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5 Times You Do NOT Need To See the Manager, Karen

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Karen [ kair-uhn ] noun: a disparaging term for someone perceived as entitled or demanding; one who expects something beyond reason. Feel free to sub “Kyle” or “Chad” for the name Karen. 

Dining out in a restaurant can be fraught with difficulties which can lead to overzealous confrontations with service staff. The next thing you know, a simple complaint about not wanting to follow the rules of a restaurant can lead to a viral video where people, and even a baby, are calling you Karen. Nobody wants that, so here are five times you do not need to make scene and ask for a manager.

1.  The bill is more expensive than you expected. Every menu has the food and drink prices listed and any additional charges will also be clearly noted on the menu, from an automatic gratuity to a COVID surcharge. Also, every cell phone has a calculator app installed on it. Those two things alone should mean that you are never, ever surprised by what your check total is. If the fish says “market price,” then it’s your responsibility to ask how much it costs. And don’t try to pretend that you didn’t know there was going to be tax because this is America and the only entities that get to avoid taxes are churches, Amazon, and corrupt multi-billionaires. You don’t need to call the manager over to complain about your total because all that will happen is the manager will show you how addition works and then walk away calling you a Karen under their breath.

2.  The television isn’t on your favorite channel or the music isn’t to your liking. You don’t need to call the manager over for this imagined injustice because the restaurant is not your home. If you can only eat while watching a particular program or listening to a certain type of music, maybe dining out isn’t your best option. Some restaurants have music that is piped in from corporate. Some places are only allowed to have the TV on certain channels that no one will be offended by. There are plenty of restaurants that have complete and total reign over what they play, but that still doesn’t mean you need to call a manager over. This is not worth their time.

3.  Your well-done steak isn’t juicy or your rare steak is too bloody. First off, that isn’t blood oozing out of your steak. Even the rarest of steaks is bloodless. That liquid you see is actually myoglobin, an oxygen-storing protein that changes color when exposed to heat, so don’t freak out about it. And if you ordered your steak well-done and now you’re disappointed in its tough and chewy texture, that’s on you. Speaking to a manager about this complaint will only confirm what the chef already said about you in the kitchen: you don’t know what you’re talking about. Take a pass on this one, Karen. (This goes hand in hand with eating 95% of your meal and then saying it was inedible. Girl, please.)

4.  The restaurant is out of something. Restaurants are just like your home; sometimes you simply run out of things when you didn’t expect to. No one plans to run out of milk, but it happens. If the chef has ten orders of red snapper as the special, and you’re the eleventh person to order it, well you’re out of luck. You can call a manager over to express your disappointment, but all you’re going to get is a teeny bit of empathy because no amount of complaining is going to make an additional red snapper materialize out of thin air. Order something else and move on, because no one is going to the fish market to pick you up a piece red snapper.

5.  There are no more tables and you don’t have a reservation. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency for someone else. It doesn’t matter if it’s your grandma’s 108th birthday or your 50th wedding anniversary or your child’s graduation. If the restaurant is full, it’s full. All those people sitting down at tables and eating had the foresight to make a reservation or they were patient enough to wait until a table opened up. Your grandma is using a walker? Get her a chair. Your blood sugar is dropping? Eat a Snickers. You’ll never come back unless you’re seated immediately? Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Demanding to speak to the manager is only going to make it less likely for anyone to want to help you and making a scene will guarantee that someone will pull out their cell phone in hopes of posting the next viral Karen video starring you.

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Bitchy Waiter

Bitchy Waiter

Darron Cardosa is a writer, actor, singer, and waiter. He lives and and works in New York City and enjoys "The Brady Bunch," "The Facts of Life" and cocktails almost as much as he hates your baby.