As a server, you have to let customers think they're right.

Life As a Server: Knowing You're Right, But Pretending You're Wrong

Just sh*tty server things.

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We've all been there. We've all either decided we had to get a job because we needed money, because our parents forced us to, or because we needed experience. Whatever the reason, you did it. You got a job. For many, their first job is one as a server. This entails taking orders, serving food and drinks, and most importantly... kissing ass. As a server, you have to be on your best behavior. This means being incredibly nice and polite, offering fast and efficient service, and letting the customer think they're right even when they're wrong. As a matter of fact, especially when they're wrong. By doing so, you can ensure more sales and a larger tip (hopefully).

I have been working as a server since the minute I turned sixteen. Since then, I have worked three different serving jobs. There have more than plenty of moments in which I really wanted to quit or in which I really question my decision to continue working as a server. Serving is as much of customer service as it is food. If a customer is happy with the service and the food, they continue to come back. If they continue to come back, the restaurant, as well as you, continue to make money. In the end, it's all a happy ending. Or is it?

In all honestly, serving is a nightmare. I can admit sitting in my car crying before a shift in order to prepare myself for the nightmare I know is approaching or crying in my car after as a result of said nightmare.

There are many different types of customers. You have those that come in, spend all their time on their phones, or various electronic devices, ignore all eye contact and are completely rude. You have those that come in, order a crap ton of food and ring up a very high bill, just to leave a crappy tip. You have those that ask fifty million questions about different items on the menu just to order something else entirely, or order something they've already had in the past. You have those that seem very nice, commend you on your great service, and then leave a horrible tip. You have those that don't tip at all. You have those that confuse the rules in terms of the specials and then yell and blame you for their confusion, despite explaining it to them already. You have those that come in five minutes before closing. You have those that come in, eat, then sit there for hours talking, not signing their check, and not leaving, thus not allowing you to flip tables and order more money. You have those who demand your manager over every little thing.

The list can go on, but for your sake, I'll stop.

Over my years of serving, I can admit that I've learned a lot. People hate to be wrong and they hate to be told they're wrong. In order to make it through your shift, you just gotta smile and pretend that they're right. For instance, I once had a lady argue with me and tell me that her food was "too spicy," to the point where she can't even eat it and it's hard to breathe. Despite telling her that all the chef used was pepper, as in the spice rather than any actual peppers, she became angry and demanded to see my managers who told her the same thing. In the end, the item was taken off their bill and the rest of the bill was deducted by 50%.

I've had people who ordered a meal, proceeded to eat about half the dish before they told me they hated it, then demanded a new dish and that they get the first one for free. I've had people scream at me because they modified their order and even though I sent it back correctly, it came out wrong. They never considered the fact that I wasn't the one who made their food but rather was just serving it, but please, continually yelling at me because your steak was cooked medium well rather than medium!

All in all, serving as a hassle. That's a nice way to put it. If you aren't a people person then don't even think about becoming a server. Over my three-plus years as a server, I've definitely grown a thicker skin and learned to take all the insults or all of the screaming with a grain of salt. Surprisingly enough, despite all of this, I actually love being a server (most of the time).

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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9 Artsy Restaurants To Check Out Near Villanova

Your next Instagram #foodie photo awaits.

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While my recommendations are not necessary "near" Villanova, these are some restaurants that I've tried over the last decade of living in Pennsylvania. Some I've tried during my first year at Villanova; some I've tried four years ago. But all of them have some pretty photogenic food and perfect opportunities for an impromptu ~photoshoot~ with friends or family. I've ordered the restaurants by their distance from Villanova—they range from 2 minutes down the road to 39 minutes away near my hometown.

