I was on Oprah! How’d that happen?

Seeing myself on Oprah was, to put it mildly, a surreal experience. I’m sure Dr. Forni and the other guests who were on the set felt the same way. What you can’t see, however, is how badly I was busting to take a leak after the interview. When I got out of that studio I ran to the bathroom! Talk about nerves! (Maybe I shouldn’t have swilled all that bottled water in the green room or ate all those chocolate chip cookies!)

Being in Chicago and taping at Harpo Productions was an experience I’ll never forget. Again, I’m grateful to Ms. Winfrey and all the staff at Harpo for giving me the opportunity to talk about my book and discuss how waiters and other service people deserve to be treated like human beings. Oprah’s website even has some nice links about my appearance and an excerpt from my book! Check it out!

I’m visiting my parents in Pennsylvania for some serious R&R. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with some new stories soon! For everyone visiting Waiter Rant for the first time, be sure to check out the archives. There’s a ton of material there. (Click on the title of archived post to see them in their entirety.)

Thanks for tuning in!

57 thoughts on “I was on Oprah! How’d that happen?”

  1. Cori says:

    Way to go Steve! It was really cool to see you on the teevee, talking about your wonderful book.

    But tell us, what did you really think about that difficult customer who was in the audience?

  2. admin says:

    Hey, she got a hug from Oprah!

  3. Cal K. says:

    Steve – after reading on your website that you were going to be on Oprah, I made a point to tape the show while I was at work today. Just finished watching today’s episode and it was fun to see and hear you…the anonymous waiter! I just finished your book recently and have been recommending it to friends. Great job on Oprah!

  4. Mary says:

    I was happy for you today Waiter! Have a blast visiting your Mom and Dad….I lost mine and miss the hell out of them. Take your Mom and Dad out to dinner and enjoy every moment. And if you get a stingy lousy martini, bitch loudly! I’m sitting here drinking my home made martini, watching the Phils at LA, and my darling, naughty Siamese cat is on my shoulder. Life is good. I have enjoyed your website for a long time now…it got me through some terrible nights at Chef A’s here in Berks County Pa. Best of Luck Waiter/Steve. Sincerely, Mary

  5. Lizzy says:

    Wow that is so awesome Steve! I’m so jealous – I’d love for my blog to turn into a book offer/tv show appearance. All in good time! Congratulations on your success!

  6. apathetic bliss says:

    You were awesome on Oprah!!!
    What was with that chick(the difficult customer)?
    You were very gracious when asked what servers thought of people like her…uh yeah chiquita we so have your number and your food got put at the bottom of the pile!
    I am buying your book tomorrow!

  7. Femmebot says:

    You were fab on Oprah!

    I thought the girl was extremely difficult and should never venture into any restaurant. For those that didn’t view Oprah, the woman said she complains about 99% of the time she goes out. Ugh! She reminds me of someone I know. No proper breeding. I’m buying your book, too.

  8. Lunch is Not a Date says:

    Caught it; great job! Penns, eh? The big ?–Eagles or Steelers?

  9. Suzanne says:

    It was so much fun watching you! I couldn’t help but live vicariously and imagine what I would feel like sitting next to her. And you got on stage! No, off-hand interview from the audience!

    I was a little bit irritated by the way she kept cutting you off though. (She has always done that.) When she asked you about waiter revenge, I was dying for the declined credit card story! But unfortunately she had to talk about a line in The Color Purple instead. I wonder if anyone has ever pointed out to her how rude THAT is!

    Anyway, well done you! I hope you enjoy your R&R. =0)

  10. formerwaitress says:

    You were awesome on oprah today!!!! Truly truly my hero! You should run for president! I swear that lady that is rude in all the restaurants won’t be able to go anywhere now since she was exposed on oprah today! I would totally spit in her food if i was her waitress!

  11. Chum says:

    Very cool showing, Waiter. Now I can say I knew him before he became famous. Did you feel like doing your thousand yard stare on the 99% chick?

  12. katiesmom says:

    I enjoyed watching you on the Oprah show, though I had mixed feelings about what you talked about. I don’t believe waiters deserve a good tip (or a tip, at all, for that manner) for simply appearing at your table. You would never know that I’m unhappy if I’m not taken care of at your table, with the exception of the tip I leave. I don’t expect anything I wouldn’t do myself. Your drink glass should always have something in it. If you’re drinking tea, you shouldn’t have to beg for Sweet n Low. If my dinner is taking longer than expected, keep me posted. I’ve had my share of waiters who act like they’re way too important to be doing the job they’re doing. I believe a tip is given for good service, period. I work in the service profession (nurse) and I know about difficult people. All people want to feel valued, and when they are, a problem is much easier managed.

