Sunday, July 31, 2011

Waitressing Recap

Here, in no particular order, are entertaining tidbits I share with you in a segment I'll call

Events from the Blur of the Previous Few Days:

(and, let me just say, these events were so strenuous, and I worked so hard (and for so long) that the monumental has finally occured - * I broke my work shoe (the strap that holds it on):


Now, on to the Events...

We Interrupt This Conversation to Bring You Your Server:

This is an every day occurance, of course; I approach a table in mid-conversation and, instead of finishing the remark at hand and giving me their attention so that I can get their drink order and disappear from their lives again like the miserable, insignficant servant I am, they attempt to finish  their entire conversation before giving me the grace of their time.  Because, really, what else have I got to do?  So, I stand there, pen poised, incredulous, eager, anticipating, breathing, waiting (ah! so that's where it comes from!) for them to acknowledge my presence - the apparently totally inconspicuous, 5'7", 145 lb (or thereabouts) grown, human woman standing within inches of their elbows. 

When this particular group did get to ordering, I still wasn't allowed to do my job, because Mr. Man took over the whole damn show.  He apparently was so damn excited about our sweet goddamn potato that he had to force it on the woman across from him, interrupting my order-taking (you know, the questions, the prompts for a side order, etc.) in order to give her his testimonial on the SGP (sweet goddamn potato).

Also, for this particular incident, when the women finally ordered, she was in such a hurry to order and be done and get down to the real point of being in a restaurant (which is, apparently, not the eating), she answered with a wave of her hand, "Oh, you know, whatever.." in response to one of my more pertinenant questions (I forget, but, along the lines of "What would you like on your sandwich?").  And I thought,

Lady...Really?  Whatever?  Do you really mean to say that?  Because do you have ANY idea what atrocity from the back I could bring to the table and make manifest before you in response to "Oh, whatever..."?  Do you have any idea what's growing on the shelves back there?  In my present mood, what with the ignoring and the interrupting and the hand waving, "Whatever..." is NOT a safe bet for you with me right now. 

Next, we have...

Failure to Recognize Awesome Service:

Again, this is a constant, but, for this particular incident, was on a much more acute basis so as to be examplary of my general experience as a server. 

I went to a table of gentlemen, guys that look like they perform hard labor in a harsh climate (it's been real hot outside lately), and got their order.  I'd already gotten their drinks, some rolls, and now I had their order so the next step was to go to the computer and put it in.  As I'm standing at the computer, I hear, from behind me, the sucking sound of a straw meeting an ice cube without the buffer of liquid.  It was a sad, sad sound, and it had essentially the same affect on me that a wailing child has on a new mother with her breasts full of milk.  My ears pricked, and as I tapped the last notes of their order, I made a mental note to go back by the table with a full glass of Coke before running off to the back to perform my next essential task.

Now, let it be noted, I had *just* sat that previous class of Coke down.  He hadn't had it three seconds before he'd finished it like a slave on a pirate ship, or a whore with her top unbuttoned, or...


So, I go back by the table, fresh glass of Coke, and I sit it down, and, I admit, I'm proud of myself, I'm feeling a bit like the Bionic Waitress with, like, maybe a special chip in my head that detects empty glasses, and, this is what I get:

No, not a thank you.  Snort.  Ha.  I get, from the guy across from empty-Coke-glass guy, in an irritated fashion, like I'm some sort of slack-ass server, "Can we get some more rolls??"

I was stunned.  I just brought your table it's second Coke in five seconds, I literally responded to the sound of an empty glass within seconds, a glass that was emptied in, like, seconds, and you're giving me attitude for more rolls?  You haven't been here TWO GOD DAMN MINUTES!


The Revoking

So, the other day, we had a party scheduled, but no particular server scheduled to wait the party.  There were only two servers on the floor, the opening server and me, and guess who got shit on?

The one holding the "shit here" cup, that's who. 


It was a group of 17 people, and even though we have a rule (suggestion? lip-service?) somewhere that says that two servers should have taken that party, there weren't two servers, there was just me, again, the one holding the "shit here" cup. 

I did pretty well, and I'll skip over some of the other specifics to get to the really gnarly part at the end.

The party was separate checks (Jesus. with 17 people?), with gratuity included.  Now, when you make a reservation, you are given the OPTION of having gratuity included.  Therefore, when people come in for a reservation, it is assumed that the party is aware of whether or not their gratuity has been included.  If the person who made the reservation doesn't inform the separately paying members of their party that they chose for gratuity to be included, statement of this fact is printed ON THE BILL.  So, everybody should know.

This ain't necessarily so, though.

Case in point, after cashing the party out, receiving bits of cash here and there in addition to the included gratuity, I went up to the mess left behind and started bussing dishes off the table. There was a small group remaining, chatting, and out of this small group, one of the men, who I'd actually given particular attention to that day because he was one of the more personable members of the party, called me over by "MISS?"

Let me just say that, nothing good ever comes from "Miss?"

I approached the man, and he informed me that he wanted to "revoke" one dollar of what he gave me in cash because he "wasn't aware that gratuity was included."

"Oh, yes sir!" I say, and take out my little server wallet, open it, asking how much he gave me. I intend on returning the entire amount of ill-gotten gain.

