Thursday 23 May 2013

Table for Two? Server Nightmares.

**Disclaimer: I am heavily sarcastic. If you are A) a horrible restaurant patron, or B) can't take a joke, move along. I also say f-ck a little bit, so again, faint of heart need not apply.**

I am a long-time server. Since I was 19, I have served off and on. I put myself through numerous rounds of school with serving, worked up some wicked biceps, forever ruined my toes and feet, and basically gave myself a free psychology degree. Oh, why is this? Let me put it to you this way: You will never fully understand human personality until you serve. Why is this? Because you will serve the salt of the earth people, the spawns of satan, the weirdest people you will ever lay eyes on, children, and everything in between. Recently, I started serving again, as a favor to my old employer who was short a few servers. I was considered one of her "stronger" servers (toot toot to my own horn), and she was wondering if I could help out for a couple shifts a week. Ahh sure, why not. Easy work for some extra cash? Let's do it.

Famous last words.

It didn't take long to be reminded of why I do not love the restaurant industry. In fact, it took my first table to remind me of this. There is a specific set of "rules" you need to follow in order to be a semi decent server, and they're pretty easy: smile, be polite and charming, get them their meal and drinks in a timely manner, and make sure to check up to ensure the quality is to their standards. So, my first table back. I'm witty banter-ing like an old pro, smiling, not being too clingy and not dissapearing for 20 minutes at a time, quality checking after their first few bites, you know, pretty much rocking it. So when time comes to clear their plates, you'll imagine my shock when I get this: "Uhm so yeah, we just wanted to bring to your attention, there was something in my steak. Like, the whole way through it." Oh? That's odd, and that's usually something you call to the server's attention when I ask the all important questions, "How is everything tasting? Is there anything I can do to make this meal better?" So, what was "the thing" throughout the whole steak? A beef tendon.

Stop the FREAKING PRESSES. There was an ANIMAL PART in your ANIMAL FLESH!? You'll have to excuse me while I go try to make sense of this.

What is my point? People say, the stupidest f-cking things. Ever. And when you are a server, you get front row access to all of them. For example, just a few quotables throughout my years:

"Okay so, um, you used to have a dish, and it had like, noodles and stuff. Do you still have it? I want that one. But not with the saucy stuff, I want a different sauce."

"I want a caeser salad, but I'm on a diet, so dressing on the side please." Slow clap, your abs should be coming in any day now.

"I was not satisfied with my meal and I will not be paying for it." - See, it doesn't work in your favor that you licked the plate clean.

"So, you're not just a server though, right? Like, you have an actual job too, right?" Um, go sit on a cactus.

"Oh I have gum, can you take it?" And then proceeds to put it. in. my. BARE HAND. I'm not even joking.

"What time do you close? Oh in 10 minutes? We'll order fast. All 10 of us." You are just a fresh crop of hell on earth, aren't you?

"Oh, don't touch that plate. Little Simon puked on it. Poor thing has the flu." UMMM. Are you F-CKING kidding me!? (I have a MAJOR puke phobia.)

"You want a f-cking tip? Learn how to be a good server." I was whispered this in my ear by the drunk guy I cut off, after throwing up in our bathroom. Rude hey? Well, I took the liberty of charging him a gratuity, so we're cool now.

"I. WANT. A. SAAAALAD WITH MY STEEEEEAK. DO. YOU. UNDERSTAAAND. ME" Yes, asshole, I'm not actually deaf or an idiot, I just missed the last word. Thank you though.

"Umm, what is this thing in my mashed potatoes? Is this a beef tendon!?!? I'm a VEGAN." Okay, two things. First, a Vegan in a steakhouse? Sounds like we are right up your alley. Second, that is a potato stem, we do not put beef bits in the vegetable sides. Dummy.

Now, here are some rules for you, the public. Yes, you are "always right", but sometimes, you're what we like to call "an asshole."

1. Just because you can make 10% in your head does not make it a decent tip. When you factor in the fact that we have to tip out all of the support staff, that 10% is now 5-7%, and we end up paying the restaurant to serve you. Now that, is Special. Also known as RUDE. If you cannot factor in a decent tip into your budget for the evening, go to subway. We make below minimum wage, did you know that? We make LESS than the pimply kid at McDonalds spitting on your burger, because we serve alcohol and accept tips. Don't make that an ironic rule, please. As an industry standard: 20% is a good tip, 15% means I did a good job, but not stellar. 10%, see above, and anything less you are getting the supreme stink eye. Behind your back of course, I am jaded, but I have manners.

2. Gift Cards do not include a tip. EVER. Do I sound greedy about tips? It's probably because we survive off of your tipping habits. You make the decision whether or not we go home and cry over our piling bills and upcoming rent, or breathe a little easier that we will still be broke, but at least can pay for the roof over our head. for this month.

3. Cutting you off of alcohol is just as embarrassing and awkward for us as it is for you. No, it's worse, because we have now guaranteed no tip because we're trying to keep you safe, and in doing so have pissed you off. If you can't handle your alcohol, don't drink. It hurts us just as much as you.

4. It's server, not waitress, and CERTAINLY, not servant. Get this straight.

5. I tell you my name at the beginning of your time with me. I don't recall telling you it was "Sweets", "Maam" - MAAM!? Screw you, "Honey", or "Sugar". Most certainly not "Hey You". Unless you are a southern gentleman, and it sounds charming as all get out, call me by my name.

6. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, pick a fight with your spouse at the restaurant. I mean seriously, COME ON. A few things will happen: We will watch, and pick sides. We will watch, and try to decipher what the fight is about. WE WILL WATCH.

7. Sit as long as you want to, hell, stay until we close. But when we give you your bill, pay it. Just pay it. We're not rushing you, you just may be our last table, and we just want to cash out and go home to our sweatpants.

8. As a general rule of thumb (there are exceptions to every rule), serving teenagers sucks.

9. Last, but not least, the cardinal rule: You do not f-ck with the person who is responsible for your food. Will I mess around with it, personally? No, I think that's absolutely revolting and it would make me gag to watch you eat it. I can only speak for myself though, others may have no problem watching you enjoy your spit alfredo. What will I do? Much more subtle, but just as good. Oh, you would like a decaf coffee at the end of your dinner, in which you spent the whole time telling me how stupid, useless and worthless I am? I may just forget about the decaf part. Have a nice sleep, mofo.

Serving has taught me many things. For instance, you will never see me losing my shit on a server. EVER. Even if she has just given me the worst service I have ever received, I know her. I know she may just suck at her job, but she may also be pulling a double shift on her feet, have 10 tables on the go, or any other reasons that are hindering her performance. Practice empathy and patience, this is not an easy job. I have worked with every type of human being by now, and let me tell you, I may be jaded about this, but I am nice to other people. Ruining someone else's day to make you feel better about your cold soup does nothing except make you look like the horrible person, not them. You catch more flies with honey.

Do none of these pertain to you? We love you. You are the reason we continue to serve, because you brighten our days, and restore our faith in the public. I have had those customers that make me laugh, smile, brighten my day and completely shatter my beliefs in how people treat servers. And look, are we all awesome at our job? Of course not. I have had some of the worst service in my life, numerous times actually. But, just as I approach every table like I have never been burned, you need to approach us like we are going to spin your world a little brighter, even if Velma messed up your order beyond belief last date night and subsequently ruined your life. My name is not Velma, it is Brianne; what can I get you to start off your evening?



  1. Hilarious, B! love it!!

  2. Totally Awesome!

  3. hahahha. oh the life of a server. been there... ! ;) hilarious post Bri.