Monday, 13 October 2008

Waiter Walks - A Guide

I slumped onto my bed on Sunday night with much relief. I was weary, weary and just about done in after a hell of a weekend. I ached all over. Every fibre every bone every hair follicle screamed with exhaustion and weariness. Whilst others were making plans to spend what remained of the night in downtown bars in the company of disreputable waifs and strays and Mr Jack Daniels too no doubt I was counting the moments until I could flop like a big fat rag doll with smokey breath on top of my bed.

I used to be swanlike,
but now it's all interpretive dance with me....

As I lay there, still wearing my duffle coat, scarf and bag, I could feel my little legs throb. Oh the many miles they must have done round and round the restaurant (and out the back for sly smokes and coffees) over the weekend. All that walking, so much walking. It's not good for a sedentary chap like myself. I'm a pointer not a walker, you don't even have to get out of your seat to point. I wouldn't mind so much if it was just walking, just ordinary standard issue walking, the sort everybody does but it's not. It's much sorer than that.

Waiters walk in many different ways for many reasons. You see we aren't allowed to run. No, running is heartily disapproved off, much in the same way as nose picking is. We must appear calm and serene at all times. Serene? That's a laugh when you are sweating like a fat lad with a penchant for cakes standing outside the Mr Kipling cake factory. A waiter running is generally a bad sign. I mean no waiter is going to run to the bar, no matter how much you may want them to, to get you another vodka rocks. So if they are running, shits burning, somewhere.

Whether your waiter is ambling, strolling, strutting or indeed meandering, I do like a nice meander myself, you can tell what sort of pressure the plate schlepper is labouring under by their walk. Or not as the case may be. I have compiled a handy cut out and keep guide to identifying the many walks a waiter may adopt during a single service & what they may mean for you, the guest in a spiffing section I call,

The Well Done Fillet Guide to Identifying the Many Walks a Waiter May Adopt During a Single Service & What They May Mean for you, The Guest
(pithy eh?)

1. Running Waiter: Like I say this is not a good sign no matter if it is towards your table or away from it. If you see the waiter running you should calmly pick up your belongings and leave by the nearest exit because the place is either on fire or being held up or something else as equally unpleasant. Waiters don't run in public, period. We may well run like Olympic champions behind the restaurant door but never on the floor. One doesn't want to look panicked or in anyway cause the guest to be spooked. Guests, like sheep, are easily spooked.

2. Moving very quickly whilst appearing to be focusing on something far away Waiter: This is the closest the waiter will ever get to running. It's not quite a run but it's faster than a walk. It's the "fuck I've forgotten the fries/vodka/wine cooler/what section I'm on" walk. In order to rectify a problem or get a missing item to your table the waiter will adopt a walk that still looks serene but propels them either to or from your table with gusto. The waiter will focus on some far off and quite often imaginary object whilst shimmying through the restaurant. This is to prevent other guests even daring to ask for attention. It's the I cant see you so you cant see me approach. To be honest you could be juggling the salt and pepper sets whilst your willy gently flambes and the waiter wouldn't stop. This walk shouldn't worry you as long as he is coming towards you, not so cool if he is going away from you.

3. Interpretive dance Waiter: A good waiter should float swanlike on the choppy waters of a busy restaurant. Their movements should be composed, deliberate and almost regal. You should never notice their little legs paddling beneath the surface. But when the culinary shit is hitting the guest and all hell is breaking loose even the best waiters end up performing a strange kind of interpretive dance routine. The gliding and serene movements of before are replaced with jolting and jerking and half runs. They double back on themselves as if they have no idea where they are going or are trying to lose the guy who is tailing them. If it was set to music you would have to use 80's German synth pop. If your waiter is doing this then all hope is lost. Just sit there and hope he sees you when the coke wears off.

4. Master of the world Waiter: This is the waiter that is on top of their game, his tables are all good and his movements are slow and relaxed much like a member of royalty on walk about amongst the commoners. You could tell this guy that your table was on fire and he would simply reply, "How frightful!" and then proceed to put out the flames whilst breast feeding your child. Obviously this is the guy you want but they come with a price as they are almost always to cocky by half.

5. Wincing like he was sucking a lemon whilst limping Waiter. Your waiter has chefs arse and it will take an eternity to get anything. Now you can do the right thing and just ask other passing waiters for more drinks etc or you can be evil and have some fun with it. Every journey to the bar is causing him unbearable pain. So do the right thing.

There's more but I'm sucking a lemon right now so fill the blanks in yourselves......

