Category Archives: Job

I’m Not Polite Until I Get My Coffee.

missingmanners

Seriously. Help.

Yesterday, a man approached my bar in jeans and a blazer, phone in hand. Maybe his dress has nothing to do with it, maybe it does. Anyhow, he hadn’t yet made it to the proper stranger speaking distance (AKA close enough to not be yelling at me as if I was his daughter or wife or close friend), when he shouted out something about “coffee” and “do I ask you or get it myself”.

“Hi! How are you?” I responded with a smile. After all, isn’t that the proper way to begin a conversation with someone you’ve never laid eyes on?

“Coffee?” he said again, in question form this time, obviously confused by my politeness.

How are you?” I asked again. I’m a stubborn biotch sometimes.

“GOOD” he shouted. He was annoyed. I smiled and said I’d bring it right over.

“Thank you so much,” he said as I placed the cup in front of him. I was even nice enough to bring the creamers he hadn’t asked for! “I’m not polite until I get my coffee.”

Let us pray.

Let us pray.

For those of you who don’t know, I bartend in an airport. While these kinds of people are found everywhere, I feel like major international airports are breeding grounds for a whole other kind of crazy. If you travel often, people watch. Listen to questions asked, conversations had. Entertainment, guaranteed.

Sometimes I think it’s me. I deal with this sort of rude stupidity so often, the lines begin to blur. Am I miserable today, or did that asshole really flail his hands in the air SOS style because he wanted another side of hot peppers? Are all these premature gray hairs the result of my own anger issues or am I really being aged by moron customers?!

No, seriously. Look at this shit.

No, seriously. Look at this shit.

Manners are a dying art, people. We don’t care how others are doing anymore. You see a body behind the bar, the counter, the desk, and you bark a demand. We hear a voice on the other side of the phone and we simply tell them what we want. We don’t see each other anymore.

Oh, you’re having a shit day? Oh well, I’m thirsty.

Even worse is when we come across someone who takes the thirty seconds it requires to ask “how are you?”, we are automatically amazed at their good manners and simultaneously think they are one of the kindest human beings we have ever encountered. It’s important to acknowledge the good in others, but it shouldn’t be so uncommon that it drops our jaws in euphoric disbelief.

While I am guilty of burying my face in my cellphone during several hours of the day, I put it on silent when I step into the nail salon, or a coffee shop. Once in a while a customer will ask me for another drink. When I ask, “what were you drinking?” they’ll furrow their brow and tell me “again”, never realizing I wasn’t even their bartender. That girl with hair down to her elbows (mine is a pixie) was. I want to breathe in the world around me. I want to look someone in the eyes when they’re speaking, and I want to recognize their smile the next time I step into that bar, or coffee shop, or nail salon.

We have to slow down. Before we can expect something of others we must first expect a few things of ourselves: kind heartedness, recognition, appreciation.

xoxo,

Nicole Marie

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r-e-s-p-e-c-t

I found this fitting.

I found this fitting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As most of you know by now, I work in an airport. More specifically, I tend bar in an airport. My theory is that once the majority of passengers make it through security, they leave a few brain cells back there on the conveyor belt. We see a variety of people pass through our restaurant; some are pleasant (I’ve met some awesome people doing what I do), some are morons, some are rude, and some see that invisible line and hop, skip and jump right over it. I’m talking zero regard or respect for others. They think they can do or say whatever they please. I don’t take kindly to that. 

More specifically – and the inspiration for today’s post – I do not take kindly to grown men who act like scumbags, and/or talk disrespectfully to women. The first thing that comes to mind when I see or experience this: How would you feel if someone talked to your daughter like that? Secondly: How about your wife? Thirdly: Do you even have a wife? I sure hope not. And here, for your personal anger and entertainment, is a prime example.

Saturday night. We’re about an hour into our 8-9 hour shift, the other 2 lady bartenders and I. Things are going smoothly – thank goodness – and a man approaches my bar. I greet him with a menu and he asks for 2 more, as he has 2 friends who will be joining him. Sure thing. I drop another 2 menus on the bar. I knew his friends had arrived when I heard someone yell a greeting across the restaurant, as if they were outdoors or in their own living room. The table I’d been dropping food off to looked up, startled. I gave them an awkward smile and turned to watch the three men greet each other. I approached the bar and took their drink order. Easy enough. I grabbed 3 beers and placed them on the bar. Then things got busy.

