpy then proceeded to press his meaty hands on both sides of every pane of glass in both doors, inside and outside. My seater continued to stare, but said nothing.

Stumpy silently dared him to say anything.

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing aloud.

Finally, a really, truly, annoying, AWFUL customer was in my midst!

These picky patrons who demand everything and thank with nothing. These noble nuts who view all restaurant workers as their hand maidens, and treat us accordingly. These arrogant asses who puff themselves up in feeble attempts to put us in our places.

God, how I have missed them.

In the midst of seemingly nonstop coworker dramas, I have allowed them to slip in and out, unnoticed.

I am happy to report–they’re back!

And so am I.






17 responses to “They’re Back!”

  1. Waiter4you Avatar

    I have considered what I am about to post – knowing you, you will delete it – fawning comments only – but seriously you need to find a new line of work. It is absurd that in such a short span of time, since you began this job, you derive such pleasure from the displeasure of others. Your pedestal is so high! Are you sure you wouldn’t care to go back to your esteemed [former] position? Obviously the people you are paid to serve are beneath you. A mint – the audacity!

  2. mags86 Avatar


  3. mags86 Avatar

    Sorry about that…anyway…I’ve been reading your site for a few months – (found you through waiter rant)…..LOVE your blog! Very enjoyable reading – well written and your stories ring true….as far as the above negative comment of “you derive such pleasure from the displeasure of others” – it is perfectly clear that they are not in the “business”. Keep up the GREAT work! Look forward to your posts!!!

  4. Toastrider Avatar

    Over the last thirty or so years, the whole concept of civility — of treating workers with a modicum of respect — has been abraded away. It’s not just food service; retail is also a circle of consumer hell, with companies unwilling to spend the money to hire good staff (thus ensuring that their ‘boots on the ground’ workers are rarely worth the paycheck) and installing managers who have no concept of how to manage /people/.

    ‘The customer is always right’ is the most pernicious lie ever foisted on retail and food service. More often than not, they are wrong.


  5. Sonja Avatar

    Waiter4you ARE you serious – I am of the opinion that if people think they can treat staff any way they want THEY need to get ther priorities straight – NOT the gal…

    But if you like to be treated like that – name your restaurant – I will gladly swing by treat you courtiously and WATCH you grovel in front of people like that…

    Nice post, gal – some people are just unbelievable! Keep up the good work 🙂

  6. Chef JoAnna Avatar

    sometimes a sense of humor is all we got. the sicker the better.

    Why don’t you get some of those trick mints, the kinds with pepper or the ones that turn your mouth black, or the ones that have a worm inside them? OMG that would be priceless.

    And who doesn’t carry a tin of altoids, certs, tictacs or whatever?
    Stinky breath folks, that’s who.

  7. Eileen Avatar

    Wow… wow wow wow… that’s all… I think that was the most childish customer I have ever heard a story about… how old was he? 2??? :o)

  8. Natalie Avatar

    Welcome back!!!
    Ha ha…I can see the fumes of frustration coming out of his ears! =)

  9. Jeannie Avatar

    You should have just laughed out loud at him and let him know what an ass he was.

  10. Paul Avatar

    Toastrider – right on! I worked parttime in a chain bookstore for eight-plus years. Ours as well was one of those “the customer is always right” environments. And given the fact that one expects bookstore customers to be a “cut above” the average retail customer — everyone eats, but not everyone buys books — I have plenty of stories that belie that notion.

  11. Phil Avatar

    One of my fondest memories as a child was my father grabbing a handful of mints each time we went to the Western Sizzlen, heading out to the parking lot and tossing them as high as he could into the air and catching them in his mouth.

  12. lyl Avatar

    Wow – that made me laugh out loud at his immaturity. I worked as a waitress in a burger-and-shakes place for one summer and ohmygod was that enough. I love your posts – I’ve been a ‘stalker’ for about a month. You remind me treat all service people with the dignity they deserve.

  13. Restaurant Gal Avatar

    Phil–He caught them ALL in his mouth at once? No way Stumpy could have done that!

    Which is reason #28 why we don’t have mints. Stumpy would have made a horrible mess when he couldn’t catch even one in his mouth, and I would have had to clean the rest up. Oh that’s right, Stumpy made a mess anyway, didn’t he? Which is reason #29 why I hate restaurant mints–whether you have them or not, they make people crazy–no offense to your dad, of course.

    A restaurant manager friend of mine shared this sad story about why not to have mints: The place where he worked years ago had a small pond filled with koi. They also had a bowl of individually wrapped mints by the door. People kept dropping their mint wrappers in the pond, the koi then ate the wrappers, which caused all the koi to die. End of fish pond. End of mints at that restaurant.

    Mints–not just another innocent candy!

    –The Gal

  14. pete Avatar

    love the blog..

    this was the word of the day yesterday…i love it and thought you would as well…

    schadenfreude • \SHAH-dun-froy-duh\ Audio icon • noun, often capitalized
    : enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

    Example sentence:
    “There is simply no higher level of schadenfreude than when the rich or famous stumble.” (John Gonzalez, Boston Magazine, August 2005)

  15. Phil Avatar

    No, he was not that talented – and no offense taken, of course – he was crazy (well, not really, but had that been any place other than the Western Sizzlen he would have annoyed many people).

  16. Jennifer Avatar

    i really enjoy reading your posts because what you say could very well be written about the restaurant at which i’m a hostess.

    being a hostess is tiring but also insanely fun…and it’s so good to read about someone who has those same pet peeves.

    [we also have to clean our glass windows 796 times a shift.]

  17. ceetar Avatar

    ha, I probably would’ve sprayed the Windex at that guy.