Dinner With Friends…

We are still having issues with the Internet.  And I didn’t have the energy or the strength last night to fight with it to post an entry.  I do know that the new modem is here and it’s out of the box, but my roommate was in bed when I got home so I don’t know if it’s working or what needs to be done to make it work.  I know that I can’t wait till we can tell Time Warner to go fuck themselves.

I still have a bunch of things to blog about, but I thought I would go with what’s fresh.

I had dinner with my friend Ryan and his girlfriend tonight.  Ryan is a friend from grad school.  We hit it off because I teased him constantly about coming to happy hour and drinking and he almost never said yes.  And then the four or five times he did come we would talk to the wee hours of the morning.  We chatted mostly about the state of the theatre and we both agreed that we really didn’t have any urge to be a part of the mainstream.  He more so than me.   These conversations lent themselves to talking about the kind of projects that we would like to work on, who we would like to work with etc.

I graduated a year ahead of him but we emailed occasionally and stayed in touch.  When he graduated last year he moved to NYC.  Since then we have a hung out a few times.  At first it was mostly drinks here and there and coffee.  He’s an actor/temp and I’m a designer/waiter so our schedules are hard to coincide but we manage every couple of months.  And in the meantime we leave voice mails keeping the other abreast of what’s going on.  For example I got a text last week letting me know that the Law and Order episode he filmed last fall was finally being broadcast so I knew to DVR it.  (That’s why I DVR’d every episode of L&O last Wednesday because I wasn’t sure which one it was.)

And so tonight I had dinner with Ryan and his girlfriend.  I might also mention at this point that Ryan wants me to get him hired at the restaurant that I work at because he makes such lousy money temping.

So here’s the problem:

They tip like Canadians.

Every single time we have gone out I have had to leave the tip for all of us.  That’s if they put enough money in for the bill at all.  That’s the other thing that rubs me the wrong way.  The divide the bill down to the penny and then calculate how much they owe.  Tonight our bill for three came to ninety-one dollars and some change.  I did the math in my head rounding up and figured out that I owed 47.00 plus tax and tip.  I had two margaritas and that’s why my bill was so expensive.  They then figured out between them that their total was 40.00 plus tax and tip.  I’d be okay with this if it was true.  But it wasn’t.  My entrée was 18.00 so I counted it as 20.00.  My two margaritas were 16.00 so I counted it as 20.00.  My Diet Coke was 1.50 so I counted it as 2.00.  And my third of the nachos was three dollars so I counted it as 5.00.  That total coming to 47.00.  Now in case you weren’t paying attention on all four occasions I counted my total as at least fifty cents more than I owed and some times four dollars more than I owed.  So I was a little stunned when they decided what their total was going to be.   I was even more stunned when they handed me 45.00  to cover their share of the bill.  That barely covers the tax let alone the tip.  And this guy wants to be a waiter.  I don’t know where.

I didn’t say anything.  I pocketed the money they gave me, whipped out my debit card and paid the tab.  I left more than 20% because although the service wasn’t personal they were very attentive.

The first time Ryan and I went out to eat we split the 40.00 check in half.  He gave me 20.00 and got up to go to the bathroom.  I of course paid the check and included the tip.  The last time we went out to eat he and his girlfriend decided that a 10% tip was okay since it was just Indian food and they didn’t like the service or the food.

So I’m left trying to decide how to deal with this.  I like Ryan, and I like hanging out with him, but I don’t like having to pick up the slack and I like even less the idea that he’s not tipping across the board.  Any one who’s read my blog for more than ten minutes knows how I feel about people who don’t tip.  On the train ride home tonight I was completely ready to just tell him to go fuck himself.  But that’s probably not the answer.  I’m probably going to have to have dinner with him again and point out that he’s not paying his share and explain to him that if he’s not willing to do so, then I can’t hang out with him anymore.

But that seems to adult like.  And you know that I don’t like being an adult.  No really.  I don’t

Saturday Night In The City…

Once again I have too much to blog about. How will I ever narrow it down to one subject and I’m already too longwinded to actually try and cover more than one topic.

So do I discuss the fact that I now live on tree-lined street?

Do I talk about the 80 bucks I found on the floor at work?

Do I discuss the fact that Gina has been fired?

Do I blog about the 40 black teenagers that were thrown out of our restaurant tonight?