1. First Watch

Avocado Toast from First Watch

Instagram @first.watch

Location: Villanova, PA (2 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: Breakfast & Brunch

Favorite dish: Avocado Toast

I wouldn't be a Villanova student if I didn't recommend First Watch- many students' go-to brunch place. The first and only time I went to First Watch, I had to try the avocado toast (basic, I know), and it was different than any I've ever tasted. The avocado tasted so fresh and the whole-grain toast made me feel really healthy. The two basted eggs on the side complemented the toast very well.

2. Autograph Brasserie

Inside the Autograph Brasserie

Instagram @francesca_ragucci

Location: Wayne, PA (7 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: American, Italian

Favorite dish: Breakfast BLT

Autograph Brasserie is a hidden gem that I only visited once as well, but it did not disappoint. Though it was a little pricey, the BLT was cooked to perfection and the fries were great as well.

3. Terrain Garden Cafe

French Toast from Terrain

Katelyn Tsai

Location: Devon, PA (8 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: American

Favorite dish: French Toast, Terrain Burger

I've been to the Glen Mills, PA location a few times but recently went to the Devon, PA location because it's much closer to Villanova. The quality of food at both locations is very impressive, and the restaurants are clearly environmentally friendly based on the interior of the restaurants. Both of my favorite dishes are very filling and just what I need for brunch.

4. Pod

Sushi from Pod

Instagram @thephillyeats

Location: Philadelphia, PA (23 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: Asian Fusion, Sushi

Favorite dish: All the sushi. You can't go wrong.

I honestly went here a long time ago and don't remember exactly what I ordered, but I remember the sushi being really delicious and the inside of the restaurant being aesthetically pleasing. Not only does Pod serve sushi, but it also offers rice, noodles, dim sum, and various soups and salads.

5. Kooma

Inside of Kooma

Instagram @mandyjansen

Location: West Chester, PA (30 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: Asian Fusion, Sushi

Favorite dish: Firecracker Roll

I've only been here once as well, but the Firecracker Roll I ordered had all of my favorite ingredients in sushi: shrimp tempura, avocado, and cream cheese. Kooma also serves various other specialties with meat, seafood, noodles, and more.

6. Brew HaHa!

Affogato

Instagram @like_you_a_latte

Location: Greenville, DE (36 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch

Favorite drink: Brew Ha Ha! Latte

Brew Ha Ha! is a hidden gem in Delaware, but it is one of my go-to coffee shops for both good food and coffee. The ambiance is very calm, and it's a perfect place to sit and catch up with friends when I'm back home. Something else I love about Brew Ha Ha! is that they have $2 tacos every Thursdays which is difficult to resist!

7. Pizza by Elizabeths

Entrance of Pizza by Elizabeths

Instagram @julie9626

Location: Greenville, DE (37 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch

Favorite dish: Boop

Pizza by Elizabeths is more of a classy and rustic restaurant with decorations of various famous Elizabeths. I love the Boop pizza (each pizza is named after an Elizabeth), which consists of mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, balsamic vinaigrette, and fresh tomatoes. You can also create your own pizza if none of the signature ones speak to you!

8. Lily Asian Cuisine

Shrimp Tempura, Tuna Avocado, and Spicy Tuna Rolls

Katelyn Tsai

Location: Kennett Square, PA (39 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: Sushi, Asian Fusion

Favorite dish: I can't choose. Literally everything.

As you've probably noticed, I kinda like sushi. This is probably my favorite restaurant of all time. It's where everyone from my community goes for authentic sushi, and I've introduced it to so many people. It's a great place for families to eat and I also love their All-You-Can-Eat Tuesdays. I would 1000% recommend going if you're ever in the area!

9. Philter

They also do really cool latte art!

Katelyn Tsai

Location: Kennett Square, PA (39 minutes from Villanova)

Type of food: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch

Favorite drink: Hazelnut Latte

This is my favorite coffee shop in my hometown. It's the perfect place to get some work done while sipping a soothing latte. There are also several sandwiches and salads to choose from that I've really enjoyed. It's basically impossible to get a seat during brunch time because it's so popular, but the drinks make the trip worth it.

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