Waiter Rant

Posted March 5, 2012 by Tara in Challenges /// 11 Comments

Is there going to be a book called Teacher Rant? I'd read that for sure.

Waiter Rant: Thanks for Tip — Confessions of Cynical Waiter
by Steve Dublanica, The Waiter
Ecco Press
Purchased on my Nook
[#20 in my 75 Book Challenge]

Sometimes when I’m browsing in the Nook store (which I do almost daily), I go a little crazy and just buy something because I want to read it immediately. Forget everything else on my wish list. Forget researching the title. Forget making it wait in the TBR stack to be sure. I just willy-nilly hit that “BUY NOW” button and tear into it. That’s how I ended up with Waiter Rant.

Waiter Rant comes from the website of the same name. The structure takes the narrative of Dublanica’s journey as a waiter in New York (and a waiter-blogger/waiter-writer) and frames it in individual chapters that each focus on a different aspect of his rants. There are chapters about Mother’s Day, vindictive waiter tricks, tipping, etc.

Overall, I found myself not liking The Waiter. He is certainly someone I wouldn’t be friends with. He does seem aware of his shortcomings and bad behavior, but I still can’t forgive him because he doesn’t seem to care or want to change. He does come off as very entitled, the very behavior he accuses his customers of. Much of the book is spent talking about his blog and trying to get his book deal. Authors don’t necessarily make a whole lot of money, and Dublanica still has to wait tables after he sells his book. But throughout the book I get the feeling he thinks writing the book is going to save him from his direction-less life. Oops.

That being said, I do enjoy books and blogs that give me a sneak peak into worlds that I am not a part of. I have never been a waiter, for good reason. I’d be a terrible waiter! I like reading stories like this to remind myself that my job is awesome and I’ve made good choices in life. I also gain empathy that I take with me into the real world.

Final Grade:   C   It didn’t change my life, but it was  a fun reading experience. I zipped through it in just a few days. Folks that have been waiters might appreciate it more, but it’s worth checking out if you are intrigued. It is definitely an adult non-fiction book, so I wouldn’t put in in my library or recommend it to students. A few friends come to mind that might enjoy it, though.

And some quick questions for my readers: Have you ever been a waiter or waitress? Did you love it/hate it? What would you rant about?


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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11 responses to “Waiter Rant

  1. It does sound like a funny concept, but so many memoirs are like this: they sort of become the thing they’re bashing. It seems like there’s a fine line between being snarky and authentically funny.

  2. I waitressed for about a year at a family style restaurant and didn’t mind it. It was hard work and could be frustrating at times (especially when people didn’t tip!) but not really rant worthy. I’m not sure I was a great waitress and I definitely got yelled at from time to time. One guy even continued to yell at me while I stood at his table crying (I’m not great to being yelled at). Mostly I didn’t like the sense of helplessness. You don’t have control over how fast the food is prepared or if it’s prepared properly (which is usually why people don’t tip) and take a lot of crap because of it. I now tip 20% unless the service is really terrible.

    • Miss Anderson

      I do always tip 20%, because I do know that the waiter pays his or her rent from my tips. But I’m a nice customer, so I usually get good service! I’m also not very picky. I could never be a waiter, but I have a great respect for those who can do it.

  3. I work in the restaurant industry (catering) so I get where both customers and waiters come from. To me, it’s a two way street – you want good customers, you be a good waiter. You want good waiters, you be a good customer. That being said, I find rant sites written by waiters to be kind of obnoxious. Everyone’s job sucks; deal with it. I’ve never been a waitress (although when I was really little I loved to play waitress) so clearly I don’t know exactly how difficult it is. But I am on the front end of all of our company’s catering jobs, so I get how it feels when someone yells at you for their order being wrong. Am I going to start a blog and write a book about it? Nope. Anyway… glad you found this somewhat enjoyable; it sounds like it could be a fun “I was bored and on the Nook anyway…” kind of read!

    • Miss Anderson

      Yeah, the book wasn’t what I was expecting. I would have been better to go read the blog for free and have a few laughs. And you are right — waiter ranting is kind of obnoxious! My job often sucks, but I try to focus on the positive. Though I guess I have more of a “career” than a job.

  4. That one word in your review–entitlement–is what made me agree with your C grade on this one! However, if you had ever been a waiter, or managed them, I think you would feel a little more compassion for all they have to put up with!

    • Miss Anderson

      I do have compassion for them! My mother was a waitress right up until my birth, and I think for a bit after. She met my father, who was a chef, at a restaurant. Between the two of them, I learned from an early age what is the waiter’s fault and what is not, and to be polite and tip well!

  5. I’m split in the middle about this book too. There are some HILARIOUS moments but then it goes into pages of nothingness. I have never been a waitress so maybe I’m missing something… Now someone needs to write “Bookseller/Librarian Rant” – I will read that one!

    • Miss Anderson

      Oh my goodness, yes. It could be a collaborative effort. There could be a whole chapter on trying to hook customers up with books based on vague descriptions — “It’s blue and it has a girl on the front?” I’m now a pro at that!

      • HaHa I usually get “It’s purple and there is a guy on the front!” It could be an awesome project, there has to be tons of librarians and booksellers blogging about crazy customers!

  6. I did quite a bit of waitressing in my late teens and early twenties. It was a job I really didn’t mind, as I like people, but I did find it the most challenging work I’ve ever done — if you are person who likes to do your job well, then it is very high pressure, what with each table of customers thinking it’s the only one you’ve got to take care of, and not appreciating it very much even when you do go out of your way to keep them satisfied. Couple that with the need to serve each course (soup, salad, main, dessert) at the right time, with clearing away the empty plates, keeping the glasses full, and juggling all these between your six or seven tables … it is very hard work, really, and waiters are underpaid and undervalued even when they are really good at it. Then throw in your customers who not only don’t tip but who treat you like a servant … now, it’s been almost 30 years since I’ve had to be a waitress, but when I have a nightmare it’s usually that I’m working in a restaurant and can’t keep up with all the demands. I wake up tired!

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