"Three, but, I just need back one."

Ahhhhhh so, asshole.  You want to make a point.  I see. 

Wait.  What's the point again?  That you didn't read your bill?  That the host of your lunch didn't inform you that gratuity was included?  I'm sorry.  I'm not getting what your point is here.  That you need that dollar later?  The snack machine back at the office, perhaps?  You didn't get dessert.  Or perhaps there's a g-string later tonight or this weekend that needs some attending to?

Whatever. Here's your dollar back. Choke on it.  Shit weeds. 

"I was kidding."

Approach table.  Get drink orders.  Things go smoothly.  Seat one, a gentleman, orders two drinks - a water and an unsweet tea - and kinda chuckles.  Okay.  Kinda odd.  But whatever.  I do odd on a regular basis, working here.  I go get the drinks, including the one extra for Apparently Really Thirsty and, Also, Divided, Man who Chuckles.  I set the drinks down on the table, seat one first.  Water.  Unsweet tea.  I go on to set the rest of the drinks down, noting that Chuckles is no longer chuckling, but has furrowed his brow and is moving the unsweet tea to various spots around the table - toward the woman in front of him, who shakes her head, and then the next woman, who does the same. 

Determined to out the problem, and, already knowing what it is, I say, "Sir?  I thought you wanted an unsweet tea and a water."

"Oh,"  he blinks up at me,

"I was just kidding."

Clearly, people do not recognize the kind of Real Shit we deal with, including multiple drink orders for one person, and ridiculous, snow-flake syndrome requests such as "lime" or "orange slice" for the otherwise ordinariness of unsweet tea and diet cokes.  Just take the damn lemon.  It's citrus.  Get over it.  Also, drink one drink at a time. 

And, finally...

Sex Over 50, also Old Ladies Drinking

We've had a rash of Old People Drinking Beer lately.  Which is fine.  I'd rather that than cups of coffee, but, they also tend to be the demanding types who leave two dollars for a group of five.  Actually, the coffee drinkers do that, too.  Actually, I think it's just an old woman thing.  I'm thinking of my grandmother now.  I'm pretty sure she fucked her waitresses, too.  Not in lesbian way, I haven't been able to determine any pedigree for my condition, but more in a fucked over, kind of way and, no, not bent over, fucked over, like...

You know what I mean. 

So, these old ladies were celebrating a birthday, and they had beer.  Birthday girl, in particular, didn't care which kind, just beer, so I brought her what her comrades both were having - Heiniken.

Ha!  I loved it.

And, last night, a group of Old People came up and sat down after vacating the bar, fresh brews in hand.  There was a birthday there, too, and they bought him a gift, a book, and he unwrapped it at the table, and just as I was bringing the bottles of ketchup and steak sauce, and it was a really rather lovely book really, it was,

"Sex After 50"

Right there, in big red lettering (so that someone "after 50" could read it, you know, large print, and flashy, I guess like maybe they forgot their glasses while they were trying to have sex), it was on the front cover, and there I am with my eyeballs all over the place, setting down the ketchup, and one of the Old Ladies I think saw me see it and I think I saw out of the corner of one of my eyeballs that wasn't reading the title of the book (I mean, who couldn't? It was *HUGE* and in red-lettering), I think I saw her smile it that sort of self-satisfied, the-waitress-just-saw-what-feisty-freaky-over-fifty-Old-People-we-are sort of way, which is exactly the way I would/will be if I were/when I am

over fifty. 

* It should be noted, I plan on having some sort of ceremony for my shoes - I'm not going to just toss them.  I wanted fire to be involved, but I don't think they'll let me get away with that.  I'm thinking maybe I'll just gather my coworkers on a slow day out back near the dumpsters, say a few words, and toss them as dramatically as I can (hopefully they'll catch the sun as they fly through the air) into the dumpster, which, really, is the only fitting place for a pair of work shoes.


Kerry Fifer said...

I feel and understand your pain. I think you should write a book of short stories based on your serving days. What could we cal it? The waitress chronicles? @#$% a server has to endure? I don't know but I think you need to write it because not only are you talented at painting a very vivid story you made me laugh so hard honey! :)

Paula Schuck said...

Oh amber once upon a time I was a waitress too. It was university and I needed fast money and it lasted five years or some such hideous amount of time. It stunk hugely and I know of these customers you speak of. I met the couple who during rush hour came in for all you can eat soup and salad and demanded instant refills every three seconds and then whined because refill number four was slower than the rest. Excuse me but I do knew my jackass tip was going to be one dollar so screw you if you think I am busting my pretty twenty five year old ass for your shitty buck. And I met the ass dude who argued with me about lobsters and actually stated enforce tossing his Amex at me -I am high and mighty ( not really) more like I am a big big man and you are a pissy little gal and I laugh at you and simply must take my frustrations out on you prior to returning home where I will beat my wife up.

Serving/ waitressing customer service sucks!

I am very sorry for the assholes in the world. I choose not to be one or raise one. (that last dude had me in tears)


sw said...

If Mr. Peabody could take me back in time; I'd ask the dude to explain the joke to me. I don't get it. Thank you for playing... Next!

BTW... capcha is 'GD Macro'