In my brief 20 trips around the sun, I have had the pleasure (and the lack thereof, frankly) of working two different food service industry jobs, my current one being much more hands-on than the last.
And, if there is one thing I've learned from working where I do, it's that people are rude, inconsiderate, and straight-up mean to us.
We are human. We mess things up.
We mix up orders. We make honest mistakes, and sometimes we forget things. It happens. We don't do it on purpose, and it doesn't happen often, but when it does, we politely apologize and do everything we can to fix it to the best of our ability.
I think that people assume that those of us who work in restaurants or, say, pizza and sandwich shops, are only there because we can't find work anywhere else. They assume that we are miserable and hate our jobs, and that we don't work just as hard as the next guy.
What they don't think about is that we are parents and teachers, looking to make a little extra money for an upcoming vacation, wedding, or party. We are college students, working our asses off both in the classroom and in the kitchen to put ourselves through school. We are in between jobs, making ends meet for now until we find our calling.
WE ARE PEOPLE, TOO!
Remember that the next time you call on a holiday to yell at us because your delivery is 5 minutes late, or because we forgot your side of pickles. Remember that when you call a shop to complain about your order being wrong.
Remember that when your pizza is a little burnt on the bottom, or your order came out wrong, remember that we are doing our best.
A lot of times, mistakes only happen when we're really busy, like during a dinner rush, on a weekend, on a holiday, and even during a sporting event. They happen because we are trying to send out every order as quickly as possible, and keep up with the orders rushing in. We don't do it on purpose or to spite you, and screaming at us is not going to fix it.
If there is a problem, we are more than happy to solve it, whether that be by remaking your food, giving you a credit or a gift card, giving it to you for free, or whatever else you may ask of us. That is our JOB. We are paid to serve you and serve you well, so give us a chance to do just that.
We are taught that the customers come first, but that doesn't give you a green light to insult us, curse us out, or talk to us like we're no better than the gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
We are the people who make your food when you order out because it's too hot to cook.
We are the ones who show up to work, make your food, and deliver it when it's snowing so hard you can't see the road. We serve you with a smile, even when we don't want to.
It is not the fault of the 16-year-old kid who answers the phone that your steak had the wrong kind of cheese on it. It is not the waitress's fault that your entree took longer than it should have to come out. It is not the delivery driver's fault that the wait time is longer because it's a Friday night.
Stop treating us like we're stupid, because we're not.
We're doing our jobs, doing you a service, and throwing us a "thank you!" once in a while goes pretty far.
So, the next time that you go out to eat or order takeout, remember that we are human beings, with hopes and dreams and drives, just like you. Treat us like we are people, maybe strike up a conversation with us, even if something is wrong, and you might just learn a thing or two. We aren't perfect, but we're human, and we deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.