Do I mention that I’ve made more in five days this week than I did in more than two weeks last month?

Do I complain about how tired I am after working five days straight and still having one more to go?

What to do? What to do?

I think I’ll discuss the kids that were thrown out of the restaurant.

I actually thought a lot about how to blog about this coming home on the train without sounding too racist. I figured the best thing to do would be to just tell the story and let you all come to your own conclusions.

And like all of my posts there has to be three pages of back-story to get us there.

And so…

I’ve mentioned before that there are certain people that come into our restaurant that don’t tip. For a while every Italian table that I waited on stiffed me. Then it was the Irish. Then it was the French. Recently it’s been the Canadians. Tonight I waited on four people from Canada, one of which was an incredibly HOT young man. They were perfectly nice and I joked around with them. And when they left the HOT guy made a point of telling me to keep the change. And it was three dollars. On a fifty dollar tab. I didn’t even know what to do with that.

And for years now I’ve kept a tally of the ways that I can tell if people are going to tip. People who order well done steaks don’t tip as well as people who order them medium rare. People who request thousand island dressing don’t tip as well as people who use balsamic vinagerette. People who smoke tip better than non smokers. People who drink tip better than non-drinkers. If you work in the restaurant business for more than three minutes you start to make these generalizations. Is it always true? Of course not. But across the board I bet you would find it to be true.

And black people don’t tip well.
I once heard a black comedian say “If you have a canoe, paint it black it won’t tip. I also used to work at a Bennigan’s in Atlanta and the black servers would come into the kitchen and ask “Who didn’t pay the electric bill this week. It’s black out there.”

I know it’s bad to make these generalizations. But work with the public for more than three minutes and you’ll start to do it too.

So when I first started back to waiting tables, I was telling my roommate about my list of people that don’t tip. And I included black people. He then told me about an article that he read. It basically said that the reason blacks don’t tip is because they don’t get the same service everyone else gets. If they got the attention to detail, and the niceness that everyone else got then they would tip like everyone else. And I had to stop and think. Do I treat them differently? I don’t know. But I told myself that if I did, it wouldn’t happen anymore. And since that conversation I go out of my way to give everyone the same service no matter who they are or what they look like.

And has it made a difference. I don’t think so. It’s kind of 50/50 for the most part. Tonight I waited on a table a family of four that were black and they left me seven bucks on $68.00. It’s ten percent but it didn’t come close to the fifteen refills of Pepsi that I got for them.

And yet I was nice and polite and thanked them profusely for coming in.

And what does all this have to do with the kids who were kicked out of the restaurant. Actually nothing and everything.

At 1:00 a.m. forty black teenagers appeared at the host stand. They were unruly, loud and boisterous. Just like all teenagers. Unfortunately, no one could determine if they were there to eat or to drink or get dessert or what. And so it took a few minutes to get them to tables. If you could call it that. They were all over the restaurant. They would sit at one table and then decide to go to another table. And then run to another table. It took almost fifteen minutes to get even half of them into seats. At this point all of my tables were done and I was just about to start my side work. And then Alex came out of the kitchen and discovered that he’d been sat a ten top with some of the kids. He was more than a little perplexed. First it was three minutes till closing. And then it was ten people. And then it was ten black people. And so I said I would take care of them. I did this for two reasons. It was 10 people so gratuity was included, and I knew that I could deal with their unruliness. I taught high school for three years, dealing with teenagers isn’t that hard if you get your “teacher” voice going.

So I approached the table and used my teacher voice. I said hello. And then got down to business. First order of business — drinks. That took some doing. What do we have? Do you get free refills? Are the refills on juice free? I answered the questions and then said, that as much as I wanted them to have all the time they needed, the kitchen closes in two minutes so if you really plan to order food it has to be in the computer super quick. And this is true. The restaurant closes at 1:15 on Saturday nights and they want all the food orders in by 1:20. I had to say this about three times and finally just said, look if you going to order it do it. If you just want to sit here, that’s fine but you won’t get any food. They finally realized that I was being serious and they ordered. All told it took about six minutes to get their orders out of them and into the computer. Within ten minutes total I had their drinks on the table. Of course about two minutes later they announced that they are going to move to another table across the restaurant. I told them what I tell everyone who says this to me. That’s fine but your food is being delivered here and you’ll have to pay for it before you leave. Once again they realized that I was not kidding and took their seats.

