This is the second collaboration piece done with Jeff over at Content Unrelated. Woop woop! Be sure you go and read his blog, he’s so funny — and last week some of the best comments of the post came from the part he wrote. Just saying. Also, if you’re any kind of industry worker and want to get in on some of this (even if you don’t work in the restaurant biz, no worries) — hit me up. We can work out a guest post for you or maybe a collab like this. Enjoy!
Restaurants run out of a lot of things. Sometimes the truck is late. Sometimes a manager slips up and forgets to put in an order. Sometimes more of an item is sold than anticipated.
There is one thing, however, of which all restaurants have an infinite supply. One thing you will find anywhere you decide to dine. From McDonald’s to Outback to that one restaurant where you get charged 30 bucks for a baked potato and $4.95 to add bacon and sour cream — you’ll always find it.
Forks or knives? Napkins? Water? Not even close, friend. This one thing isn’t something provided by the restaurant, no, it’s something that comes with potentially every single mouth-breathing, pre-diabetic, waddling cowperson.
The Stupid Question.
I’m being conservative when I say the Stupid Question is a motherf@#$ing epidemic. Worse than the Plague or AIDS in the 1980s, the Stupid Question strikes without warning and wreaks havoc on the part of the recipient’s brain that tries to decode and make sense of complete and utter bull$h!t.
A party of 10 squishes into a table, wielding fake smiles of their own and clearly going to be a relatively large pain in the ass to deal with.
Two servers split the party, as it is company policy that no server should have more than 12 covers (guests) at a time (even though they ignore it and it’s only convenient splitting 12 or more, but life is life.)
The two servers go around and split the orders in half, making for easy order-taking, no confusion, and no one ordering twice.
I was fortunate enough to have the last guest, and the most difficult of the bunch. Of course.
“I’m just having a really hard time trying to decide what to eat,” she says.
Server Brain: “And you said you were ready to order because…?”
Server Says: “Well, would you care for any recommendations to help with your decision?”
After at least a minute of going over recommendations with the guest, she says, “What about the most arcane thing you have? What’s the worst thing on your menu that everyone sends back? I want that.”
Is this real life?
All jokes aside, in the realest talk I could ever give, do you know what would happen to me if I answered that question and a manager walked by?
I had to.
If a manager walked by me and heard me say, “Oh, the worst item on our menu is definitely such and such…Probably get it sent back just about every time someone orders it,” I would be dead. Dead meat. I’d come back around the corner from taking the order, and my boss would be standing there with daggers shooting out of her eyes and more than likely foaming at the mouth (if you read this — love you!) and say something like —
“Are you f&*^ing kidding me?! Did you really just tell a guest something was bad?!”
“Go home. And don’t come back.”
“You need to be retrained.”
I could never say something like that to a guest. What was she even thinking asking me to give her the worst item on the menu? Even her mother said, “Please just order and stop being such a bitch.”
She said it, not me.
It’s 9:49 p.m. on a Monday. The restaurant at which I worked at the time closed at 10 on the weekdays. I had no tables. I was the last man standing.
Sidework complete, all I had left to do was wait for the counterclockwise turn of the key, and I was free to drink the day away.
At 9:57, some twatwaffle walks in and makes eye contact with the host.
“What time do you close?” Asked the twatwaffle.
Server Brain: “What do you mean ‘what time do you close?’ Are you serious? Is English not your first f@#$ing language? Did you not see the big sign on the door when you waddled in? Here. Let me point you in the right direction. It’s the sign with all the sodding numbers on it you sloth!”
“We close at 10. In three minutes, ma’am.”
Guest Says: “Oh good! We still have time!”
Server Brain: “I’m — I’m sorry? While the laws of time might suggest to you that you’ve got three minutes to come in before we lock the doors, the laws of respect for your fellow f@#$ing human beings states that you should opt out and go to a f%^&!ngSteak N’ Shake.
The fart-propelled herd moseys in like a glacier with nowhere to go, and makes their way to my section.
After the initial formalities of telling them my name and how much I hated them were over, I brought them their drinks. When I attempted to take their orders, they looked at me like I’d grown a second head, then back to the menu — staring at it as if it were written in hieroglyphics.
Two heads. Hieroglyphics.
Server Brain: “Brace yourself. Stupid Questions are coming.”
Now, you might read this next question and think I’m totally making it up for the sake of blogger fodder, but I can assure you that these words were in fact formed to make a question so stupid I thought God Himself was going to facepalm us all into nonexistence.
Guest Says: “What is fried zucchini?”
Server Brain: “Am I being Punk’d? This is a joke, right? Fried zucchini? What is fried zucchini? Hold still while I stab you in the nutsack. What is fried zucchini? That’s like asking me to explain mashed potatoes or hard-boiled eggs! The first part is how the f@#$ it’s prepared, and the second part is what the f@#$ it is!
Server Says: “Something something breaded something fried something something kind of like squash something something delicious blah blah go play in traffic.”
It just blows my mind how some of these people function on a day-to-day basis. When I answered phones for the restaurant, people would constantly call and ask me how busy we’d be at a certain time. As if our restaurant pioneered future-predicting technologies and we could look into a crystal ball so we could accurately tell you how busy we’d be six hours from the time at which you called. Especially when they want to know if 7 o’clock on a Saturday night is going to be slow.
So the next time you’ve got a question for your server, think about it; I mean really think about it before you ask. Any teacher who ever told you there were no stupid questions was a damn liar. So be careful. The Stupid Question is everywhere, and you might be a carrier.