Opinion: Servers Are Dished a Raw Deal

Friday, January 28, 2011

I have been a waiter for more than 20 years. Contrary to popular belief, my job is not easy. I wish more customers could take a moment and put themselves in my shoes -- my ugly, slip-resistant pair from Payless that I am required to wear by my employer but for which they will not reimburse me.

Waiting tables is a profession that deserves more respect than it gets. Most of us have degrees. From real colleges. I have worked with people who hold graduate degrees but choose to wait tables because it's more lucrative than that MFA in Shakespearean Acting ever proved to be.

A few things that non-servers should know:

1. Read the menu. Just because we have the ingredients for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich doesn’t mean I will ask the kitchen to make one.
2. If a steak is ordered well done, please don’t ask me if they had to kill the cow first. That joke isn’t funny.
3. Water with lemon is annoying. Ask any server and they will agree with me.

4. If Cheerios are eaten as a snack by a two-year old, please do not leave them all over the floor when you go.
The next time you go out to eat, I ask that you try to imagine life on the other side of the menu. I will appreciate it, and you will probably get better service too.

The Bitchy Waiter has been waiting tables for nearly 20 years and blogs anonymously about his experiences as a server in New York City.


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Comments [4]


Dee..I have an idea for you. Why don't you bring your own sammie and serve it to your adorable 2 year old? A win, win for everyone!! And just so you know...they don't wash those lemons in your drink...who knows what kitchen floor they rolled around on before they ended up sliced in your water...just saying.

Feb. 01 2011 11:32 AM
TheBitchyWAiter from NYC

Dee, I can't tell if you're serious or not about the whole "sammies" thing. I hope not, because that is absolutely ridiculous of you to expect that we would do that.

Feb. 01 2011 10:59 AM

So Dee, you're telling all servers to go out, with our own, hard-earned money, buy ingredients for something not on the menu, and prepare it ourselves, and then serve it to two-year-olds? And have them prepared ahead of time, so we have to come in early, make them off-the-clock, and let them get stale waiting for someone that MIGHT want one? And how do we charge for such a contraption, might I add? Most restaurants have computer-based systems. Oh, and if we did charge for them, the money goes to the restaurant, not us.

And, from experience, no, their gratitude will not be left in our tip. All that will be left is super sticky jelly that I have to go buy a scrubbie to manage to get it off the table, and peanut butter on the table chandelier. I'm not about to spend my own money to go give myself more work and get myself fired for going against restaurant policy. It's rather self-defeating.

Feb. 01 2011 08:32 AM

I've never been a server but I've been served... with excellence, in mediocrity, and horribly... in restaurants in several different countries. It's unfortunate for the server who must forego earning a living in his/her chosen field of university study and thus relegate himself/herself to the more lucrative service industry. Your angst is valid but not the fault of your patrons... So, here's a tip for all the graduate degreed servers out there: Buy a loaf of white bread, some jelly and peanut butter... make a few "sammies" and have them at the ready for the less discerning palate of a toddler. The appreciation of the parents will be reflected in your tip. (BTW... I like lemon with my water and, for New York prices, I damn well want it!)

Jan. 31 2011 08:25 PM

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