Monday, August 6, 2012

Bad Tips, Good stories

My feet ache. I have a massive headache. I am grumpy, ill, and irritated. I need a greasy cheeseburger and some trashy television. And a ginormous glass of ice water. I want to sleep, but my mind races over hostile situations and bad decisions made over the weekend. Although it feels suspiciously like a hangover, it is the residual effects of working 30 hours at a restaurant from friday to sunday night, a weekend warrior. Defined in college as "I started with a shot at happy hour on Thursday and ended with a pitcher of beer on Sunday Funday", weekend warrior has now come to mean "I served my first well done steak at 5:30 on Friday and slammed my last one down on Table 53 at 9:59 Sunday night". As I see it, a quarter life crisis is partly defined by holding a job or position that you can only PRAY is temporary. It isnt a career, but simply a way to pay the bills and survive, holding out for that day when your career begins. I began waiting on tables in college to pay for spring breaks and shopping sprees, now I use it as a way to supplement the student loans that allow me to attend graduate school and live on my own. The weekends, or "amatuer nights", provide the best opportunity to make money. As a weekend warrior, I always end with more money than I started with, but usually walk out  feeling like 60 year old woman with a hangover and a severe disregard for most of the human race. I partially blame Obama and Oprah for the rising trend in lower tips for servers (10% is apparently becoming widely acceptable). The rest of the blame rests in the obvious lack of education many people proudly demonstrate  when they hand me a 100 dollar bill for a 95 dollar tab, and tell me to "keep the change, appreciate your hard work." My desired response is "the only place this math makes sense is in hell", but instead I am forced to smile, and graciously accept their "generosity."

This general disregard for how hard a server works (aka, how hard I work) has contributed to a gradual decrease in my attitude at work and an increase in my desire to seek revenge on my "guests" (paranthesees are required to emphasize the sarcasm in the use of the word guest. the restaurant requires that this is what we call our customers, even though less than half of them actually behave in the way the word "guest" is defined.) Revenge is a tricky thing as a server. For example, the server in me wants to throw the "well done, but not burnt steak" on the floor and serve it with poisoned A1 to the moron whose wearing a cut off University of Florida jersey that originally believed the "filet mignon" was a fish and determined it was my fault that we no longer serve sliced bread for which I received a verbal beratement and later resulted in no tip. However, as an educated University of Georgia graduate and masters student, I understand that causing any harm to a guest would reflect poorly on myself, my future, and the company that I work for (although I hold them partially responsible for the decline in guest couth; anyone and everyone is attracted to a 2 for $30 deal) . As a compromise, I have come to the conclusion that the best revenge will be to capitalize on their poor behavior. I maintain that this blog will one day catipult me to the ranks of famous writers such as Chelsea Handler and Carrie Bradshaw. The stories I have accumulated over the years and continue to witness daily in a restaurant will be part of this greatness. "Your poor tip has made me rich and famous".

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment in time when my attitude shifted from "I have 30 seconds to get their drinks out" to "I'll get their drinks out AFTER I finish telling this awesome story and check my cell phone." To compare, people often come in angry and bitter about a bad previous experience and often it reflects in the way that they treat me even though they have had days and weeks to get over it and try again.  I have a bad experience with a table at least every shift I work, if not more often, and it reflects in the way I treat everyone. I  now refer to my first table greets as auditions. You have 30 seconds to make a good impression on me and improve my attitude. If youre friendly, acknowledge my presence, answer my questions, and dont inquire about the free bread when I ask about appetizers, you have proven you are worthy of a smile and I will give you my name. Should your good behavior continue, I will reciprocate with varying degees of excellent (by my standards) service.

You will read stories about everyone else.

PS: If at any point you thought to yourself, "maybe its your bad attitude that resulted in the bad tip or angry customer", you would fail my audition. And I probably have a story about you.