Now, before Aunt Becky was Aunt Becky or Nurse Becky or Mommy or even a Kept Woman, she was a waitress for nearly 10 years.
Like all somewhat bad things in my life, I had blocked out much of those years (and phobias) until I was talking to my friend Stef yesterday (go see her, she’s my hero, and possibly my new wife if I can con her into leaving her husband), and we went back and forth talking about all of the “good” times.
What’s most interesting about serving is that most of the complaints are universal. I’m quite certain that she and I did NOT in fact serve in the same establishment, but by our
intelligent conversation bitching, it just didn’t matter much.
Before I launch into a Server’s Shit List, I will tell you that it was one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had, mainly because unlike other fields I’ve pursued/been degreed in/fingerprinted for/licensed by the state of Illinois to do, it’s a complete “us vs. them” mentality (a far cry from hospital nursing which is more like “every person for his or her self”). The hours were awesome for a swinging bachelor, the parties were plentiful and the booze was free-flowing. Ah, the glory days.
Without further interruption or introspection I present to you A Server’s Shit List:
*Groups of women. Now, as I’ve gotten older, I have found many women that I do, in fact, really like to hang with (real-life or virtual), but as a rule, tables full of women will treat a female server (no matter how good she is) like complete shit (likely because they’re jealous or something) AND THEN sit in your best table for your whole shift, making damn certain that you don’t get anything more than the 13% tip (if you’re lucky) that they are going to give you (and never allowing you to turn your table and make some real money. Because they hate you and wish you were dead.
*Business-Type Lunchers. I hereby exclude anyone who comes in and has COCKTAILS with lunch, because they are awesome, tip well, and are generally not in a hurry. But the OTHER iced tea drinking sect (ALWAYS with the iced tea) sucks ass to wait on.
Firstly, they’re in a hurry and expect that you can somehow make THEIR order faster than all of the OTHER people who are also in a hurry (you can always tell who is used to getting their way at work, because they treat YOU like a minion). If you cannot, because the kitchen doesn’t operate like that, they will harass you approximately every 2-3 minutes by calling “MISS” at increasingly more grating intervals whenever you so much as think about walking near the table.
They are also known to snap their fingers at you to get your attention (not sure if there’s anything ruder than that for a waitress, or really, anyone. Last I checked, I am not a dog), which I always would snidely inform them that my name was, in fact, “Becky” and that I would respond in a much more timely manner if they would use that. And no, sir, your food isn’t up yet, I just checked. No sir, there is no problem with your order.
So yeah, my advice to people on a timetable for lunch (I dig it, I’ve been there) GET FAST FOOD (see that FAST in there? Work it) or pack a lunch. Don’t go to a sit down place and expect that anyone there will give a fuck if you’re in a hurry.
*Sunday Morning Church Crowd. Before you nail ME to any cross, let me assure you that I don’t mean that people who believe in God are assholes by nature. But typically, those who are coming out to eat in their Sunday Best after church treat the staff like shit (that’s EXACTLY what Jesus would do, right? I don’t think so.).
Nothing is ever right for them, ever, no matter what you do (you can’t pull each onion out of the French Onion Soup? WHY NOT, WAITRESS? Um, do you really want me to stick my hands in your soup anyway?). I’m not certain why going to church makes people so damn unpleasant (I’ve always thought of church as uplifting), but the shoe fits here. It just does.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that people that go out to eat at ANY TIME on a Sunday are pretty much the bottom of the barrel. They tip crappily, they run you ragged with their stupid requests, they leave you a religious pamphlet instead of a real tip (this inflames me because it’s essentially telling me that whatever I am doing is Wrong and that they are Right. Now, I’m a nurse, right? And I served when I was in school, but you NEVER saw ME telling a fat person NOT to order Country Fried Steak or a Bacon Cheeseburger, because they really shouldn’t be doing that. It’s a Bad Idea.).
*The My Soup Isn’t Hot Enough, Waitress People. Sometimes I like soup, and maybe I’m a weirdo because I don’t give a shit if it’s not piping hot (hate that phrase), but these people seemed to think that I was both aware that their soup was Not Hot and served it anyway! The nerve of that WAITRESS!
Firstly, I didn’t stick my fingers in your damn soup. Would you really want my grubby hands near something you were about to put into your mouth? I didn’t think so.
Secondly, the soup is not your meal. It comes WITH your meal, and although I appreciate that you like it anyway (whether you paid exclusively for it or not), get the fuck over it (and yourself).
Ask me to heat it up POLITELY and I will. Demand that I heat up something that came frozen from a BAG (not homemade, sorry), and I will trundle back to the kitchen with it, microwave it for AT LEAST 5 minutes and return it to you with a biting smile on my face, while I say a prayer that it burns your mouth.
* The You Made An Error Waitress And Ruined My Life Forever People. I’m sure that you don’t often think of the wait-staff as people with a life outside of meeting and exceeding all of your stupid demands, but I assure you with the utmost certainty that we do. We’re just usually good at covering it up when we’re having a bad day, after all, you’re not paying me to tell you about MY day, are you (I hate it when servers want to talk about their days. It annoys me, so I never did it)?
Servers (no matter how bad they are) are people too, remember, and as such, sometimes they MAKE MISTAKES. Trust me, once they realize it, their heart drops into their stomach as they scramble to make it right, because no matter who is at fault, it’s your server that has to ultimately come back to you and tell you that something is wrong. And then be screamed at about it like THEY DID IT ON PURPOSE (trust me, this is how I make money. My paycheck nets me about $0.46 every two weeks. Therefore I would never jeopardize my only livelihood on purpose).