When things pick up one of the other bartenders will usually take that little sliver of bar where the three men were sitting. This particular bartender is extremely friendly, even when people are acting like douche-bags. As I was standing at the front of the restaurant, she approached me and gave me their food order, mentioning something about not wanting to deal with them anymore.

“What happened?” I asked.

“They were talking about wanting to buy a t-shirt, then said they wanted my shirt, like, off of my back.”

I could feel my blood starting to simmer. “What?? They said they wanted your shirt?”

They implied they wanted her to take off her shirt. She told them that was inappropriate, and the ringleader replied with “Sorry if I offended you.”

Now my blood was boiling.

As calmly as I could, I approached the three men. At this point I wasn’t sure of who said what, since apparently they were all involved, so I did it like this:

“Listen, whichever one of you made an inappropriate comment to the other bartender, don’t let it happen again. She was extremely offended and we can kick you out for things like that.” Of course they scrambled to defend themselves, mumbling about just wanting to buy a shirt, blah, blah, blah. A women and her husband next to them stepped in, claiming they did nothing wrong. I then said if that is the case then I am the one who is sorry, but please be careful how you word things. I was looking out for one of my own. “I totally understand,” the woman said. Case closed, right? Of course not.

I continued to take care of the men, a few more minutes went by, then the ringleader spoke again. “Excuse me, are you the bartender?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Then why did you come over here giving us shit?

“You offended one of my bartenders, sir. Then I even made an apology to you saying if you didn’t mean anything by it, that’s fine, but to please watch how you word things.”

He then asked for my manager, complained, tried to get him to take care of the bill. No, no, and no. My manager said once he was close to the man it looked like he’d been drinking before he arrived at our bar. I hadn’t noticed anything more than his stupidity. More time passed,  blah, blah, blah, he rudely asked me if he could pay. “Sure!” I said. Good, get the hell out. Of course I wasn’t expecting a tip after his experience.

But what I really wasn’t expecting was the word “Bitch” to be sloppily scrawled where a tip would normally be. He left before I even had time to see it. Coward. His friends stayed though, and after the ringleader was gone they were all “please” and “thank you” and “yes ma’am”.

I believe in karma, scumbag. And it will come for you. I also believe in standing up for yourself, defending yourself or others you care for. And if that warrants me a bitch, then so be it.

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Living Arrangements

100% safe!

100% safe!

 

 

Well, it’s official. The cat is pissed. As first I thought she was scared. Maybe she is, just a little. But yeah, mostly pissed. I mean, I didn’t expect her to hug the dog as she came barreling through the back door of her new home on Wednesday, but she did react pretty damn weird. Granted I don’t know much about getting cats and dogs to live comfortably together (any animals I had growing up were taken care of by my parents, played with/tortured by me) but Jewel (cat) immediately ran upstairs and slinked across the floor, belly and shoulders low like in hunting stance…and hid in a tight spot behind some boxes we have yet to unpack. Then she was up on my desk, something she never does. No purring, no usual meowing or rubbing her head on every object she comes in contact with.

Blegh.

I was heartbroken. I felt horrible. It’d been about 20 minutes and I was already convinced they’d avoid each other forever. How would we live this way? Forcing Joe and the dog to live in the garage crossed my mind. (Kidding. Not really. Hey, our garage has a loft above it. A loft. It’s pretty epic.) So I immediately took Mr. Calahan’s advice and began treating Jewel like royalty. Of course I played with the dog, pet her, loved her (she’s the sweetest little thing…but I have yet to hear her bark or make anything other than a whimpering noise at the shelter) until she curled up on a blanket in the living room and went to sleep. But then I coaxed the cat out from under the bed and gave her the usual Queen Kitty treatment: snacks, a thorough brushing, some scratches behind the ears, a dollop (Joe’s favorite word) of her chicken flavored anti-hairball stuff. Then she started purring, and I felt a little less like a big jerk.

Jewel did sleep with me that night while Nevada (doggie) slept soundly on her little blanket…but she didn’t bother me so much for drinks from the faucet, and only once she was absolutely sure the little ball on the living room floor wasn’t making any sudden movements did she sneak into the kitchen for some food. Then she’d either hide in the basement for a while, or sneak back upstairs for some more snoozes. (We do have a little kitty hole cut out of the basement door, so she can comfortably go up and down without the door having to be open. And Nevada can’t fit through that hole. Win.)

