I started serving tables at the beginning of my college career in order to acquire a modest, though much needed, extra income. It certainly is an entertaining job and a way to encounter an array of personality types. Quick cash and flexibility are main attractions to many college students.
Today, however, I realized that I am beyond ready to take the next step and to venture onward with my life. Thanks to a seemingly never ending shift consisting of one personal pet peeve after the other, my mind began to race with all of the annoyances that a waiter encounters on a daily basis. Even the tiniest maneuvers can wear a server's patience thin.
I discovered today, for example, that my biggest pet peeve when serving tables actually occurs during the cleaning process.
Returning from my final trip to the dish room I set my eyes upon the sight of sights- an empty section, clean tables, and filled condiments. All I lack now is a swift sweep under the table and then I'm all finis--wait--wha--NOOO.
My world suddenly comes to a crashing halt as I hear the faint clinking sound of metal being strewn about amidst the broomstick and the floor.
A lonesome, solitary fork has somehow been left carelessly lying beneath the table.
Truly, is there anything worse than just returning from the dish room on the other side of the restaurant with nothing but thoughts of your immediate departure only to discover that you now must walk all the way back to where you came from for the sake of one stupid, insignificant fork?!
Then, the internal battle takes place- the denial.
What in the world is that clinking sound? Hmm, odd. Oops, I accidentally swept it into the dust pan. Darn.
Of course, by the time this entire thought process has taken place, valuable minutes have passed and thus, have been wasted. Conscious active, I inevitably squat, bend, reach, grab, and stalk angrily back to the dish room, fork in hand.
Other pet peeves, you ask? Perhaps some of you could relate:
(Please do not take offense to the following message. Ideas are based on a general population.)
Silent customers- those who suddenly become intimidated when asked, "What could I get you to drink?" even though seconds prior to the encounter they had been speaking with fluidity to the person across from them. It reminds me all too well of cartoons when everything suddenly falls silent, and the only sound effect taking place is the blinking of the character's eyelids. (*blink blink*)
I promise that this is not a trick question.
Bickering customers- Nothing could be more awkward than performing a simple task like taking one's order and having a fight break out before your very eyes. Do I stay here while you argue vigorously about what size pizza to order, or should I quietly back away? I'm at a loss.
Fibbers- Do we need a couple of more minutes to decide or are we ready to order?
We're ready. Ok kids, what do you want?
Cellphones- Nothing messes up my flow more than a person on a cell phone because it is, in fact, an entirely unpredictable scenario. There are those, for example, who expect their server to greet the table between 30 seconds to a minute after being sat and will gladly tell the person on the receiving end of the line to hold as they place a beverage order. On the contrary, this cannot be assumed of everybody. I've learned to not take it personal, for example, when eyes are rolled in my direction as I approach to greet a customer in the middle of their important phone call. I should know better, after all. It's rude to interrupt! Quickly I give a knowing "silly me" glance and turn around until the patron is ready for my presence.
Stiffers and Teenagers- Whether it is prejudice or ignorance, your waiters make little over $2.00 an hour. Tipping poorly or not at all will NEVER be taken lightly. Rude. Rude. Rude. It is at times quite easy to weed out the customers that have also worked in a restaurant from those who haven't the slightest idea of how such an establishment operates.
Pen Stealing- Do you steal garments from the mall? No? Then do not take my property either. Thank you.
Campers- customers who sit at a table for two hours and do not tip adequately. Since servers are not paid by the hour, the amount of money made is largely dependent on the turnover of the tables. Go take a nice walk when you're finished. It's better for the digestive system. (Actually, I made that up. Just leave my table please. Thanks!)
Two Drinks- I'd like a Diet Coke and a Water.
Oh really? Yeah? You need both of those?
Oh really? Yeah? You need both of those?
By the time the meal is over, take a guess as to which of the two has been consistently refilled and which has yet to be touched.
Side work- Nothing irks me more than having the ice bins filled to the brim until another server receives a party of 14. Which ice bin do you suspect is then chosen to fill 14 glasses of water?
I do my best to stifle my cringe. Oy, please let my freshly stocked ice be!
Wow, how the list could go on and on and on and on. However, it truly isn't all that bad.
I, for example, work with some incredible people who are all going to do great things some day. And at the end of the day I cannot help but to feel accomplished as I walk out the back door with a wad of cash in hand. I guess one needs to take the good with the bad (as with any job), but to be truthful, I am in disbelief that television networks have yet to create a reality show based on a restaurant staff. The drama and entertainment value would be tremendous.