  13. celeste says:

    Sorry, I have enjoyed your blog in the past, and I despise anyone who is rude to waiters, but you act as if the customer must serve the business. The business is there to serve the customer. If customers want to request another table or linger just a little, they have a right to do so.

  14. koko says:

    Well done! I was so excited for you to be on the show – and you did such a great job! AND Oprah let you actually talk. I love her and all (tivo her every day) but sometimes she doesn’t let the guest say anything.

    Again – so happy for all your well deserved success. BRAVO!

  15. Tasha says:

    I caught you on Oprah today – you were great! (I recently started serving again so I’ve been reading your blog more these days. Guess I have to brace myself… but I’m coming from retail management so I’m pretty well accustomed to the woes)

    And on an odd note, I currently have Dr. Forni’s book out from the library, what a coincidence!

    Congrats on all your successes!

  16. ross says:

    I don’t usually watch (or care for) Oprah, and I haven’t visited your website before, but I’m very glad I watched today.

    You did a great job! Fascinating show…learned a lot I didn’t know about restaurant industry. I’m looking forward to reading more.

    I always try to be polite and tip well, but I do have a couple questions from a customer’s point of view:

    What is up when you go into an empty restaurant alone during an off hour and they sit you in a tiny table for two instead of giving you a large comfortable booth?

    Why, when you go into an almost entirely empty restaurant, do they sometimes want to sit you right next to the only other occupied table so you and your friend can’t carry on a conversation without feeling like the people at the other table are listening?

    Thanks. And once again, great stuff on Oprah!

  17. Sarah the Second says:

    You were so great! And so cute! Oh I could just pinch you! Well done and congrats again! (that girl y’all were talking to looked like a major bitch–you could tell she didn’t really give a shit about being obnoxious)

  18. Trinity says:

    I saw it, and you were awesome!

    Next time you’re in my city, I hope it’s an event I have a chance in hell of going to.

    Great job, man!

  19. Another Waitress says:

    Its nice to see someone set the record straight on television about waiters. People just don’t understand what we as waiters go through. Everyone should be a waitress for a month they would understand it better and learn how to treat people better and not be so rude to perfect strangers.

    In response to ross: the hosts have a rotation to do. So if you get sat at a small two top its because it was the waiters turn to get a table. They have to try to seat every waiter that is on duty so they can all make money.

    If you get sat next to another table it’s because 1. they are short staffed an only have a few waiters on and want to seat all the tables in the same section so the waiter is not waiting around. 2. It was that waiters turn to get a table so the hostess sat you in their section.

    waiters are assigned tables and host have to try to seat their section and not outside the section. They only seat outside the section if it is busy and the waiter has to pick up extra tables and if a customer is just being to damn picky about where they want to sit in the restaurant.

    I hope that answered your question and you have a better understanding now.

  20. margalit says:

    You were great on Oprah, but I wish she had given you more time to talk about some of the incredibly rude yuppies that have kept us reading WR for years now.

  21. cheese&tomato says:

    I’m so proud of you, steve! you did great today. It’s very exciting to see you doing as well as you are since the release of the book. =)

  22. Purple Dino Type says:

    You should’ve told that lady in the audience, “It’s people like YOU, that made me feel compelled to start writing about people like YOU. And yes, based on what you’ve told us about you I can guarantee that someone has urinated in your drinks and spat in your food. But don’t get me wrong you seem like a nice lady.”

    You were very kind to her.

    Congrats to you on all your success. You’re an inspiration to all us Bloggers.

  23. Velvet says:

    I missed you on Oprah, but I will check it out on her site for sure. I got to the hotel and turned on the T.V. and channel surffed, but never could find it! Darn!. I really wanted to see you on Oprah. We’re on vacation and I’ve seen Oprah on in the morning (that was in Vegas) and at my regular time 4p.m.
    I’m in Arizona tonight and it is cold, 26 degrees.
    Yikes. I need a fire.

  24. cass says:

    you were great…oprah was rude..but hey now we know what rudeness is duh….how is buster????
    who loves ya baby

  25. Aeva says:

    So is Oprah as perfect in person as she seems on TV? 🙂

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I totally forgot to tape it! Sounds like you had a great experience and I’m very happy for you. I hope I can find it online.

    Love the book and the blog!

  27. Juniper says:

    I watched Oprah for the first time in my adult life because of you … it was worth it to watch the entire hour just to catch some of your sage words. Isn’t it industry standard to save the more popular guests for last..? Congrats on the success! I love the book and I love the blog. Can’t wait to see what’s coming out next…

  28. Shannon says:

    I PVR Oprah every day to watch after my kids are in bed. I had it on, but paused, and was checking your blog when I saw that you were going to be on that very episode! You were great…congratulations!

  29. garricks says:

    Yay, Waiter! Thanks for letting us know in advance so I could set the DVR! You did great!

  30. Pookha says:

    Ya done good, Steve!

