Back by popular demand, it’s the always witty, ever truthful Amanda Hunt! Take it away, Amanda:
I love the movie Waiting. After five years in the service industry (and two away, though not far away) I feel about that movie the way I assume prostitutes feel about Pretty Woman: that is a funny way to present my profession, but real servers have too much integrity in the workplace to kiss on the mouth. Waiting is fan fiction for servers and a horror movie for diners. Let’s separate the truth from the lies…..
1. If you are rude, people will rub your bread on their unmentionables:
In the excellent film Waiting, a woman is super rude about how her steak is prepared. The kitchen staff sends it down the line in the most disgusting way.
In all my years in kitchens, coffee stations, and service bars, I have never seen someone purposefully sabotage a patron’s food. Waiters will often say unkind things about a person who asks something like, “How hard is your job?” or snaps, “I doubt that!” in response to a sincere apology. But then, like almost everyone in the world does at his or her job when dealing with an unpleasant personality, servers take that moment of human cruelty and shove it into their souls where it slowly festers throughout time.
Also, chefs have integrity. Your food will not touch the floor, someone’s genitalia, or anyone’s mouth before it reaches yours.
2. Restaurant employees are shiftless losers.
Y’all, the lovable lot of ne’er-do-wells that makes up the service team in Waiting is adorable. They are peeing their pants in public. They are borderline statutory rapists.
In reality, servers are many things. Artists, students, writers, and people who have found they would prefer to make their money by serving food rather than sitting at a desk. Are there losers and creeps in the mix? Obviously. But no more so than at my finance job or your law firm.
3. There is an overwhelming trend of heterosexual coupling occurring in any restaurant at any given time.
This is not so. I have never worked in a restaurant with a large population of straight guys nor have I ever had Ryan Reynolds as a co-worker, so grain of salt this please, but this is not a thing. Usually there are one or two people who hook up with a lot of other people over time, but a place where you usually have food spilled on some part of your outfit is not a breeding ground for sexy time.
4. Waiting tables is not a real job.
This one stings the most. Any job that pays money is a real job. Waiting tables requires people skills, the ability to multi-task, intelligence, being in good physical shape, and patience. Anyone who thinks that working in a restaurant is not a real job has obviously never done it.
Just the Facts:
There is a lot of drinking that goes on in restaurants. A. Lot.
2. It can be hard to wait on a former peer who is now more successful than you.
Once, I saw a former classmate of mine on a national commercial during the day and then that night she came into my restaurant. I wish I’d been big enough to go up to her and hug her and congratulate her on her success. But I had nothing going on in my acting career at the time and I couldn’t face her. The next time she came in, I found out she was bartending at a gentlemen’s club and I sent her a free dessert. Not great, but very true.
3. Creepy patrons hit on servers, hostesses, and bartenders all the time.
Hey guy? Women and men who work in the service industry have to be nice to you. Please don’t take advantage of that. Anymore.
4. If you come in right before a restaurant closes and sit down for dinner, the staff will hate you.
You know how you feel when it’s 5:58pm and your boss comes up to your desk and asks you to do something before tomorrow morning? If you don’t, congratulations on your wonderful career. If you do, don’t be that guy at someone else’s job.
Once, when I was still a server and he was still on Grey’s Anatomy, TR Knight came into my restaurant three minutes before it closed. The hostess was very nice and offered to seat him, but he and his friend looked around the restaurant, realized we were wrapping up, and politely headed out the door, earning a spot in Heaven and in my heart.
5. Dishwashers are the wisest, kindest people on earth.
I don’t know why this is the case, but it almost always is. Maybe that’s where G-d sends all his angels, or maybe there’s something to the zen-like task of washing dishes, or maybe there are a lot of chemicals in industrial dishwashing products, but it’s true, regardless.
Be sure to head over to Petulant Panda to check out more of Amanda’s observations on life, love, and the pursuit of the perfect piece of popcorn!