The Gauntlet / Abandon all hope, ye who work in restaurants - The Gauntlet
Illustrations by Tricia Lim

Abandon all hope, ye who work in restaurants

By Kristy Koehler, April 23 2019 —

Over the years, I’ve made my way through the circles of restaurant Hell, where customers snap their fingers to get your attention, food ‘critics’ slam you online for not having organic kale and everyone is allergic to everything. This job is the pits. Welcome to Dante’s Diner — where the Hell is always fresh, never frozen. 

Limbo:

For some customers, there is no perfect table. They’ll wander around the entirety of the restaurant searching for the Holy Grail of ass-baskets. These people are the Goldilocks of dining — this table is too loud, this one’s too close to the bathroom. Unfortunately, none of them will be ‘just right’ and they’ll be bitchy for the entirety of their dinner.

The punishment: Splintered wooden chairs in every restaurant they go to.

Lust:

Horny things will happen to you as a restaurant worker. Lecherous customers will touch you. They’ll make disgusting references to “the tip,” place their hands on the small of your back, and ask if “all the models work here in their off time.” You’ll also be the unwilling observer of Tinder dates and anniversary dinners. Lovebirds will sit on the same side of the table, like assholes, so they can hold hands while trying to carve up a Chateaubriand for two. 

The punishment: They’ll poke each others eyeballs out with forks while attempting to feed each other on their next date.

Gluttony:

Customers sent to this circle of hell aren’t necessarily the ones who eat the most. Servers love when customers order tons of food — as long as they pay the bill and leave a tip, they can order as much as they want, no judgement. Gluttonous customers are the ones obsessed with sauces, sides and dips. “Can I get a little side of ranch?” You come back to the table with it. Now they’re out of ketchup. “Oooh, can I get a little side of that sauce that was on the chicken? I want to dip my fries in it.”

The punishment: All their food will be served in tiny-ass sauce cups for all eternity.

Greed:

“Just give me a dollar back,” says the customer.

A dollar?! They actually want you to dig around for one fucking dollar to give back to them. You just cleaned up all the ketchup packets they stuffed into their water glass. They better do something life-changing with that dollar. 

The punishment: All change will be returned via personal cheque, so they must go to the bank and wait in line to cash it.

Wrath:

The angriest customers in any restaurant are the ones who think they’ve been waiting an inordinate amount of time for food, service or drinks. “I’ve been waiting 20 minutes for my drink.” “It’s been 20 minutes since we finished our appetizers and our dinner isn’t here yet.” Is 20 minutes the default number cranky-ass customers resort to when something has taken more than 45 seconds? There’s no way table 32’s drink took that long. They want to know how you know? Well, time-keeper Timmy, there’s a time-stamp on all the orders and a security camera with a clearly visible clock. You didn’t take Hell for a place where time sped up, but apparently anything can happen.

The punishment: A lineup out the door at every restaurant they want to go to.

Heresy:

“I’m a food blogger,” says the diner whose Instagram is comprised solely of four photos of a hot dog from a hockey game. Since when did professional glutton become synonymous with restaurant critic? These people will make certain you know they are an “influencer” or “elite Yelper.” This means absolutely fucking nothing and they’ll want a free meal for spewing word vomit on one of these garbage platforms.

The punishment: All of their Instagram fans will “cancel” them for problematic cilantro opinions.

Violence:

Customers sent to this circle of Hell haven’t committed an act of violence against another person — do that and go to jail, bucko! These customers commit acts of violence against their food. They order their steaks well-done, ask for HP sauce or ketchup for a filet mignon, or demand a side of Russian dressing for their spaghetti.

The punishment: Eating their food exactly as the chef intended, with no modifications — ever.

Fraud:

“I’m allergic to raw carrots but not cooked ones.”

“I’m actually allergic to celery.” 

“I have an allergy to anything sundried.”

No. No, you’re fucking not. This shit is not possible. If you just don’t like something, tell us. We aren’t so hateful that we’ll secretly stuff your Yorkshire pudding with all the offending foods — even if that sounds like the best idea ever.

The punishment: They will develop an anaphylactic allergy to everything they’ve ever pretended to be allergic to.

Treachery:

“How’s dinner this evening folks?” says the suit-clad manager at your table.

“Everything is wonderful,” responds the guest.

This part of the evening is called the quality-check. It’s where your server, or the restaurant manager — sometimes both — comes to your table after a couple of bites to check if everything is as magnificent as you imagined. That, dear diners, is the time to let someone know if it isn’t up to your standards. The table that tells you everything is good, eats the entire meal and virtually licks the plate, but then leaves a bad review after leaving the restaurant has committed the ultimate heinous act. 

The punishment: Daily rectal insertion of habanero peppers.



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