Waitressing woes elicit winning wishes for servers

Working at a restaurant has completely changed the way I view dining out.

Being a waitress myself for the past six months has given me a whole new outlook on the intricacies of how a restaurant functions, and especially how hard waitresses can have it sometimes.

For one thing, I always tip 20 percent now. Always. Because I know somewhere down the line the waitress probably got gypped a couple times. For another thing, I don’t make absurd requests to completely change things on the menu to suit my whims. Unless you have a severe allergy, just let the cooks do their thing.

Don’t ask to turn a bowl of spicy jambalaya into a bowl of plain white rice with no shrimp, spices, onions or peppers AND get the green beans on the side. Who does that?! Get a side of rice and ask for an extra saltshaker if that’s more your speed.

Let’s get another thing straight. When you go to a restaurant with a fine dining card or other coupon that gives you an entire entrée for free, you still have to tip your waitress out as if you didn’t have the coupon.

Oh, your server just wasted about three minutes of his or her time telling you about the $17.99 special – a glorious flat iron steak with wild rice and seasonal vegetable – and your coupon strikes one from your bill, but you only leave a five spot? Where’s the server’s 18 percent for doing all the selling and serving?

Another thing that irritates me to no end is when people ask for about 18 different sauces or condiments every time I bring back the next one. You wait until your date asks me for one tiny little cup of mayonnaise and I then have to run to the opposite end of the restaurant to get it and then return with it before you tell me that you would like some ranch, if it’s not too much trouble.

No, it’s not too much trouble since I’m pretty much a rock star waitress at this point; it’s just annoying as hell. Your extraneous condiments are extremely low on my list of priorities during busy season.

Same goes for drink refills of Coke, iced tea, Sprite or any other beverage that is free to refill. If you have literally had me refill your Mr. Pibb more than three times, you need to consider cutting back on your pop intake. Your tab isn’t going up, which means I’m not making any money. There is no way you’re that thirsty.

I could go on and on, but there’s just one last thing that really grinds my gears.

After working a nine-hour shift on a Saturday, from 1 p.m. to close at 10 p.m., my stamina is usually pretty much worn out by the end of the night. When I’m trying to close out and balance my book, the last thing I want is to have a table of the dreaded lingerers.

You know the type. The people who have been nursing a beer for the last hour and a half as they gossip and chat without having me cash them out so I can square up my report for the evening and get out of there. They’re not fazed in the slightest by the last call from the bar, or from my pointed glances in their direction.

If any of these scenarios sound at all familiar to you, please consider refining your etiquette for dining out. As they say, don’t be “that guy.”



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