What customers hate about their servers

I know it was a mistake, but it’s so fascinating to delve into an entitlement mentality so vast that the oblivious wielder is willing to put it out there for all to see without any concern for the repercussions that are so blitheringly obvious to the rest of us.

And that mistake was to read yet another one of those “What your waitress/bartender/server really hates about you,” pieces on the Net.

Now, I hope I don’t sound like my more conservative friends here, but sometimes they’re right! If the sum total of your workforce skillset consists of being able to write stuff down and carry a plate 10 yards to a table, then it’s not my problem.

I was a waiter for a very short time, but, having quickly given up on the notion of having to deal so directly with the public, I didn’t complain – I simply moved on. For all of those servers who so clearly feel the same way, may I humbly suggest embarking upon a similar course of action.

Waitress Holding Tray

So! Since turnabout is always fair play, here’s what customers can’t stand about their servers/bartenders/hostesses:

1. Ask us if we made reservations when there’s four people in your 350 seat restaurant.

It doesn’t make you or your empty restaurant seem any more important to us, but it does make us question your eyesight and poor judgment.

2. Seat us right next to the kitchen when there’s four people in your 350 seat restaurant.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Frank Sinatra’s dead. There’s absolutely no chance that he and his entourage will show up at TGI Friday’s to demand all the “good” tables any time soon.

3. Introduce yourself and tell us you’ll be our server.

Have no fear! I would never have mistaken you for the Belgian Diplomatic Attache and, as far as your name goes, I have enough trouble remembering my wife’s name, so I’m gonna forget yours the second you leave our table.

4. Take twenty minutes to bring our drink order, get it wrong, and then spill a drink because you weren’t really looking where you put it down.

If the restaurant is packed to the gills, I understand, but when it’s 5:30 on a Sunday evening, I don’t. A glass of wine and a beer aren’t all that difficult to remember and they don’t require anything more than a bit of pouring! Also, after spilling the drink, it would be nice if you or a cohort  actually wiped the now sticky table down with a wet towel.

5. Water down the drinks in hopes we’ll order at least five $8 margaritas.

This one applies to the bartenders who clearly believe the fact they’re not servers sets them somewhere on a par with English royalty. As the great Paul Simon once sang, “who do you think you’re foolin’?” It certainly ain’t us.

7. Act surprised when we virtually have to tackle you to place our dinner order.

The fact that we’ve been waiting 20 minutes since the botched drinks, our menus are closed and neatly placed at the edge of the table, and we’re consistently glancing in your direction is not nearly enough of a clue that we’re ready to order. Perhaps we’ll use a signal flare next time.

8. Have no clue who ordered what when you bring the food back to the table.

I thought that’s why you wrote it down! There’s only two of us! Throw caution into the wind and give it your best shot.

9. Have no clue what a rare steak is and then sneer when we send it back.

Despite the fact that I specifically asked if your kitchen can handle a rare steak order, you bring me something a lot closer to the charred remains of a barn fire. A rare steak is so easy to cook that even I can consistently pull it off.

9. Spend more time flirting with the other servers or the manager than doing your job.

We all know you’re utterly irresistible and we understand that kind of thing can be a real burden, but might I suggest turning to  Match.com instead? That way, your job won’t get in the way of your flirting.

10. Purposely ignore us once the meal is served.

I’m no monster. I realize that, after serving two drinks and hauling two plates all the way from the kitchen, you may need to take a nap. But all I really want is a little more water because you serve it in absurdly small glasses in the hope that we’ll resort to ordering more alcohol-free margaritas. I can’t tell you how much we love your Helen Keller (look it up) impersonation in regards to any attempt to get your attention.

11. Please look up the word “grooming” too!

I’d like to inform all the male servers that the Charles Manson look is out. In fact, it was never “in.” He may get all the hot chicks, but it doesn’t play well in a restaurant. There’s a fabulous device called a comb and, trust me, there’s no such thing as too much deodorant.

