Skip to content

A Couple of Small Tweaks Can Mean Awesome Service!

May 9, 2017


Being a server in a restaurant is not an easy job. J.Q. Public can be demanding, infuriating, and downright rude. While the majority of people may be pleasant, a server needs a tough skin to keep that smile on their face at all times.

Having said that, there are a couple of things servers can do to take a night out from good to awesome, at least in this writer’s opinion. Admittedly, some of what I am about to say may not apply to every eating establishment, but imagine how awesome even a Sizzler might be if servers there followed these simple ideas.

The first has to do with the wine. Yes, I just eliminated more than a few places to eat but bear with me. Every server should be trained in how to open a bottle of wine, it is not that hard. It is painful watching a server struggle with such a simple task, often ending up with a broken cork. I blame management for this one, all they need to do is have a server open a few with them and voila!, mission accomplished. Once the bottle is open and someone has tasted it, pour some in each glass, but if it is white two things to remember. First, white wine has been chilled and pouring too much in a glass means that it will warm before consumed, so pour less than you would with red. Second, since it is chilled it will need a cooler, and here is a simple trick to make that experience better. Most servers put ice in a bucket bring it to the table and try to force the bottle into the ice. The problem is the bottle is now sitting on ice, not in ice. The trick is to use less ice, add a small amount of water, then the bottle sits down in the iced water and stays cool.

The second idea for taking an evening out from okay to great is pacing. If I order a salad and an entree, I want to be finished with the salad before the entree appears. Having had too many negative experiences with this one, I tend to order my salad and after finishing it, order my entree. A good restaurant will have the pacing down so this is not an issue but a good server should be the fail safe here. If I want to be rushed I can go to a fast food joint, but in a restaurant I want to be able to enjoy the great food they prepare.

The last point is a simple one, listen to the customer. This, for me, is usually when it is time for dessert. My wife does not eat dessert, she does not have a sweet tooth, she has no problem watching me but she does not eat dessert. So when I order a dessert and say she does not want one, don’t bring two forks and say just in case. Because then I have a pissed off wife and you just lost part of a tip.

Which brings me to the last point, tipping. If the service is bad, I leave zero tip. I was told once by a restaurant manager that this is the best way to communicate dissatisfaction. Leaving a small tip just implies one is a cheapskate and the point is lost. If the service is good but you brought two forks I will probably leave you fifteen percent. If the service is good, if you paced things correctly, then I use my special formula for tipping. It goes like this. Let’s say the bill is $132.00. I round to the next highest whole number that is easily multiplied, in this case $140.00. I take ten percent of that, which would be $14, then I double that, which would be $28, divide that amount by two, which is $14, and add the $14 to $28, resulting in $42. Astute mathematicians will realize what I just did. $42 is thirty percent of $140.00. Some might think this is over tipping. While some restaurants do pay servers better than others, not all do. Also, I have no problem acknowledging a job well done.

So my basic point here is that while serving is a hard job, sometimes thankless, it only takes a few tweaks to make it an awesome and rewarding experience for both you and the customer.

Bon Appetit

Side note: As a Scotch drinker who likes it neat, I am surprised at how this term is so misunderstood. Neat is simply “a single, unmixed liquor served without being chilled and without any water, ice, or other mixer.” As a server, I realize you are not a bartender, but for us Scotch drinkers, please learn this term or at least if you hear it, ask the bartender before showing up with a glass of Scotch violated by water or ice or God forbid both.



A Minor Pet Peeve

March 25, 2017


There are many things to enjoy in life, and some that just get under your skin. Keeping a positive attitude makes each day go smoother. It makes the day more fun and leads to a good night’s sleep. Most days are like that, at least for me, but occasionally a small thing can be just enough to make me question the intelligence of the human race. Long ago, I failed to be surprised by the things that people do, but still have to shake my head at times.

One of my minor pet peeves is going up to a cashier to make a purchase and having them ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” On the surface this is a legitimate question.

Except for two things. First, asking the question implies I am too stupid to have sought out help in finding what I may have been looking for. But second, and more important, is what the cashier does when I answer the question.

If I say, “Yes I did”, we both go on with our day and no one has been hurt. If I say, “No I did not, you were out of so and so, or you don’t seem to carry so and so”, it is the response that sends me over the edge. Usually it is, “Oh sorry”, and that is the end of it. If that is the response, then why ask me in the first place?

A better answer would be, “Oh let me make a note so I can tell the manager”, or “Did you want to speak to our manager?” At least give a response that implies some kind of action will be taken.

My most recent experience with this was at our local #Ace hardware store. I went in looking for a spring door hinge and a Kidde smoke alarm. The hinge was easy but they did not carry the brand of smoke alarm I was looking for. Okay, no big deal, I knew I could get it online (which is a future blog).

