Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 8

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

To every person who thinks a restaurant is a drive-thru:

If you want fast food, go to a fast food joint, a diner, or even stay in your car and run through a drive-thru. Or go to the grocery and make food at home for yourself.  If you are in a rush, if you have to get somewhere quickly, it’s probably not the best idea to go to a sit-down restaurant, particularly on a weekend night when the rest of the city is at the same restaurant. I’m sorry if your movie starts in 20 minutes, or if you have a doctor’s visit in half an hour, but most restaurants (particularly of the fine-dining variety) do not offer 20-minute dining sessions.

The solution: you should show up to a restaurant at least an hour and a half prior to any obligations you might have, and if it’s a weekend (day OR night) it would be best to call ahead for reservations or, if no reservations are accepted, call ahead to find out if there is a wait. That’ll give you a much better idea of what time to show up in order to get wherever you need to go whenever you need to get there. Or, you can simply not go to a sit-down restaurant before you HAVE to be somewhere. That way- you won’t be stressed out, your server won’t be stressed out, and no one will get mad or sad.  Sounds like a great plan to me!

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case.

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Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 7

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

To the person who walks in on his/her cellphone and continues talking/ignoring the server as the server approaches for a greet/order, etc…

Did you want service? Did you want to order? GET OFF YOUR PHONE BECAUSE THE PERSON ON THE OTHER END WON’T BE BRINGING YOUR FOOD.

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case.

Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 6

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

To the table who fights over who’s going to pay the check:

We don’t care! It is not our responsibility to make the ultimate decision about who’s going to pay the check. It is awkward, uncomfortable, and rude. We aren’t going to fight with you…or for you. When we drop the check off and four pairs of hands reach for it, accompanied by a chorus of “IIII got it” or “It’s miiiiine,” servers cringe as if you’ve just dropped your recently-presented steaming-hot plate of well-done steak and lobster (which takes twenty minutes at LEAST to re-cook). It’s just AWFUL. Especially when your friends get up from the table one by one, track us down at other tables, and attempt to persuade us that THEY are the one who gets the check.  OR if you (while at the table surrounded by all your friends) say something akin to, “If you don’t give me the check, you ain’t gittin’ paid.” That’s the best.  So…if we don’t give YOU the check, the bill is not getting paid? Or is it just me that isn’t getting paid? Because either result ends poorly for us.

The solution: Decide amongst yourselves, before your server arrives, who will be paying. It really helps us not want to run away from your table, crying. Which is one of the goals of serving.

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case.

Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 5

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

To anyone, for that matter, who stiffs a server for any reason other than not having one:

You have no idea what you’re doing, or how it makes a server feel to literally wait hand and foot on you, only to be stiffed. Are you forgetting that your server is a human being?? Fully capable of having a life and all sorts of normal, everyday human feelings. You have come into his workplace and SPAT in his face. You have basically said, with your neglecting a tip (or perhaps your intentional lack of tipping), that he is dirt, that he is worthless, and that you could care less about whether or not you completely dissolve his entire concept of self-worth.  I’m sure you don’t really care, or never really think about the affects of not tipping, but I guarantee you your server does. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails the way seeing $0 on the tip line after spending an hour of your life catering to every need and whim of the next faceless garbage disposal at your table. Which, of course, is not how we see you.

Seriously if you can’t, or won’t, tip your server, don’t go into a place that requires someone to SERVE YOU. Unless you’re super-cool with modern-day slavery, of course. Ya jerk.

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case.

Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 4

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

To the welfare family who spends $100 on dinner at the beginning of every month, only to not have enough to tip your server:

 I understand that getting a check in the mail can create excitement. It’s money you didn’t have before- it’s almost like Christmas! I understand- you want to celebrate. But when you go to a sit-down restaurant and take up space and time from a server who is probably just as poor as you are, and then not tip them (because you “can’t afford it”), it’s not only rude and hurtful, it’s stealing. It’s basically the equivalent of indentured servitude. Servers work for a ridiculously small wage (in many cases as low as $2 an hour), and we live solely based on tips (as ol’ Uncle Sam gets all our “paycheck”).

Your coming in to make us wait on you without paying us literally is slavery. We HAVE to wait on you while you sit at our table, and if you choose not to tip us, then we DON’T pay our bills. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Solution? Maybe… if you are on welfare and you really depend on that monthly check….just maybe, you don’t go out to a sit down restaurant like clockwork, spend all the “extra” money you have on that celebratory meal, and then stiff your server. If you don’t have enough money left over to pay a server for their work, don’t spend as much. OR go to a fast food joint that sells similarly tasting food and enjoy a server-free environment. Good luck!

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case.

Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 3

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

To the parents who allow their toddler to turn bread/macaroni/mashed potatoes/crayons/etc… into their own personal, nuclear playground:

Do you know how difficult it is to get mashed potatoes out of CARPET? Of course you don’t, you feed your child in the kitchen or dining room which, luckily, has linoleum in it, or wood, or…NOT carpet. Do you know how LONG it takes to rake bread crumbs up from said carpet? A stinking loooooong time. Not only do you allow your child to create world war 3 with his or her food, but you also allow them to color on the table with the crayons we provide (we also provide paper for coloring on), and you allow them to place stickers on the edge of the table that then have to be scraped off with the equivalent of a paint scraper (for reals, though).

On top of this, you don’t tip your server NEARLY enough to clean up after your atomic child. Seriously- shame on you! I would bet a lot of money you don’t let your house look like that. If you don’t allow your child to get cray cray in your own home, why do you allow such misbehavior at a restaurant? It’s senseless. And rude, also. And senseless.

The solution? Keep your child in check, or tip your server extra to clean up all that mess.  It genuinely makes servers want to quit their jobs when they see a family come in with a young child that will inevitably make the biggest mess on the planet. Seriously, the Cuban Missile Crisis is less terrifying to a server facing cleaning up after a toddler.

And thank you for your patronage.

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case.

Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 2

To the lady who thinks she’s the only guest in the restaurant:

Boy, do we have news for you. Most restaurants give a specific number of tables to each server and it is ALWAYS more than one. We realize that sometimes you’re in a rush, sometimes you’re starving to death (give my regards to the orphans in Somalia), and always people are at their worst when they’re hungry. However, you are not our only focus. We have other tables that are seated with other guests, all of whom have needs just as important as yours. We also have side work that is constantly needing to be updated. You want extra ice in that sweet tea? Where do you think we get that from? Because that ice machine is NOT in the front of the restaurant. For that matter, you want more sweet tea? Living in Kentucky, so does everyone else in this state. Think we have an extra crewmember whose only job is to make sweet tea? Nope. That’s a server responsibility. Want a fresh salad with that meal? That’s made by your server. All while dressing and walking food, re-filling drinks and bread baskets, pre-bussing dirty plates off your table (so you can have room for new plates of food), and bussing and cleaning other tables so more guests can come in and demand attention.

Solution? Have some patience with us. Sometimes there isn’t a bartender working, sometimes a manager is busy and can’t take that cup of soup (that you decided didn’t taste good enough) off of your check, sometimes we are just overwhelmed with the 15 guests we are currently running around taking care of. We promise we’re not ignoring you. 999,999,999,998 out of 999,999,999,999 times we are simply very, very, very busy and don’t have time to take care of ONLY YOU. Patience would be much appreciated, and will result in a more relaxed server who is much better prepared to take care of you, and grateful for your patience, to boot.

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case. 

Andi’s Server Soap Box Vol. 1

To the old lady who tells her old lady friends she’ll meet them at the restaurant, only to leave them (and their server) awkwardly waiting at the table without ordering for a ridiculous amount of time. “Is she going to show up?” “I don’t know, she said she would…” “Should we order, or wait longer?” “I’m not sure, maybe we should try to call her again…”:

ARE you going to show up? Not only does this leave your friends in an awkward and slightly uncomfortable situation, but you also leave their server in an awkward and slightly uncomfortable situation. It is our JOB to take care of guests sitting at our tables, and when we have guests sitting for a long, long time without ordering, what are we supposed to do? Continue bringing bread so they fill up on that? Stop checking on them because it sucks to continually have to reassure a server that they are fine, but just not ready yet?

If the guests are under a time constraint and they wait forever for you to show up….we can’t hurry the cooking process.  Your well-done steak is still going to take 20 minutes. Chicken still has to cook for a specific amount of time so you don’t die from salmonella poisoning. That’s a real thing!

Further, WHEN you show up, and your server is dealing with a party of 6 or 7 or…21, we have a lot to do other than hurry to your table the instant you decide to grace your friends with your presence.
FURTHER, when a server works in a restaurant with a set amount of tables allowed, and your friends show up 30 minutes before you do, that takes one of our tables out of rotation and we make way less money than we should/normally do/need to. So when you, old lady, show up LATE to your already-seated party, you order a tiny, tiny lunch that costs $12, and leave less than 10% of that because you think that’s still a lot of money, we as servers HATE YOU. We got bills, too. And we make $2.13 an hour outside of tips. So when you cause your sweet old lady friends to take up one of our precious tables for an hour and leave far less than you should…we just can’t rock that.

So it leaves us all in a lurch. Solution? Show up all at once! If you MUST be late, don’t show up more than 5 minutes after your friends arrive. Or, if you’re going to be a long while, make sure your friend(s) know that so they don’t go sit down and wait awkwardly at a table where a seething, furious server has to watch every other server on shift at the time make twice as much as he or she.

This rant is based on past personal experience and/or past experience of other servers in various restaurants. If you think this is about you, you should remember that any resemblance or similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And you should also probably take a good, long look in the mirror before you go out to eat again. 

