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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

The Waiter Chronicles: My Tortured Conscience

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I've been a reader of waiterrant for about six months now. After a dicey situation tonight, I sent The Waiter an email seeking advice or absolution. Here, in full, is the text of the email. Please feel free to respond.


I'm a waiter of only six month's experience. One of the things I learned early on is the stratification of the restaurant social system, with the bussers, waiters, and kitchen staff all occupying their respective roles. As a waiter, my place is secure. But tonight I got myself into a situation that I wasn't prepared for and that may have called my loyalty into question.

After a steady and busy night when nothing went wrong and everybody loved their food, I walked into the kitchen to retrieve some silverware for polishing. While there, I decided to applaud the kitchen staff. I simply stopped, looked at the chef, the sous chef, and the food prep. cook, and I applauded. Literally, I clapped my hands in acknowledgement. It turns out they were in the process of cooking some food for themselves and the dishwashers, and after my gesture of appreciation the chef ordered, in Espanol, that a plate be made for me. I made like I didn't understand and left. Normally, the kitchen will make plates for the waiters as well.

A few minutes later I went back into the kitchen, and the waiter told me to come and enjoy a plate with him and the rest of the kitchen. He also offered me a glass of wine and some mussels he had cooked up. I quickly realized that there was going to be no food for the waiters; the stoves were off. Yet, to refuse this unusual offer would be to offend the chef in a very serious way. So, while my waiter colleagues polished glasses and set tables on empty stomachs, I wolfed down a salmon filet and caeser salad, standing at the chef's side. I also slurped a few mussels. I made quick work of it, then earnestly thanked him in Italian and returned to the bussing station. I felt so bad about what I had done that I actually confided in a couple of the waiters about what had happened and sort of half apologized. They didn't get any food at all.

I fell like I have violated some fraternal loyalty among waiters. But would it have been any better to offend the chef?

Please help ease my conscience.

Not Prince Hamlet

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 1:10 AM


Not to get too "Jesus-y" on you, but I'm sure Jesus' friends (you know, the powerless) also got a little frustrated when he ate with those in charge.

The question is "What did he say to them afterwards?"
commented by Blogger Landon Whitsitt, 6:30 AM  
Get as Jesus-y as you want, brother Whitsitt.
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 8:43 AM  

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