As I was getting ready to leave for the always dreaded morning shift yesterday I was happy to see the cat in the kitchen, crunchin’ on some food. Then I left the room for a moment and when I returned she was chompin’ on the dog’s food….and before I could control myself I made some sort of disturbing flailing hand motion and told her to knock it off, instead of gently pointing her in the right direction (big jerk), so of course she darted down the basement, once again. Ugh.

So I headed down there, already running late (at 4 AM, mind you), to try and make amends, which I figured she wanted nothing to do with when I reached down to pet her and she said something like “MrrrEeooOWWWWWAaaaa!!!”, cat for “go away, you asshole!”. Sigh.

Thursday afternoon. Enter: Catnip. 

After another tiring morning shift –

Customer: (5:30 AM) Can I get a Heineken?

Me: I’m sorry, we can’t serve alcohol until 7. State law.

Customer: UuuUUuuuggHh! (He sounded much like Jewel did that morning.) ::puts head on bar::

Me: ::stone face:: Sorry.

Customer: Well, can I get an ice water?

Me: I’m sorry, but you have to buy something in order to sit in here. (We. Are. A. Restaurant.)

CustomerI’d still give you the dollar.

(Well golly gee, in that case!)

Customer: Well, can I sit there and get an ice water? ::points to a table behind him, literally 2 feet away::

Me: That’s still inside of the restaurant, sir.

Customer: Ugh. Give me a menu then. ::looks:: Let me get a milk.

– I stopped at the local Acme for some dinner ingredients (seriously, try this recipe…amazingness) – Acme is kinda expensive by the way – and decided to grab the cat a small , over-priced toy as a sort of peace offering. My choice: a little fuzzy mouse that gets stuffed to the brim with catnip. Score. 

I brought it home, filled that baby up, and watched her go absolutely nuts for a while. It was great. It worked so well that while the dog lay sleeping in a ball on that same spot, I was able to coax her downstairs with it. She’d stop every few feet, looking from her kitty drug to the dog, to the kitty drug again. Her need for a fix was much stronger than her fear of the dog so she chased that baby all the way into the kitchen! Then she ate. Then she batted it down the basement and played with it down there. Uuuuuggghhhhh.

So while they aren’t the best of friends yet, napping and plotting my demise together, they did spend a lot of time staring at each other this morning. The cat has been slowly closing the gap between herself and her not-so-little sister, sneaking up more and more basement stairs to get a better look. And I think she dog is more afraid of her than she is of the dog! Nevada’s back legs shake every time the cat stares deep into her soul. Those cat eyes are no joke. So hopefully – while Nevada is a hound – she won’t want to eat the cat. I think she’s afraid the cat might eat her, anyway.

I’m hoping to come home one day to find the cat riding the dog around like a pony. That would be awesome.

Does anyone have any advice in this area?

Regardless, our shelter rescue is healthy and happy, and I’m looking forward to many play dates and movie nights curled up in little balls together.

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Early Morning Musings Part III – Keep Away From My Stall

While working all of these morning shifts this past week, I’ve had time – specifically between the hours of 4 AM and 7 AM – to write poetry, drink Red Bull and contemplate the meaning of life. You know, all of those bartendery things I should be doing.

Well this post definitely isn’t poetry; in fact, it might be TMI for some, but dammit, I know someone out there will relate.

When the gym is a ghost town, someone will still get on that treadmill right next to mine. At work, when my bar is empty except for one customer, some creepy old dude will walk in and plop down close enough to let the person he made uncomfortable count his ear hairs.

What makes some people want to pack themselves like sardines in public? Ok, maybe that creepy old dude thinks the young chick sitting alone is pretty (still awkward), maybe that person getting on the treadmill next to me is just dumb and not at all observant and thinks the others are not operating properly.

But can someone please tell me why on earth, when you’re in a public restroom, there’s always someone who gets in that stall – or even weirder, that urinal – right next to yours?!

