While the customer peruses the wine list, you are obligated to hover awkwardly and watch them read. If you attempt to excuse yourself to attend to your other tables, you will be stopped by whomever is holding the wine list and forced to stay where you are. However, now they will feel as if you are trying to hurry them, and they will secretly hate you. They do not care that you have eight other tables to serve.
After staring at the wine list for about three hours, the customer will select a wine. They might ask you a few questions before making their final decision, but this is not done because they actually care about your answers. Instead, they want to impress the other people at their table with their knowledge of wines. “How floral is the bouquet? Does it have an oaky finish? What is the middle name of the vineyard owner’s fourth cousin?” “What do you mean you don’t know?” “You know, back when I waited tables, we knew our menu inside and out.”
Be sure to tell the customer they’ve made an excellent choice, even if you’re lying through your teeth that you can’t afford to take to a dentist because you’re working as a server.
Now it’s time to prepare the bottle. If it’s red, you can just carry out the bottle as is. Be sure to cradle it as if it were a newborn child so as to impress upon the table the elegance and seriousness of this moment. If it’s white, drop the bottle in a bucket of ice like you’re tailgating and bring it out to the table. When you bring out the bottle, be sure you bring out the appropriate number of wine glasses for the table. Additionally, try to keep in mind that wine glasses are top heavy and when you balance them on a tray, you are one sneeze away from total destruction.
When you arrive at the table, sprout a third arm so you can set a glass at each place setting while still cradling the wine bottle and avoid doing something gauche like setting down the tray. If you must set something down, put the wine bottle on the table while you pass out glasses–just know that you’re a disappointment to your family.
Present the wine bottle to the person who ordered it so that they can examine the label and confirm that yes, that is their brilliantly chosen wine that is sure to impress their dining companions. They will nod with satisfaction and sit back, preparing to be amazed.
Now it is time to open the bottle. Attempt to cut the foil smoothly from the top of the bottleneck. Instead, slice your finger. Will yourself to stop bleeding; you do not have time to be injured. Remove the foil and stuff it into your apron pocket while surreptitiously wiping the blood off your finger on the inside of the apron. Next, remove the cork. If you break the cork, immediately perform hari kari. If you manage to keep the cork in one piece, place it to the right of the person who ordered the bottle. This is so the customer can smell the cork, although no one ever does this unless they are a pretentious ass hat (i.e. they all do it).
Pour a small amount of wine in the glass of the person who ordered the bottle. Keep your attention rapt as they swirl the wine in the glass, sniff deeply, and take an obnoxious sip, slurping the wine in a way that supposedly allows you to properly taste it, but is just annoying to everyone else. Hold your breath while you wait to find out if the wine is satisfactory or if you have to start this whole godforsaken process over again.
When the customer nods approvingly (no one ever sends it back), begin to serve the rest of the table. Begin by pouring for the women, playing the horrible game of guessing who is older than whom so you can serve them from eldest to youngest. Serve the men in the same way before finally filling the glass of the person who ordered the bottle. If you drip any wine on the table, the customers are well within their rights to beat you to death.
Place the bottle on the table and run away, leaving the customers to a “come and get it” kind of serving system from here on out.
Realize you forgot to take their dinner order. Also realize your finger is still bleeding and your eight other tables are all starving and hate you. And they all want wine.