I would gladly wipe dirty butts and watch people bleed out of their eyeballs if it meant that I would never have to set foot in another restaurant where I am the waitress.
Rewind six years …
To pay the bills in college (the first time around), I thought it would be a great idea to work as a server at Olive Garden in Tuscaloosa. I worked there for two years. I do not regret the experience in the least. I learned more about life, people and myself in those days than I care to admit.
I was the worst waitress in all of Alabama for the first year I worked there. I would forget about tables, orders and drop food on customers. It was awesome! The job was definitely testing how much criticism my already low self-esteem could handle.
Then, it happened. I learned my job and became confident with my mission to serve the customer. My crappy serving skills evolved into acceptable serving skills. As my pockets filled with more money, my self esteem compensated. It became my personal duty to take as much money from people as I possibly could without robbing them blind.
I had a dream …
Last night, I reclaimed my job at the Olive Garden in Tuscaloosa. I am not sure what brought me to T-town to work (maybe it has to do with this whole returning to college thing). I showed up at work after six years out of practice, and they threw me to the wolves. I was not clocked in yet!
My coworkers (amazingly, all the same people I used to work with years ago) sat around watching me run from table to table greeting customers (greet before you take drink and food orders just to let them know that you acknowledge their presence). Some tables I allowed to just sit and stare at me. I just did not have the time to get to everyone at once.
I decided to breathe and handle each table in the order in which the stupid hostess sat them. I approached my first table (happy it was only two people). I went for only drink orders, but I got a lot more.
I listened to this couple ramble on about what they wanted to eat. The man wanted to eat three bowls of soup each prepared in a slightly different way. Considering the soup comes in a big bag that we just heat up, I was not even sure this could happen. He also said that he wanted fetuccini alfredo with steak pieces in it instead of chicken. He wanted their table salad made in a precise manner as he went on to describe for more than five minutes. He wanted sweet tea filled half way, the other two fourths were to have water and unsweet tea. The lady made her own bizarre drink order, but all she wanted for her meal was a blue cookie.
I went to the back to start on their drinks and place their food orders. I was still not logged into the system. No one would help me, so I logged in under another server and tried to place the order. I could not remember the table number. Finally, I got the details sorted out, but I could not find my sheet of paper used to write down the order. I emptied out my pockets, my apron, and it was no where to be found. By this point, more than 20 minutes passed, and I still did not have the drinks on the table. I could not remember what they wanted to eat, and I knew that there were several other tables out there waiting on me to return to get their drink orders.
I looked around at the kitchen of the Olive Garden and I remembered why I left there in the first place. I wanted out again after my first table!
I woke up …
I was so happy when I woke up and realized that the whole waiting table experience was just a terrible nightmare. I sat there for a minute in my PJs trying to recall the couple’s order. When I could not figure out the three variations for the fagioli soup, I decided to get up and walk around the apartment. I do this when I do not want to return to a dream. If I don’t get up and put space between me and the dream, I usually fall right back to sleep and pick up where I left off.
In response to this dream …
Waiting tables is not an easy job. I would pretty much do anything to avoid ever having to do this in my lifetime again. It gives me a new perspective on the job I currently have. I make about as much money as I did waiting tables, but I do not dread going in every day. It must not be all that bad if I do not dream about people cut wide open on operating tables!
In conclusion, make sure that you tip your wait staff. Need more information on the hard life of a server? Here is an article that I wrote on tipping when I worked for EmeraldCoast.com: Say Good bye to the $2 Tipper.