Posts Tagged 'service industry'

Things I fucking hate (about being a server)


I love my job. This week. I have known my boss for years. She is younger than me, she is hotter than me, and she is (except for one week out of the month) generally pleasant to work for. Being young and driven causes her to ride my ass about appearing on our work website on Facebook promoting our restaurant. Every week she posts a picture and an employee “profile”, listing our favorite house beer, the entrĂ©e we enjoy most, and an interesting personal fact. Fabulous idea. Unless you are pushing 40 and are totally insecure about announcing to the entire internet that you are pushing 40 and still work in the perceived peon stage of the restaurant industry.
Don’t get me wrong. I am proud of what I do, make a lot of money, and so enjoy the flexibility my job allows with three kids and the husband. I do, however, sometimes feel like people expect an explanation. Which they should not. More often, I feel like people owe ME an explanation why they are such assholes. Hence, my list of things I fucking hate about being a server.

1. Bitter bitches. You know the type. Office ass. Office affairs. A general distaste for anyone or anything younger, skinnier, or happier than they think they are. Primary attributes? Condescending banter, unnecessary requests, and a predetermined worthless gratuity.

2. Customers who say, “I’ll just have a water for now”. Ummm… yeah. You are having water. You are not going to pony up the $2.75 for a soft drink or a tea. You are having water. Water drinkers almost require a page to themselves. Hot water with lemon? What the fuck?? Who drinks hot water? It is as much of a pain in the ass as preparing hot tea. Without the $2.75. Water with lemon? I can handle that. Water with a plate of extra lemons? Come on! Get a fucking lemonade. Cheap cheap cheap! And the variations of water? Water with lemon, water with no ice, water with no ice and lemon, water with lime, water with a twist, a soda water with lemon and lime…. really? Fuck off.

3. The splitting of the checks. Generally, I do not mind requests for separate checks. Unless you fuck with me. Today, I had a table of ten that requested separate checks and I happily obliged. Then, seat #1 wanted to pay for seat #5 and #8. Seat #2 wanted to split appetizer with seat #6. Seat #7 had office ass and the rest paid with cash and were suddenly in a hurry.

4. Fighting over the check and trying to make ME decide who is going to win.

5. Whenever I say I’ll be right back with another Pepsi, water, Iced tea, etc. And then someone asks me for a Pepsi, water, Iced tea, or etc.

6. The verbal tip. Need I say more? Because I will…

7. Being an “older’ server. I know those young boys lament because they got the old server. I remember being 21, damn it!! I had a table that loved me last week. The lady says to me, “You’re a great server! Probably because you are a little older”.
Not a compliment, honey.

8. Regular customers who strive to order off the menu. I have one customer I hate spieling our daily special to. Without fail, he will ask me if he can get it in a wrap. I’d like to lie and say I do not know why this annoys me. He annoys me. That is the problem. He is a good tipper, though, so I spiel away and he gets the special in the wrap. And fresh squeezed orange juice. What the fuck?

9. One redhead I work with. She may elicit a page for herself soon.

10. Grown men that pay the bill with a Disney credit card. Pussy.

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104.8…yeah, I’m getting a sticker

