This blog is a collection of a young woman's random thoughts, many tangents, and occasional
short stories and novel excerpts. Stay tuned for plenty of bull and brief moments of brilliance.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stories from a Server #1

I'm packing currently and suddenly realizing I'm really good at it. Granted, this is a useful skill at certain times in your life, but not exactly one that is marketable. I suck at unpacking and would happily live amongst boxes rather than unload anything. Anyways, all I have left are clothes and cleaning the room. I'm going to be living in the living room for four days so the new girl can move into my room. It will be dangerous to have me sleep so close to the TV.

I have a few (specifically three) server stories to share. I do not have names or any other definable characteristics that would legitimately give away identities, but feel free to think up a character in your own head. I've had difficult and rude people as well as overly kind and generous ones; it comes with the territory. And though we servers may complain about the rude ones, the crazy ones are the people who, believe it or not, make the job fun (the tips are pretty baller as well).

   The Asparagus Lady
This woman seemed a bit aggressive from the beginning, and she was one of my tables on my first night having three. I brought out her parmesan asparagus starter and she asked me if I'd ever tried it. I gave my little speech about, "No, I haven't had the pleasure of trying this dish yet in our restaurant." She turns to me, takes a piece, and tells me to put out my hand. Not realizing what was happening, I oblige. She then stares at me blankly, "Eat it." I smiled and practically ran to the kitchen. My manager saw me wandering around the kitchen, blindsided, carrying a piece of parm asparagus around in my hand. She yelled, "What are you doing?!" I yelled back, "She told me to eat it!" "Throw it away! Throw it away!" When I went by the table later, the customer looked at me blankly again and asked if I had eaten it and I said yes to save face. She said, "Good," and returned to eating her meal.

Licked Plates
There was a table (same table strangely enough as the Asparagus Lady) a week later who stayed for quite awhile. One had rather severe OCD and had to repeat everything she said three times, which took awhile but it was fine. After they had been there for an hour and a half (rather long for us), I came by to pick up the remaining plates and found them to be strangely clean, like ridiculously clean. Upon closer inspection, it looked as if they had been licked completely clean. The napkins were clean and the silverware was spotless. They both remained until they finished every morsel of butter, ate the bread crumbs off the table, and ate each and every ice cube from their water glasses. At the end of this bizarre exchange, I wondered what their tip would be. I've begun to know what to expect based on people's appearance what the amount will be (this sounds horrible, I know, but rarely have I been off by more than a few dollars in my guesses and it doesn't affect how I treat the table ever) and I wasn't expecting more than five dollars. Both ladies thanked me for my patience, and the older lady left me a $20 for the check, smiled, and said, "Keep the change!" I was left with 57 cents.  

"Eh Yo Gurl!"
I had a table come in one night that I could tell would be my last of the evening; I was next in line to be cut.  The parents were boozing it up and the ten year old kid from the get-go had a bad attitude. He was the only one of the three who could speak English (the other two, only Spanish) which was fine but I could tell I would have to deal with this kid exclusively. First thing I noticed was the kid had a hat that read, "I Love Bad Bitches” and winked at me when he noticed me gawking at the cap. After I dropped the drinks, the kid yelled after me, “Eh yo gurl! Why you no bring my mamma her straws for her drank!?” He continued to speak to me like a mini gangster for the remainder of the meal.

These are the three biggest "stories" I have at the moment of customers I have personally dealt with in my first two months. I'm loving my job so there will be many more to come. Though these people gave me a headache more times than not, at the end of my night it is all worth it and I try to keep a smile on my face. And I may or may not interact with one of my coworkers now by calling out, "Eh yo gurl!"

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reflections on Life as a Server

Well hello, people, sorry it's been so long, but working two jobs was a bit insane for a month or so there. Starting this past Thursday, I began working full time at LongHorn as a server and left my student job at Tropical Smoothie. I've had four jobs now since I was 15, two of which were for at least three years. This is the first job though that I've loved from the beginning. My co-workers are hilarious and helpful, and the constant customer interaction keeps every shift interesting.
My booklet and apron

It has not been smooth sailing entirely though; I've had doubles where I've been at work until 11:30pm and been stiffed on tips at least twice now. Frequently I only get 10% tips when I see other servers pulling 20% consistently throughout a shift. Yesterday, I was thrilled to make $88 in a dinner sift and one of my managers pulled me aside to tell me how sorry she was that I was struggling (apparently that's not a lot of money after all...). She said, "Don't worry, once you have some more service experience under your belt and start to have regulars, you'll do better!"

That was a wee bit of a kick to the face. But if I can pull at least $50 in a dinner shift, I'm plenty happy with myself. This is the first job I've had that is actually supporting me and paying my bills. I bought my first car a little over a month ago and my first payments on that are due in a couple weeks; I'm also moving into a new apartment with my new roommate, Katie, at the end of the month.
My new pink car

My schedule as a server is different every week, but I'm seeing a pattern develop: Tuesdays and Thursdays off and working every night of the weekend. I've never had an insane social life so the hours are fine to me. When I do get into work, there is no downtime to get myself situated for the day; usually my tables are already sat and I have to rush over to greet them.

I've had good tables and crazy bad tables. Quiet people who look annoyed by my presence and men flirting a bit too obviously with me. I've had a business man who tipped well above his tab and two women who were so thankful for my service they tipped double their lunch bill. I've also had people complain there were too many chicken fingers in an order and complain I did not pre-cut their bread load for them (it comes perforated). I've had mistakes, big and small ones, and some that completely ruined a table. I've had days that I almost cried and days I was tempted to run to the walk-in to text my boyfriend and tell him how great it was going.
Us at Summerfest on the 4th

I'm headed off to work in a couple hours and hoping it's busy on this Sunday night. I'm hoping my boyfriend get's this job he interviewed for and gets into the cool apartment complexes he's been looking at on the west side. I'm grateful I have him as a support system and care about him insanely so. I'll try to have a monthly post about crazy restaurant stories and odd customers (as much as I can without being too obvious). Stay tuned for more info on this wild journey as my first post-grad job in the serving industry. And, of course, feel free to stop on by and ask for me to wait on you. It'll make my day.