High Quality Service


I was a waitress when waitresses were still called waitresses.  Now they’re ‘servers’, which sounds so much more demeaning to me.  I guess the Council of Offensive Words (COW) decided that specifying the gender of the person who brings the food might somehow denigrate their individualism.  Asshats.  I hate COW for making me have to think before I speak.

The other agenda items at that particular council meeting were:

– No longer allowing people to refer to stupid wardrobe choices, statements and/or decisions as ‘gay’

– No longer allowing people to refer to stupid wardrobe choices, statements, decisions, themselves and/or their husbands as ‘retarded’ (this one was particularly difficult for me because ‘developmentally-disabled’ simply doesn’t roll off the tongue in an argument)

– Deciding whether those who still refer to African-Americans as ‘black’ should feel uncomfortable doing so (tabled until the next meeting)

Unlike most of my co-workers (most notably, my husband,) I really enjoyed waiting tables.  I wasn’t tethered to a desk, my schedule was flexible, I got to meet all kinds of people and I was surrounded by free food.  Plus, I didn’t have to go to an ATM for four years.

I was dirt poor, had no benefits and was exhausted all the time, but I had fun!

My waitressing job made me a much better tipper – I even established a Minimum Tip Requirement (MTR) of $5.00 or 20%, whichever is higher, even if I’m alone and the check is only $8.95.

My waitressing job also made me much more demanding of good service.  Maybe a little too demanding.  I expect to be greeted within a minute or two of being seated:

Jack: What’s wrong?
Me
: Nothing.
Jack
: You look pissed.
Me
: Seriously?? We’ve been sitting here forever! Are we wearing some kind of cloaking device?!?!  Do they not realize how competitive the restaurant industry is??  This is complete BULLSHIT!  I’m about to get up and leave!
Jack
: It’s only been three minutes.

I know.  Completely unreasonable.

I want my servers (cringe) to be pleasant, but not overbearing.  I want them to be available and attentive, but not stalker-style (we worked with a woman who would sometimes linger way too long or even – gasp! – sit at the table for a few minutes.)  Most of all, I never want to see empty glasses.

Yeah, I know.  Hot, spit-free food should be a priority, but I really hate when someone’s drink runs dry.  No excuse for that.

Smart business owners would be wise to scout salespeople at local restaurants. Good waitresses would make great salespeople.  Think about it – they make a living by working hard and schmoozing.  Not to mention, they know the value of good customer service.

I once went out to breakfast and practically begged my waitress to go to real estate school.  Her name was Tawny.  She was about 24 years old.  Single mother.  I’m pretty sure her mother was a Whitesnake fan.

This morning we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  Our waitress would have made a terrible realtor.  I love Cracker Barrel, though.  The little store has so much crazy inventory to soak in that I’m actually disappointed when our table is ready.  They have everything from clothing to stoneware to candy to toys.  I once bought a friend a joint for Christmas and picked up bendable Gumby and Pokey dolls at Cracker Barrel so he could play with them when he got high.

Don’t judge me.

I don’t smoke pot.  I know a lot of people who smoke pot regularly and swear by it.  I envy them.  I can’t smoke it because it doesn’t have the same effect on me as it does on the rest of the population.

Back when I was a waitress, I was scheduled for a split shift (10-2 then 4-close).  During the down time, one of the pothead bartenders showed up to pick up his paycheck.  He told me that he and his friend were going to smoke some weed and asked me if I’d like to join them.

Umm…ok.

I had only smoked pot one time before and it made me kind of sleepy.  Or maybe I was doing it wrong and it was just a long day.  Either way, it didn’t turn me off to the idea.

We went out to his car and proceeded to smoke three bowls.

Oh. Dear. God.

I remember going back into the restaurant, sitting at a little booth in the back of the bar, putting my hands on the table and watching them melt.  My tongue tripled in size, my lips were numb and my heart was racing.  I had never been more thirsty in my entire life, but I was afraid to drink anything because I couldn’t feel my lips.  All I could think about was the headline proclaiming ‘Retarded Waitress Dies of Pot Overdose’ (‘retarded’ was still ok back then).  My poor parents!  They would think I had been a drug addict all along!

Mercifully, Jack showed up early for his shift.  I told him I was too high to work the rest of my shift and asked him to tell the manager and drive me home immediately.

Me: Blllthhome.  Pthhhdrive.  Fthhhhcan’t.
Jack
: OK, I’ll let him know.  Get in the car.

The drive home was like a scene out of The Shining.  The road kept getting longer and longer.  I’m pretty sure those creepy twin girls were there.   I thought we were driving over a bridge, but it was just Main Street.  I got so freaked out, I had to recline the seat and go to my happy place.

Jack was laughing at me and blathering on about how it would wear off and I would be fine.  I was not amused.  Nor did I believe him.

A few years later, I tried it one more time just to see if there was a problem with that particular batch.  Nope.  Same thing happened, only on a much smaller, less dramatic scale because I smoked way less and had the good sense to not be at work.

Never again.  Unless, of course, the recipe has changed…

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2 thoughts on “High Quality Service

  1. Donna, this was the laugh I needed today. I laughed out loud too often, in the opinion of my feline friends, as they ran out of the room. I particularly admire your comprehensive gift giving. It shows that you care!

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