So I have run 4 marathons. Maybe 5. I can’t quite remember. I did not start running until I was about 24. I don’t really even know why. I used to get stoned and go walk (probably trying to walk it off) at a nearby park. One day, there was an athletically fit woman in front of me. She would alternate between walking and running and for shits and giggles I tried to keep up. And I did. My walks turned into runs, the marijuana turned into beer, and the pounds began to drop. I was never overweight; just never really fit. After I started running, I could eat and drink to my hearts content. I would run about 4 miles every day before my 4:00 (4:10) shift and then go to Tim Horton’s to get an iced cappuccino. Until someone ruined it all for me by telling me how many calories were in an iced cappuccino. Dick.
A couple of years later, I read an article in the daily newspaper about the ideal candidate for a marathon. (Runs 3-5 miles, 3-4 times a week). Hmmm. I could do this.
So I started training. Sort of. The big day came and I had no idea what to expect. The rules stated no headphones were allowed. Of course, this was only for the serious runners trying to win. This was also 10 years ago so I do not even remember if I had an Ipod then. I think my longest run before the actual race was 17 miles. Maybe. So the husband, who was just the boyfriend at the time, asked what time he should be at the finish line. I did some seriously piss poor math and told him about 3 1/2 hours after the start time. Poor guy! He complained about shin splints for a week from straining to see the finish line I was no where near reaching.
The highlight of marathon #1, which took me 5 hours, 11 minutes and 31 seconds to complete, can be culminated in one word; Twizzlers. People are really nice during marathons. Thousands of people line the path of the race, some cheering; some passing out water, Gatorade, or stomach repulsing “power shots”. Every year I do not run a marathon I vow to wake up ass early on the Sunday of the race and go tirelessly root for other crazy ass runners. I also vow to spectate with a giant bucket of individually wrapped Twizzlers to hand to the runners around mile 18. Life changing.
The worst part about running a marathon? The aftermath. The aches and pains were quickly soothed by a few Bass pale ales and a ghetto bath. (I did wait until I made it to the parking garage to shed my thermal/tinfoil looking blanket thing and smoke a cigarette.) I am talking about the strange phenomenon that makes people believe that once one has run a marathon he or she will want to do it again with you. But I am a sucker. And that led me to Marathon #2.
I credit the term ‘ghetto bath’ to my best Asian friend’s husband. He so cheapens my marathon thrills. This guy runs ULTRA marathons. What the fuck? As if 26.2 (flat) miles is not enough?? This chap runs 50 mile marathons uphill in the snow in Kentucky. Fuck that. That is not normal. But then again he is married to an Asian woman. Before he quit smoking, he would call soaking in the tub after a race with a cigarette and a beer a ghetto bath.
So the Asian talked the Jew into running the Pittsburgh marathon. Sounds like a bad ethnic joke, right? I concur. Running 26.2 miles through the hills of Pittsburgh is no fucking joke. The marathon took place in May. In March, I bruised my ribs at kid #3’s birthday party. Fucking trampoline. Honestly worse than childbirth. Every time I attempted to move, cough, laugh, or BREATHE I winced in pain for almost two months. The ribs seriously put a damper on training for the marathon.
But of course the Asian one upped me. She had decided not to run because her and Mr. Ultra Marathon found out they were expecting. Two weeks before the marathon, the unthinkable happened. All jokes aside, I would rather break my ribs than ever lose a baby. I was not getting out of Pittsburgh; the bitch decided to run.
Pittsburgh. I was actually born in Pittsburgh but moved when I was 3. I do not remember Pittsburgh. If I had, there is no way in Hell I would have agreed to run a marathon there. The best thing about the Pittsburgh marathon? The goody bag! Socks and snacks. The morning of the marathon came early and humid. It drizzled throughout the entire run(thank god for those a-cups!)
The worst thing about the Pittsburgh marathon? While I appreciate encouragement and cheers, please let me tell you how many times we heard the phrase “That was your last hill!” clearly shouted by fucking liars. And the checkpoints were metric. Kilometers add up much more quickly than miles. The Asian and I kept our eyes on the prize. The prize? Gummy bears. Oranges. We missed the bananas and it took us so long we missed the BEER! Apparently a bar towards the final stretch was passing out shots of beer as the runners made their final descent. At least we got the pretzels! I know it is terrible to gauge a marathon based on the food spectators pass out, but really; it is life-changing. Aside from a bomb threat and Mr. Ultra Marathon finishing significantly before us, the Pittsburgh marathon was a triumph.
Or so I thought. This leads me to marathon #3; my favorite marathon. Asian decided we had to run our local FLAT marathon to salvage our (I thought excusable) less than desirable Pittsburgh finish time. The marathon was in October, 5 very short months later. Sigh. I finagled a local businessman into sponsoring what was becoming an expensive habit of mine. Really? Who pays $80 to run 26 miles? This time? Not us! Let’s talk about feeling like “Pretty Woman”. This guy was fantastic! Seven us ran in state of the art running shirts bearing his company logo. He did not stop there. He paid all of our entry fees and took us to buy brand new running shoes and shorts! No clearance rack for me!
One of the girls running this time was a good friend of mine I worked with. We would run after work and then drink beer behind our restaurant in the bowels of the alley where all the employees took smoke breaks. She is quite the Pretty Young Thing- blonde hair, blue eyes, a model smile, and a great figure. PYT is also more than 10 years younger than I am. Running with her sometimes pisses me off. I do not look cute when I run. My curly hair frizzes, I sweat in my right armpit, and I certainly can’t maintain mascara or lipstick. We would run 10 miles and PYT would look like she just finished a photo shoot in front of a fan. Fucking anomaly.
Fast forward to the night before marathon. I made pasta and everyone came over to eat. The plan included plenty of carbs and an ample amount of rest. PYT stayed at my house to ensure a timely awakening. Note to self: Do not plan to run a marathon the morning after a very important Saturday night Buckeye football game. Note to self #2: Bottle of wine #1 should have been plenty. The husband had gone over to a friend’s house to watch the game because he figured we would go to bed early. He figured wrong.
He arrived home after midnight. Because the Buckeyes were losing at halftime, PYT and I decided to run and grab a second bottle of wine. When husband walked in, PYT and I were covered in green glitter that matched our company logo shirts and were drunkenly dancing to the Beastie Boys. It was a rough morning.
PYT drove us downtown; exceeding the speed limit while drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, and putting mascara on simultaneously. I feebly drank my coffee and prayed for Twizzlers.
The highlight of marathon #3? Bagels at mile 10. I seriously do not think I would have finished otherwise. After the race, a few of us went out to eat. PYT and I beelined for the restroom. I beat her back to the table where I thankfully ordered a beer. The waiter from hell made a note of my request and then asked me what my daughter wanted to drink. Referring to PYT. Okay. I just ran 26.2 miles for the third time extremely hung over. And you refer to my friend as my daughter? Albeit she is younger but I certainly do not look 20 years older than her! (I hope.) Really, fucko, you have no idea what I would have tipped you for that cold ass beer. Of course, in his very meek defense, PYT did finish the race with her lipstick intact.
I ran my last marathon 2 years ago. Marathon #4. I imagine if I ever gave birth again, I would feel the same way about kid #4 as I did about marathon #4. I already had 3, what’s the point? I begrudged you, marathon #4. I did not look forward to Twizzlers(although some of my very good friends were watching the race and per my request handed me a fistful of Twizzlers!), I did not look forward to the empty promise of a beer shot towards the end, and it was a bye week for the Buckeyes. I did indeed enjoy training with my newest running partner who left me at mile 5. I did enjoy meeting up with one of my best friends who ran #3 with us(Mr. Ultra Marathon’s sister). I did enjoy the icy cold beer after the race was over. But the novelty seemed to have diminished.
I still run and I like it again. I wish I could say I would never run another marathon. But I probably will. I should also probably say something here about the fact that I do love Asians. And the Asian and Mr. Ultra Marathon are proud parents of a beautiful one year old boy who will be running 100-mile triathlons by the time he is 9.

