Remind me: When I walked up to your table did I introduce myself as your server or your servant? Did you allow me to say the seven letters which distinguish who I am before snapping at me for a soda water, with just a "splash" of cranberry, and extra lime?
As an employee in the restaurant business I have been forced to learn how to deal with all sorts of people. The hangry vacationers who just got out of traffic, the messy children who's parents don't know how to restrain their children from smearing ice cream all over their dinner booth, the angsty teenagers on their first date, or the washed-up regulars who expect you to be on their beck and call. I deal with all types of people, that appear to forget I am human too.
"Hi, folks how are you? My name is ******* and I will be taking care of you today"
Repeat 48,765 times and that is my day in a nutshell.
Oh you want extra ranch on the side? Some more napkins for your son who will make them into confetti and throw them on the floor? You already ate your entire plate of food, but it was awful and you want your entire meal paid for? Sure. Let me take care of that for you.
Don't get me wrong. Being a server is great. I leave with cash in my hand and don't feel the looming need for it to be "pay day". Behind the scenes of the kitchen we swap stories about our guests, have countless amount of phone numbers left on the table, and if we're lucky enough someone wants to pay it forward and leave you a ridiculous tip for your service.
I can handle being yelled at about your steak not being tender enough and your desire for your piping hot "baked batata". I can't deal with people who can't grasp the concept of tipping on the original check, who demand refills they don't touch, and start shouting at me while I am in the middle of helping another table.
As servers we make around 3$ per hour, meaning your tips are what pay for our insurance, phone, gas, food, and a motley of other bills. My tips waitressing have allowed me to buy a beautiful car that I paid for in cash, put thousands toward my education, and granted me the privilege of taking a 100$ round trip bus ride every few weeks to see the person I am in love with.
So yes, the good does come with the bad. I appreciate the interpersonal and multi-tasking skills I have sharpened due to my serving. However, I could go without the degrading comments when customers presume I serve because I lack real skills. I am sorry to tell you sir I am no airhead, I am actually enroute to receive my degree.
But who are you to judge me? When you send your food back three times for its unworthy presentation - I just smile. But when I hint toward my dependence on my tips and my state school education, I see you frown. And that frown makes my insides churn; because although you nod your head and express how you feel "bad" for me I see your measure of worth for me is slipping through the cracks.
My point is, yes your server is there to help you; after all that is their job. However, they are not there to sprint back and forth to tend to your laundry list of needs and eat the derogatory comments you throw at them. Yes, it is my job to make your experience wonderful, but I am responsible for the majority of families around you and the company name above me; however, you best remember the person behind this name tag can only handle so much.