Unbeknownst to me the situation across the restaurant was playing out very differently. First about 15 guys surrounded the two blond girls that were having dessert and started to harass them. They were finally ushered to their seats and then proceeded to tell my friend Suzette that she wasn’t sexy enough to wait on them. She would have to get them another girl to wait on them. So she did the same thing I would have done. She went to the manager and told them what had happened. Of course by this time all of the management staff is in the dining room because it’s quickly becoming complete chaos. I should also mention that our management team has a very strict no tolerance policy on people belittling or harassing the staff or other patrons. In the meantime there are people running around everywhere. No one will sit down and by this time the orders should have all been in the kitchen because it closed fifteen minutes ago.

And so the manager goes over to talk to the guys who didn’t like Suzette. He was there about two seconds when they started yelling at him and one guy told him to suck his dick. At which point Allan suggested they leave. And so half of them got up and head out. But the only sensible guy in the whole group calmed them down and they started back in. Unfortunately, the less sensible ones got the rest riled up and finally Allan had had enough and he told them all to get out. And get out they did. By overturning tables and chairs and cursing and basically making a scene.

And as the only black waiter on the floor tonight said, “They really aren’t doing a lot to help their cause. And it only reinforces the reason people as a whole react toward young black men the way they do.”

And the night ended. And I did my side work. And I clocked out as usual. And I changed my clothes. And I waited for Leslie because we were riding home on the subway together. And we walked out of the building and headed toward the deli when 45 black teens (mostly men) started running toward us, and then past us, all screaming run, run. And we realized at the exact same time they were the same teens we had had in the restaurant. Who knows what they are up to, or what they were running from. But I would bet they had been up to no good.


I realized this morning that I should have wrapped the story up a little differently.

I will still strive not to make generalizations that effect the service that I give my guest.  I also know that it’s a minority of any group of people that ruins it for the rest.  And at the end of the day, it’s my job to make sure every guest has a great time in my restaurant and that there needs are taken care of as quickly as possible.

But I still think Canadians are lousy tippers.

An Email…

As I was coming home on the train tonight I was pondering what I was going to write about.  I have a couple of stories that I need to share but they’ll be longer posts and I’m tired.  And I can always complain about work, but I’m convinced that everyone is tired of hearing about that.

And then I got home and checked my email.  I had an email from a fellow blogger.  We have been chatting in emails about a posts that I made last week.  At the end of  his email he finished with the following paragraph.

Do you realize that your restaurant posts are very influential?  I’ve always tipped more than 15%, but now I tip a little more.  I tip more if I know that the server has to split the tip with the bartender, the bussers, etc.  One of my students works at a hoity toity sushi bar. He said that his clientele are demanding and don’t tip accordingly.  He said that sometimes he loses money by the time he has to split the tip.  So between the two of you, I’ve become a better customer. I just have to convince one of my friends (a big ol’ bitter queen) that he isn’t the center of the universe and don’t piss of the wait staff!  So, I do appreciate your restaurant posts.

This meant the world to me.  It’s nice to know that one person out there has heard what I have to say and has been changed because of it.  It’s also nice to know that waiters in San Diego are making more money because of my posts.

And with that I won’t bitch about work tonight.

Last Night Explained….

I realized today when I reread my post from yesterday along with many of the comments I received that perhaps it seems like I work in a horrible restaurant.   In no way is that the case.  In fact as far as fast-paced, slinging hash type restaurants go it’s the best I’ve ever worked in.  It is in no way fine dining.  We serve cheeseburgers and beer and the occasional steak.  The reason I make money is because we are VERY busy.  The reason we are so busy is because it’s located in the heart of Times Square.  Which means 99% of our clientele are tourists.  The other 1% doesn’t count and I won’t explain why.

Because we are in Times Square there is constant foot traffic and this translates into big business for us.  We are in the middle of the slow season right now and there is still a million times more business than in any other restaurant I’ve ever worked in.  This means that even during the slow season it’s still possible to make money and sometimes it’s even better money because the kitchen is less likely to crash and burn and the work is easier because you don’t have to run around like crazy.

