Thursday, August 13, 2009

Table 15

I am off today. Technically it's like my Sunday since I go back to work tomorrow. Last Tuesday has turned into an epic day at the Restaurant.

A small child at my table 15 vomited everywhere. There were 7 people at the table to begin with, two desperate looking women with their 5 children. The youngest sat in a highchair capped at the end of the table. Thinking back on it, thank god this table was out on the patio--easier to mop up mounds of vomit. From the moment the table sat down they were a chore. Rude, demanding, and blunt I knew I was going to have to power through with a smile. On a Tuesday morning, the sections are split unevenly, some servers are limited to their traditional four table section, but others, like myself, have the freedom to pick up the closed tables in surrounding sections. On the patio, the managers will place two servers on a slow day, four on a busy one. On Tuesday I had the liberty of being able to serve a six table section. This otherwise money-making pit would normally be a God-send on a weekday morning but on Tuesday it was not. 

Table 15, or as I affectionally called it, "Vomit Table," was seated in the front corner of the restaurant on the patio. At this time of day, around 1:30ish, we had a late pop of customers, and I currently had a six table section. After changing their order of kids' drinks after I had already punched it into the POS system, I delivered the sugary, calorie-ridden, multi-colored, syrupy soft drinks and shakes to the small screaming and demanding children at the table. All five of the children (all probably under the age of seven) were talking at one time, pulling on their mothers' clothing, and throwing crayons and silverware at each other. At first I felt pity for the mothers knowing they probably lived like this every single day of their lives, but then I realized that if anyone can let a five year old tell them what to do, and then do it, probably deserves to live in diaper and vomit hell. 

I went around the table, by how the checks were going to be separated, and took each order. Here is a little tidbit for mothers with young children at restaurants: We (servers) do not want to take your child's order from your child's mouth. We (servers) do not have time to stand there and wait for your precious little four year old to babble his way through the entire ever changing order as you sit there speaking in baby talk asking them what they want to eat. Or even better, we love when the four year old sits in silence and just stares at us while the mother points at every picture and repeats, "What do you want for lunch today?" Thats fucking bullshit. Just pick something for your indecisive and A.D.D.-ridden four year old to take three bites of then throw all over the floor so we can move on to the next table of adults who actually want to have lunch today. 

"Vomit-Table" had the same problem. As the mothers told each child, "now tell the Waitress what you want for lunch today," they all started to ramble and scream at once. Fan-fucking-tastic I think to myself. Once the mothers finish with their order, I reach the last child at the table. A young girl, probably 7, states "Him," pointing to the young boy in the highchair, "and me, will both have the grilled cheese with fries." She then decides to repeat herself, just in case me and my pen haven't gotten her lunch order right. "Meeeeee," she stresses, "aaand him," more pointing, "are both going to have the grilled cheese." I look toward the mother with confirmation but she is busy coloring with the smallest child. I smile (forcibly) and walk away through my section to make sure my five other tables are okay. 

I place the order in the POS system and proceed to cash out and serve the rest of my section. Soon, before twenty minutes are up, I am taking out a tray full of fattening fried food to my lovely table number 15. I pass out all of the food, including the two grilled cheese meals, and check to see that everything looks good. The mothers, in between mouthfuls of cheeseburgers and potato skins, say yes, and I walk away. At the Restaurant we have a two-bite check back rule, which means after the table as a chance to take two bites of the food, the servers check back to see that everything tastes alright. I take a loop around the kitchen and begin to swing back when I see the young boy projectile vomit all over himself, the table and the floor. all of a sudden chocolate shake and grilled cheese sandwich are regurgitated and sprawled out in liquid form. Again, Fan-fucking-tastic, I think to myself. Without bothering to even approach the table with a, "Well we had a little accident, didn't we?" I swing back to the kitchen and search for the dishwasher. "A kid just projectile vomited all over my section," I state to no one in particular, yet everyone looks at me, "Where the fuck is the dishwasher?" "Probably out smoking" my manager states. He is on the line expo-ing food for the tables out front. He doesn't even seem fazed by the statement of projectile vomit. Occupational hazard in the restaurant industry. "What did the kid eat?" he states. "Grilled cheese." "It's always the grilled cheese."

