Archive for ‘Service Industry’

February 14, 2012

Whitney

by ANDREW J HICKS

"I wanna smoke a pile of rocks THIS BIG!"

My generation contains a subset of dorky guys who like girls but have a love for the cheesy adult-contemporary and pop hits of the ’80s and ’90s. I’ve got a friend — loves pussy, loves Michael Bolton even more.

Me, I’ve got musical guilty pleasures out the ass, but I have a special fondness for the Hot Diva Pop of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton years. Music that makes you look gay from women you’d love to fuck. I’m talking about early Mariah, Janet, Vanessa Williams, Paula Abdul, Madonna and, yes, Whitney Houston.

So when Whitney was found dead in a hotel room at age 48 last Saturday, it was a cause for mourning and reflection. There were also many crack jokes involved also. Because, let’s face it — it’s funny.

A coworker complained to me that Whitney was no great legend, that she only had like 6 popular songs. I told him I could name 20 Whitney Houston songs that charted. He didn’t believe me. I rattled them off: You Give Good Love, Saving All My Love For You, Greatest Love of All–

Another coworker interrupted: “How many can you name that don’t have the word ‘love’ in the title?”

I got to 19 Whitney songs and blanked. My general manager, who had arrived around the time I listed Song 13, chimed in, “What about [singing] My Name Is Not Susan“? And I had my 20. How could I have forgotten about the WORST Whitney song ever played on the radio? I started singing, “My name is not Bobby, but my husband’s name is.”

Later, I remembered Whitney’s 1991 live version of The Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl. It was released as a single at the height of combat operations during the first Gulf War. You’d better believed it charted. A fourth coworker told me, “You know, at the time, no one had any idea that Whitney lip synched that Super Bowl performance.” I’d had no idea. “Yeah, he said, “saw that one on E! about 6 years ago.”

The weird thing about famous people dying young is, it brings the living closer together, if just in a minor way, for a short amount of time. Whitney, I respect your achievements. I love about 15 of your songs. I even watched your movies. And my coworkers and I had fun remembering you. Rest in peace.

November 30, 2011

I Wait on Famous People

by ANDREW HICKS

In 1957, Andrew Hicks serves Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra a Chocolate Thunder From Down Under at the Outback Steakhouse in Springfield, Ill.

Last week at work, I thought I spotted the guy who played Craig’s dad in the Friday movies. Turns out it was one of the Isley Brothers. But it got me thinking, I’ve waited on a ton of famous people in my years as a server. Here are some highlights:

  • While still in server training at Long Horn, I had to cut Bob Dole‘s 6-ounce sirloin into tiny pieces tableside. You know, because of that whole dead-arm thing he has going on.
  • Not long after his gastric bypass surgery, I served Al Roker a grilled cheese from the kid’s menu. He ate two dainty bites and tipped me 135 percent.
  • As a young cocktail waitress, I served a round of peach schnapps shots to Jesus Jones.
  • I once laid out some paper towels for Ricky Martin during a restroom attendant shift at a seedy strip club called Chez Nutz.
October 18, 2011

How To Get Fired From a Restaurant

by ANDREW HICKS

If you can name the movie this image comes from, chances are you've spent some time sitting at home watching TBS after being fired from a restaurant.

1. Confront Customer About Bad Tip
I work in semi-fine dining. A couple weeks ago, a server who had transferred into our store from out of town — a dude in his late 30s who reminded me of an unfunny Christopher Walken — waited on a couple whose bill totaled $123.65 or some shit. The gentleman paid Walken 130 bucks cash, told him to keep the change. Unfunny Chris, upon noticing the customer’s 5.3 percent tip, went boltin’ like Michael up to the entry vestibule, where he caught up with the couple. Unfunny Chris, by the way, is like 5’10”. This customer was like 6’5″. And big. And black.

And, during the moment where — in theory — he’s supposed to feel all embarrassed and cheap over his awful tip, this customer EXPLODES with rage and booming obscenities. Walken tries to come back with some vocal and body language intimidation of his own, but instead, in a matter of minutes, he gets slowly cornered by this dude, walked backwards in tiny steps from the front door to the side entrance to the back of house. A half-dozen or so guests sitting at the bar all quickly pay their tabs and leave. Meanwhile, the disgraced customer screams on: “This is bullshit! I thought I was in [name of rich neighborhood]! I’ve worked in restaurants for 20 years! Here, punk ass, here’s 20 more bucks. Is THAT a good tip?!” (Answer: yes.)

The manager on duty quietly slips the general manager’s business card to the enraged customer, tells him he knows his boss will make the situation right for him. Unfunny Christopher Walken fumes off, does his sidework, cashes out, tells everyone he’ll see them tomorrow and leaves. No, Chris, we will not see you tomorrow. We will never see you again.

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October 14, 2011

Things That Won’t (Necessarily) Get You Fired From a Restaurant

by ANDREW HICKS

Every restaurant has its very own Server Who Hates Every Customer.

Depending on where you work, you’ll have a strong chance of keeping your restaurant job after doing any of the following:

  • Being a homeless dishwasher who bathes yourself in the guest men’s room. Hand soap costs mysteriously shoot through the roof, yet you still smell like straight B.O. and urinal cakes.
  • Tossing and serving a house salad that contains a half-smoked Black-N-Mild which was tucked behind your ear.
  • Tossing and serving a house salad that contains a used latex glove.
  • Tossing and serving a house salad that contains a rotted-out (presumably Mexican migrant) tooth.
  • Making a roast beef to go and having your bloody Band-Aid come off somewhere in the sandwich.
  • Being under the influence of twice your dosage of half a dozen prescription pills. Every shift.
  • Being a busboy, cleaning up a booth that has just held a breastfeeding mother, then announcing loudly to a server across the room (during the lunch rush), “Dude, there’s breastmilk all OVER this booth bench!”