Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oh, a rant/list combo? Ok, sure.

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 fork.
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?
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.


  1. when working with people, we find every kind of things ahah

    when I was 17 I did a stage in a big supermarket, and people were really rude sometimes, taking advantage of the fact that I was so young and clueless :/

    now I'm working for free at a pharmacy to complete my before-graduation internship, and people can be harsh even when I'm doing them a favour that I am not in duty bound to do!

    but since I know I'm not doing nothing wrong, I smile back to them and think that they're the ones living their day being angry, not me ahah
    (and when it's my fault I apologize and go on)

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  3. ew i could NEVER wait tables... i think it takes a special type of person to be able to handle it! my best friend worked in the resteraunt buisness for years and always talks about how she misses the people she worked with... i would probably mess up all of the orders and/or spill a drink on somebody. but i'm also curious as to why there hasn't been a reality tv show about this yet, the movies have been hilarious!

    p.s. - i am a 2 drink orderer. oops, haha ;)

  4. ughhhh....i waitressed once.
    i loved this post because i completely related with every single one.
    people are stupid.

  5. I used to work on a stall until it drove me to the point of quitting it was so crazy. This reminds me a lot of that (:

  6. I have some good ones too but mostly pertaining to mishaps of fellow employees. Like looking at your food in the window and not even budging one bit to help run it. Or someone else constantly complaining to me about all the stuff that is making them mad during their shift (less annoying people just deal with it and write fun blogs about it later). Or my all time favorite. Customers who treat you like you are an angel and tell you how you are fantastic server and then leave terrible tips.

  7. Hahaha Kara- that is ok! The two drinks is usually only a pain when it is super busy ;)

    Eliot- Agreed, agreed, agreed!

  8. ooooh Emmy, I feel your pain. I had the privilege to be a server for 2 years and I got out. FAST. I definitely had all of these pet peeves. I worked at Cracker Barrel, "I would like a coffee, a small orange juice and a water" 3 drinks. 1 person. People have no idea how badly they treat an equal. If you expect the most perfect experience and service, cook your dinner at home. Thank you. haha. I've had tips stolen, checks that were over 100 tip. Ahh, the joys of serving.

  9. Oh my goodness Emily! I couldn't imagine working at Cracker Barrel for the very reason that persons pay at a cashier. I'd imagine that getting stiffed would happen quite often. I think I just served one of my last shifts last night ever! So that is exciting. It was a good experience, but time is up and it's time to move on!