Specifically, I can remember when I worked in a pizza place, and I’m not sure which side had messed up (I always wrote down my orders, not because I needed to, but because I always wanted to be able to reference them should I need to later on. Comes in very handy, I swear.), but what I had written was apparently not what the table of old farts had ordered. When I dropped off the pizza (not realizing my error) and came back to check on them, they treated me as though I had personally killed their dog and then laughed about it to their face while they informed me that no matter WHAT my notepad said, they DID NOT order this.
The following day, I ran into this
spawn of Satan couple at the pharmacy where they recognized me as the person who had ruined EVERYTHING IN THEIR WHOLE LIFE and GLARED AT ME SILENTLY until I made a rude gesture to their face and walked away. I’ll take shit at work, but I refuse to take shit from people outside of work.
My other horror story is about the table of 10 that came in, immediately demanded soda and bread and cheese sticks (Hi, nice to meet you, too!). I got all of their appetizers ready, and made an error in balancing the tray when setting it down and it promptly fell over. Not a huge deal, right? I didn’t hurt anyone, didn’t drop anything anywhere but the floor, and promptly fixed it.
The head guy from the table tried to insist that I wipe marinara sauce from his shoe (you don’t know who you’re dealing with, fucker, but I don’t do that for ANYONE, let alone a 5% tip, which I am sure you’re going to give me IF I’M LUCKY), and even though I apologized and got them fresh bread (which was free) and cheesesticks, they left me a dollar. On an $80 tab.
* The Hot Tea People. To be fair, I like a cuppa hot tea now and again, so much so that I have a huge drawer full of it here at home, and once in awhile I will order it when I go out (when I was pregnant). But every time I ordered it, I always followed that up with an “I’m sorry” and a “I won’t complain about what you give me.”
In theory, hot tea shouldn’t be such a big deal to prepare. It’s hot water, a tea bag, lemon, cream and (if you have it) honey. The first problem is (much like real estate) location, location, location. Nothing you need for this is ANYWHERE close to each other. Fine, so you go and make a pot of hot water, grab a tea bag, run to the back for lemon and cream, search high and low for honey, only to realize that you’re out of it, go back, water’s still brewing (yes, you have to MAKE hot water and it always takes FOREVER) so you go grab the other drinks for the table. Then, when the water is done, you pour it into a METAL CONTAINER (metal, I should not have to tell you CONDUCTS HEAT) burn your hand in 10 places, decide you don’t have time for a band-aid as your table is looking around the place wondering where the hell their drinks and server are, and when you drop it off (after carefully putting the hot water down so it only burns YOU again) you realize you needed a spoon.
When you return with the spoon, this is what you hear:
“I wanted decaf hot tea. Is this decaf?”
“Where’s the honey?”
“Don’t you have any other flavors of hot tea?”
“You should have more flavors of decaf hot tea.”
“Is this decaf?”
“I want more lemon.”
“I need more cream. You didn’t give me enough.”
“Waitress, THIS WATER IS COLD. HOW COULD YOU SERVE ME COLD WATER FOR TEA. I SAID I WANTED DECAF HOT TEA. DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME PROPERLY? IF I’D WANTED ICED TEA I WOULD HAVE ORDERED IT.”
“This cream is warm. I want cold cream.”
“Where’s the honey?”
“IS THIS DECAF, WAITRESS?”
“I SAID I WANTED DECAF HOT TEA.”
As you can see, the second problem with hot tea is that the people who order it are complete dickheads.
If you don’t believe me and think I’m overreacting here, just say to any server that you know the phrase, “Hot Tea,” and if they don’t shudder and look around for something to kill, I will personally apologize for making this generalization.
*The My Kid’s Shit Smells Like Roses People. As we all know, I do happen to have 2 children of my own, and have been known to take them out to eat
occasionally many times each week, and I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank each and every shitty parent whose brats sat in my section and reminded me how NOT to raise my kids.
Let me make a general disclaimer that my big son has been known to be somewhat special needs at times, so parents whose children suffer from real disorders and not just “My Kid Is A Complete Fucking Asshole, Because I Am A Really, REALLY Shitty Parent Complex” get a pass here.
But, for each and every fucking piece of shit kid that sat in my section, said “Bring me a Coke” rather than “Can I please have a Coke,” dumped red pepper and cheese all over the table, tripped me while I was carrying a large tray, SHOOK their drink cup at me to indicate that I should refill their soda rather than use their voice, screamed uncontrollably, ran around like a damn banshee on crack, and generally behaved like a Fuck Head, you all should really be ashamed of yourselves.
Don’t you DARE look at me with that Aw-Shucks look when your kids act like fucks, because I will never say “Oh, they’re just being kids,” because due to a little thing I like to call Laying The Smack Down, my kids don’t act like that. Or if they do, we leave. Immediately. No matter how hungry we are.
Crawl back into your cave, people, and stay there until your kids are adults who corn hole picnic tables. Then you’ll know that you done raised ‘em right.
Shit, that was better than sex, it was so relieving to complain about. I figure that most of my readers who haven’t served before will think I’m being harsh, but I assure you, this is what happens (not that YOU’D behave this way UNLESS YOU NEEDED TO, which I understand too).
So dish to Aunt Becky about YOUR work horror stories. I’m down for a good laugh right about now.