And then there was last night…

I had a bad night.  Of course I think that’s an understatement.  I had an awful night.  It started great.  My first seven or eight tables tipped between 20 and 30 percent.  I remember thinking to myself not to say anything about it because I would jinx how well the night was going.  I must have done something because suddenly the tide turned.  And for the rest of the evening the tips were around 10 percent on the high side and you guys have seen the low side.  Unfortunately, what happens is that as the night progresses and the tips are bad, the service starts to suffer.  It’s hard to be upbeat and happy to fetch things for people when the last four tables have stiffed you…and not in the good way.  This is what happened last night.  By 10:00 I could give a shit.  I just wanted the shift to end and be over with so I could count my lack of money and go home.  Needless to say the tips were worse from then on.

The other thing that I should explain is about tipping out.  The reason that servers are expected to tip out on their sales and not their earnings is because a lot of waiters suck.  There are people I work with who never make money.  It’s because they don’t know the first thing about being personable or for that matter just getting the customer what they want and need.  The other issue is that there is no way to track how much a waiter makes, so less than honest servers could lie and not tip as much as they are supposed to.  Our sales are printed on computer printouts every night so it’s published information so if someone doubts you’ve tipped them enough they can always check.  There is also the issue of why do I have to tip if I didn’t get that many drinks.  Well you probably didn’t get that many drinks tonight.  But I bet you did on Saturday night.  Did you tip extra then?  Probably not.  For me there are nights where I server from 1,000 to 1,500 dollars just in liquor.  That’s a lot of trips to the bar and lots of seven dollar beers.  I’ll let you guys do the math.  Because of the high total of my liquor sales and the total amount of business I do I feel like I should tip more than is required.  So I actually tip out 1% more than I’m supposed to to the bartenders.  This however, has worked to my advantage because I tip more than anyone else who works there.  This makes the bartenders happy.  And because they are happy I get my drinks first.  They very  often stop what they are doing, ask what I need and make it for me.  That is if they haven’t already noticed my check and made it before I got there.  This makes my customers happy because I get their drinks fast.  This makes me happy because “most” of the time they tip better because of it.  It’s only frustrating having to tip out the bar when so many tables stiff me and I’m not making any money.

And with all of this said.  It’s still a great place to work.  I make a ton of money.  The work isn’t that hard.  The managers love me.  Most of my co-workers love me.  And most of the time my customers love me.  Unfortunately there is a truth that every night can’t be good.  If I wanted that I could work at Red Lobster down the street where every table has 18% gratuity added to the check before it’s presented.  But they do half the business we do and I would make a lot less money.  I’m very grateful to have the job that I have.

Time for Math Class…

Work sucked tonight. I repeat. Work sucked tonight. I made less money tonight than I have since I started working there. I’d love to say I sold less but that’s not the case. The foreigners were out in force tonight. It got so bad that I kept my receipts so I could share the “good” news with you.

Here are some of my favorite tips tonight.

Bill: $54.05 Tip: $00.00

Bill: $22.22 Tip: $1.78

Bill: $61.01 Tip: $00.00

Bill: $49.80 Tip: $2.20

Bill: $110.71 Tip: $9.29

Bill: $15.28 Tip: $.72

Bill: $28.39 Tip: $1.61

Bill: $25.46 Tip: $.54

Bill: $66.20 Tip: $3.80

Bill: $11.43 Tip: $00.00

Total: $444.55 Total Tip: $19.94

Total Tip Out Expected to Bartenders, Busser and Food runner on $444.55: $22.22

So to wait on these 10 tables it actually cost me $2.28.

The total amount I should have made after tip out should have been somewhere between the amounts: $44.46 and $66.69 if everyone had left between 18% and 20%.

The actual percentage I made before tipout: .045 percent. There seems to be a shortage if you ask me.

It also didn’t help that most of the tables I waited on tonight didn’t seem to be eating. Two beers and a plate of nachos runs about $22.00. It takes a lot of these tables if you are going to make a living. Luckily, most of the tables I waited on early in the evening were very generous. Their 20-40 percent tips helped to make up some of the difference. Unfortunately, because we were slow there weren’t enough of these tables to make it a profitable evening.

It’s a good thing rent is due this week, otherwise I don’t know what I would do with all of my riches.


A Day In The Life of a Waiter

 A couple of weeks after I started working at the restaurant, a fellow server asked me if I’d change sections with him.  I was new and didn’t know any better so I said yes.  Well to be honest with you, the reason I said yes was because it was in the main dining room and I wouldn’t have to go up and down stairs.  We were very busy that night and I made (I’m so tired as I write this that I just spelled “made” m-a-i-d.  Perhaps I should go to bed?) a small fortune.

