And, another shift, another post and another set of pet peeves.
I survived my camping weekend, though admittedly not without it taking some prisoners. My immunity is being held hostage, and in its place I have a sore throat, a stuffy nose and a chest that feels as if someone is sitting on it the whole time. Good times, good times.
It’s with these three new companions that I had to go and waiter last night, so I’m not really surprised that I once again found myself thinking of all sorts of reasons why customers irritate me. I’m half ashamed of myself most of the time, because I’m really an irritable person. I’m beginning to realize it more and more. Things have been particularly touchy this month, because my restaurant’s not been busy. I work night shift, because I like the people more and the customers more. The night shift waiters, as I’ve said before, all have little interesting perks that make them very pleasant to work with (as opposed to day shift waiters that take themselves far too seriously). Yet, even we were at each other’s throats this week, all fuelled by the panic of: I’m not making enough money…
I still enjoy waitressing, I have to add this just to make myself feel a little bit better. The problem with this job is that it’s a lot like the lotto. Sometimes you win and other times you loose. A few nights ago, one of my fellow waiters, while doing his late night duty, growled at the world in general: This job really makes me hate people…
I had looked at him in surprise (he’s a very calm, pleasant kind of waiter) and realized that in a sense, it’s very true. You find yourself interacting with people who are real bastards. I’m reminded of a shift that I worked a few weeks ago where we did a massive end year function for one of our country’s most prominent banks. The bar was ‘open’ to everybody so they could drink and go wild as much as they wanted. In my life, I’ve never seen so many drunk people. It was sickening to watch and it fixed a vision of humanity in my subconscious that I don’t think I’ll get rid of quickly.
People are condescending, rude and like to make misuse of the motto that: “That Customer is Always Right.” The incidence that had made my fellow waiter growl his words to the world was that a customer had ordered a Don Pedro, only to change their minds when the waiter took it to them. They then proceeded to say that he had heard wrong, but I know my mate and he’s the kind of waiter who repeats your order back to you three times. So, he had to pay for their change of mind on a night where none of us made a lot of money.
But, then – on the other hand, it’s not all bleak and this is where the lotto principle comes in. Sometimes, customers are very kind to you, they are considerate and respond to your manners in kind. I had a customer once pour me a glass of really expensive red wine so that I could have a taste of it. “You have to do this once in your life,” he had said. “You have not lived until you’ve drank something you think you can’t afford…” He wasn’t taunting me or looking down on me as some people do. He was merely stating a little bit of his own personal wisdom.
You see, as much as working with people can tarnish your soul and conscious, it can also in rich you beyond words’ explanation. We see a lot, us waiters. We see the thrill of people’s first date, or the tense meeting of a divorced family. We see old couples drinking one of many cups of tea together as they have done for years and hesitant, excited young couples who are starting to find the rhythm of their relationship. There is a reward in those moments, and I think that sometimes, people forget that they share more than they would perhaps want to with those who pay attention.
It’s with these thoughts in mind that I figured I’d share more of my Rulez with you. They have now progressed beyond tipping tips and are now general Rulez of conduct in a restaurant.
Alyss’s Tips 26- 30.
26) We’re back on an old point. 10% Tips. Not 5, not 3. 10.
27) Last Rounds. I love this one. Ladies and gentleman, when we call Last Rounds, it means that we’re closing up for the night. You come to a restaurant to eat, drink and be merry. When the eating and drinking stops… Well. There’s no more reason to be in the restaurant. You can do all the rest at home. Don’t stay for hours afterwards. Really.
28) Waiters are social creatures and need their mates to make them feel happy and secure. A happy and secure waiter is a friendly waiter. A happy and secure waiter is a patient waiter. If you realize that the restaurant is empty save for you, bare in mind that the only waiter left is yours. Waiters can leave when their last customers leave. If you don’t leave, neither can we and we HATE being alone.
29) Comfortable couches are not for making out on. YOU ARE IN PUBLIC!!! It’s also not for any other intimate activities. I kid you not, I have seen where people’s hands come from. Waiters aren’t blind, they just pretend to be.
30) When waiters start packing up pillows and moving things in, it’s a very big hint to leave. Another one is when they bring you your bill.
30b) On the subjects of bills. Waiters (good ones anyway) are kind enough to leave you with a pen to write in the total at the bottom. Please, please be kind enough to do this. It’s just so much easier to sort out your change. Also, when a said waiter brings your change, take it from the folder. When the waiter comes round again and takes the folder, they assume that everything in it is theirs. It doesn’t even take a minute to do this. Really.