Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Restaurant By Our House

There's this restaurant we like to go to near our house because the food is fine and it's always empty and this face wasn't meant for crowds.

I don't know when that happened, exactly, by the way. The crowd thing. One minute I was 22 and all like THIS LOOKS FUN

and then the next thing I knew I was 34 and refusing to go inside sandwich shops if there was even one person waiting in a line.

You guys. I would rather starve than wait for one minute in any line anywhere on this planet.

Last year I was in New York with my friend Corey who lives there and let me tell you something about New York. It has a lot of people. And the people are everywhere. She wanted to go to an ice cream place she likes but when we got there I saw that the interior was so packed with people that, well, it looked like a wave pool in China.

So I immediately assumed that there was no way in hell we were even going to consider going inside because I'm not kidding about giving up on sandwich shops if there is a single person already waiting in line. But before I could say anything, Corey was literally sliding into the crowd with both arms in the air, yelling to the people behind the counter that we needed ice cream.

I respected the commitment to sugar and fat, but also WTF.

The point is, I've changed. I rate restaurants almost based solely on whether there are people inside of them. I don't even care about food quality anymore. I'm basically one decade away from being everyone's parents who are on a first-name basis with The Olive Garden staff.

Skylar is on the opposite end of the spectrum because he's 16 years old and avails from Portland where they only eat avocado toast if it's been to a rain forest you've never heard of first. When we're picking a restaurant, Skylar googles "cafe that serves a speck of food for $1200."

The reason we started going to the place mentioned above where there's not a lot of people but the food is fine is because it felt like a compromise. The food was fine enough for Skylar, and the restaurant sufficiently exotic that he didn't feel like he belonged to a retirement community by going with me to it.


We might have to stop going there because there's a man who is ruining everything.

He's a waiter, and he's always working and we somehow always get him.

And he does this thing that feels like it should be unconstitutional.

Look, I don't mind when waiters try to upsell. They should do that. I support waiters. I love waiters. Go waiters. Skip to the table and say "did we save some room for dessert?!" with a winky tone of "let me enable this guilty indulgence for you." I applaud your efforts.

But this particular waiter doesn't do that.

He tries to sneak stuff in. We'll order food and then instead of saying something like "would you like to order a side of fries for that as well?" which obviously yes. But instead of saying that, he'll go "sounds good, and I'll bring you some fries with that as well ok what else would you like?"

Did you notice how I didn't even use punctuation there? That's because I wanted you to read it like he says it, with no pause. Yes, I'm a very good writer.

The first time he did that, Skylar asked, "wait, do the fries cost extra?" and the guy was like "yeah, a bit ok what else would you like?"


So Skylar jumped back in and was like, "then I don't want the fries."






But we had to not order the fries because we couldn't let him get away with that crap.

And he does that several times in each interaction. You have to exercise constant vigilance with him.

Constant. Vigilance. Punctuation.

AND THEN. At the end. When he brings out the check. EVERY SINGLE TIME he ends up charging us anyway for stuff we told him we didn't want so we have to perform a full audit like nerds and then go find him and relive every conversation we had with him so he "remembers" that we rejected every attempt at manipulation.

And I know. People are dying and the polar ice caps are melting and Beyonce and stuff, but I have faith that you guys can multi-task and be mad about this, too.

And that's all I have to say about that!

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Just tell the host/hostess that you don’t want to be seated in his section. Say “Is PushyPeter working tonight? Because we do not want to be in his section. We will be happy to be seated in any other part of the restaurant.” And then keep your eye out for the names of all the other wait staff so that NEXT time you can request to be seated in “Susie’s” or “Fritz’s” section (and that way you won’t have to feel like you’re giving PushyPeter a bad name among the hostesses...if you care about that.)

    1. OH Please please start calling him PushyPeter.

  2. Have you had other waitstaff there that do not do this?

  3. That guy sounds like the worst.

  4. I will not try to fix your problem. Betsy and Nicole have got you covered. I'll just be MAD with you. That would TOTALLY ANNOY ME.

  5. I really appreciate your confidence in my ability to think about both this and Beyonce at the same time.

  6. i hate that. reminds me of my 10th birthday. we went to the only place to eat in the small idaho town i was from. I get rootbeer. and the waitress asks if i want a refill. I'm like yes. i have seriously 10 rootbeers. finally the check comes and they charged my dad for every one. I still feel self conscious about it.

    also you need to go to coachman's pancake house in SLC. it's cash only. it's an alternate dimension.

