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In The Weeds: OctoWaitron

January 19, 2010

I got this.

Look lady, nobody would enjoy me having eight hands more than I would (and possibly my husband), but I don’t.  So stop handing me shit.

Did I hand you your menu, a glass of water, a napkin, a wine glass, a hot towel and four courses worth of silverware in quick succession upon your ass hitting my booth?  No.  No I did not.  Because I recognized you for what you are…human, a mere mortal… and was able to quickly do the math in my head — two hands+two objects=capacity.  Lucky for you, servers are not average people and servers who are also moms are f#!&ing superhuman and can carry at an 8:1 item to hand ratio.  So I can take your plate, his plate, their plates, those empty glasses, a few stray forks, and a crumpled napkin (you’re supposed to keep that on your lap BTW), but when I start to slow down and am clearly now shifting my attention to balancing, please, for the love of dark chocolate, don’t start piling on like you want to help me.  You’re not helping, and you know it.

I suspect that you are fundamentally evil – not to put too fine of point on it – and that you are either 1) too self absorbed to notice that your insistence on a totally clear table RIGHT NOW is about to have disastrous consequences or 2) you like to watch people squirm.   Either way, you suck.

Yes, it’s true that proper service includes having enough hands to do a proper clear or “swarm” on a table so that the guest does not wait with dirty items while the server makes several trips to the dish pit.  Trust me, I would love nothing more than to have an available server assistant and several team members tableside when you are ready to be cleared.  But dang if it doesn’t get rockin busy and I can’t round up a team because they are waist deep in their own weeds.  When I am getting close to arm capacity, you’ll see my eyes darting around for help, sending out a mental S.O.S.  Sometimes it comes.  Usually it doesn’t.   This is not your opportunity to intervene.  Just sit back, order nice Colheita and relax.

While I’m on the subject of handing me too much stuff, allow me to provide you with a handy list of what to NEVER hand me.  This list was compiled from traumatic actual “hand-offs” from depraved guests who wouldn’t dream of handing these things to their neighbors who invited them over for dinner.  So WTF?

Do not hand me:

Chewed gum (even in a napkin)

Dirty diapers

Purse trash

Used toothpicks



Napkins hiding chunks of chewed-up meat

Napkins hiding anything

Food that fell on the floor

Vomit in a water glass

For a more complete list of helpful guests who are totally unhelpful, visit my new favorite blog “Sorry Not My Table” written by a Napa Valley restaurant manager.  Highlights include the “Plate Stacker,” “Napkin Tosser” and “Extreme Napkin Tosser.”  A restaurant manager with a sense of humor?  I’m intrigued but still suspicious.  Proceed with caution.


5 Responses to “ In The Weeds: OctoWaitron ”

  1. AiXeLsyD13 on January 19, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Vomit in a water glass? Please tell me this is a hypothetical example…


  2. FrothyGirlzCJ on January 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Aix – Tragically, no. I wasn’t her server but she was apparently drunk and used her glass as a vomit receptacle and handed it off to the first server walking by. When a guest reaches out to hand you something, the instinct is to just grab it. My instincts were forever changed.

  3. nativenapkin on January 19, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Love the post even though I had to go “ew-w-w-w” at your list at the end.

    The lion’s share of my sense of humor stems from many years of experience as a server and those situations where you gotta laugh to keep from crying. I only put on the suit when I discovered I was actually saying things to guests that I had previously only thought. That told me it was time to go.

    Thanks for the shout out.

  4. Amelia McDaniel on January 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    As a veteran server, I completely agree with most of what you said, except for one thing. Guests: please don’t hand me anything. As a good server, I will pick up what I can carry, what needs to be/should be removed. I don’t need you to touch it at all!

  5. waitress on February 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I had a guest hand me his salad plate with a used insulin needle on it. It was capped, but none the less. The manager didn’t even know what to do with it. Put it in the broken glass bin? Disgusting. Aren’t diabetics supposed to carry sharps disposal containers?