The particular section that I was in, is considered the “cocktail” section.  What this means is that the people I’m waiting on sit at high top, cocktail tables.  They are offered the same menu and the same service as the rest of the restaurant.  This section is not, however, part of the host’s rotation.  The customers either seat themselves, or I go into the lobby and tell a group of people that they can skip the wait list (sometimes over two hours long) and come sit down immediately.  Most people agree to do this, although occasionally people don’t want to sit at the high tables.

This system works okay, especially when we are busy.  The tables are constantly filled and often people sit down to be waited on before the leaving patrons have put their coats on.  What this means is that the tables tend to turn a lot faster and you can get people in and out the door pretty quickly.  When we are on a wait, only people who are eating can sit at these tables.  If you are in just to drink, then you should sit at the counter (also part of the section) or at the bar.  This insane pace means that you work a lot harder and faster than most of the other servers but you also make more money than they do.

After that first night, I went to the server manager and told her that she could schedule me in cocktails anytime she wanted.  I loved the pace and more than anything I loved the money.  She took this to heart and now I’m only scheduled in the cocktail section.  This makes me very happy because I make more money, and it make the managers happy because I do a good job.  You would think that everyone would want to work in these sections based on the sales numbers and the tips you make.  But it’s far from the truth.  There really are only about 10 servers who will work there.  For most, the pace is just to fast and you have to work way to hard.  And this is what I love.  At any given moment I have 7 to 10 checks open, getting people what they want.  I also discovered that if I tip the bartenders well at the end of the night, they’ll make my drinks first.  So if you order a drink from me, it will be on your table in three to four minutes.  So I work hard and make a lot of money.

And so why am I telling you all of this.  Well as I mentioned, if no one sits down immediately at one of my tables I go into the lobby and find people to fill the chairs.  A couple of nights ago, I pulled four women out of the group and gave them a table.  They were a hoot.  One of them was from New Orleans and the rest of them were from Nashville.  They gave me a hard time, and I gave them one right back.  We spent the hour they were with me doing a lot of laughing.  At one point I walked up to the table and they said, “Can we ask you a question?” I said, “Sure”.  ” Why did you pick us, out of all the people in the lobby, to come sit at your table?”  I took a deep breath and said, “I can’t tell you.”  The laughed but were persistent.  Finally I said, “It’s because as I walked by you, you were speaking English without an accent.”

What followed was a lot of questions about my answer.  I explained to them that we get a lot of foreign tourists, and although most know to tip, a lot either just don’t do it, or aren’t aware they are supposed to.  Either way, I’ll take my chances with an American table any day.  The question I have is:  “Is it wrong to think this way.”  I was talking to a couple of waiters the other night at a bar, and the discussion turned to people who tip.  And the consensus of the group was that the minute you start waiting tables it makes you think in ways that you don’t always approve of.

There are certain groups of people who tend to not tip well.  I realize it’s a generalization but when you work in a restaurant long enough you see the consistency enough to realize that the stereotypes don’t create themselves.  People who order their steaks well done don’t tip as well as people who order them medium rare.  Smokers tip better than non-smokers.  Anyone who uses 1000 island dressing isn’t going to tip well.  If they order Long Island Teas they don’t tip as well as if they order Dewars on the rocks.  Anyone who orders a Strawberry Daiquiris isn’t going to tip well.  If they use their AAA discount they are going to leave 10% or less.  If they get something for free they won’t tip as well as if they didn’t.  Lesbians don’t tip as well as gay men.  Black people don’t tip as well as white people.  Foreigners don’t tip as well as Americans.   People from the south don’t tip as well as northerners.  Baptists don’t tip as well as Jews.  The Irish don’t tip as well as the Londoners.

I could go on.  I have been in the restaurant business off and on since 1987 and all of these generalizations still hold true.  And what that means, is that I walk into the lobby and I make decisions about who I want to sit in my section based on what people look like.  How they speak.  What they are wearing.  How they are behaving.  All because at the end of the hour they spend with me, I want them to leave the most amount of money possible.  And I hate that I do this.  I hate that I’m reduced to this.  But then again I need to pay my rent.

