Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Advice to customers: Tired old jokes.

Interacting with the public every day means servers are exposed to an endless array of people telling the same tired jokes. I can't even bring myself to fake a laugh at them anymore most of the time.

For example, there are a lot of answers to "Can I bring you anything else?" that aren't funny:
"A million dollars!"
"A winning lottery ticket."
"Some fifties and hundreds."
"A hot blonde/rich doctor/cabana boy/a different spouse/better behaved children/any other human being."

Likewise, it's not amusing when we offer you an appetizer/drink and you say "If it's free!" If it's 7:30 and I tell you happy hour ended at 6, it's not cute to say "Oh, well it's not six yet right! (wink wink)" That's not going to get you anything cheaper.

When we deliver the ticket, you really just look like an asshole when you say things like, "Oh, we don't want that!" You also sound like an insensitive bitch when you joke about "Don't mess up his order, he's tipping you!"

If you order the double-caramel-chocolate-fudge-almond-flourless-death-by-sugar cake with extra ice cream, don't ask me to "remove the calories" for you. You just sound like an insecure idiot.

And then there are the people who just don't give up on trying to make you laugh at their stupid jokes. Yesterday, I had a table of four regulars. Every time they come in, one of the old men orders a "diet water". I just smiled and said okay and got everyone else's drink orders. Apparently his wife wasn't happy with that, because she had to comment on, "She didn't even blink! Ha ha ha!" Well of course I didn't, he's ordered "diet water" from me once a month for the last year.

When I came back with the waters, he smiled at me and asked if it was diet. Grr. I said I sucked all the calories out personally, and his wife once again said something stupid. Then, when she ordered, she purposely mispronouned "tilapia" as "tie-lap-aye-uh"--and then commented on "nothing gets to you!" with a big laugh. Ha. Hahahaha. HA.

People also like to joke about the authenticity of their money--because counterfeiting and credit card fraud are hilarious:

"Oh good, it went through. I just picked that card up in the parking lot!"
"I printed that $20 this afternoon! Looks real, right?"
"Don't take that card, it's not his. Ha ha ha."

The one exception? Yesterday, I had a table full of state troopers. One gave me three shiny dollar coins as a tip, and when I commented on how cool they looked he said, "We just printed them!" His buddy says, "You print money, we minted those." That shit was funny.

Now, every server I know enjoys some clever repartee with their customers. But if your quip involves your server delivering the impossible, you getting something free, or joking about if you're paying with real money/going to tip, I can almost guarantee it is not clever.

Fellow servers, what are some of the other thoroughly eye-stabbingly "amusing" lines you hear every day?


eternalcarryoutgirl said...

"I guess I have to pay you now."
"So you're the one stealing my money, huh?"
(handing me a $50 or a $100) "You're able to figure that out, right?"

Working the register is awesome. I actually stopped pretending to laugh. If it's a regular or someone insulting my ability to count change (which is the easiest thing in the world to do, all you cashiers that have the change displayed for you are spoiled), I'll give them a look. It actually makes the regulars laugh and the jerks take back their insults.

Masquerade said...

"Will there be anything else?"
"Nope, that will do it."
(I bring out the bill)
"I told you I didn't want anything else!"

Or, my personal favorite...

"May I get you somethign to drink?"
"How about a (insert alcoholic beverage here)?"

I've given up on these people. I just tell them we drank all the alcohol two hours ago.

No, we don't serve alcohol at my restaurant.

purplegirl said...

Oh yeah, those are definitely classic examples too!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a server, but until recently I worked in a hotel. Every time I asked what room a guest wanted they would inevitably respond with some variation of "the penthouse" "one with three king size beds and a jacuzzi," etc. God, that got old. Also, it was a military facility and you'd always get the old retired guy who'd think it was funny to ask for a military discount.

purplegirl said...

"Military discount" indeed. People are so lame!

William said...

Me: Can I get you anything else this evening?
Guest: A wheelchair/wheelbarrow/sleeping bag/cot because I just ate so much!

purplegirl said...

I didn't even think of that one, and that's probably what I hear most often!

VeryAnnoyedCrankyWaitress said...

ommmggoosshhh I have been a server for about 2 & a half years I love reading your stories I can relate to EVERY SINGLE ONE of them! I get the 'oh we dont want that!" and the "isnt it free tonight?" bullshit at least once a day! it drives me nuts! i mean what the hell can u say to that, its not funny!!! I thought the restaurant I work at was the only screwed up one, but I know how it feels to be getting no hours and then have them hire 2 more people! I mean what the hell, right!!!???

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting tables for about 6years. My response to the "Oh we didn't ask for the bill" or whatever variation they come up with is "Oh. Its complementary. They make us pass them out to everyone."

purplegirl said...

That's a good one! I'll have to remember that.

angela said...

My favorite is, how would you like your steak cooked? ON THE GRILL! BAHA

Onlyahostess said...

I used to work at a corporate pancake house, and as i was seating people, they would ask me "are you still serving breakfast?" (sometimes i thought they were joking and they werent...)
I would say "No sorry, we just stopped serving breakfast a few minutes ago."

purplegirl said...

Nice ones!

Anonymous said...

(upon delivering the check) person paying pats around for money "Uh oh dont you have some dishes in the back that i can wash or something" or some variation
*eye roll*

purplegirl said...

Oh, yeah, I nevvvver get tired of that crap. *snort*

Marie said...

Yes, I know this comment is a year and a half late, but I'm spending an insomniac night reading your archive. (You totally rock, by the way!)

Another 'classic' is when I go to pre-bus a table and the diner points to their scraped-clean empty plate and says, "Well, I just HATED that! Haha!"

serverwoe said...

I get this one all the time. "How do you want your steak cooked?" "With fire."

Recently instead of politely laughing and saying something like "Ha, good one." I just gave the guy a blank look and said "Oh, I'm sorry, we only cook with magic here."

He looked sheepish, his wife laughed, and I got a 20% tip.

purplegirl said...

Thanks Mary! Oh yeah, that's a GREAT one. I don't think it even registers with me when people say that anymore!

Serverwoe, that is AWESOME! I'm stealing it. :)

Cat said...

My current work shirt says, "Hello, my name is Rib Expert". I've lost track of the number of "jokes" I've heard. Every. Single. Shift. My usual response is: "Yeah, my parents hate me."

Then just a regular one, after I everyone's done.
"So would you just like the cheque, then?"
"No, thanks."/"Oh, you can just keep that."

They don't *actually* think they're being original, do they?

ktree said...

Meh, as much as they annoy me I would SO much rather hear that shit than people being rude jerks. Usually in my experience people who respond to "would you like me to bring your check?" with "no thanks!!! LOL!!" are decent tippers.
That being said, I have been reading this blog for almost 11 hours. for the love of God, I cannot stop. I have papers to write!!!