CAPE COD, MA -- Ricky Floss found never thought that he would do cocaine, let alone in the women’s restroom of a truck stop three hours from his home with one of his coworkers. And yet, here he was, trying to level out for their shift in two hours and before the car that they stole to get back was called in. The reason for his being in a truck stop bathroom was hazy to Ricky, mostly because of the MDMA and Everclear, but the need to get to work on time was crystal clear. “Seriously, I never did anything like this in college,” Ricky told Ramond Carter, a fellow line cook and literal partner in crime. “Did we go to that male strip club, or did I dream that?” “Both,” Raymond, setting up another line on the diaper changing station, responded. “We went and you fell asleep, but it’s cool, I still paid for your lap dance.” As they swerved and veered down the highway, smoke from the dabs they were hitting poured out the window. After a quick stop at Raymond’s Adderall guy’s place, they were ready for work. “No, it’s called a dakimakura,” Mr. Floss said as they pulled up, “and it’s just for companionship.” “Whatever you gotta tell yourself, Dick Floss,” Ray stated. “You gonna be alright? If our ticket times go over twenty minutes, I’m never taking you out again.” “Oh, yeah, I can be cool,” he said, opening the passenger door. “Thanks for the greatest night of my life.” “Dude, it’s Tuesday. You think that was nuts, just wait until the weekend. You gotta stop talking about your fuck pillow though, man. Unless you plan on being celibate your whole life.”
Here at SauceOTS we spend a lot of time making fun of restaurants and the bizarre things we do to/for customers. In this series of articles, we wanted to do something a little bit different. We wanted to be serious, not that serious, just a little serious. Also, we don’t often do series of articles. So there’s like a 90% chance my editor won’t let me do any of this. I want to talk about us, all of us in the service industry, but particularly the people who work in restaurants. In restaurants, we have more power and influence than we realize. Collectively, we control the food, the destination, the tastes, and the sensibilities of thousands of people a week. If you come up with a good idea for food, you can draw people for miles to your restaurant. Take KFC for example: Colonel Sanders invented the deep fryer. Full Stop. That fucker invented a horrible, explosive, dangerous killing/burning machine that people fucking love. The deep fryer. Why? Because we need a more effective way to put Panko breadcrumbs on barnyard animals? No. For no fucking reason. Just to make chicken easier. And people fucking eat it. It is one of the most dangerous foods. Fried food kills more people than cigarettes. Full Stop. Side note: I was in Paris one time, and not the one in Texas, and some garcon-motherfucker was using that same goddamned psychotic death machine to toast pita for a 10 euro (I totally know what the euro symbol looks like and how to find it on an American keyboard, I just didn’t want to) French cheese board. How is that possible? That a cooking technique that was developed to produce the bawdiest, brashest food in the United States was being used for cooking in France. a country with one of the oldest and most revered cooking traditions. They invented béchamel (probably). That’s the power of restaurants. Ingenuity and innovation the kind that happens in restaurants everyday has the power to change the way billions of people across the world (I actually researched this bit) eat food prepared in deep fryers. They cook birds’ nests in deep fryers in Jiangnan Province in China. They use it to cook falafel in Times Square and Tehran. In short, a restaurant, the power of food and people transcends all cultural, political, and religious ties. Atheists and Mennonites eat at Churches Chicken. Protesters yelling that “Mexicans should get out” eat taco shells at Taco Bell cooked in a deep fryer. In restaurants, we have the power. We make the menus, we make the connections with customers that keep them coming back, we teach the whole of humanity what to drink what to eat and how to treat each other. I want to, over this series of articles, share ways in which we the servers, bartenders, and cooks have already made immutable changes to the lives of individuals, communities, and the global economy. Moreover, how we can take use our profound influence to remake the world the way we want it to be. Like Neo. Cuz I keep watching The Matrix, cuz it’s on Netflix and I just don’t want to invest in new shows.
DURHAM, NC -- Bethany Springfield believes herself to be a monster, and she’s absolutely right. Morally, physically, mentally, and emotionally, she’s about to reach a breaking point, and it’s all thanks to the fact that Bass to Mouth, her employer/seafood restaurant/front for human trafficking only carries Pepsi--you know, like the Nazis would if they were around today. “This is the hardest job I’ve ever had,” Bethany, crying in dry storage, told Sauce On the Side. “I’ve been a server for over a decade, alright? I never had a problem telling a customer that we didn’t have something, but Pepsi? When they find out we don’t have Coke, it’s like looking into the eyes of someone who just watched the love of their life murdered right in front of them.” Miss Springfield cannot bring herself to understand why any restaurant would even bother to have sweetened industrial sludge that probably causes infertility on tap. Not even Jesus Christ himself, according to Bethany, could turn Pepsi into something palatable. “I have recurring dreams where I ask customers if Pepsi is alright, and then they just start attacking me, and every time I do, I wake up disappointed that it wasn’t real. Because that’s what anyone who says that deserves,” she stated. Recent studies have shown that at the exact moment a glass of Pepsi is filled, a beloved childhood pet is struck by a motor vehicle, 3 people die of malnutrition, and someone utters the words “Nickleback is my favorite band.” Despite PepsiCo’s hand in these atrocious and despicable acts, restaurants everywhere continue to carry their swill. “These monsters need to be held accountable,” Bethany told Sauce OTS. “A reckoning is coming, goddammit.”
