Servers are people too

IUS Horizon

I have been poor nearly my entire life. It’s something that I have learned to deal with and it does not bother me as much as it did when I was younger.

Being broke has really shown me the true value of working hard to get something.

Now, in addition to going to school full-time, I work two jobs.
The struggling to make ends meet does not bother me. What bothers me is how after putting in a 12-hour day at school, the first thing I hear when walking into my waitressing job is: “Where’s that dumbass waitress? Can’t that idiot see that I’m done with my drink?”

It honestly takes everything within my power to not beat the living snot out of some people.

I have to just suck it up and smile at them, because let’s face it—they are the ones that keep the lights on in my crappy apartment.

I did, however, learn to keep my emotions in the hard way.

Once, I got my hours cut back from work, making it nearly impossible to do anything —from paying bills to eating— all for “sassing a customer.” But really I did it for the betterment of my company.

This particular customer looked me dead in the eye and said, “I can’t believe you honestly charged me for soda.”

To this, I responded, “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know that you’ve never been out to eat before.” Or something of that nature.

Honestly though, could I have responded any other way?

I cannot comprehend why some people think that it is okay to walk all over people who are providing them a service.

I have had every kind of “Joe job.” I have worked everywhere from Target to managing a coffee house, and nearly everywhere you go, there will always be that one person who decides that you are going to be that person that they want to make feel like walking garbage that day.

Just because you are not a waitress or you do not work at Target, does not mean that you are any better than me. Sure, I work for minimum wage, but I get by, and I like to think I’m still human.

Recently, I had a customer ask me where I was from because as he said “my accent sure was funny.” When I told him Michigan, he gave me this look like I just killed his dog and then slit the tires on his Ford F-150.

The rest of the meal, he treated me like a five-year-old saying things like “now, this may go over your head sweetie,” and “oh darling, you just don’t get it, do you?”

Regardless of where you grew up I thought that everyone learned the golden rule in elementary school, so why has it become so hard to not treat others like they want to be treated?

I’m sorry if I forgot your extra cheese. I’m sorry I forgot that you didn’t want any onions.

But being human means that mistakes happen, and, like most mistakes, they can be corrected, and in a timely manner.

At my former job, my friend had a cup of coffee thrown at him through a drive-thru window because of a mistake I made. It was all over an upcharge of 50 cents. I can’t even register how that would have come across to this person as a good idea.

I also have been called nearly every name in the book and harassed by costumers. While that is all annoying, my biggest and worst pet peeve is being ignored because of a cellphone.

Just recently, I went up to a table giving my usual greeting of “Hi, how are you guys doing today? Would you like to see a menu?”

I did not get a response, so I asked the table of four again. All of them were sitting there texting, not even noticing that I was there. Five minutes went by and then I heard “Um, where’s our waitress?”

I wish I was kidding.

Have all manners just gone by the wayside with the invention of smartphones?
I’m not sure about everyone else, but in my household I was raised that when sharing a meal with your family, a phone call can wait, and that one should value the time spent with his family because who knows what could happen.

I also have numerous customers that come into the restaurant that are younger families with young toddlers or babies. I understand that it may be hard to get a moment of free time or even to be able to go out and eat, but I am a server, not a baby sitter.

More often than not, I have to chase toddlers around the restaurant so they do not get hurt by the various dangerous equipment we have around.

I saw one infant trying to stick his hand in the deep fryer — meanwhile, mommy and daddy were on their phones.

Once the whole family leaves, I am left to clean up the mess that their toddlers made while I collect my $2 tip and think “awesome, now I can go buy a candy bar—maybe.”

Regardless of where or what restaurant you are at, remember that the people serving you might have way more going on in their life than you think.

Just be nice to them. After all, they could be making your food.

By GAIL FAUSTYN

News Editor

gfaustyn@ius.edu