"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

~ Gordon B. Hinckley

December 28, 2009

Confessions of a Waitress...

I found this article on my yahoo homepage. I thought it was pretty accurate and I added a few from myself at the bottom (Numbers 21-30). I was a server/waitress/bartender for 5 years! Its one of most difficult jobs anyone could have, and also the most disregarded and looked down upon. The minimum wage for servers when I was one was 2.13 per hour plus tips.
When I was a server, I used to base everything that I would buy on how many tables I would have to wait on in order to pay for it! For example: When I was employed at our local Cracker Barrel, I remember once getting a speeding ticket that was 150.00 bucks! I knew that I would have to wait on at least 30 tables that left 5 dollar tips, which would usually be 4 tops (4 people to a table) so that totaled to around 120 people, 120 tea glasses, 120 plates, 120 rolls of silverware, and 360 biscuits and cornbread! In other words, A LOT of work would go into paying for that ticket!

Disclaimer: I don’t agree with all of these: I just wanted to include the article in its entirety. My personal favorites are in BLUE

20 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You
By Michelle Crouch, Reader's Digest
What would two dozen servers from across the country tell you if they could get away with it? Well, for starters, when to go out, what not to order, what really happens behind the kitchen’s swinging doors, and what they think of you and your tips. Here, from a group that clears a median $8.01 an hour in wages and tips, a few revelations that aren’t on any menu.

What we lie about
1. We’re not allowed to tell our customers we don’t like a dish. So if you ask your server how something is and she says, “It’s one of our most popular dishes,” chances are she doesn’t like it.
—Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

2. On Christmas Day, when people ask why I’m there, I might say, “My sister’s been in the hospital,” or, “My brother’s off to war, so we’re celebrating when he gets back.” Then I rake in the tips.
—Chris, a New York City waiter and the founder of bitterwaitress.com

3. If you’re looking for your waiter and another waiter tells you he’s getting something out of the stockroom, you can bet he’s out back having a quick smoke.
—Charlie Kondek, former waiter at a Denny’s in Central Michigan

4. If someone orders a frozen drink that’s annoying to make, I’ll say, “Oh, we’re out. Sorry!” when really I just don’t want to make it. But if you order water instead of another drink, suddenly we do have what you originally wanted because I don’t want to lose your drink on the bill.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan

What you don’t want to know
5. When I was at one bakery restaurant, they used to make this really yummy peach cobbler in a big tray. A lot of times, servers don’t have time to eat. So we all kept a fork in our aprons, and as we cruised through the kitchen, we’d stick our fork in the cobbler and take a bite. We’d use the same fork each time.
—Kathy Kniss

6. If you make a big fuss about sending your soup back because it’s not hot enough, we like to take your spoon and run it under really hot water, so when you put the hot spoon in your mouth, you’re going to get the impression — often the very painful impression — that your soup is indeed hot.

7. I’ve seen some horrible things done to people's food: steaks dropped on the floor, butter dipped in the dishwater.
—Waiter at a casual restaurant in the Chicago area

What you’re really swallowing
8. If your dessert says "homemade," it probably is. But it might be homemade at a bakery three miles away.
—Charity Ohlund

9. I knew one guy — he was a real jerk — he’d go to Costco and buy this gigantic carrot cake for $10 and tell us to say it’s homemade. Then he sold it for $10 a slice.

—Steve Dublanica, veteran New York waiter and author of "Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip — Confessions of a Cynical Waiter"

What drives us crazy
10. Oh, you needed more water so badly, you had to snap or tap or whistle? I’ll be right back … in ten minutes.
—Charity Ohlund

11. We want you to enjoy yourself while you’re there eating, but when it’s over, you should go. Do you stay in the movie theater after the credits? No.
—Waiter at a casual restaurant in the Chicago area

12. My biggest pet peeve? When I walk up to a table of six or seven people and one person decides everyone needs water. I’m making a trip to deliver seven waters, and four or five of them never get touched.
—Judi Santana, a server for ten years

What we want you to know
13. Sometimes, if you’ve been especially nice to me, I’ll tell the bartender, “Give me a frozen margarita, and don’t put it in.” That totally gyps the company, but it helps me because you’ll give it back to me in tips, and the management won’t know the difference.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan

14. If you’re having a disagreement over dinner and all of a sudden other servers come by to refill your water or clear your plates, or you notice a server slowly refilling the salt and pepper shakers at the table next to yours, assume that we’re listening.
—Charity Ohlund

What tells us you’re trouble
15. I get this call all the time: “Is the chef there? This is so-and-so. I’m a good friend of his.” If you’re his good friend, you’d have his cell.