12. Please wear a bra.

And I mean the kind of brassiere that you would wear to your grandmother’s funeral, not the kind that provides us with a clear indication of how cold the restaurant really is. Unless you work at hooters (your mother must be so proud!), we really don’t want a peep show, we just want our bleepin’ drinks and dinner. We’re not giving you a bigger tip just because you jiggle so nicely.

13. Get the check wrong, bring the wrong check, or ignore the discount coupon.

Which all happen with alarming frequency. Look, I understand that folks don’t always get tipping right on the pre-discount amount. But if you don’t like it, then complain to the owner who’s simply trying to get more butts through the door. And go ahead and bring the wrong check as long as it’s less than ours.

14. Put cute notes and smiley faces on the check.

If out of the goodness of your heart, you’ve decided to pay half the bill, then by all means, scribble away. But as far as anything else goes, we’re not in third grade anymore! You seem fairly pleasant, but despite your best efforts to be friends, we’re not gonna put you on our Christmas card list any time soon.

15. Ask if we need change!

No! When I put that C-note down on a $60 dinner tab, I fully intended to give you a 66 percent tip. You’re just that good! Trust me, if we’re all set, you’ll be the first to know.

16. Think we care about what you think.

Because we really don’t. Perhaps you’ll be president one day or you may even write the great American novel, but until then, our only concern is that you don’t spit in our food.

Listen, being a server or bartender is a time honored profession, but the truth is, any competent sixth grader could pull it off. (And that goes double for flight attendants who are nothing more than sky servers.) So please get over yourselves even though I know you never will.

Who said I couldn’t out entitlement mindset anybody out there?

Your constitutional rights at work!

I still love newspapers and, just like it is with any love affair, there are times those Daily Herald reporters drive me nuts, and there are times when I wanna kiss them (male or female) squarely on the lips. I still can’t stop thinking about Jake Griffin’s piece on just how Caucasian our suburban police departments really are.

And I’m in a kissing mood again because the DH’s Susan Sarkauskas did what every good reporter should do – she brought a simple yet fascinating fact to light. It was something most folks would’ve completely missed if not for her due diligence and the City of Geneva’s well-known capacity to misstate the facts.

Normally I’d just link directly to the story so the reporter gets full credit, but so far, the stats are only up on Facebook which makes that impossible.

Basically, late December 6 through early morning of December 7, the Geneva Police set up what law enforcement officers euphemistically call a “safety check” at 1166 East Route 38. And I say “euphemistically” because it has absolutely nothing to do with safety.


The ostensible objective of these “events” is to remove drunk drivers from the road. But unlike No Refusal Weekends, in which drunk drivers and only drunk drivers are targeted, a “Roadside Safety Check” consists of pulling people over at a check point with no probable cause whatsoever.

Then, even if the driver is as sober as it gets, the officers can still demand a driver’s license and registration and then proceed to write the motorist up for any other number of unrelated offenses. A more appropriate term for this kind of endeavor would be “Trolling for Tickets.”

But don’t take my word for it, simply review the following “safety check” stats that Ms. Sarkauskas was kind enough to provide through the Illinois State Police:

Violations Enforcement Activity

2          Registration offenses
16        Driver’s license offenses
3          Occupant restraint offenses
1          Driving under the influence arrest
5          Other alcohol/drug arrests

41        Total citations/arrests
6          Total written warnings

What that means is, out of the 41 tickets issued, a grand total of one arrest (two percent of all the “enforcement activity” if you count the warnings) can be attributed to the “safety check’s” original intent.


To be fair, Geneva is not nearly the only Illinois municipality engaging in this sad practice. That said, the GPD’s generally laudable propensity for writing warnings certainly didn’t show itself that night! And to make matters worse, on their own Facebook page, the City of Geneva reported they’d actually written five DUI’s, which may make the police department look better, but it’s clearly not the case.

I did ask the State Police exactly what they meant by “Other alcohol/drug arrests” and, while they said they’d get back to me with a more specific definition, a spokesperson told me they’re definitely not DUI’s.

So here’s what we have folks!

