Wednesday, August 3, 2016



I am about to start a new television project. For the next several weeks I will be away from home working long hours. 

I decided to take my wife out to dinner to not only celebrate the new job but to also spend some time with her enjoying a nice meal since it would be the last meal we'd have together for a while. 

We wanted to make an adventure of our night out and decided to go some place new. 

I posted on Facebook asking for suggestions for restaurants. Many friends commented under my post, suggesting many different restaurants. All of their suggestions sounded interesting. Some of our options were eliminated immediately because of price or location. Soon we had a short list of contenders.

We decided to roll the dice.

There's a reason we don't spend too much time in Vegas. 
The house always wins.

Let me explain. 

After weighing all of our options and looking up menus online, we decided on a place called SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

I won't name the business here. 

From all appearances, SEAFOOD RESTAURANT seemed like a nice place.  

There was a crowd inside and on the patio. A crowd is usually a good indication the restaurant in question can't be that bad. Right? Unless everybody there was new like we were, the fact the place was busy said SEAFOOD RESTAURANT had to be at the very least...good. 

Going into a restaurant for the first time is kinda like going to a doctor for the first time. You have a general idea of what should happen but really don't know what kind of a situation you're walking into. You're either going to leave feeling better than when you walked in or you're going to feel like you just had a finger stuck up your hiney.

SEAFOOD RESTAURANT had a casual ambience about it and we felt as if we had chosen wisely. 

In regards to decor, it's your typical seafood restaurant. There are little hints of the sea dotted throughout the space. Not in an obnoxious Red Lobster-crab-pot-light-fixture sort of way. A little classier than that. 

Again, we felt as if we had chosen well. 

We were seated in a booth and prepared to relax and enjoy our evening out. 

Then our waiter happened. 

I don't even remember his name. 

I'll just call him our waiter or the waiter from this point on. Dip-shit seems appropriate but I'll just leave him nameless. Like Voldemort. You know who the villain of the Harry Potter books is. You don't need J. K. Rowling to keep saying his name over and over. 

My wife and I took a minute or two to look over the menu and then ordered coconut shrimp as an appetizer. My wife and I enjoy a good coconut shrimp as an appetizer. 

And we would have loved to have had a good coconut shrimp last night. Our shrimp, sadly, was over-cooked and lukewarm. 

I know. Right?! 

How could it be over-cooked and lukewarm at the same time? Well, obviously, they over-cooked the shrimp and it just sat in the window. For several minutes. 

It died in the window as they say. Died a slow, sad death. Poor little shrimp. 

Regardless, after two bites, my wife and I decided to stop eating the appetizer, feeling confident our waiter would make things right. 

Silly rabbits! Tricks are for kids! And cold shrimp were for us!

Now, we had two choices here: 

We could wait for our waiter to come back, which didn't seem likely at the moment, and tell him the shrimp was over-cooked and lukewarm, hoping he would ask if we wanted him to put another order and try again. 

Or maybe we would just tell him to take the shrimp off the ticket. 

This all of course depended greatly on whether or not he ever came back to our table.

And so we waited...and waited.

Eventually our waiter walks past and kinda gives us this sideward glance. He doesn't seem to notice the plate with five large uneaten shrimp perched on the edge of the table and keeps walking. He keeps walking

So now we're sitting there trying to decide what to do. 

Do we eat the shrimp? Do we trip our waiter to get his attention and tell him to reorder the appetizer pronto? Do we throw a salt shaker at our waiter to get his attention and tell him to remove the plate of cold food, because, quite frankly, we're tired of looking at it. 

Moot point.

Our waiter zips by again, this time in the other direction. He still doesn't ask if we are okay and still ignores the shrimp sitting at the end of our table. 

My wife and I give each other a look. It was just so bizarre. 

The unappetizing shrimp is just sitting there, their curled fantails flipped up at us like little over-fried middle fingers. 

We finally flagged down our waiter who seemed a little put out that we've asked him to rejoin us at our table and do his job. We point out the shrimp. We point out the full plate of shrimp-minus two-and wait for him to spring into action! 


Nope. Nothing. 
Our waiter just looks blankly at the plate of food and says, 'Sorry.'
Then he walks away.


We waited for him to pop back around the corner and say something like, 'Ha! Only fooling! I'll get you another order in a jiffy!'

Nothing! No pop back. No another order. No jiffy
NOTHING. From the Latin for 'not one fucking thing.'
He literally just walked away and left the shrimp sitting on the edge of the table. 

It was laughable. It was a little disconcerting. My wife and I sat there just sort of stunned. The shrimp just sat there getting older. 