At the register, the cashier asked if I had found everything. I told her no, they did not have type of smoke alarm I wanted. Her response was, oh. Being used to getting this as an answer would have been ok except for two things.

One, I had been looking in the store for the alarms and after a time ran into a worker and asked where they were. The response was gruff and I felt like I had asked for their first born. Second, and this was the kicker, at the cashier after the caring concern for not having the product, I was asked if I had an Ace rewards card. I said yes and gave her my phone number, part of which is six-one-two. She punched my number in the register and said it didn’t come up. She asked for my name and zip and with those found me in the system. She then said, it didn’t come up because my number was six-twelve.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

I couldn’t help myself, so I said, “Wouldn’t that be the same as six-one-two?” She looked at me as if I were stupid and proceeded to ring me up for the hinge. So with these three events, I would say my experience was not up to expectations, and I left the store asking myself, did she just say what I thought she said?

I have been in stores and have asked clerks if they can check into carrying certain items, and have had great responses. They either pass the word or get the manager who then is very accommodating and the next time I shop, there is the product. Sometimes they say they can’t get the product and that is fine.

Bottom line, if you’re going to ask if I have found everything, at least make some attempt at caring if the answer is, No!

#45’s Version of “Imagine”

March 17, 2017

45                   Imagine there are no Muslims

It’s easy if you’re white

No blacks, or immigrants

Around us only light

Imagine all the people living to hear what I say.

Imagine there is only one country

It isn’t hard to see

No welfare or anyone poor

Only the rich, those just like me

Imagine all the people living to serve me

You may say I’m a dictator and

No, I am not out of line

I hope some day you’ll bow to me

And the world can be all mine

Imagine I own all possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for truth or kindness

A brotherhood called the Klan

Imagine all the people giving me all they own

You may think I am joking

It’s only a matter of time

I hope someday you’ll succumb to me

And the world will be all mine

Why Trump Has Been Good For America!

February 20, 2017

url  The Electoral College has placed Donald J. Trump in the presidential seat. In spite of the fact that the majority of Americans had a different idea, the reality is Mr. Trump sits as the 45th president of the United States. Whether this makes you mad or glad, either way the truth is, this is reality. Whether one looks at this as a good or bad thing is another matter.

It is easy to see the bad. We now have a babbling, narcissistic, misogynistic, lying, dictatorial, con-artist representing the greatest country in the world. Our allies are fearful, our enemies are emboldened, and our nation is divided more than any time in history, with possibly the exception of the Civil War. But before we all go running off to Canada, we need to realize how much good 45 has done for the good ol’ USA.

Not since the Sixties have so many taken an interest in the politics of this nation. It has been easy for many of us to ignore much of what was happening in Washington, D.C., until now. Suddenly, people are talking, reading, and researching just how our government works. Copies of the Constitution are appearing in households where no book has darkened the door for years. Words like emoluments are rolling off tongues as easily as non-fat latte.

We are seeing the strengths and weaknesses of being a democracy. The system of checks and  balances is keeping us from succumbing to a potential tyrant. At the same time, we are seeing the failure of career politicians who seemingly are more power hungry than concerned for the American people.

People who were content to sit idle, watching shows like American Idol, are now marching, rallying, calling, tweeting, and posting. They are speaking out, demanding that representatives, senators, and local politicians hear what they have to say.

In spite of the media being labeled “fake news”, subscriptions to newspapers and viewership of nightly news programs are up. People are reading more. The novel 1984 by George Orwell is so popular it is hard to find a copy in a brick and mortar bookstore or on Amazon.

The questions of who are we as Americans and what does this country stand for, are topics being examined as never before. The issues of racism, women’s rights, religious freedom, and gender identity are at the forefront of daily discourse. The lid has been ripped off of previously hidden groups of fascists, racists, misogynists, and neo-Nazis.

Groups that fight daily for human rights, such as the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, have seen donations increase in staggering amounts. Neighbors are organizing, forming grass root movements to figure out what they can do to make a difference. Some people are learning for the first time who their local and state government officials are, and are engaging in constructive dialogues.

The plight of immigrants, legal and illegal, is becoming more apparent. The reality of their contribution to this country is being made evident. Cities are stepping up and declaring themselves sanctuaries. Churches are opening their doors, that should have never been closed. Actually, a distinction is being made between those who only give lip service, and those who live as Christians.

The final good thing has yet to be seen. The real good that could come out of 45 sitting in the Oval Office, would be for this nation to realize if we are to survive, if we are to remain a democracy, we need to be able to debate, discuss, disagree, yet somehow find a middle ground where everyone is respected, everyone is equal, and everyone working together can keep this country great.


Our New National Anthem

February 2, 2017

Per executive order 432.1, dated February 2, 2017, I, Donald J.Trump proclaim the following as the new national anthem of the United States of America.  Heretofore to be sung at all public gatherings, sporting events, and school assemblies.