As long as they follow the “rules,” any Illinois police department can set up a “roadside safety check” by which they can randomly stop motorists with no probable cause. Then, even if the driver isn’t the least bit inebriated, the officers can demand a license and registration and proceed to write up the vehicle’s occupants for any number of violations completely unrelated to the “safety check’s” sanctioned purpose.

And all the police have to do is sit there and wait for the motorists to come to them! Only in America!

One of conservatives’ favorite fears du jour is the “dismantling of our Constitution.” But if you ask them to define exactly what that means, they can’t seem to come up with an answer. Meanwhile, in yet another supreme irony, the “dismantling” process is taking place right under their collective noses.

Here’s to Joe Marconi!

There are very few out-of-the-blue guests who truly impress my capable radio cohost, Larry Jones, and myself. But Batavian extraordinaire Joe Marconi was certainly one of them. Whenever you apply that “one-of-a-kind” appellation to any individual (like me for example), it’s typically a much nicer way of saying they’re a real pain in the ass.

But that wasn’t the case with Joe, he really was one of a kind.


When I called him out the blue to come on the show, he couldn’t wait to be a guest and insisted on coming in to the studio. The problem was, he never told us about the wheelchair and there’s no way around those 30 separate steep steps up to the WRMN offices.

So without a single complaint, Joe did the show from the small downstairs vestibule on his cell phone. Then he got straight to the point while taking a humorous tack to get there. When Joe spoke, Larry, myself, and his attorney, Michael Childress, immediately gave him the floor, not because he was intimidating, but because we really wanted to hear what he had to say.

Joe commanded respect because he’d earned every last bit of it.

The truth is, I’ve dealt with more “local activists” than you can shake a stick at and, virtually without exception, they’re a bunch of self-serving smarmy ideologues who always manage to make matters far worse.

But Joe’s efforts made Batavia much better.

And that wasn’t easy in a city with an administration and school board addicted to making bad moves and spending other people’s money.

There was no “try” with Joe, he just did it! He put his money where his mouth was and he did it effectively. He expected no acknowledgement, praise, or gratitude – he did it because he knew it was the right thing to do.

I only met Joe that one time, but he’s one of the few people who left a lasting impression. Larry and I were really looking forward to having him back on the show.

But sadly, Joe Marconi left us on December 4 at the grand old age of 88. In the end, diabetes was one of the few things he couldn’t beat. Thankfully, the lawsuit he initiated to rectify Batavia’s ridiculous electric rates will move forward.

If you want to read more about Joe, Susan Sarkauskas did a pretty good job summing up what can only be called a fascinating life.

If there really is a gleaming set of pearly gates complete with a former apostle manning that entrance, I’m convinced the only question will be, “Did you leave the planet a better place? And Joe Marconi is one of the vast minority of people who can truly say he did.

And the second St. Peter lets him in, Joe’s gonna start rearranging the afterlife, but before the Big Guy can get a word out, he’ll stop, consider it, and think to Himself, “You know! That really isn’t a bad idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Give ‘em hell Joe!

Prepare yourself for the 12-11-14 edition of Left, Right and you!

Which is right here for your listening pleasure:

Buckle your seatbelts folks because Larry and I moved pretty quickly today!

We started off the show discussing the prospect of new Sheriff Don Kramer not living up to the promises he made on Left, Right and You when he ran for office. Larry and I aren’t ready to make a final pronouncement, but I’m certainly nervous about what might be happening to former Sheriff Pat Perez’s friends.

LRY2Then we talked about how petition challenges can come right back around to bite the challenger in the butt. C’mon people! If you’re gonna expend all that energy running for office be smart about it!

Our final topic was the importance of new candidates getting their message right. Elgin mayoral challenger Joe Galvan offered all of us a primer on exactly what not to do!

Next week, Elgin city council candidate Fred Moulton will be on the show. And you don’t wanna miss that one!

Thank you for listening!

It’s almost Left, Right and You time!

