Well, according to Oprah I am pretty rude. I think I already knew this but thanks to Oprah and her little test, it's now official.
- I am chronically late
- I have gone thru the express lane at the grocery store with more than 10 items
- YES, I've texted during a movie!
- Yes, I've cut in front of people in line
- I don't remember ever stealing a parking spot but I wouldn't put it past myself even tho I absolutely hate these people.
- Gossiped? Of course.
- I have EVEN taken a coworkers refrigerator inventory! This is really rude...so I feel compelled to explain that it was drink from a 2 liter bottle of Coke. I have no idea who it belonged to.
Then the conversation turned interesting. How people are so insanely rude while dining at restaurants. Apparently it is still news to people that (1) servers make less than $4/hr [I only made $2.13] (2) 20% is a customary tip (3) servers will spit in your food if you piss them off.
I worked in the restaurant business for 12 years. It sucks. The pay is terrible. People are stupid. It's physically grueling. And the hours are miserable. But I'm not going to lie and tell you I hated it. I actually loved it - most of the time.
I like to laugh. And I happen to know that the funniest people in the world are in the restaurant business. You have to be funny...or the job will destroy. I have never laughed (or partied) harder than the years I waited tables.
But it's an abusive job. A job for masochists. And, if you do it long enough you just might snap and do pretty nasty things too! Of course, I never did any of these things. So, take note and remember that you never want to piss off your waiter. Or maybe you just might wanna stop going to restaurants at all anymore?
* I saw Dave drop a loogie in someone's drink and I know that he served it.
* I witnessed Ben expedite hours worth of food completely nude except for his apron. I'm positive this was against health code.
* I saw many people climb in and out of the ice making machine (shoes and all)...ice which was then put into the drink station for distribution to guests.
* I've seen many a food hit the ground and be re-plated according to the 5 second rule.
* I've seen food sent back to the kitchen only to be put back on the grill/re-battered and re-fried/re heated and re-served to the guest. Oh yes.
* I've seen food eaten off of guests plates before it was served to the guest and afterward
* I've seen cooks/servers handle your food with their bare hands
* I've seen servers scratch themselves in gross places and then touch your plate, your drinks and your food
* And just don't use condiment bottles that have a broken seal. The contents are probably questionable.
~I'm not suggesting that you put up with nasty attitudes from waiters. Just that you might save your comments till after you're done eating.
~You should never eat meat that doesn't look or taste right. Just order a different dish or better yet - ask that your food be cooked longer. This is off-putting and will probably persuade the store to prepare a new dish.
~If you feel like you and your server are 'off' I suggest you get your drink refills from the bar IF the bar is not busy.
~Don't ask for a table change on a busy night. Just deal with the tiny table right next to the service door for one night. If it's a ghost town - ask to sit anywhere you like. Just understand that server sections are determined earlier in the evening and that there is a system in place. You might be unintentionally "slamming" a server and thereby really asking for poor service.
~Don't be afraid to remind a server that you'd like a glass of water (or whatever you asked for 10 minutes ago). Understand that they are dealing with 4-5 other tables at the same time and they forget things just as easily as you do.
~"Please" and "Thank you" go a long way. And eye contact, people. Make eye contact.
~It is perfectly acceptable to ask for your check. Personally, I think a server should be able to anticipate when the guest is done but if it seems like you've been waiting a long time - ask for it. In fact, we've started asking 10 minutes early to allow for the usual delays. Just keeps everyone on the same page.
~By the way, don't calculate your tip by doubling the tax. In some places, alcohol isn't taxed and is often the most expensive items on the ticket. Just go ahead and give 20% (for decent+ service, 15% for sub par service) of the total ticket amount.
I could go on and on but even I know when I've gone on too long. Man, I loved waiting tables. I have such great memories. Oh, the stories I could tell.
Final point. I think everyone should be required to work in a restaurant at some point in their life. They are the best training for understanding how to relate to truly horrible people. And also how to teach multitasking, crisis management, quick math practice, balance and coordination, people skills, interpersonal relations such as reading people, discernment, anticipating desires, etc. Honestly, once you've survived waiting tables, every other job will be a cake-walk. [Note: If you never waited tables, I've found motherhood to be a very similar work experience.]
I hope I haven't ruined your appetites for eating out. The truth is, a little spit can't really hurt you. But to be on the safe side, play nice in restaurants. The kids running the place might be funny but they're really just in it for the money. ;)