The Nationalistic Banner

Oh, hey, can you agree, that The Donald’s so bright.

And so proudly we hail at all of Trump’s streaming.

Whose broad ban and bold strokes, we promise not to fight

And under Bannon’s constant watch, we’re so gratefully beaming.

With the borders secure, the Muslims no longer here.

Giving proof thro’ the night that our flag is still pure.

O hey, does that nationalistic banner show our might

O’er the land for those like us and the home of the right.

The New Pledge of Allegiance

January 25, 2017

The esteemed president of the United States, Donald Trump, has designated January 20 as Patriot’s Day, to hereafter be celebrated by all loyal Americans. By executive order president Trump has declared the removal of the old pledge of allegiance from all buildings, schools, and historical records. The old pledge is to be replaced by the following new alternative pledge, and is to be recited daily by all citizens of these United States.

The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to Donald Trump,

Ruler of what was once the United States of America,

And to the “Make America Great Again” slogan for which he stands.

Although we are a divided nation, no longer under God, split asunder by hatred and bigotry,

We have liberty for all, except Muslims, the LGBT community, immigrants,

and anyone he disagrees with,

And we have justice for all, except blacks, Hispanics, women, and reporters.


Trying To Make Sense Out of Nonsense

January 24, 2017



Regardless of one’s political bent, the proliferation of fake news is perplexing. It is hard enough to find an unbiased news source without having to vet news to determine if it is valid. How many times have you seen a post on Facebook or Twitter that goes viral, only to find it is not accurate. A great example of this was the news story about voter fraud in Ohio which was a fake news story created by Cameron Harris.

At the same time, to be accurately informed a person needs to get news from more than one source. This is probably the best defense against fake news or biased reporting. If you only  watch Fox news or only read the New York Times, the information you have will be leaning right or left, while the truth lies somewhere in between.

The media has not helped this problem. Often, a news headline will be nothing like the story that follows, or the story will not be as sensational as the headline promised. An example of this was a recent story that had headline – “Reverse mortgages cost some surviving spouses their homes”. The article then describes a woman who lost her partner and is now in danger of losing the home they shared. They were not married and the house was only in her partners name.  Our news sources have stepped away from the who, what, when, and why of solid journalism and have traded in-depth reporting for sound bites. Social media has not helped, as it has been training all of us to think in 140 character sentences or quick, short posts.

All of this has led to opinions that are uninformed or biased, or just not valid. Yet, we all have them and seem to not hesitate to express them. Again, social media has not helped, giving us not only a platform to express ourselves, but allowing us to express opinions virtually anonymously. This last factor has the negative impact of people posting some pretty vile comments. Pick a topic, post an opinion, and watch the responses. Those that agree with you will say so, and those that don’t will too. The scary thing to me is those that disagree can get mean and hateful to a degree that almost feels life-threatening.

The election of 2016 has brought all of this out in dramatic fashion. Trump supporters can’t wait to get Obama out. Clinton supporters can’t believe Trump will be our next president. Many people voted for the lessor of two evils, and many chose not to vote at all. There were Democrats and Republicans who voted for their party’s candidate reluctantly. Both sides asking, “Is this the best we can do?”

Now that Trump has actually become president things have gone from bad to worse. As if fake news was not bad enough, now we have alternate facts. Trump’s spoke-person, Conway, used this phrase in defending the new press secretary Spicer, who lied about the turnout on inauguration day. Pictures don’t lie, unless photo-shopped of course, but the ones on CNN were real. The theme of this presidency seems to be, if we don’t like the truth, we will make up alternate facts (insert lies) that keep us looking good.

David Brooks wrote a New York Times commentary and called Trump a bumbling Captain Chaos. He said, “We’ve never had a major national leader as professionally unprepared, morally compromised and temperamentally unfit as the man who took the oath on Friday”, (meaning 1/20/17). He ends by saying that “with Trump it’s not ideology, it’s the disorder.”

So with fake news, alternate facts, and an incoherent, ranting president, how do we make sense out of nonsense?  Now is the time for all of us to stay as informed as possible. Read! Question everything. Check several sources. Do as a newspaper would do and get at least two verifiable sources before believing information. Read and listen to opinions that differ from your own, try and understand where someone who disagrees with you might be coming from. Don’t retweet or repost anything without checking it out.

Challenge falsehoods, counter with facts. Hold our elected officials accountable. I find it interesting that with 100 senators and 435 representatives, we only hear from a few on any given issue. There is an old saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. We need to be squeaky wheels.

If we fail to keep the nonsense separated from sense we will fall into the trap that George Orwell spoke of in the novel 1984. (Interesting that January 21st was the anniversary of his death).

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command….And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth.”