So here’s the voice promo:

jeff and larryToday, Larry and I will be talking about:

  • Has brand new Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer already reneged on his promise to not seek vengeance on his former opponents? He’s making an awful lot of changes for someone who promised there wouldn’t  be any changes in his first 30 days!
  • Does a failed Elgin City Council petition challenge clearly prove that some conservatives have no interest in less government? I think it does, but I’m also heartened with one conservative group’s response.
  • An Elgin mayoral hopeful’s responses to a series of basic Daily Herald questions is a perfect primer on exactly how not to do it! Larry and I will discuss why it’s so important for a novice candidate to come up with a clear message!

That’s Left, Right and You at 3 p.m. this and every Thursday on WRMN AM1410 with yours truly and the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones. Please join us for the kind of insights you just won’t get anywhere else. We promise you won’t be sorry!

The odds of this one working out aren’t real good!

I thought I’d give my brain a brief rest by taking on the role of sportswriter today. C’mon! All that addled group of ne’er-do-wells really do is make swift and strange pronouncements only to contradict themselves as soon they inevitably prove to be false.

So why am I the only Cub fan who’s not terribly excited about the six year $155 million signing of free agent left hander Jon Lester? Because the chances of a 31 year-old pitcher living up to that kind of contractual obligation sit squarely somewhere between slim and none.

LesterThose seemingly ageless starting pitchers like Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Curt Schilling and Tom Glavine are so rare you can count ‘em on one hand. (We can’t count Roger Clemens because he had some pharmaceutical assistance!)

Ah! But on the other hand, hurlers of the opposite ilk, i.e. those whose skillset starts a steep decline around age 30, are too numerous to mention. The most infamous free agent pitcher signings include, but aren’t nearly limited to, Carlos Silva, Wayne Garland, Denny Neagle, Darren Dreifort, Chan Ho Park, Kevin Brown, Mike Hampton, Barry Zito, Jake Peavy, Jason Schmidt, Carl Pavano, C. C. Sabathia, and Justin Verlander.

In an effort to go a little Nate Silver on you, the following starting pitcher aging curve graphic says it all:

Pitcher_Curves_StartersAnd Lester’s already lost 2 mph of velocity which does not bode well for the future.

Let’s throw caution into the wind and say the Cubs latest acquisition is a rarity who will beat the aging odds. None of it makes any bleepin’ difference unless he manages to stay healthy. And the probability of that possibility coming to pass ain’t real good either.

The red pitcher line on the following MLB player injury risk by position and age graph says it all.

injuryrisk_byboth1As those humorless insurance actuaries like to say, pitchers over the age of thirty are not a very good risk. And remember, we’re talking about 25 players slogging through a 162 game season which provides the kind of large sample size that makes those percentages far more likely to play out.

That said, if anyone can beat the odds it’s Jon Lester. He’s made at least 31 starts in each of his last seven seasons, he’s smart, and he relies more on stuff than speed. But legendary Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane has made a career out of playing the probabilities and as a result, the A’s, the smallest of all small market teams, continually contend.

The Cubs? Not so much.

Ironically, when Beane threw his percentage playbook out the window went for broke this season, it didn’t turn out too well. The A’s second half was the stuff of nightmares. We all love to bet on the 20 to 1 shots at the track, but the truth is, only the gamblers who wager on the consistent favorites make money.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand there’s more to this deal than simply signing a staff ace. Cubs management wanted to make a splash and they wanted to let the fans and every other National League Central Division team know they’re serious. Good for them!

But if I was in Theo Epstein’s unenviable shoes, I would’ve re-signed Jeff Samadzija and given Johnny Cueto a shot. That’s two good arms, they’re both considerably younger, and their combined salaries would’ve been around $5 million less than Lester’s.

Of course, when it comes to any aspect of the Chicago Cubs, the best thing you can say is that hope springs eternal. Perhaps we’ll get five good years out of Lester. But as is almost the case with our lovable losers, I wouldn’t bet on it.

When a petition challenge bites you in the butt!