JERSEY CITY, NJ -- Conrad “Cooter” Connors is widely regarded by anyone who knows him as “that guy,” for many different reasons, all of which seem remarkably similar. Cooter, or “The Coot”, as his aunts call him, loves to get into arguments with his coworkers. Not in a healthy way. In the way that makes you want to find whatever car he is driving and set it on fire. Just last week, “John,” as his step-dad-refers to him, spent around forty-five minutes debating one of his co-workers on whether or not the Bible was originally printed in English. This debate, like most that occur between the kitchen and the front of house, was vital to the success and function of the restaurant and could not be confirmed or refuted by the most cursory of internet searches. “I knew he was wrong,” Cassandra Daves, the opposing party in question, told Sauce On the Side, “but he was like a black hole of idiocy. I couldn’t help myself; I had to try and shine logic into the void that he calls a mind. The dude seriously thought that English was the oldest language in the world. I ended up running out of facts telling him that he was wrong. I don’t even know why I kept throwing new information out there.” A few deep sighs later, Cassandra confided tearfully, “I mean, it’s like I got a degree in medieval languages and it doesn’t matter to anyone in this restaurant.” “Oh, yeah, Cassandra? She totally doesn’t want to admit how right I was,” Conrad said. “Even if, even if she had been right, and English wasn’t the oldest language in the world, why would she keep talking about other languages? It’s like, okay whoop-de-doo, so there were other languages, tell me why English isn’t older than they are? And she couldn’t, because all of the previous languages were all a part of what English became. Checkmate, Cassandra.” “No matter how old the language is, she still can’t write it legibly on the tickets,” was Conrad’s last parting shot that he gifted to Sauce on the Side. When Cassandra was asked to respond, she simply gave a hand gesture whose message needs no words.
NEW YORK, NY -- Dale Conrad, a regular at Hot Cross Buns, hoped that his lunch break there would be just as routine as always. Unbeknownst to him, every single server on staff hate him, think he’s a total pig, and plans to give him a taste of his own medicine today. Stacy Harper, his server today and “go to gal” has been waiting for this day for a long time. “If he never comes back again after this, my life will be that much better. I don’t need some dude telling me to smile more, trying to rub my back while I’m bussing his table, or talking about how much I look like his daughter. The worst thing is he stacks plates with the silverware in between the plates are you a Neanderthal?” The grand scheme was laid at the host stand, when host Peter Jones smacked Dale on his ass as he was being led to his table and said: “Hope you like what you see, big guy. Because I sure do. Now you park that fine ass right here at table 69; if you know what I mean.” Visibly distressed by this turn of affairs, Dale took his seat timidly and waited as his server, Stacy approached. As Stacy handed him his menu, the plot thickened, much to Dale’s incredulity: she informed him that he’s far too beautiful to be eating at a place like this. Dale had never been spoken to like this, his pulse rose, suddenly every staff member around him was a potential threat. What would the busboy do when his time came? What about the sommelier? What’s a sommelier? Would they say something awesome like: “Let’s get you something that pairs with all those surf and turfs you order with that weird thrusting motion.” It was like being serviced but you had to think about it. Like how the court said I had to treat my ex-wife after all those phone calls came to light. “I’m a person, not an object goddammit,” Dale told Sauce On the Side. “I don’t care how cute Stacy’s friend thinks I am, I don’t want his number. I have never felt so disrespected as a customer. I don’t want to tell Stacy what time I’m getting out of here, or if I’m actually going to use her friend’s number. What kind of nonsense is this?” Stacy is overjoyed that her grand scheme to dissuade Mr. Conrad from ever returning to the restaurant is taking. “One down, far too many to go,” Stacy said, “but I’ll take a win when I get one. Seriously, I already deal with creepy dudes every single day. When I clock in, though, it feels like I’m running my life on hard mode with the super creep expansion pack on. I think we’ve finally got a way to fix that now.”