I’ve waited my fair share of tables in this lifetime. When we found out I was pregnant with Talia, I made the decision to set the bakery aside (we don’t have a storefront yet, we operate out of the house in compliance with Cottage Laws and a kitchen the dogs can’t get into) and go back to waiting tables so we could get some money in the bank. When you own your own business, you don’t take a regular paycheck….or any paycheck, sometimes for several years! (Just a side note, when I was hired where I work now, I told them I was knocked up! I’m not a complete jerk!)
Anyway, over the course of several thousand tables in my career, I’ve become qualified to write this post. I firmly believe everyone should have to wait tables at least one in their lifetime to see exactly what it is the general public puts us through. Most people seem to think we are uneducated idiots who can’t do anything else…so we wait tables. Guess what? WRONG! Not only have the majority of servers (not waitresses or waiters…..but SERVERS) are educated and work two jobs, are paying back student loans, looking for another job, or sometimes, they just needed a change. One of the women I work with is an actual doctor who works waiting tables on the weekends because of student loans. A doctor. Yes, a medical doctor.
Throughout a shift, a typical server goes through a lot. People talk down to us, using the bathroom is a gift from the food service gods, and you usually have to hold it an entire shift, people will send something back which means we have to hear it from the kitchen staff, something will spill, someone will be unhappy, some child will throw up and we have to clean it up. There are also the people who leave the verbal tip. A verbal tip is the “Oh my, you’re a wonderful server and we love having you, thank you so much, what a great experience…..” and then leave a 10% tip like they did us a favor…but that’s a whole other post.
Beyond people thinking I’m dumb (yes, I once had a man make a nasty comment about how proud of me my father must be……let’s say that didn’t end well for him as I was baking in the morning, writing my book in the afternoon, then waiting tables at night to make ends meet while I built my bakery) and leaving shitty tips (I swear people think we make more than 2.13 an hour, which always goes to taxes!) it’s the people who waste my time by being dumb, I can’t stand.
For example……I have this conversation several times a shift. I hate when there are more than two questions per order because it can be like pulling teeth to get it out of you. Obviously you need to tell me what you want, I don’t read minds, or I wouldn’t be waiting tables to begin with….
Customer: House special breakfast
Me: Bacon, ham, or sausage?
Customer: What kind of sausage is it?
(BTW, does it really freaking matter? It’s ALL pig)
Customer: No patties?
(Don’t you think I would tell you if we also had patty sausage???????????????)
Me: Just links
Customer: Oh, I like patties
Me: I just wait tables. I don’t do the food order (yes, I’ve said this out of shear exasperation, but you have to be a real jerk for me to say it).
Customer: I’ll have bacon. Is it thick cut?
Me: (completely over this) It’s whatever you want it to be………
Customer: I’ll take that then.
Me: Grits or potatoes?
Customer: Are your grits good?
Me: Would I tell you if they weren’t?
Customer: Well what are the potatoes like? Are they shredded or diced?
Me: It’s all potato. What does it matter?
Customer: Can I have fruit?
Me: It’s an upcharge of a dollar.
Customer: I’ll have the grits as long as they are real, not instant, and not too much butter, but bring butter on the side.
Me: How do you want your eggs? (Yes, I’m ignoring the rest of the grits conversation.)
Customer: hmmmmmmmmm……ummmmmmm………I guess fried.
Me: (Irritated because you’re in your 50’s and should know how you want your eggs…..) FRIED HOW?
Customer: Well, I want the outside done and the inside a little runny, but not too runny….
GUESS WHAT FOLKS, I’M NOT COOKING YOUR EGGS AND WE DON’T HAVE A BUTTON IN THE SYSTEM FOR ASSHOLE EGGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: Over medium?
Customer: Yes, but not too runny. Is that over medium?
Me: Sure. (I should not have to answer that question). White, Wheat, or Rye? (WARNING: THIS IS WHERE I THINK ABOUT THROWING JELLY PLATES AT PEOPLE)
Customer: (With a confused look) White, wheat, or rye?
Me: TOAST. WHAT KIND OF TOAST DO YOU WANT? (I really should not have to explain this. What other food item comes in white, wheat, or rye options????????????????)
Customer: Oh…….um….do you have pumpernickel?
Me: (DID I OFFER YOU PUMPERNICKEL?) No.
Customer: Oh, regular toast then.
WHAT THE HELL IS REGULAR TOAST? IT WAS NOT ONE OF THE OPTIONS I GAVE YOU, AND REGULAR TOAST IS SUBJECTIVE.
I’ll be honest, this makes me more mad than the eggs. I still don’t understand the eggs. When I was a kid, my dad gave me scrambled eggs. I decided I like my eggs to not be wet, so I stuck with scrambled eggs. At 33 years old, when someone asks me how I want my eggs, I just say scrambled. I don’t think about it, I don’t ponder it, I don’t give a road map on making eggs. I just say scrambled. When our baby is old enough to have eggs…..she gets scrambled eggs until she learns how she wants her eggs, which she can figure out on her own time. If you are over the age of 13, you should know how you like your eggs. You should also know, one family will consider white bread to be “regular” when another family down the street will consider wheat bread to be “regular.”
My father likes white bread. It’s how he made me toast when I was a kid. If you ask me for “regular” toast, I will be nice and give you white toast. If I’m in a foul mood and I’m tired of you giving me advanced directives on eggs, I’m probably going to send out an English Muffin, because again, I’m Italian, I’m from New England, I can’t stand stupid, and we don’t have a button on the computer for “regular” toast.