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Elgin City Council candidate Kyle Scifert handily survived the petition challenge leveled by former Elgin OCTAVE treasurer and failed council hopeful Roy Chapman on behalf of former OCTAVE board member and current council hopeful Julie Schmidt.

In fact, the Elgin election board trio of Mayor Dave Kaptain, City Clerk Kim Dewis, and senior city council stand in Terry Gavin all voted unanimously in favor of Scifert remaining on the ballot. Gavin put it perfectly when he said Scifert’s primary date error was “merely a technicality” adding “We are trying to encourage people to run for office.”

Kyle Scifert

Kyle Scifert

Should you want to read the full story for yourself, please avail yourself DH reporter Elena Ferrarin’s excellent account of those proceedings.

But while things are looking pretty rosy for our novice candidate, the political dust hasn’t nearly begun to settle on the folks who foolishly embarked upon this frivolous course of action. As I so frequently like to say, please allow me to explain:

1. This challenge was doomed from the start

The missing staple, errant page number, and incorrect date minutia may play well at the township, fire district, and village board level, but it almost never works in a city the size of Elgin. So it was futile to pursue it because those savvy metropolitan folks generally aren’t as enamored of their own political power and thus, they understand the spirit of electoral law heavily leans towards keeping folks on the ballot.

Unable to unring that bell, Chapman and Schmidt come out of this kerfuffle looking petty and mean which never helps your cause.

2. Chapman got the challenge wrong

To quote the challenger himself, in an error of “egregious” proportion, his own paperwork referred to Scifert as “Siefert.” The fascinating irony there is, the election board specifically noted that Chapman’s gaffe was not enough to dismiss his challenge.

The truth is, we all make mistakes, but if you’re going to go after a nominating petition, you probably don’t want to make an error even more “egregious” than the candidate in question has been accused of. So now Schmidt’s “team” comes across as petty, mean, AND incompetent.

3. Never mention your opponent!

It’s politics 101 folks. Unless your opponent is a damaged incumbent, there’s no point in providing any free political advertising whatsoever.

Ah! But as a result of this petition fracas, Scifert’s face has been in two papers for two weeks while Schmidt’s gleaming visage is nowhere to be seen. (Though Kyle, you might want to consider cracking a smile whenever you’re running for office.)

So the Schmidt team has essentially thrust Scifert into the frontrunner position among the non-incumbent city council challengers. This interesting dynamic gives a whole new meaning to the term “backfire!”

4. Chuck Keysor comes out against the cabal!

This second major politics 101 lapse will probably prove to be the Schmidt campaign death knell. You see, it’s one thing to move to the middle to win an election, but it’s another thing entirely to cast your old friends aside without a second political thought.

To wit, I may have been unduly harsh on the Elgin OCTAVE folks yesterday because current chairman Chuck Keysor told reporters he was “distressed” by Chapman’s objection declaring, “I’m happy Scifert is off the hook. It is not our business to kick people off of ballots.”

You really have to give Mr. Keysor credit for setting the record straight and sticking to his conservative guns. You don’t seen that kind of thing at the local level very often.

So now, not only do Chapman and Schmidt look like complete hypocrites, but they’re unlikely to get OCTAVE’s support which an Elgin conservative desperately needs to win a city council seat The moral of that story, of course, being that you shouldn’t go out of your way to make your former friends look bad even if it’s an inadvertent effort.

Chapman could still appeal the election board’s ruling, but that would mean putting out some real cash, going all the way down to a Chicago courtroom, and making all of our previously discussed matters exponentially worse.

A good friend of mine likes to say that whenever first or second time candidates announce a run, they immediately forfeit a third of their brain cells. I’d put it closer at a half because that’s what it takes to allow your ego to run completely amok and ego is the biggest candidate killer of them all.

Bears coach Marc Trestman provides a perfect analogy. He thinks he’s smarter than the game, believes that trick plays can consistently win the day, and he doesn’t honor the NFL basics that have held true from the first day the league was founded.

Please learn from this people! Nobody needed to campaign against Julie Schmidt. She did a fine job destroying her candidacy all by herself.