I know you know what I’m talking about. I bet you’ve even wondered it too. I’m not going into detail about what you (or they) are doing in there. (Peeing, crying silently, reading a book…) But why does this happen? Public restrooms make me feel uncomfortable enough, but now I have to hear someone else’s pee stream with only a thin half-wall between us, when there’s a perfectly disgusting stall on the other side of the bathroom?!?! (This is only excused when the line for the ladies room is like a ride line at Disney World, which at 5 AM, it usually is not.)

Guys, is it uncomfortable when that other dude heads right for the urinal next to yours? I bet you feel like they’re staring right at your junk. At least we have a little more privacy than that.

Whatever the reason, stay away from my stall. I don’t want to stare at your sparkly loafers from under that wall or cringe when you accidentally let out a fart during the awkward silence between us.

20121223-071426.jpg

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Hey, just a quick reminder.

Well, three.

#1) If you want quick service, get off of your cellphone.

#2) If you need me for anything, get off of your cellphone.

#3) Then, when I don’t seem friendly enough for you and you feel the need, especially being a male, to call me a d*ck head (or rather, mumble half to yourself half to me, “Thanks for being a d*ck head for no reason”)….you should have gotten off of your cellphone.

 

Pathetic.

 

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Rant-tastic Monday!

Le sigh. While Mondays are normally my day off, I’ll be picking up a shift this afternoon; and what better way to begin the day but with blowing off some steam from the weekend!

Joe always says, “I think when people enter an airport, they lose half their brain cells”.

I think I agree. Yes….yes, I do agree.

The airport brings with it a whole new kind of rude. I’ve worked in a corporate owned steakhouse, a ’50s themed diner, an Italian restaurant…how could serving cheese steaks and fries leave something even more for people to complain about? Well, they certainly find a way.

A quick recount of my fantastic, stress-free weekend:

Customer: “Can I have a Manhattan, on the rocks? Make it a double.”

Me: “Sure!” ::makes drink in front of man, tips measured pour spout twice::

Customer: ::five minutes later:: “Um..is this a double?” ::twists face as if smelling something foul::

Me: “Yes, it is, everything is measured.”

~ What else do I say to this? Yes, it’s a double. Want a third shot? You’re paying for it! He just went back to his drink. This wasn’t rude, just sorta dumb.

A customer a fellow bartender had last weekend:

Bartender: “Hello! How are yo-

Customer: “Yeah yeah yeah, cut the small talk, do you have…” blah blah blah

And another one of mine:

::I’m washing dishes::

Customer: “Ma’am? Hello?”

::I turn around to find him knocking on the bar in my direction. This was his way of getting my attention.::

And now on to the theme of the weekend (and a scene from last week’s crowd).

~ On Saturday night I had two minutes of down time to get some glasses washed behind my bar, after checking that everyone was alright to be left alone for 30 seconds. When I had made it to the last two pilsners, my peripheral vision gave way to something waving around frantically to my left. I slowly looked over and saw the woman at the far end of my bar – who had asked for a drink by handing me a piece of paper with “Grand Marnier” scribbled on it – throwing her hands in the air as if trying to catch my attention stranded-on-a-desert-island style. When she saw me looking her way, she brought one hand down and curled one long finger on the other in a I’m-your-mother-get-your-ass-over-here-because-you’re-in-trouble style. I don’t take kindly to that. I made my way over.

Customer: “I was trying to get your attention.”

Me: “I know, but you do not have to do this ::makes get-over-here motion:: to do so.”

Customer: “I want to pay.” ::pays:: ::leaves::

Me: “Have a great day!”

::no tip::

::whatever::

About ten minutes later I had a couple do the same crazy waving arm thing. I ran over thinking someone may have needed an ambulance. They only needed two Bud Lights.

~ Last week a table of two polite older gentlemen and their wives sat with me, and everything went smoothly. When he was ready to pay the bill, I saw him doing the arm jiggle as I made my way to their table, check already in hand because I knew they’d be close to finishing up. “I see you!” I said, as he continued to do the dance after we’d made eye contact. He mumbled something like “we have a flight to catch” (never would have guessed) as I put the check in front of him and leaned over to give the table next to them their –

“NO! DON’T GO ANYWHERE!!!!!! I’M READY TO PAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY………”

“Sir, I was just leaning over to table 2 here to give them their check as well. I have not moved from this spot.”

Happy. Monday.