The thick black American Express

I have worked at an upscale casual restaurant for the last four years. I have been a server for almost 17 years. Yes; I have war stories. I like my job. I can put up with almost anybody for an hour. The fact that I cannot hear in my left ear definitely helps! Sometimes, all people want is for you to smile and nod anyway.
I like my job on several different levels. First of all, it is not hard work to me. Simplified, I take your order, bring you your food, fill your drinks, and clear your plates. Most people hate receiving bad service. I love it. I am also Jewish. Jew trumps waitress; I will still leave 20% if I receive mediocre(or bad) service but I will graciously over tip if service is sensational. I believe the definition of good service can also be debatable. My definition of sensational service? I never run out of beer and I do not hear my server’s life story. I strive to do the same; be efficient and shut the fuck up.
I also like the people I work for, most of the people I work with, and I have a several regular customers I truly enjoy. Especially the ones with the thick black American Express cards.
The thick black American Express bears no credit limit. Whenever I open a guest check and catch a glimpse of that heavy piece of plastic, I instantly recount every minute of my previous tableside manner and pray I was as nice as I think I was. And you know the saying ‘once you go black…’ Yeah, I never forget the face of a thick black American Express holder.
So one day two gentleman I immediately recognized as said cardholders sat in my section for the second or third time. They were pleasantly surprised when I remembered what they both wanted to eat and drink. Their order was prompt, their drinks kept full, and I said little. The older of the gentlemen usually pays; he is distinguished looking but does not bear much resemblance to Kevin Spacey nor is he bald which I prefer. The younger one will probably look just like him in 20 years. I cruise by the table to refill their ice in their Iced Tea and the older one smiles and says to me, “You’re so good to us! I could just take you home”.
My response? I laugh lightly and say, “I’d probably come”.
And then I stood there.
Are you fucking kidding me? THOSE are the words I chose?
To say I was embarrassed would be an understatement. My face immediately flushed as I struggled to recover from such an obvious blunder. And I realized I could not.


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