A couple of days ago, my wife texted me an article about a restaurant in California that hired a fake “priest” to hear the confessions of their waitstaff in order to uncover suspected wrongdoings by their workers. They got busted and were fined $140,000 to punish them for this and other labor infractions. I laughed when the local Catholic diocese issued a statement saying this faux cleric wasn’t one of their priests. “We may be guilty of a lot of things,” they could have said. “But this isn’t one of them.” 

Since I’m both a former seminarian and waiter, this bit of news was right up my ecclesiastical alley. “I sense a business opportunity,” I texted back to my wife. “Have stole will travel.” Therefore, I’m announcing that I’m now available to hear the confessions of restaurant workers for a reasonable fee and free meal. So, I dusted off my copy of waiter canon law and came up with a few suitable penances for your review. So, without further ado, I present:

List of Penances to Be Administered to Restaurant Personnel

A) Penances For Waitstaff

  1. Late for work? – One Hail Mary. 
  2. Arguing with the bus people? – Two Hail Mary’s and one Our Father in Spanish. Don’t speak Spanish? Google it my child.  
  3. Dropping a tray full of food? – Mea culpa to the chef. Then tip out the bus extra for cleaning it up and say three Our Fathers. 
  4. Stealing a co-worker’s pens or wine opener? – Sigh, four Our Fathers and replace the items when you inevitably lose them. 
  5. Showing up work drunk or stoned? – I’m drunk so I can listen to this crap. Four Hail Mary’s and give me the name of your dealer.
  6. Stealing extra shirts and aprons out of a co-worker’s locker? – You’re a piece of shit, but God is infinitely merciful. Four Our Fathers and four Hail Mary’s. 
  7. Impure thoughts about your coworkers? – Tell me more. Tell me everything. I want details. Thank goodness I’m wearing a cassock. 
  8. Foisting a double tip on an unsuspecting patron? – Depends. Was the customer an entitled asshole? If not, donate the amount you stole to a worthy charity like me. 
  9. Oversharing your personal problems? Romance dramas, psychological issues or that rash on your ass? –  Take a vow of silence for two shifts. 
  10. Talking shit about the owner’s predilection for strippers? – Say two Glory Be’s while getting a lap dance in the Champagne Lounge. Who said confessing can’t be fun?
  11. Losing a customer’s reservation because they are an insufferable jerk? – Free pass. 

Prayer of Absolution for Waiters: May the Autograt in the Highest shower you with lucrative Saturday night shifts, may all your tips be over 20%, and I absolve you of all your sins in the name of downtrodden waiters everywhere. Go in peace and, if you’re hot, slip me your number.

B) Penances for Restaurant Owners 

  1. Cutting waiters from the floor after they’ve shown up for work? – Pay them full minimum wage for the time they would have worked complete with an apology.
  2. Threatening to call La Migra on your undocumented cooks? – Work in a homeless shelter with immigrants for two months.
  3. Charging waiters for “shift meals” while giving them nothing to eat? – a diet of bread and water for six months. You’ll enjoy getting scurvy. 
  4. Not paying your sales, liquor or payroll taxes? – The government will inflict a penance far worse than I can. Enjoy your new ‘roided out cellmate.
  5. Saying those desserts are homemade when you bought them at Costco? – Walk naked through the streets while being pelted with frozen chocolate lava cakes by the food critic from the New York Times. 
  6. Refilling those top shelf bottles with swill? – Replace your top shelf cocaine with homecooked meth. I hope you have good dentist. 
  7. Making fun of people because their gay, lesbian, or transgendered?  – You’ve got to come to work in drag and like it. Make sure your belt matches your six inch stilettos.  
  8. Sexually shaking down desperate single moms for shifts? Three kicks in the balls administered by said mother followed by writing six hundred Hail Mary’s on a blackboard – in Latin. 
  9. Not paying waiters minimum wage for the hours of sidework you make them do before and after every shift? – The Rack. Nobody suspects The Spanish Inquisition!
  10. Skimming from the tip pool? – Forget what I said about infinite mercy. God hates those motherfuckers. Penance? Burning at the stake of course. 

Prayer of Absolution for Exploitative and Abusive OwnersThere is none. Enjoy Hell. 

I’m sure some of my readers can come up with some additional restaurant sins with appropriate penances in the comments section. 

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