26 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

I love the bit about playing fireman and wet nurse all at once.
Hee.
I've also done the waiter run when chasing down guests who skipped out on paying the bill.
I caught them all, the dirty fuckers.

Manuel said...

medbh: table of four dirty scumbags did it the other day......thankfully I wasn't there. I would have chased and would probably be eating through a tube right now.......

belfastyouthworker said...

what about the lethargic hungover waiter walk? you know, the one where you're walking like a rapper, one foot ten feet in front of the other and eyes like piss holes in the snow? a favourite walk (and only walk) of mine back in the day!

Manuel said...

byw: I know nothing of such a thing......I tried to go to work with a hangover once.....I ended up sleeping in the private room for an hour.....I cant do it....

dethmama said...

Absolutely delightful! I"ve been reading your blog for a little while now and am so glad to have found it. Especially since "Waiter Rant" has almost deserted us here in the states.

Manuel said...

dethmama: hey welcome! Yeah he's a busy boy what with oprah and all. I'm glad you found it too and away and tell all your friends family and strangers in the street about the wonder that is wdf.......hehehehe

dethmama said...

I'll be happy to add you to my links list! A site like yours is a breath of fresh air to those of us that keep our noses buried in "medblogs" all day.

Manuel said...

dethmama: sweet!

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

I am generally a fast walker.I don't stop.Even if I have only one table left I walk the same.I just want to get them in and out.With me it is full power.Then I go home and limp up to my bed like a 60 year old man....It is awful.

Trekkie said...

One more for the 'Cut Out and Keep' portion of my (already groaning) handbag.

redleeroy said...

Guests, like sheep, are easily spooked. That is one for the scrapbook.

Manuel said...

steve: I'm pretty much the same

trekkie: I'll get you a binder.....hehehe

redleeroy: ah but it is so true......

jen said...

Waiter anthropology. Love it. :-)

Conan Drumm said...

Ah, the chafing... and the varicose veins!

Do waiters have a shelf life after which they are put out to grass in waiter heaven where their feet never touch the ground?

Manuel said...

jen: we need to be studied and documented for the sake of the world......we have a lot to teach the world.....

conan: I prefer not to think about such a time.....I fear it's coming ever closer.....

Trekkie said...

That's okay Manuel - I bought a larger handbag last week!!!!

Manuel said...

trekkie: bwahahaha......quality

MJ said...

The waiters at my favourite restaurant glide confidentally throughout the busiest nights, looking purposeful.

A few of them have been at the same restaurant for years and obviously have mastered their domain.

And bonus...they show up out of nowhere when you need them and they keep a low profile when you don't.

Real professionals.

Manuel said...

mj: ohh check you and your fancy waiters....manuel keeps his profile large and looming at all times.....

MJ said...

Despite being fancy (all gay) waiters, they can be quite naughty in their patter if they spot a fag hag regular (me) and her fags at a table.

They instinctively know how much they can get away with at my table as compared to any other table.

Native Minnow said...

I didn't see anything about a waiter that's doing somersaults. Any interpretations on that one?

(And no, I've never seen it happen, I just like to be prepared.)

belfastyouthworker said...

just clocked your stiff kitten ad on your profile, manuel - you're such a spide!

*says she who only drinks in reputable establishments, laverys etc*

Button Ginger said...

The number 2 walk (purposeful and with gusto) sounds like the 'fast lab walk' my colleagues and I tend to develop.

Usually along the lines of "Damn [or words to that effect], I've left the stopwatch/ascorbic acid/SOP in the other lab. I'll have to quickly get it before the next stage/timer beeps/the boiling mixture changes colour and it's a lab so I can't run!"

My method means I remain upright, my stride lengthens and I acquire a "woman on a mission" glint to my eye.

No one messes with me when I do the fast lab walk, I can tell you.

Manuel said...

MJ: it's a skill we all pick up.....you get away saying things at one table that would get you fired at another.....

minnow: kick him in the balls for being a flash cunt....

byw: spide? spide? I'll fucking spide you.....he said in a very spide like manner. Actually it's an advert for a band playing at the stiff kitten, future of the left. Rock and indeed roll. The sort of stuff that would scare the tracksuits off a spide......

button ginger: fast lab walk eh....sound like explosive fun

INNER VOICES said...

what about the waitresses who jounce around with overflowing tank tops and tiny shorts... they never seem to run/walk/stroll, they always seem to be bent over or not there... huh, must be part of the to be continued gang.


fun post!

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