It was so awkward. 

Sorry? That's all you got? SORRY? REALLY?

Excuse me. You just stepped on my foot. 
Excuse me. You just took the parking space I was backing into. 
Excuse me. You just bumped into me and made me spill my drink. 

There's one thing about saying sorry most people nowadays forget. If you say I'm sorry, you have to at least sound like you mean it. There can't be a Go FUCK yourself! undertone to your voice.  You say I'm sorry because you regret what just happened and then you attempt to make things better. 

I'm sorry isn't a Get Out Of Jail card to be reckless, careless, rude or incompetent. I don't know. Maybe if more people these days said I'm sorry like they meant it the world would be just a little better. Just a little. Maybe. 

Well, you can put your sorry's in a sack, Mister!

I decided to take care of the problem when the check came. We would forge ahead and enjoy our entrees. The evening was far from ruined and after all, it was just coconut shrimp. We're not talking life or death here. Our dinners would come out and we would enjoy them. 

That was our plan anyway. 

Sadly, we didn't have a new waiter and things would continue to careen out of control.

Our dinners come out. Someone else runs the food, which is fine. 

It's very common for waiters to cover someone else's table. I've worked many restaurants. There should be an everybody sort of helps everyone out atmosphere. 

Teamwork. It's about teamwork.

Hang on. Let me get my baseball bat. 

DeNiro? Anybody? The Untouchables? Really? 

DeNiro as Al Capone: "Life goes on. A man becomes preeminent, he's expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms... Enthusiasms... What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? [grabs a baseball bat] Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork.... Looks, throws, catches, hustles - part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don't field... what is he? You follow me? No one! Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? "I'm goin' out there for myself. But... I get nowhere unless the team wins." (Proceeds to beat a henchman to death with his baseball bat)


I have no problem with someone else running my food out to me. As long as someone does and my food comes to the table fresh and hot. 

Side note: Our waiter hadn't run anything out to us except our first round of drinks. At least three different people dropped off our appetizer, my wife's drink from the bar and our entrees. 

There are two possible reasons for it seeming like everyone else was taking care of us instead of our waiter.

Reason Number 1 was the restaurant was so busy, everybody was pitching in to help each other out. I love when that happens! The thing is, it was a Tuesday night and SEAFOOD RESTAURANT wasn't bursting at the seams with patrons. All hands is perfectly fine but the deck wasn't slammed. 

Which lends me to believe Reason Number 2 is more probable. I think everyone who works with our waiter on a regular basis is very used to running food and drink to his tables. They've become accustomed to picking up his slack. And his slack was all over that place.

I discovered upon doing a little investigation, our missing waiter was out on the patio listening to the live music being presented. Yeah. I know. You don't have to tell me.

Once again, I decided to just try and enjoy the rest of my meal and look at the beautiful woman sitting across from me. As long as my wife didn't find out, the remainder of the evening would be enjoyable. 

I'm kidding! 
My gorgeous wife was sitting across from me! It was a joke. A joke, I tell ya!

And so were the shrimp. Still sitting there. Still flipping me off. By now I felt as if they were just flat out mocking me. 

Typically in the service industry, there is a two bite or two minute rule. 

Meaning, as a waiter, you drop food off at table and wait either the time allowed for two bites or you wait two minutes before going back and making sure everything arrived as ordered. You go back to check if the food is hot, your customers are happy and have everything they wanted or need. 

Two bites or two minutes.
Simple really.
Need I remind you we still had the same waiter. 

Two bites-two minutes goes by. Three bites-three minutes clicks past.
We are now coming close to 8 minutes and maybe 8 bites.

I'm starting to get to my boiling point.

My wife needs hot sauce. My drink from the bar, which was supposed to come out with dinner, is still MIA. Sadly, but not surprisingly at this point, so is our waiter. 

Finally, he comes by and I tell him to get the hot sauce pronto (NOW!!!!) because my wife's dinner is getting cold. Several minutes go by and he drops off some tabasco. My drink is still nowhere to be seen. I ask him and he tells me he's checking on it

Ah the standard issue excuse for bad waiters. 
"I'm checking on it." 

Checking on it? It's a draft cider! What are you checking? On the apples in the orchard?!

He comes back with my drink, sets it on the table and says something I think was his attempt at an apology, muttering something about having to wait for glassware

Again I look around. SEAFOOD RESTAURANT is almost half empty. The bar isn't busy. 

Wait for glassware? What the Hell?! What are you guys doing? Washing and using and then reusing the same 20 glasses? 

I've decided I've had enough. ENOUGH!


