New Yorkers know that trying to secure a reservation for Valentine's Day is no easy task -- it's one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants, with tables often fully booked weeks in advance. That means that servers and bartenders are pretty much guaranteed to turn a higher profit than almost any other night -- but it also means they get a close look at all of the holiday’s inevitable mishaps and train wrecks. As a server at several restaurants in the city, I've seen many of these incidents firsthand, but I've also collected these stories from fellow servers who have worked everywhere from Per Se to The Spotted Pig. As it turns out, when you look past the chocolate roses, squeeze-to-sing teddy bears, and bottles of Veuve Clicquot, you witness a pileup of barf, betrayals, and straight-up buffoonery.
Next time, keep your napkin on your lap
"A couple of years ago, I was serving a couple and I noticed that the guy was holding eye contact with me longer than most customers do. His girlfriend didn't seem to notice. Toward the end of the meal, she got up to go to the bathroom and while I cleared their table, he slipped me his name and number on a paper napkin. When I looked up at him he held his finger up to his mouth as if to say 'our little secret' and winked at me. Flattered, I slipped his number into my apron. Minutes later, I came back to drop his credit card receipt on the table, and as I was pulling a pen from my apron, the napkin came out with it! His girlfriend did a double take and her jaw dropped open. His face turned bright red, totally speechless. I quickly told them to have a wonderful night and ran to help other customers." -- Chris, 37