Just in case.

amazing grace

originally posted on February 4, 2011 at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

Today at work I had the distinct privilege of witnessing truly amazing grace. A little girl and her grandmother were out spending the day together and decided to come to our restaurant for lunch. As they were eating their food, a second table came in and one of the members of that party happened to be wearing his army fatigues.  When I checked on the little girl and her grandmother, the grandmother very quietly told me she would like to have “that young man’s meal” on her tab.  When I brought it to her, I explained that he had chosen quite an expensive meal, but she said that was perfectly fine.  While that conversation was going on, another gentleman in his fatigues came in with his family.  This little old lady, in front of her 6- or 7-year old granddaughter, not only paid for the meal of the soldier sitting behind her, but handed me another $30 and asked me to give it to the other soldier, thanking him for his service. Wow.  I not only was allowed to be party to surprising two soldiers with a free meal, but I had the incredible honor of witnessing true grace and love at work in my restaurant, a place where grace is not extended very often.  I’m a very lucky girl.

achilles temple

 originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I realize it’s been quite awhile since I have blogged again, and as uplifting and cathartic as the first was, one would expect I would write more often. Let me share with you why it is I have not written: WORK. Since my last blog I have worked 9 days, 5 of those days being a double shift which, in the language of restaurants, means 12 hour days with no breaks and no sitting. Which is fine. No problem. It has given me a great opportunity to catch up on bills and to start paying off some debt. However, my body has begun revolting. I wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning with swollen knees, or throbbing joints, I get to work and halfway through my shift arthritis-type pain starts playing chopsticks on my spine.  Further, I’ve begun to be abused by fellow workers and random inanimate objects while on a shift. Let me explain more…During one of my double shifts, about halfway through the morning, I was standing near the salad bar in the alley, attempting to do something for my guests, because that’s the thing about guests- they’re always needing something… and I turn around to reach for a tray. At the same moment, a fellow server picks up her tray (a solid piece of something solid, loaded down with even more pounds of solid things) and turns to leave the alley. BAM. Right in the temple. My head rebounds away and I fall over. I saw black for a split second, and then stars…lots and lots of stars. Not the cool ones, like the ones you watch at night on a blanket in the middle of a field with a cute boy and some hot cocoa. No, no, the weird bright-white ones that leave you dizzy, unable to focus, and a little nauseas. Awesome. It takes me a full 2 or 3 minutes to regain my composure (including getting the tears under control) and attempt to finish taking care of my tables. My temple was sore for awhile, and after an hour or two, the headache and dizziness went away, so no biggie.  Then, later that night as I was reaching for a salad bowl in the exact same place my manager accidentally manages to slam my hand in the refrigerator door. WOW. It hurt even worse than being boxed in the side of the head. I immediately yank my hand out of the door, and cradle it against me, crying for the second time that day.  This was no ordinary fridge. This is one of those heavy, stainless steel fridges that keep salad bowls cold for guests- the door is a heavy, sliding-type door that’s mounted on top and meant to hold all sorts of different weighty things. It plays no games. My hand immediately began bruising, and I just could not believe my luck. I still had 3 more hours to go before I could escape to someplace safe. And yet, on I went. ON I WENT.I finished that shift out, no more problems, and I made some good money, so I just chalked it up to “one of those days” and went home, exhausted but pleased.  The very next day I head in to work once more. I breeze through my shift- it was fantastic! As I am preparing to do my final side work of the night before I go home, I place my hand on a wooden computer station and lean down to pick up a check binder. Horror of horrors, my hands slips and a PLANK of sharp, jagged wood jabs itself deep underneath my nail bed. And I’m talking about all the way underneath my nail. Not a baby splinter, a TREE. Immediately I think, are you kidding me?? and I race to the back office to get a manager to get it out. I can’t do it myself, of course, because I am a wuss. So he takes a pair of tweezers and prepares to hurt me even more (because contrary to what parents tell their kids, YES, YES IT DOES HURT MORE THAN WHEN IT HAPPENS TO BEGIN WITH.  Meanwhile, I’m sure my finger has swollen to the size of the Sears Tower, and the pain is radiating up into my elbow. To make a long story short, I hop around for about 5 minutes, holding my finger and begging him to chop it off instead of try to get the splinter out before I finally let him just do it. And it does hurt. SO BAD. I screamed for a split second (literally a split second- like AH! not AHHHHHHHHH!), but still the entire restaurant hears me, and I am in so much excruciating pain I can’t even force myself to be mortified. Of course, looking back on the experience, I can say now with a level head that it didn’t hurt that bad…but you would never have convinced me in the moment.Now, after several more doubles, and 3 more days to go before a day off (including one more double and 2 closing shifts), I can safely say this week has been a roller coaster of emotions and pain tolerance. I’m not really sure how so many things could have happened all at once, but happen they did. I can only go forward from here, and hope that no one decides to keep a bowl of hot water near the salad bar, because you can probably count on me finding it and tipping it over on myself, or perhaps tripping and falling face first into it. Whatever the injury, I’m certain it will find me.

And that is what I have learned at work this week.