Most of you know I work as a bartender/server, so a day in my shoes means my feet hurt. Well, a little some days. But truly my job is fantastic, like 95% of the time. I get to basically visit with people, hand them food and drinks, which everyone likes, and get cash money in return. Most people are wonderful, and I have been super fortunate to make friends and have people treat me like family over the years. What about that 5% of the time it isn’t fantastic? That’s a combination of crappy people, and the little things some people do…
When we greet you at the table, say hi or whatever it is we say, greet us back. When I say “Hi, how are you today?” and you reply with “Diet Coke” that is not how it goes, and not how your Mama raised you. It takes a second to reply. I will ask you what you want to drink, I swear I will get to it almost immediately. There is a flow to this, and you just disrupted it and now I hate you. I have made at least 10 judgements of how this is going to go, and you don’t look good in any of the scenarios. Listen to me for just a second, I likely told you I am getting you more napkins, or refilling your beverage and our whole exchange will go more smoothly if you recognize me as a human being.
If you’re sitting in a booth, please stop shoving everything I will have to clear from that booth as far inside as possible. Most of our booths at my restaurant have window sills. Don’t put dirty napkins over there. Or forks, or anything. You don’t want it in front of you? Hand it to me, I will take it away. Move it to the edge of the table, near me. I got it. I promise. It’s a whole thing, I swear, and you probably don’t even notice you do it, but you’re just making things harder than it needs to be. And I know you think you are being helpful stacking six plates on top of each other, with silverware and things in between each level, so it is like a messed up Jenga pile. You aren’t being helpful. We all have our way of clearing and stacking plates that we are good at carrying, it’s sort of like a game or challenge. Let us take care of that, please.
Along that same line, stop wedging, wadding up and placing napkins and things is all the ramekins. (The little sauce cups that dressings, salsas, etc. come in.) It’s gross. And someone, usually me, has to dig those nasty wads out of them. People do this all the time. Just stop it, please. And rolled silverware that so many restaurants hand out to every guest? Go ahead, unroll them. If you just dig the fork out, and leave it rolled with the knife in there? You haven’t saved us anything, and some server that had to spend 45 minutes after their last guest left rolling that silverware wants to stab you with that dull butter knife. Chances are, you took out the fork, and asked us for an extra napkin. Use that one, those little tabs holding it together are not an unbreakable forcefield. Then I will be happy to get you an extra napkin if you soil that one.
And please keep track of your phones, keys, wallets and any kids toys you have everywhere. I get it, sometimes things get left behind. We have a Lost and Found, it is about to become quite a collection of mittens, hats and gloves in the next few weeks. But no, I did not throw your iPhone 43 away unless it was stuffed in a ramekin. The more crap you carry into the restaurant with you means your odds of leaving something behind increases. Check your giant knock-off purse one more time before you berate me. And please, take your tongue rings with you after you eat too. You have no idea how many of those we have to grab the Haz Mat gloves for to take off a table. Yuck.
In our industry we have much to be aware of, being kind and courteous to people while being mindful of serving hot, correctly prepared meals and beverages to people who think of us as an afterthought. We are a means to an end for their nourishment, entertainment, and avoiding having to do dishes at home. I am happy to do all of that for you, and it is fairly lucrative for me. Some days are much easier than others, just like any job. Coming off weekend shifts is usually when all of these things come to a head for me. I see a lot on the weekends, it’s a hodge podge of different people and personalities. I guess I just want to make people aware that how we see you depends on how you see us. We just want to be recognized a little, and we don’t want to touch gross stuff more than we have to.
If you are heading out to eat this weekend, next weekend, or any time soon, give that person taking care of you a little extra smile and be aware of your area. We mostly like you, I swear. Kindness to us can make our shift better, and it makes your whole experience better. At least that is how I am trying to do it. Have a great day, everyone.