I work in the service industry. I know, shocker, right? An almost 25-year-old former journalism student needs additional income from a source outside of her field of study to support herself after 5 years in school and a workplace internship? Who woulda thunk it. I graduated from Western and Sheridan, and, after all that, I serve tables full time for a living, and not one bit of me is ashamed of that.
Yes, in all honesty, it truly makes you hate people. But ironically, you have to love working with people to do the job. If you don’t like to talk to people, you can’t be a server, and if you are serving and can’t talk to people, you’re probably not a very good server. Despite the negative connotation the industry has around it, I actually really enjoy it. On the flip side, you really don’t know how demeaning and selfish people are until you’ve worked in the service industry. I’ve learned how it feels to have complete and utter strangers think less of you, look down on you, and think you’re stupid with no motivation or aspirations in life. Let me make this perfectly clear for those who are unaware. Being a server does not mean that I am dumb or that I’m uneducated or unmotivated. It means that I literally make more money a year serving tables than I would with a starting salary in my field of study. It means that I get to socialize and interact with people from all over the world and from various walks of life. It also means that I have a flexible schedule, and, at the end of the day, I don’t have to bring my work home with me. It also means that it’s actually none of your business why people like myself serve tables, but it does not mean we are any less smart, educated, or capable.
I once had someone very close to me say that my job wasn’t really considered “working,” that it wasn’t a “real job.” Hearing this really pissed me off, to be honest.
In my opinion, some of the best people have worked in the service industry. You really don’t know what working is until you’re doing a job that is the very definition of a “job.” The amount of physical labour and stamina it takes to wait on people’s every need is astounding. It is a job that requires a great deal of physical and mental activity. You are always thinking and always moving. There is nothing I consider more of a “real job”.
I truly witness some of the greatest stupidity known to mankind. However, I do admit there are times that I have to ask myself, “would this request really be that inconvenient if I wasn’t a server?” The simplest things start to become a nuisance. But there are also times where my mind is blown by some people’s complete lack of common sense. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind next time you’re ordering.
- READ THE GODDAMN MENU! Don’t ask what kind of salads we have when they are literally listed right. in. front. of. you.
- Also, don’t say you’re ready to order when you’re clearly not. I have things to do while you decide what kind of wrap you want.
- Servers are not psychics. If you want or need something, ask politely.
- The menu is not a drawing board for your creativity.
- Don’t blame servers for the kitchen’s mistakes. I am not the one cooking your food, I am the one literally catering to you. So do not yell at me.
- Do not snap your fingers at me. Ever.
I’m going to tell you a story to finish this off. One morning, a customer with a very important business conference snapped his fingers at me and pointed to his coffee cup to get my attention for a refill. Instead of refilling his coffee with the fresh pot I had in my hand, I pretended it was empty, went to the kitchen, filled his cup with decaf, and proceeded to refill his cup with decaf that day and for the entire rest of the week. It’s the little things that mean the most. Being polite to your server will get you far and will guarantee you fresh regular strength coffee. Because, contrary to popular belief, we are people too.