So what are your thoughts on this.  I’d love to hear what you guys think.

Maddog’s Day Off

Winter has finally arrived here.  The high temperature today was somewhere in the low 30’s and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 22 degrees.  Brrrrr.  I have been cold all night, and so as a result I’ve been wrapped in a blanket on the couch.  Of course being cold might have something to do with just wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, but then again maybe not.

I had the day off today and had planned to sleep late, but woke up almost 30 minutes before the alarm went off.  The alarm was set for noon, so it’s not like I got up early either way.  Of course I didn’t get to bed until almost 5:30.  I got home from work last night and was completely wired.  It had been another one of those nights waiting tables that makes you want to push people in front of moving trains.  I was stiffed 9 times last night.  And as always I don’t mean stiffed in the good way.  Nine different tables failed to tip me at all.  Unfortunately to0 many other people only tipped 10% or so, so the great tippers didn’t quite cover it all.  So I was a little grumpy when I got home and not ready for bed, so I read some blogs, wrote a blog entry, watched some TV, read and finally turned the light off at 5:20.

I was watching the news this morning afternoon when my phone rang.  I answered and before I knew it I had been on the phone all afternoon.  I had planned to run some errands, see Sweeney Todd, hang out downtown, and be back home for dinner and Project Runway.  Needless to say I had to re-think my schedule.

I didn’t even leave my house until almost 4:00.  Whoops.  I did manage to get most of my errands done but there was no time for a movie.  By the time I got to the bank, ran by work, and did a few other things my day was gone.  Oh, well I suppose Sweeney will still be playing next week.

What did amaze me was how much money I spent today.  My roommate and I were joking about how quickly money flies out of your pocket on your day off in New York.  I kept out 100 dollars today, to do everything I needed to do, plus eat dinner and get my laundry out of jail.  After I paid for dinner I had seven bucks left and I had yet to pay for my laundry.  How is that possible.  Of course, once I stopped to think about it, all the money was accounted for.  I just hated that I had spent that much money without even trying.  And it’s not like I did anything outrageous, or bought anything nice.  I did get some necessities though, so I guess spending the money was needed.  I just can’t spend anymore tomorrow until after I’ve worked.  Let’s hope the customers are being generous.


All it will take is a couple of more nights like tonight and I’ll be fully motivated to get a real job.  What a ball buster.  Except for my last round of tables every guest I came in contact with tonight was in a pissy mood.  Geez.  I’m sorry half the restaurant is closed for a private party.  I’m sorry there is a two and a half hour wait for a table in the dining room.  I’m sorry it’s cold in the lobby.  I’m sorry that the bartender is slow as Christmas.  But don’t fucking take it out on me.  No one is making you wait for a table.  No one told you to venture to NYC in the middle of the fucking winter.  If your life is that miserable stay at home, cook for yourself, buy your own alcohol to mix your own drinks and leave me alone.  There are of course always nights where people don’t tip well.  That’s bad enough, but when they are in bad moods and NOT tipping well what can I say.  There enough said.

All kidding aside, I think it was the worst shift I’ve had since I started working there.  And for the life of me I didn’t know how to fix it.  I tried being extra nice.  I tried joking around.  I tried giving better service.  Nothing seemed to do the trick.  About half way through the shift I told the manager that I was ready to go home.  Of course since I was closing she just laughed at me.  To make matters worse because I was having a bad evening, the time came to a stand still.  It was 7:30 at least four times when I checked the clock on the computer.  How is that possible?

Luckily, these nights seem to be few and far between.   I’m hoping this is the last of them for a while.  I don’t think I could take it again tomorrow night.

A Repeat of Last Night………………

Today was quite the repeat of yesterday.  The “A” train sucked.  It took almost 90 minutes to get home again tonight.  And I got stiffed on three tables.  And as with last night, I was not stiffed in the good way.

As far as the train is concerned, I’ve decided that I’m going to call the MTA and complain.  I understand that there has to be track work, but they have many options at their disposal to inform us about the work.  They send out emails, they post bulletins, and make announcements.  In this case nothing was done.  I just want to know so that I can make the best decisions when it comes to traveling in the city.