16. The strangest thing I’ve seen lately? A man with a prosthetic arm asked me to coat check it because the table was a little bit crowded. He just removed his arm and handed it to me: “Can you take this?”
—Christopher Fehlinger

17. We always check the reservation book, scan the names, and hope for someone recognizable. I’m happy if the notes say something like “Previous number of reservations: 92.” If they say something like “First-time guest, celebrating Grandma’s 80th birthday, need two high chairs, split checks, gluten allergy,” then I start rummaging through my pockets for a crisp bill for the hostess and I make sure to tell her how much I love her hair fixed like that.
—Charity Ohlund

How to be a good customer
18. Use your waiter’s name. When I say, “Hi, my name is JR, and I’ll be taking care of you,” it’s great when you say, “Hi, JR. How are you doing tonight?” Then, the next time you go in, ask for that waiter. He may not remember you, but if you requested him, he’s going to give you really special service.
—JR, waiter at a fine-dining restaurant and author of the blog servernotslave.wordpress.com

19. Trust your waitress. Say something like “Hey, it’s our first time in. We want you to create an experience for us. Here’s our budget.” Your server will go crazy for you.
— Charity Ohlund

What you need to know about tipping
20. If you walk out with the slip you wrote the tip on and leave behind the blank one, the server gets nothing. It happens all the time, especially with people who’ve had a few bottles of wine.
—Judi Santana

21. On Tipping:
A 15 percent tip went out the door when a Gallon of Gas went up to three bucks!
It is NOW customary when tipping to leave the following:
If your server is good: 18 percent (rounded up)
If your server is GREAT: 20 percent (rounded up)
If it’s a holiday: Mothers Day, Christmas, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving… leave a little extra.

If your server is terrible and I mean terrible- like she rolled her eyes at you, you overheard her complaining about the hostess sitting you in her section or she made you feel neglected and uncomfortable: Ask to speak to the manager and request another server, if they don’t oblige- than leave.... If you sit there and endure it, you will have a bad experience- so go somewhere else! And then when you get home, contact the restaurants headquarters or District Manager.

DON’T EVER STIFF a waitress. You don’t know what she is going through. It was an extremely busy day at Ruby Tuesdays and one of my co-workers received a call that her ill father had just passed away. She couldn’t get herself together and she neglected one of her tables. When she finally was able to compose herself and finish up her tables, so she could leave… a “Gentlemen” in her section acted crazy about his empty tea glass and hatefully confronted her. Once the manager explained what happened to the customer- he felt like a total ASS!

On Children:
22. Would you have your kid at your dinner table at home make a Cracker Explosion on the floor? Than why would you do that a restaurant? Would you allow your child to pour sugar packets all over the table and dump salt and pepper all over the floor at your home? Uh, No! Than why do you allow them to do these things at restaurants? I can't tell you how many times kids would leave the table and start chasing each other right in middle of the restaurant, and their parents act like it's not even happening. Also, and I'm not lying, parents would let their kids draw on the tables and glass windows with crayons and not stop them. It would drive me crazy, because I would be the one scrubbing it out at the end of the night. Take responsibility for your children and pay attention to them or stay at your house! You're not only ruining my night, but the rest of our patrons night as well.

23. I know your trying to give your child their independence by asking them 17 times if they would rather have chocolate milk or orange juice… but, tell your server to give you a few minutes so she/he can take care of their other tables while you and your three year old discuss this detrimental matter.

24. I think it’s really cute when your kid orders their own MacaWonEE & Cheese… but not during peek periods when I have 4 other tables to take care of. Don’t let your 3 year old order for themselves, unless they can say MacaWonEE & Cheese very quickly and on queue.

25. AND No! I don’t want to heat up your baby bottle!

26. Ask any server what the WORST day of the week to work and they will tell you all the same thing; Sunday afternoons. Why is it that church crowds are the worst? They are the most demanding, the rudest, and cheapest by far. Now, I’m not saying all church folks are like this…. But, don’t leave me a “Church Track” on how I should give my life to the lord along with $2 bucks for your family of 5. My Grandfather “Paw Paw” is the epitome of what all Christians should be when they dine out. He is so gracious, loving, and treats the server like a part of the family. I have seen him ask our server if there is anything that he can pray with them about, usually they say no. But when they leave the table and we say the blessing- he prays for that server and calls them by their name tag. AND- he always leaves a wonderful tip.

27. Guest: “My coffee isn’t sweet… Will you put your finger in it for me?”
       Me: (Courtesy Laugh and Walk Away)
       What I want to say: “No, you dirty old man… I won’t put my finger in your coffee. It wasn’t funny  when the last dirty old man said it… and it’s not funny now, you creep!”

28. Please don’t have higher standards for a restaurant than you do for your own kitchen. Those spots you see on your silverware are WATER SPOTS… I’m willing to bet good money that you have those on your silverware at home. Unless there is a piece of food gunked on your fork- don’t complain and ask me to run and get you another one.

29. Don’t be ridiculous. “I’ll have the BLT sandwich… but on wheat, toasted lightly, with mayo on the side, and mustard spread lightly on one side of the bread, make sure my bacon is crisp, and please put my tomato and lettuce on the side, (I like to make it myself), and could you add a slice of onion? Instead of fries, I would like to substitute a side salad with everything but cheese, light Italian (on the side, please) and I’ll have a water to drink with fresh lemon… please.”

30. And last but not least: Treat your server, the guy behind the counter at McDonald’s, and the lady behind the register at the Chevron like you would want to be treated. Be courteous, friendly, and treat them like a friend… and YOU WILL get the same respect.

I personally think the world would be a better place if it was a requirement that everyone work in the service industry for one month…. They would become better people for it.

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