Being a server is a really rewarding job – that is, if the the word “rewarding” is actually synonymous with “thankless.” I somehow managed to finagle my way through twenty-seven years of life without ever being a waitress. I went straight for corporate America, mostly for its salaries and benefits, but with a big move and only a few months of my graduate career left I thought: “You know what? let’s just wait some tables for a little bit, how hard could it be?” The flexibility appealed to me, as did the perceived mindlessness that went along with the job.
This is not something I often admit to but: Boy, was I fucking wrong. In just a few short months I’ve decided that whether you serve at Applebee’s, or the finest dining establishment in town – there is just really nothing like being a server. You meet other servers; and you talk about server like things. You fixate on the terrible human beings you encounter and it inevitably becomes this bizarre part of your life that is inescapable. When you go to happy hour with your co-workers to vent – it turns into many hours. It was one such day a few of my co-workers and I started to make a list of the most annoying things that happen when you’re serving. This list is akin to the hypothetical tip of an iceberg but here it is:
Getting flagged down
I’ve had people do everything from raise a hand in the air, to flag me down with a white napkin as though they are admitting surrender. “Hi, contrary to popular belief I’m actually not a taxi cab – but a human being.” I see you and I will do what I can to accommodate your dining dreams and desires but how about you wait a minute until my arms aren’t stacked with dishes and sweat is not perspiring off of my forehead?
Can I get a refill?
Why yes, yes you can. Can you get it at the exact moment you want? Probably not. For instance, water refills. I have literally refilled water so many times for one person that I am concerned they are going to drown their inner organs and die right in their seat. My two favorite ways people signal the old refill is either a.) Tapping their glass or b.) Wildly and dangerous flailing the empty one in the air. Watch it buddy.
Speaking of water…
“I’ll have lemon with that.” Why did lemons become the most popular kid in school? When did everyone want to know and be lemons? When did lemons get the varsity jackets? I can’t go two minutes without having to retrieve lemon slices for people’s water if I tried. If you love lemon so much, why don’t you drink some lemonade? The amount of lemon slices I give away a day could probably finance my graduate level education.
You just want attention
Maybe your husband doesn’t give it to you at home, and maybe no matter how much you jump and scream in front of your friends, they still don’t care about you (there’s probably good reason.) You’re probably really annoying and they just feel bad for you. You will send your food back in perfect condition, complain when everything is right, and be as demanding as your demented psyche allows. This specimen is typically a woman, although thought the attention seeking male rare – it sometimes presents itself.
What comes on this?
When someone who is reading the menu, which clearly states what it on and included with each dish, and asks then you what is on it and or comes with it. I want to hand them reading glasses or perhaps ask them if they are illiterate. It’s right there buddy, and if this is a pop quiz – I am not amused.
The Old 10%
Sometimes when I got out to eat with my Dad, I check the bill to make sure he tipped enough. If he didn’t (which he often doesn’t) – I make up the difference. Everyone should own one of these friend or family members. Sometimes you bust your ass for hope of a good tip – if someone isn’t smiling, you do a song and dance to make sure they do. After making sure that they’ve had the best dining experience of their lives, you find they barely left you 10%. If karma was a real thing, it would be a bus – and hit them on their way out the front door.
Excuse me, is this the Four Seasons?
I’m sorry that you expected me to shine your shoes while you ordered a burger and fries, but newsflash: you’re not at the Four Seasons. You’re at a sub-par restaurant with fine service, good food, and a decent atmosphere. If you want to be treated like Prince William and Kate Middleton on your date night, you are sure as hell in the wrong place.
I know you’re trying to be helpful, but do you think I need to walk around with your jingle-jangle in my apron? No, I actually hate your change and am more apt to drop it and/or lose it then spend it.
I would never know if you were ready for the check unless you made a check sign with your hand in the air. Forget paying attention, noticing that you are finished, clearing your plates and asking if you wanted dessert – please make a flamboyant check sign in the air so I am not in the minority of people that do not know you are ready to go.
Hit on me, I dare you
It’s part of my job to put on a smile and play nice. This doesn’t mean I want to fuck you. Don’t ask for my number, just tip me 20% and show your appreciation for my cleavage and winning personality that way.
If I had know then what I know now, I may have looked towards another industry to supplement the cost of living while in grad school. I’m sure I’d actually experience more appreciation in the porn industry – and I’m I think I’d actually feel somewhat less shameful at the end of the day.
All in all, it’s not so bad – even when I feel soaked in the estrogen fest that is a 97% female waitstaff chock full of hormones, tits, and varied menstrual cycles – these bitches have become my best friends and whether or not I like it – this is my life and I don’t know what else to do but embrace it in all it’s glory (for now.)