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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Review: Waiter Rant

Title: Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
Author: Steve Dublanica
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: 
 July 29, 2008
Reviewer: Stephanie

Summary: 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.

Review: So after being a waitress for 5+ years I just had to read this book . . . it was good but like the following review says . . . I was looking for more comedy.

After getting laid off from his corporate job, “The Waiter” decides to start working in food service until he figures out what he wants to do with his life. As the years pass, he experiences the best and worst in his job as a waiter: screeching customers, unreliable coworkers, corrupt managers and mercurial, controlling bosses. He’s no closer to knowing what he wants to do, but he starts writing a blog about his adventures in the restaurant biz and it takes off. Soon, he’s offered a book deal which just may be his ticket out of food service.

I never read the blog that led to this book, but I’ve been told that much of the material in the book was originally published there. I had expected the book to mostly be stories about crazy customers, waiters spitting in food, rats in the pantry, that sort of thing…and yes, there’s a fair amount of those stories here. The descriptions of cockroaches climbing all over the restaurant’s electrical box was super disgusting. But a good chunk of the book – perhaps even as much as half – is mostly introspection as the author considers his personal life. Over and over, he reminds us that he’s a thirty-eight year old man with no girlfriend and no idea what he wants to do with himself. I came to the book wanting comedy, but it’s hard to laugh when you keeping thinking, “This man is a loser, and his life is just sad.”

The anonymous waiter (who has since outed himself) was a psychology major during his college years, and this gives him interesting insights on why people become waiters, why his boss has serious control issues, and why some of his customers are so crazy. Unfortunately, one of his favorite ways of sharing these ideas is through some of the clumsiest dialogue I’ve had the misfortune to read. He often dumps mountains of advice and homespun philosophy on his coworkers in conversations I can only hope are imagined – if he’s really lecturing everyone he meets like this, all I can say is that it’s little wonder he can’t find a date. At the end of the book, he had lists like ’40 Tips to Being a Good Customer’ which seemed patronizing, especially since I can boil it all down to one thing: tip 20% or more.

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