As you may or may not know, I spent seven years as a waiter in a fine dining restaurant to make ends meet. In my time as a waiter, I essentially had two dates on the calendar circled when I would have pretty much done anything to avoid showing up for work.
The first, and still absolute worst day of the year for a waiter (server/bartender/etc.) is Mothers’ Day. Just writing those words in succession are enough to automatically excellerate my heart rate beyond any workout I’ve done in the past six months. I knew writing this post would be good for me! For now I’ll hold off on describing the horrors of Mothers’ Day and sum it up by saying it is a day that demands three times the effort of a normal day and guarantees less than the normal night’s pay. I’ll quit that discussion while I’m ahead.
The second, and a close runner-up is Valentines’ Day. The only reason this comes in second is that, as a waiter, you know you’ll make at least a little bit more than you would on a normal night. It won’t be much more, but it will make a little bit of a difference.
And as this is the first time around the calendar that I have been freed from working these shifts, I wanted to celebrate with a list of my 10 Favorite Things I Said as a Waiter. I also write today with the hope that your behavior this weekend does not elicit such a response from the staff.
10. Sorry, the bar is closed.
Wanna know how you’ve overstayed your welcome in a Capitalistic society? The waiter or bartender decide to stop selling you the most profitable item in the restaurant- alcohol. That’s right. Money talks.
9. Do you remember ordering that?
Just remember, what you meant to order is not always as important as what you did, in fact order.
Some people are easy to wait on, to serve, and to please. With some people, you just can’t win. Be more of the former. To (mis)quote St. Paul, “don’t exasperate your waiters.”
7. I didn’t forget about you.
A waiter and a butler may be synonomous terms in some societies. But not ours. If you want a butler, hire one. If you want a waiter, keep in mind that whole “time and space continuum” concept. I’ll leave it at that.
6. Is there anything else I can bring you?
If this question is asked after the restaurant has closed, after you have paid your bill, and after nobody else is in the restaurant, it means it was time to go long ago.
5. I think you’ve had enough.
Right before I asked this question, I once had a woman ask me for another glass of wine. Only, she couldn’t summon the word “wine” from her memory.
Some things people say and do are beyond words.
3. Where have I been? I’ve been in the back splitting your check. Thanks for asking.
If you’re going to split the bill, let the staff know. Otherwise, be patient while they figure out who had the coke and who had the iced tea.
2. Ma’am, I’m with another guest now. I’ll be with you shortly. Please sit back down.
Imagine a scenario in real life when it is acceptable to stand up, walk over, and interrupt people doing business. Pretty extreme circumstances, right? Like, requiring fire or blood, right? Right.
1. You know, I do this for a living.
Far and away my favorite thing I ever said to a guest. Don’t judge, this was the highly edited version from what I was thinking at that moment! Be kind to your waiter. Make his or her job a bit more pleasant this weekend.
Happy Valentines’ Day (and tip 20%).