Alright, I'm going to rant. My fellow columnist Kitty Kanagawa averages 3000 people per column. I got only 500 last month. You'll have to excuse me while I pout in jealousy. Just kidding, just kidding. Well, seriously, more readers would be appreciated. Yep, let's get to our mailbag shall we? As always, if you have questions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your first name and the first letter of your last name. Like this: "John S.".
Q: Not a question, but just so everyone knows, this is what happens when you a piss off your server: I put straws in my armpit. Yes. I put them and I walk up to you with your drinks and I place the straw in with the armpit side facing out. Be warned...I'm not the only one.
- Leeta N.
Oh ew! You know what was the meanest thing I've done? Put sugar on a kid's food. The parents were being jerks and it was close to their kids' bedtime, so I figured putting teaspoons of sugar in their kids' food would make them pretty hyper throughout the night. Say goodbye to sleep, rude customers who are parents!
Q: Making friends with my fellow waitstaff is not my thing. Between their endless gossip, loser aspirations and bad habits I try to avoid them whenever possible. During slow hours, though, this is difficult. I can only look and text on my iPhone for so long. Any recommendations to stay isolated?
- Tina V.
You should always make friends wherever you go, but learn the art of distancing yourself from their activities that you're not comfortable with. Never, ever be a prude. Sometimes having friends in the job helps...you never know when you need someone to fill in for you, or back you up if you're ever in a bind. This is especially true for waiting tables! If anything, find at least one coworker you can be friends with so you can look less-isolated, and it gives you an excuse to avoid others...because you're always with your friend.
Q: I am really falling for this waitress, but I bet they get asked out all the time. Hell, I bet you get asked this question all the time. This particular one is cute, funny and we have similar goals. I asked a friend who is also a waitress (same franchise, different restaurant) and she says that they get hit on a lot. Everytime we make conversation I turn into jello and I say the stupidest things. You may think this question is about how to ask a waitress out, but it's not. What I want to know is, how do I get over my crush? I just want to keep eating in peace at that restaurant!
- Allen W.
Hahaha! What a twist in the end there, Allen! I was kind of hoping you were going to ask how to ask a waitress out, because this is what you should do: say that you read palms, take her palm, write your number on it and tell her she is going to call you. Hahaha! Well, waitrssing is a high-exposed job, and it's a job to smile, flirt and be agreeable so that we can get what we really want: our tips! We geniunely fake like our customers are the coolest, most important people in the world. And sometimes people may think "wow, she digs me". You have to be careful, and since it seems like you're more about the food than the waitress, you're in luck! Getting over a crush is just a mental thing. Think of her like a sister or that she did a very evil crime. Then the pretty face won't be such an obstacle anymore. Fearing a crush over a waitress is no reason to not attend your favorite restaurant. Go out there and eat to your heart's content, Allen.
Q: So a customer continually asks me what the special is. I'm, like, it's fish with bell peppers, blah blah blah. But strangely he asks "no, really, what is it?" Which makes me uncomfortable because now I'm wondering what it really is. Or is it? Sorry to get existential on you, Yoyo.
- El Barto
No problem. Philosophy is always a good topic. Just kidding. This customer guy probably has worked in the kitchen before. Chefs have told us that in a lot of restaurants, the special is whatever is needed to be sold before it goes bad. For example, if there's a huge surplus of shrimp and scallop, guess what the "special of the day" is going to be? Yep! Some kind of made up invention featuring almost expiring shrimp and scallop. The lesson as always? Avoid the special of the day at all costs. By the way, is El Barto your real name? :)
Q. Oh the horror of lemons in restaurants! Nobody washes them, everybody touches them, what good are they?
- Minton C.
You don't know the half of it, buddy!
I've rarely seen a restaurant kitchen wash their lemons, it's like this is a tradition or something. Since they're just taken right out of their boxes, lemons get knocked around and picked up without being washed. They're usually one the floor...true story: in the restaurant I worked in, the owner's 7-year-old son and his friend were using it as a soccer ball. A kitchen member needed a lemon, picked it up, and started serving it. Most lemons are handled by people with unwashed hands. Think about where that lemon has been the next time you get one in your iced tea. Mwhahaha. (And don't discard restaurant tomatoes, oranges, potatoes and anything with skin on them.)
Okay, another five questions! That was quick and fun! To ask questions, please send to: email@example.com. Please leave your first name and the first letter of your last name (example: John S.). We'll take the five we like every 15 days!