I was really hoping Waiter Rant was going to be more dishy than it turned out to be. Based on the anonymous blog of the same name, Waiter Rant talks about the arrogant customers and insane restaurant owners, all from the cynical viewpoint of The Waiter.
I have not read the blog, but the book version of Waiter Rant is a mish-mosh of anecdotes, ponderings, philosophy, and character sketches. The Waiter is in his late 30s, single, and a college graduate. After a decade of pursuing and burning out from various careers in the mental health field — and never able to stay at one longer than two years — he takes a gig as a waiter so that he can still pay rent while he figures out what he wants to do with his life. Six years later, The Waiter is still, well, a waiter. The book covers two different waiting periods: Amici’s, his first gig with an abusive owner and manipulative manager; and The Bistro, his longest gig, where he is both waiter and manager.
Unfortunately, the anecdotes are few and far between. I was hoping for unbelievably insane tales of rude and entitled customers. There are many, like the woman who asks if every animal on the menu is organic and free range, or the woman who kept sending her coffee back because it wasn’t hot enough (on the third try, The Waiter sticks the coffee in the oven and brings it out boiling. He also switches her decaf for regular, which is just dangerous – I have a heart murmur, and if I were given caffeinated coffee, I would have severe heart palpitations). There are also nice stories, like the couple who came in for a special dinner, but did not expect the prices. The Waiter took care of them, guiding them towards a very special, but affordable meal.
The bulk of the book is the philosophizing of The Waiter. Musing over why people act the way they do, what he is doing with his life, why he can’t leave the comforting embrace of waiting tables. This book feels like The Waiter’s own therapy. He sprinkles the book liberally with mini history lessons, like the origins of tipping. These mini history lessons feel like The Waiter’s attempt to prove that he is smarter than the average waiter.
Waiters and former waiters will probably enjoy Waiter Rant because they will identify with The Waiter, his neuroses, his experiences. But as someone who has never waited tables, I can only sympathize. I feel no connection with his “character.”Powered by Sidelines