I run around the kitchen desperately. By now I've been in the back for about 45 seconds, which to the front of the house is like ten minutes. I can't find the dishwasher so I grab the mop and bucket myself and wheel it out to the patio. Trying to save the rest of my section from noticing the vomit, I wheel the mop behind one of the side stations instead of through my section. As I get to the table, the moms and children have pushed the clean food to the side and have continued to eat, despite the mounds of vomit on the edge of the table, the child, and the floor. "So, we had a little accident, did we?" I ask lightheartedly with a smile. "Yeah," states the other mother while still chewing. The kids are still stuffing their little faces and start to make vomit noises and laugh. The youngest in the highchair (who honestly looked to old to be in a high chair anyway, but probably demanded one and got it), looks at me bewildered. His face and clothing are still a mess. Now, I will mop up vomit off the ground, but they better not expect me to clean off his disgusting little face. The mother of the young boy decides that this is a good time to get up and clean off Precious' face and high chair. "Oh good," she states, "You brought a mop. Well, there you go." She pushes his chair away from the mess, and I begin to mop it up (with a smile). The whole time I am thinking, okay, this is fine, but where are the "sorrys" and the "thank yous?" The whole family continues to eat as I stand there, mopping in silence. One of the boys lean over and yells, "You missed a spot!" I wonder if I can get fired from punching a child. Probably. Now one of the girls chimes in, "Ewwwww. That is so gross. He is so gross." By this time the mother decides to stand up for Vomit-Child. "You know what, he is five years old," (I was right, to old for a high chair) "And he cannot control his actions," (she looks at me), "It is not his fault." Now wait. I did not say anything at this point about the five year olds vomit. At this point I am mid vomit clean up and the oldest girl looks at me, "I need another sprite!" she states. I have the mop in one hand and a plate of vomit in the other. "Yeah," the mom looks in her cup, "She does need another sprite. And I would like another diet." I stare at the table incredulous (though still smiling). I am fucking holding a plate of vomit and they are asking for more refills right now? "Sure, of course." I reply. "Also," the mother states, "You used all of our napkins. We need some more." I stare again, and this time I think they catch me because the attitude sets in. The mothers are now looking hostile because I think for a moment I caved and showed what all servers are never supposed to show--annoyance. The mother sets in on me, "Also," she stresses, "You must not have listened correctly. My daughter was going to share her grilled cheese with my son. She did not order two. She only ordered one. You just must not have listened correctly." By this point I am thinking maybe I can get away with throwing my vomit plate at her. Or maybe I could just drop it in her lap. "okay," I state, "I apologize for that, I will just have it taken off the check for you." She blinks at me, and stresses one more time, "You just must have not listened correctly." I smile, turn around, and wheel my vomit and pride back to the kitchen. 

The lovely Table 15 (after ordering desert for all of their precious children, even Vomit-Child) then state that they are ready for their checks. I nod and turn to the POS system, automatically separate the checks, and drop them off. By now the table has a distinct aroma of puke to it. "Excuse me," the mother stresses while slapping the check book back to me so that it taps me in the chest, "You forgot to take off the grilled cheese." I stare at her, somewhere between mopping up vomit and taking care of five other tables I forgot to delete the three dollar and ninety nine cent sandwich. I fix my mistake and hand the book back to her. They throw in some money, get up, and walk away. The table itself now looks like a bomb was dropped on it. Empty plates, residue of vomit, melted ice cream, broken crayons, and spilled drinks litter the large marble and iron table. People walk past it and stare, covering their noses. I grab the books with a huff and plug in the numbers. A nine dollar tip on a sixty-eight dollar check. I look at the table. Are you kidding me? Nine fucking dollars? And no "Thank you" or "Im so sorry for the mess?" I turn around, walk through my empty section, and march into the kitched to grab a buss tub to finish bussing the section.

I fucking hate serving your children.


  1. Fucking people and their fucking crotchspawn.

  2. Very Nice!!!!! This is why we should be allowed to drink on the job!!!! :)

  3. That's terrible! I once served a table of drunks that kept eating after one of them vomited on the table, but you'd think a sober person, a mother no less, would care that her child got sick...