As for work and getting stiffed.  Two of the tables tonight didn’t surprise me at all.  They spoke very little English and that was to be expected.  The last table though pissed me off.  They were at their table for almost two hours and 30 minutes.  They got great service and I didn’t rush them at all when I discovered they were planting themselves there for the evening.  When they gave me the bill with the money, they specifically asked for the change back.  It was almost a 200 dollar check.  Trust me when I say it hurts when someone who has spent that much money doesn’t leave a penny.  Especially when you consider that I still have to tip out 8 dollars to the bussers, bartenders, and food runners.  So it actually cost me money to wait on them.  Somehow this doesn’t seem fair.   Luckily it was the end of the night, so I was able to let it slide and not ruin my night.  When something like that happens early, often it affects how you deal with people the rest of the night.  Of course the conversations in the wait stations are hysterical when this happens as we say little prayers that their passports, credit cards and wallets are stolen and they have to beg on the street corner to get enough money to get home.

And on a  last note.  I realize that people go out to eat late.  I also know that the my restaurant closes at 12:15 on Sunday nights and I fully expect people to arrive that late and be seated.  But be considerate.  Realize that when you have been finished eating for 45 minutes and are just sitting there, you are keeping an entire crew of people in the restaurant.  Look around you.   If no one else is there, chances are the bussers, dishwashers, managers, waiters, bartenders, cashiers, are all waiting on you to pay your check and leave so that they can finish their work and go home.  There’s nothing worse than being kept at work an extra hour because you want to sit and chat.  I work in Times Square for Pete’s sake.  The area is filled with 24 hour restaurants, diners, bars, and coffee shops.  Pay your tab and move to one of them.  And please, please if you ARE going to keep me at work an extra hour, be kind and tip extra.

And that my friend is my complaining for the evening.

This will be the last stop on this “A” train…l

It’s 3:50 a.m.  I just got home.  I should have been home 45 minutes ago, but it seems subway service isn’t as normal as it’s supposed to be tonight.   Trust me when I say there is nothing like waiting 20 minutes for your train, having it finally arrive, then taking you half-way home, where you are told that you have to get off the train and wait for a shuttle train to take you the rest of the way.  Of course what they don’t tell you is that the shuttle train will take an additional 20 minutes to arrive.  So what should have been a 45 minute trip takes 90 minutes.  Like I said, nothing beats it.

Of course there’s no real reason to get angry, because it really doesn’t do any good.  It would just ruin my night.  I don’t mind so much that it happened, I just wish I’d known about it in advance.  On Friday afternoons I get an email from the MTA letting me know about changes in service on the two subways that serve my neighborhood.  According to this weekend’s email, there were no changes in service on either line, which meant that I could guesstimate how long it would take to get home.  But that was not the case.  Had I known it was going to take 90 minutes, I could have taken the other train, or ever better a 25 dollar cab ride that would get me home in 20 minutes.  Of course it doesn’t matter now, I’m home and that’s all that matters.  I just hope this isn’t happening tomorrow night because I close the restaurant on Sunday night and I open it  at 9:00 on Monday morning.  I’ll need to get home fast to get as much sleep as I can.

That being said, I had a great night at work tonight.  I had been dreading being there because I hadn’t worked in a week.  It’s always hard to come back after a vacation and my last shift sucked ass and I was afraid tonight would too.  But for the most part it was fine.  I did get stiffed on three checks.  And I don’t mean stiffed in a good way.  To be stiffed means that you don’t get any tip at all.  The first two tables that stiffed me annoyed me, but I had kind of expected it so I said what the fuck and went on.  The last table though, really surprised me.  The check was 69.90 and they gave me 70.00 and told me to keep the change.  It’s the first time since I’ve worked there that I wanted to say something.  The service was great, they were taken care of, and seemed quite happy.  I would just like to know why they didn’t tip.  Was it something I said?  Was it something I did?  Were they just ignorant tourists who didn’t know any better?  What was the reason.  Unfortunately, in the restaurant business, one of the fastest ways to get fired is to ever mention the amount of the tip to a customer.  It’s never to be brought up at all.  As a rule I stay as far away from the subject as possible, even with the tables that I’m having fun with and who really like me.  Leave what you want, when you leave.  But that last table I just wanted to know.  But alas, it’s not to be.  I just know that if the three tables that stiffed me had left 20 percent tips I would have made an extra 60 bucks tonight.  If I had made that I probably would have taken a cab home anyway and I would have never known the subways were fucked.