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Restaurant Blues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just another week in the life of a bartender.

A few days ago:

A woman was determined to steal the tall Blue Moon glass she was drinking out of.

First drink (22 oz.): “Do I get to keep this glass?”

Me: “I’m sorry, you don’t.”

Customer: “Is this 22 ounces?”

Me: “Yes….”

Customer: ::goes back to texting; ignores me::

About 15 minutes goes by….customer orders another drink (a 16 oz. this time).

Me: “Would you like another?”

Customer: “Yes! A small one. But I want to hold onto this glass.” ::claws wrapped around 22 oz. glass::

Me: “Okay….”

::Another 15 minutes or so; she orders another small beer::

::As I place the new beer in front of her, I take the 22 oz. glass that is now empty and off to the side::

Customer: “Are you sure I don’t get to keep that glass?!” ::wink::

Me: “I’m sorry, you really don’t get to take the glass…”

Le sigh.
And then, there’s today.

A young man comes in, orders a vodka and cranberry alongside a shot of vodka. He rejoices over the price, apparently significantly less than what he paid for the same order in another restaurant in the same terminal.

I check on him, he’s doing well, I go off to take care of other customers; when I return, his shot glass is empty, his glass is sucked down to the bare cubes, and he is gone. I peer out of the glass and see him standing in line, waiting to board his plane.

I casually walk out into the terminal, and up to said customer, check in hand.

Me: “Excuse me, were you coming back?”

Customer: “No…”

Me: “Were you going to pay this?” ::I hold up check::

Customer: “I gave you my card!”

Me: “I really don’t think you did. If you did, and I forgot, I apologize. Let me check.”

::Customer follows me back into the restaurant::

Customer: “I had two slips, and a pen, and everything. I signed something!”

::I check computer. No payment was ever received.::

Customer: “I signed something.” ::”Searches” pockets::

As he continued to protest, he handed me his credit card anyway.

If you’re so convinced you really did pay..why are you handing me your card “a second time”?

Slip signed. No tip.

I’m drained. Oy vey.

 

Happy Tuesday, friends! -_-

 

 

 

 

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“What did you just say to me?” “I said you’re a douche bag.”

After today’s post, I did a few things around the house and stepped out for a moment to run to the bank.

While I won’t get into my issues with idiot drivers (“road rage” is a topic I’m sure we could all discuss for hours), this rant does begin with the gentleman who decided to back out of his parking spot in front of me, after I had clearly started to back out of mine first. The calm, rational side of my brain told me, “Maybe he didn’t see you, Nicole! No big deal. Just give a friendly little beep and everyone will go on their jolly way.” But the side of my brain that bursts into flames every time something dumb like this happens caused me to talk angrily and loudly to myself (it’s okay, my windows were up), and lay on my horn like there was no tomorrow.

Alright, I probably could have handled this better, but these things make me wonder. How did you not see me? Were you on your cell phone? Were you picking your nose? Did you just decide to back out without looking, because clearly if someone else was also backing out of a spot, it was their job to stop for you?

Anyway, as I was yelling out loud to no one – and someone – in particular, the man stopped and craned his neck out of his own window, mustering the dirtiest look he could throw in my direction. Was I supposed to be intimidated?

I rolled my own window down, just in time for him to open his door and say, “what did you say to me?”.

And what if I responded with, “I said you’re a big douche bag”?

Was he planning on exiting his vehicle and brawling with me in the middle of the day in the bank parking lot?

Instead I said, “I SAID I WAS BACKING OUT FIRST”. With this he closed his door and went on his merry way.

My point here is I wish everyone could have heard the danger in his voice; the condescending way he looked at me and spoke to me. It makes me sick to my stomach, the way some grown men (not all, but quite a large number), will speak to females of all ages, let alone a young woman who – in my opinion of myself – does not look very intimidating.

A few weeks ago, as I was spinning in circles at work taking care of a full ten table section, I gave one table in particular (2 men and 2 women) a quick smile and greeting, followed by, “what can I get for you?”. Now I say this nicely, but with an obvious “I’m in a rush” in my voice.

The airport is different than your standard sit-down restaurant experience. Things are fast-paced; people have flights to catch! No one plans on lingering.