  4. I stumbled over here thru waiterrant website and I thought I'd give my 2 cents.

    I have kids. 5 to be exact. And when we take them out to eat we NEVER act like that. My kids have been taught manners and respect. They all say please and thank you. They tell me what they want before you get to the table (usually while getting drinks) and when my husband and I are ready, I order for them. They're quiet (well talkinbg quietly to each other, or otherwise distracted by myself) unless we have a "mom make him stop... blah blah blah" and then we talk about manners again and it stops. At the end of our meal we clean up the table and any mess surrounding it and I pay the check and tip. 25%... cash.

    I know you guys have a rough job. Dealing with shit people everyday wears down your soul. (been there done that) I refuse to be one of those parents that lets their kid act a fool. What you see in those kids acting up isn't the kids themselves, but the craptastic parenting!

  5. O.M.G. 9 bucks on 68? I would've been homicidal at that point - AND you had to take off the grilled cheese? Why because he threw it up? RIDICULOUS.

    Otherwise - great writin I enjoyed both posts so far. Keep it up! :)

  6. I work at a bar, hoping to escape children here. No such luck, because people are that stupid. They'll take their kids to a bar. Nothing makes me happier than saying, No we don't have crayons ora kids menu, no we don't have a booster seat or milk. We have beer. 250 to be exact.

    Will definately keep reading this blog!

  7. wow, that is fricking terrible. i would have lost my mind! great blog, by the way... :)

  8. Great post..I appreciate your thought that as parent ,our behavior must reflect what we are.Hey I just wanted to share an interesting resource with you on feeding your kids,healthier foods

  9. If you hate serving children you must hate other aspects of serving tables cause I DO!!!!! check out, along with stories about crappy kids at tables there are many stories about ridiculous experiences that happen every day serving!

  10. Nice article, but you need to clean up your grammar.

  11. This is hilarious! I've totally been there! I worked at a bar in NYC (I feel like NYC parents are psycho on a whole other level), nothing fancy, kind of a dive, and people totally brought their children there! To boot, I had a mother once complain that a couple of twenty-somethings were drunk: she told me she didn't want her kids exposed to drunk people- I am like, you are at a bar. A bar. Not the park, or gymboree, but a BAR. I feel your pain.

  12. This is amazing - where do these people come from? Not all families are so horrible. Usually, a screaming baby just needs to go home for a snack, bath, and nap. But bad behavior in older kids is probably not a discipline issue - it's more likely that the kids are immitating their parents. Screaming parents = screaming kids. Patient, happy parents = calm, happy kids. Rude = rude.

    I feel bad if my kid drops a fork on the floor you know. I stack our dishes and wipe the table before we leave. I use wet wipes to clear anything wet/sticky on the chair or table. I know what we're ordering before we ENTER the restaurant. I go outside with the kids if they make a ruckus. I don't use a phone at the table. My kid has choked and vomited - on me - not a drop went elsewhere, and I bustled us out of there. I've never left less than 10% - not even to a harried waitress who threw our order onto the table over my shoulder. (That still makes me laugh.) If I find a bug, I flick it out of the food. I travelled all over southeast asia for 3 months, so that's nothing new to me - I've had food chopped on the floor! Oh, and I took my 5 year old kid with me, and she was way better behaved than their children. One thing is for certain with your customers - they'll get their own, because if their toddlers are bad, their teenagers will be much worse!

    Also, I take care to never be rude to people, especially when circumstances make it seem like I have the upper hand. I say "seem" because anyone may be armed and crazy. I've personally known several people with violent mental disorders, and every one of them looked normal and carried weapons.

    Next time someone says they are leaving their kids for a minute, quickly tell them that they can't. They just can't - they can take their kids wherever they go though. I take my kids with me everywhere, so can they.

    I admire your fortitude.

  13. These people are beyond disgusting. I think I'd have called CPS, and ask them what kind of mother lets their child vomit and does not a single thing about it. I mean, does she just allow her child to get sick and ignore it? I hope they start banning children from restaurants, I haven't be able to go anywhere this summer without the terror of bully parents and their mistakes everywhere.

  14. You have the self control of a saint and you have my everlasting sympathy. I have no children and I feel the same as you when it comes to people and their brood in restaurants. Ugh..disgusting people.

  15. Quit your job if you don't like serving children you ungrateful twit.

    1. Fuck you. Fucking prick bastard. I can't believe you have no sympathy. Cunt