Published July 2008 by HarperCollins
Source: purchased my Nook copy
According to The Waiter, eighty percent of customers are nice people just looking for something to eat. The remaining twenty percent, however, are socially maladjusted psychopaths. Waiter Rant offers the server's unique point of view, replete with tales of customer stupidity, arrogant misbehavior, and unseen bits of human grace transpiring in the most unlikely places. Through outrageous stories, The Waiter reveals the secrets to getting good service, proper tipping etiquette, and how to keep him from spitting in your food. The Waiter also shares his ongoing struggle, at age thirty-eight, to figure out if he can finally leave the first job at which he's truly thrived.
So, you know, all three have my kids have spent time in the food industry and they all have tales to tell about entitled customers, coworkers who don't pull their own weight, and management that has no idea how to manage. I've been listening to their stories for more than a decade so I knew this was a book I'd be able to relate to...plus it fits right into Nonfiction November and Fall Feasting. Perfect.
Dublanica is one of those people who, against his better judgement, fell into waiting when it was the only thing available to him. Turns out, he was good at it. Which is exactly why he found himself still waiting a decade after he started. Despite the long hours, the missed holidays, the demanding customers and petty complaints, the chance to make a lot of money in one evening was to great to give up.
Dublanica dishes on the ways in which restaurants wring money out of their customers, the unrealistic demands of customers, the power waiters have over customers that customers never see coming, and the power struggle that can happen among coworkers. During his years at The Bistro, Dublanica saw both the worst and the best of humanity. One night a young girl, eating with her parents, sees a homeless man peering into the restaurant's window. Dublanica's responses to her questions about the man, result in her father buying the man a meal.
"Maybe that dad felt guilty; maybe he was shielding his daughter from the coldness of the world; maybe he wanted to be nice. I stand there and try to figure out what that something was. After a while I give up. I don't need to know. I content myself with something I read on a bishop's coast of arms long ago - Love is ingenious. No matter how convoluted the motivations, loves impulses often triumph over our more selfish instincts. Maybe that's the very thing that makes life fit for living."Thanks to his blog "Waiter Rant," Dublanica had the opportunity to write this book. His coworkers, many of whom must have felt trapped, were less than happy for him. Dublanica found himself less and less willing to play the game when faced with that kind of support. One particularly bad day, he just walked away from the job and into a writing career.
The book sometimes got bogged down in Dublanica's own story. It seems weird to say that, given that this is his story, but I was more interested in his experiences as a waiter than the work he put into getting this book published. Still, you're bound to learn some things about how to be a better restaurant customer. Or a better waiter, if that's where you find yourself. To that end, Dublanica even included three appendices in the back of the book including 40 tips on how to be a good customer. My favorite? "Do not snap your fingers to get the waiter's attention. Remember, we have shears that cut through bone in the kitchen."