  31. Mertseger says:

    You certainly presented well on camera. You came off as relaxed and natural no matter what you were feeling inside. Congratulations on a this major career step.

  32. Andrea says:

    lol Steve you were great! you seemed a little nervous, but who wouldn’t be? It’s Oprah :o) So I’m dying to know what you thought of the difficult diner. I could feel the beginnings of the thousand yard waiter stare ;o) Great job Steve! it was finally great to put your face and voice with the stories! :o) Keep it up :o)

  33. David says:

    Oh man, I knew I should have bought stock in Waiter Rant! Congrats on all your success!

  34. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says:

    Loved it!! How awesome is that, being on Oprah! BTW – enjoy your visit to PA, we were there this weekend and it’s the best time of the year – gorgeous!

  35. Persephone says:

    To katiesmom: Nursing is not a service industry. Also, you make at least five to ten times what a waiter does. They depend on tips to make even minimum wage. If you aren’t happy with the service, then tell the waiter why. My guess, since you seem to have had so many bad experiences, is that, like the 99% unhappy girl, you expect the waiter to read your mind. You want your water topped off, but not your other drink. You need new silverware, but instead of telling the waiter, you cut the tip. The steak wasn’t done right, but instead of telling the waiter, you cut the tip.

    Frankly, I’m not, and have never been, a waiter, but I have found some of the most difficult people I have ever dealt with, in business or personally, to be nurses. I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for this, so many it could take all day to cover them, but it’s what I’ve found.

    To celeste: A restaurant is a business. If a customer costs them money rather than making them money, they don’t want your (non-)business.

  36. Zayrina says:

    Is there someone out there with some spare time and a kind heart who could take pity on those nincompoops such as myself who got caught up and forget to watch Wednesday and post the bit on Youtube for us? I’ll dance at your wedding!

  37. katiesmom says:

    You’re crazy if you think nursing is not a “service” profession! I was not comparing the pay of nurses and waiters. But, if I did, the waiters from moderate to high end restaurants would win a lot of the time. You wouldn’t find a waiter of any restaurant I go to that would call me “difficult”. When I am taken care of, I tip generously. I treat everyone I come in contact with the same respect that I would like to treated with. Go ahead and rant and throw me if the furnace with other nurses, Indians, this, that and the other. I had no idea that there are so many angry, angry people out there. You don’t have to read my mind to know that my drink glass should be filled. If I ask, then I’m a bitch and the object of your rage. If the steak is not cooked right, it’s not the waiter’s fault. Of course I would ask for that. If I didn’t, that would not be reflected in the tip. Really, I’m still not getting the hostility I’m reading. You people could benefit from some anger management courses or find a profession where you don’t have to interact with people. Is it so hard to serve linguini without shrimp or water without ice???? To truly serve another is the most honorable thing you can do. And, Persephone, should you ever require my nursing care, don’t worry… I’ll take care of you…with a smile. You think people are difficult when they eat???? You should see ’em when they’re sick…

  38. witchypoo says:

    It was totally exciting to see you on the Oprah show! I hope that exposure makes you a kajillion bux.

  39. Persephone says:

    Gee, katiesmom, who needs anger management?

    Nursing is NOT considered a service industry in the same way as restaurant workers. I have a lot of admiration for the good people involved in any type of job, including nurses. However, as I said, personally and professionally, I’ve found nurses to have a higher than average amount of entitlement and anger issues. I believe your excessive response just confirmed my beliefs.

  40. Nikki says:

    You were good, Steve.

    Wish you had been on longer though. You sure looked like you had more to say about customers like that Jenny chick! Good restraint on your part!

  41. Wytre says:

    katiesmom, you’re calling someone “crazy”? Nursing IS NOT a service profession. It is a state licensed professional occupation that required a degree. You don’t know the meaning of the word. I had the same argument with an architect once.

    I’m sure that when a patient complains about having to ring the nurse call buzzer over and over and wait for you to show up they don’t dock your pay. They don’t dock your pay because you didn’t smile. They don’t dock your pay for the mistakes you made. That is what you are doing when you don’t tip. You say “I don’t believe waiters deserve a good tip (or a tip, at all, for that manner) for simply appearing at your table. You would never know that I’m unhappy if I’m not taken care of at your table, with the exception of the tip I leave.” When was the last time a patient was discharged from the hospital and you found out you weren’t being paid because they didn’t like you or you took too long to bring them what they needed or you didn’t read their minds for what they wanted?

    “Is it so hard to serve linguini without shrimp?” In some lower end places YES. The sauces is prepared with the shrimp in it already. I bet you order lasagna ‘without garlic’ too. “Or water without ice????” The problem with that one is that when you bring water without ice what they REALLY meant is they wanted room temperature water, not water from the water pitcher without ice. Then the waiter has to leave the dining room and go into the back to get it. Then the diner complains it took too long.

