Thursday, April 06, 2006

Aspic flashback

I love reading Waiter Rant, even though I get flashbacks to the 8 hellish years I spent in the food service industry.

After reading this post he wrote about a female colleague, I found myself relieved that the author actually recognized what I found to be true when I waited tables: that it wasn't enough to be efficient, pleasant, and knowledgable, you had to be "friendly" in a way that male waiters never had to deal with. I can't tell you how many times, when I asked a table of men what I could get for them, they would say "How about a smile?"

God, it was infuriating.

I once took a poll of my male coworkers and asked them if they'd ever been requested to smile for a table. They looked at me like I was cah-razy.

I eventually found that the best way of dealing with it was just to put on a totally false persona and "act" for them. I found a southern accent worked really well. Guys found it very non-threatening, and I could even get away with asserting myself just a little bit more.

Because it sounds "cute" when you assert yourself with a southern accent, y'all!

Let me demonstrate for you the difference:

Me: (approaching a table of 2 guys) Here are your drinks, gentlemen. Have you seen our specials?
Guy #1: (chortles) Yes.
Me: Do you know what you'd like?
Guy #2: (laughing) What I'd like is not on the menu!

Guys, do not EVER make any version of the remark above to a waitress or bartender. Not ever. Never ever. Never. Believe me, she has heard it 10,000,000,000,000,000 times. And although it may amuse your doughy, dart throwin' former frat bros, it will cause the server to have contempt for you, and she will correctly ascertain that you are a lousy tipper as well as joke teller, and you will receive crummy service from that point on.

But I digress.

Me: (approaching same table) Here are your drinks, gentlemen. Have you seen our specials?
Guy #1: (chortles) Yes.
Me: Do y'all know what you'd like?
Guy #2: (laughing) What I'd like is not on the menu!
Me: Aw, that is funny!
Guy #2: probably hear that joke a lot.
Me: I swear, I have never heard that before! That is just s'funny! Say it again.
Guy #2: No...
Me: Come on, say it again. I want to remember it so I can tell the guys in the kitchen.
Guy #1: Say it, dude.
Guy #2: What I'd like isn't on the menu!
Me: Oh my god, y'all. That is so funny.
Guy #2: I like you. I'm definitely tipping you at least 10%.


Melissa said...

Just the thought of having to be a waitress makes my blood boil. I DO NOT DO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Thus, I tip 20%, at least, always.

vikkitikkitavi said...

10 years after my last food service job, and I still get "waitress nightmares."

The last one I had, my station was so big that it included tables in a restaurant across the street, and I had to keep running through traffic with trays full of food.

I woke in the proverbial cold sweat.

I tip at least 20% because I respect the job, but also as my own personal ju-ju that I will never have to work in the service industry ever again.

I'm getting the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. woosh.