    1. Ok, for real. Skylar has been talking about going to Coachman's for 4 years now but we've never actually done it. We drive by all the time and he loves it because they have a big sign out front that says "Come in, you'll be pleasantly surprised" and he thinks that is the funniest thing he's ever seen. I'm not kidding. When people come to visit from out of town, he makes Coachman's a necessary tourist stop just to show people that sign.

    2. I laugh every single time I drive past that sign, especially because of the different font sizes. YOU will be pleasantly SURPRISED!

    3. coachman's is the only reason I've used my checkbook in the last 7 years. I don't want to over hype it. but it is a fun experience. and unique

    4. Now I want to go to Coachman's. And I live in North Carolina.

    5. I laugh at the EXACT sign for those EXACT reasons. It's pleasantly surprising!

    6. You can have steak and lobster at Coachman's for under $30! How can a place like that be bad?

    7. Yep- now I want to go there too! I need to start compiling a list of all the things I need to do when I eventually visit SLC . . .

    8. Ummmm, Pretty sure Coachman's was shut down for a time several years ago for running a pretty illustrious drug operation out of it. Just make sure that's really powdered sugar on your french toast. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/953380/Warrants-for-19-issued-in-drug-bust.html

    9. When you go, get waffles! I get them with peaches and whipped cream...Yummy!!

    10. Our family has mixed reactions to Coachman's. My son-in-law who used to deliver food there refuses to go. Service can be horribly slow there, even when you've let them know something has come up and you'd like to skip ahead to the entree. But on the plus side, their salmon is delicious, and dessert is included

  7. I'm mad with you. That ruins a perfectly good restaurant. Let's get the torches and pitch forks.This waiter is going down.

  8. Unacceptable. Never speak to him again. Or tell him, "I am ordering these two specific items, and I am paying for ONLY these two specific items. Also, I am recording this conversation for your boss and my lawyer because I definitely want you to go to jail forever and I'm not 100% sure how criminal justice works."

  9. That wave pic gives me anxiety! And that just burns my biscuits when wait staff do that!!

  10. Prior to reading this I walked into my apartment to find that my neighbor turned on our shared heating system (up to 75 at least) even though IT'S ALMOST MAY AND IS 65 DEGREES OUTSIDE, and I can't yell at him because I want to keep living here and I cannot avoid him and he has total control over the heat so angering him seems counterproductive. So to explain that rant, basically I started reading this with a lot of pent up rage already existing, and I am now livid about this sneaky waiter, if I lived in Utah I would organize a protest or something I don't even know, but you deserve justice for this disruption to your compromise restaurant!

  11. That is infuriating! There are so many places that require this of their employees, although it sounds like this jerkface takes it to an extreme. I would definitely ask to be placed in someone else's section to test if this is a restaurant thing, or just a him thing.

    Upselling is awful, but doing it in a sneaky way is the worst. This. That store where they give you the cup Duncan could curl up in. The Wendy's down the street that has a small combo, but only asks if you want Medium or Large (and automatically gives you Medium)...

    The. Worst.

    Good luck in navigating this situation!

  12. We have a very expensive restaurant in our area called The French Laundry - Skylar would love it, very expensive food in very tiny portions.
    My dad has a friend who is a food critic and went to try The French Laundry cuisine. The waiter told them that the chef was trying out some new recipes and asked if they would like to sample some of them as they were waiting for their order. They tried quite a few different very tiny portions of these new dishes. When their check came at the end of the night, they found out they had been charged for every “sample” they had tried. The bill was something like $700 for two people!

  13. Ok, I have your solution. Have you watched the Office? I hope so cuz if not we are no longer friends and I cannot read your blog anymore and I will always side with Skylar on every argument. So the episode where the guy is trying to sell them insurance and Michael thinks its a mob guy. So the "mob guy" orders his meal with very specific instruction "salad with dressing on the side. If the dressing is not on the side I will send it back." No nonsense. That's how you need to be with this server, like you are part of the mob. If you can fake a sort of Italian/New York accent that will probably help sell it. Let me know how it goes.