Long story short, the man was extremely rude (and condescending), telling me that “this is how the restaurant business is” (because obviously I don’t know);when I apologized (although I shouldn’t have), for seeming to be in a rush, he gently tapped the red bow I wore in my hair that day and said, “it’s alright, that bow must be cutting off the circulation to your brain”. I smiled, took the order, and walked away.

The women sat there and said nothing. They allowed this man – one of those women most likely this man’s wife – to speak to me as if I was worthless.

I witness this on an almost daily basis, no matter where I may be.

How do these men treat the other women in their lives, when they think treating a 23 year old with such disrespect is perfectly acceptable? Do they have daughters? God, I hope not. What kind of example are they setting for them? Would they not ring the neck of any man who dared treat her like that?

It really is pathetic. I am so lucky to be able to say I am one of the lucky few who has snagged a man with manners. I would be out of my mind embarrassed if Joe ever treated anyone (woman OR man!) with such disregard; and he never would. This goes for us women, as well; we should treat our male counterparts with respect, too.

We should all – myself included – learn to bite our tongues a little more.

End. Rant.

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“Is your gingerale made with real ginger?”

I like to consider myself a generally easygoing, friendly individual, respectful of those around me as well as completely aware that the world does not, unfortunately, revolve around me. My actions affect others, and my mama raised me to have manners or else I’d get my ass kicked.

After a few years working in the restaurant business, it’s become obvious to me that there are several individuals who do not share my thoughts on this matter, or else did not have a mother and father who taught them how NOT to be a douche bag.

So for this post, I thought I’d join the thousands of servers and bartenders who have already cried out in anger about the guy who didn’t tip, or the girl who sent her drink back 3 times, or the couple with the baby that made a mess of half the restaurant.

So, here it is, from my tiny pocket of the world –

(My) 10 Reasons the Bartender (or Server) Hates You

(In friendly pink text!)

1. “Hi! How are you? My name’s Ni-”

“YEAH, UH…LET ME GET A BOTTLE OF BUD. YOU GOT BURGERS? GIMME ONE OF THOSE TOO.”

In this scenario, I usually carry on with my friendly introduction anyway. More often than not, the customer then looks at me in total confusion.

2. (This one applies specifically to those who work in an airport.)

“I need my check, ASAP – I have a flight to catch!!”

My response: “NO WAY!!!”

3. ::Customer walks into extremely crowded restaurant and waves me over; meanwhile, I have two menus stuffed under each arm, stacks of dirty glasses in each hand and a fry in my hair::

Me: “Can I help you?”

“Yeah, are there any free tables?”

(Keep in mind, in this scenario, a large “Please Seat Yourself” sign is kept in clear view at the front of the restaurant.)

4. :Customer sits directly in front of beer taps::

Me: “Hi! Can I start you out with something to drink?”

Customer: “Yeah. What do you have on tap?”

::I turn around and do my best Vanna White impression::

5. Customer: “Is this tip okay?”

::Shows me the slip. Bill: $50. Tip: $2.::

Me: “That’s…fine!”

Are you expecting me to say, “No, leave more, you cheapskate”?

6. ::Hand menu to customer::

Customer: “Do you have appetizers?”

Me: “Yes!” ::I point to ‘Starters’ section::

Customer: “Do you have soup?”

Me: “Yes” ::I point to ‘Soup/Salad’ section::

Customer: “Do you have -”

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST READ THE MENU.

7. Customer: “So, uh…what’s good here?”

My mind’s response: “Nothing. It’s all crap. You don’t wanna eat here. You may as well just leave Right. Now.”

My actual response: “The chicken sandwiches are delicious!” (Eh, something like that.)

8. Customer: “There’s no alcohol in this drink.” (They just watched me make it, and pour about 2 ounces of vodka into the glass.)

I have no response for this.

9. ::I make my way to a table to deliver an order::

Me: “French fries?”

Customer(s): ::silence::

Me: “French fries?”

Customer(s): ::silence:: ::someone starts texting::

::I place french fries on table and walk away::

10. ::The ‘Section Closed’ sign is in place and I am busy mopping said section.::

Customer: “Is this section open?”

Again, no response to this.

 

Le sigh.

This is only a tiny piece of the strange things we see and hear on a weekly basis. But – we put on a big, fake smile and tolerate, because at the end of the night, it’s (usually) worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

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