My wife and I decided we would finish our dinners and then I would ask to speak to a manager. 

If there is a manager, that is. I'm looking around me and see only waiters and waitresses. When I was a manager I was always in the dining room taking care of business. 

As I looked around I also noticed none of the staff looked over 25. 

Nothing wrong with a young staff but the problem with a young staff more times than often is they don't fully understand what is expected of them. 

Waiting tables is an art. 
Waiters/servers need to have a certain type of personality and work ethic. 

People who want enter the service need to understand the first word in the phrase service industry is service. That above all else, waiting on people is job. They have to care about and understand their main job is to take care of other people. They have to be responsible. They have to be focused. 

A lot of twenty-somethings are little too self-absorbed to grasp that concept. Sad, but true. A lot, not all, of younger servers don't seem to understand they have to work for that tip they're counting on when the check is dropped off. They fail to realize a gratuity is not a guaranteed thing. They fail to understand waiting tables is so much more than 'Here's your food. Tip me.'

Looking around SEAFOOD RESTAURANT I saw no one who looked old enough to be a manager. My heart fell. Not my blood pressure, just my hopes.

I did however notice the hostess. She was standing at her station rolling silverware, a common busy job for hostesses. The only thing was every time she grabbed silverware to roll, she would run her fingers through her hair.  Every time! 

She had a nice little Rain Man-type rhythm going.
Stroke. Roll. Stroke. Roll

I almost had a stroke and my wife and I both checked our silverware for long blonde hairs.

So there we sat, checking for hair and waiting for our waiter to come back. He didn't. 
And there sat the plate of cold shrimp. The three of us...just waiting...and waiting.

A vessel finally burst somewhere in my head and I walked over to the hostess stand and asked Fingers Malone to get a manager. I requested she send a manager over to us...over there...the table with the untouched and much-ignored plate of shrimp.

I went back to my table. Our waiter hovered on the peripheral. I could see him. Acting like he wasn't looking but he really was. I think he was just hoping we would forget he was our waiter. 

Actually I really don't know what he was thinking. I'm not sure he was thinking. I think if I put my ear to his I would hear the ocean. Just part of the ambience here at SEAFOOD RESTAURANT. The sounds of the ocean!

Our waiter finally came over and asked if he could remove the dirty dishes. NOT THE PLATE WITH THE SHRIMP ON IT! Our other dirty dishes. 

Did he really think we were going to come back to the appetizer now that they were beyond room temperature? So bizarre. So awkward. So maddening.

I will say this one positive thing about our waiter. He was very good at clearing dirty dishes. He was almost anal about it. I don't know. Maybe he should look into being a resetter? He'd be very good in the position. Think about it. All the dirty dishes he could want to clear without actual contact or interaction with other human beings! Score!

I told him not to clear one thing off our table.  I told him we didn't need anything else from him. I was done. I was done with him and the whole experience. I'm pretty sure my body language was sending a very clear GET THE HELL AWAY FROM US sort of vibe. 

Our waiter left. I assume to go somewhere and look for Pokemon. 

Pokemon's? What the Hell is the plural of Pokemon? Pokemen?


The manager/owner came to our table. She introduced herself and couldn't have been any nicer. She was being a good owner and manager. She was saying everything she needed to say at that moment, the way she was supposed to say it.  My wife and I breathed easier. My asshole unclenched just a little and thet vein in my forehead began to fade.

One of the first questions she asked was 'So...what's up with the shrimp?'

We told her. 

We told her the long, sad story about the shrimp and the hot sauce and the drinks and our waiter. She knew exactly who we were talking about. 

Apparently we weren't his first unhappy table. 

That's my shocked face. 
I know. I look younger without my beard.

The owner apologized profusely. It was obvious she was embarrassed. She said there was no excuse for how things went down. She told us our check was on her. We said we wanted to pay for the entrees and our first round of drinks. She insisted. She only asked we would come back and give SEAFOOD RESTAURANT another chance. 

Not to make the situation any more awkward, we thanked her and said we would be back to give them a chance at redemption. That may or may not happen but she didn't need to know that. 

She told us just to go and to try and enjoy the rest of our evening. 

She turned and walked away. She didn't take the plate of shrimp with her. 

We left and headed home. 

Look. The entire evening wasn't a complete loss. I had dinner with my beautiful wife and got to sit across from her and see her gorgeous smile.

In the end...that's all that matters. 

On a scale of 1-10...I'd give the restaurant...the experience... a 4.

My wife? Clearly an 11.

As far as we know the plate of shrimp is still precariously perched on that table's edge. 
And that's 'Jody' with a 'y'

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