    “I’ve had my share of waiters who act like they’re way too important to be doing the job they’re doing.” That sounds like most of the nurses I’ve met.

    “I had no idea that there are so many angry, angry people out there.” Pot, meet kettle.

  42. Sasha says:

    I watched today since I was out of town yesterday — I do not tape Oprah regularly but did after seeing your blog about it!

    Congrats! I’m glad to see the amount of really amazing PR you’re receiving…Oprah only takes the top of the top!

    And, yes, you are truly blessed and it’s wonderful to see that you know it!

  43. katiesmom says:

    Wytre, we solicit an evaluation from each and every patient we see. Should there be a pattern of what is perceived as bad care from a specific staff member, we can be fired. I guess you can call that not getting paid. Really, I’m NOT angry at all. I love what I do. I can’t imagine NOT doing it. I can say that even having “difficult” patients. First, what IS your issue with nurses? There IS one, from the way you write. Back to the waiter thing…please answer without getting angry-do you believe if a waiter has done a poor job of serving, they still deserve a full tip? Your salary is what you get paid. A “tip” is just that. Merit pay, if you will. Until watching Oprah yesterday, and then reading this blog, I had no idea so many waiters hated what they do and the people they serve so completely. There are always people who are over the top, and they are worthy of story telling. But, really! People who ask for water without ice are recipients of this wrath? Life is way too short!

  44. Glenn says:

    Sorry I missed the OPRAH show as I was still at work.
    I agree with the lady…you are blessed and I bet you have alwasys really known that.
    Take Care

  45. TNT says:

    Waiter. Good job on Oprah. I wonder how many of her audience members have ever waited or worked in a restaurant.

    Near the end of the interview Oprah suggests something should be done about waiters being paid so little by the hour and working for tips.

    I wonder if she thinks we should be paid more hourly with benefits and not tipped at all, or if gratuity with benefits should be automatically included in all waiting circumstances.

    Obviously, if the restaurant paid us more the restaurant would have to raise its prices and lower its other costs. For some of us that would mean being paid at least $20 an hour on a bad night and $40 an hour on a good night. If either of these were the case, what would be the point of trying so hard to please our dining guests since the incentive to give great service for a great tip would be lost.

    Not all waiters are created equal…

  46. sadi says:

    Congrats Steve! I missed Oprah, but will check the links.

    The line you said about drinking too much in the green room reminded me of the scene in “Forrest Gump” when he meets JFK. Nerves and too many liquids will do that!

    Enjoy your R&R. I just got your book and hope to read it this weekend.

  47. Wytre says:

    Katiesmom, yeah, yeah, restaurants have comment cards too, and employees whose name come up too often with bad remarks get fired. So what is your point?

    You know, the smartest thing you could do for yourself is to go out and buy Dear Waiter’s book and READ it.

    In the meantime read his archived blogs. Then review all the comment discussions.

    Then come back.

  48. Cindy Z says:

    It was so much fun seeing you on Oprah! I felt like I knew the person sitting up there after reading your blog for so long! Great job!

  49. BigSexy says:

    Waiter! My internet was down, so I didn’t get the notice, but my dh turned on the TV and there you were! I caught about the last 10 mins of the show and I gotta say, I was clapping for you! It’s a surreal experience for us long time readers as well as you to see this person we feel like we know so well on OPRAH FOR HEAVENS SAKES! Very proud! Can’t wait for the TV show! Love ya!

  50. Tara says:

    I caught the Oprah episode with you on, very interesting, I learned a lot and discovered this blog. Thanks

  51. Anton says:

    I was really looking forward to seeing you do the THOUSAND YARD STARE. 🙁

  52. City_Bluz says:

    this is the first time in years that i’ve heard a mention of “oprah” without wanting to vomit on someone’s shoes.

    glad you got the exposure. hope your editor for the book was much better than your spellcheck (and grammar check).

    good luck, sweetie.

    – from a 25% tipper.

  53. City_Bluz says:

    p.s.: sure hope you were able to get some barbecue when you were here in Kansas City.

    by the way: order steak at a seafood place and vice versa – because i don’t know why the chefs in this town can’t cook the beef here, but they can’t.

  54. barry says:

    steve would love to hear from you so happy for you—barry

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  56. Megan says:

    I love you so much! Great place to visit!,

  57. Deekey says:

    When I was about to turn 40, and I had been wearing glasses since the 4th grade, I went and had Lasik on my eyes, finally. It was the best present I have ever given myself. I am very frugal and it will actually save me money in the long run over buying a new pair of glasses every 2 years. My dear, it would also take 5 years off your looks, so peek into it. I researched for 2 years, and waited til a doc in town got the best machine out there. Cost was 1500$ per eye, with a year of checkups after.

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