Working in the service industry is a lovely thing, or at least it can be (the nights when you walk out of work with $200+ cash in your bag and a happy heart). However, the shifts when you do nothing but sweat, deal with picky customers and have to explain to your manager constantly about why you need something overruled on the computer are the ones that make you wish you had a desk job. If you are, or have ever been a server, here are 10 things that have infiltrated your everyday life (and there’s no chance you’ll break the habit).
1. You are a GREAT faker.
If you’ve ever been a server, this is your best hidden talent. No matter how shitty your day is, or how hungover you are for the morning shift, you can put on a smile and fake your way through the day. Oh the music is too loud? Let me pretend to go talk to the manager about that for you. Aw, your kid is SO cute when he smashes the crackers with his fist on the table (insert closed-lip smile). Yes, please tell me more about the vacation you took last week, it’s not like I have three other tables and a twenty-top arriving in five minutes…
2. You refuse to split checks when you go out with friends.
“Let’s just pay together and you pay me back,” is your notorious line when you walk into a restaurant. Being a server, you know the hassle of having to split a check 7 million ways when your co-workers are haggling you for the computer.
3. You yell when going around corners.
This happens all the time. You could be at the gym, or maybe getting groceries, but as soon as you start to go around the corner you yell to let oncoming traffic know you’re on the move. Personally, I shout, “CORNER,” but I am also known for yelling, “IN!” It depends on the workplace you come from, but habit has taught you to never go around a corner silent in case a large tray of hot food is coming from the opposite direction.
4. You are the pre-busser everywhere.
When you go out to eat, even if it is a hot date, you pre-buss the table. For those of you who aren’t a server, but are still reading this, that means PICK UP THE STUFF ON THE DAMN TABLE. Please help us out…all we ask is that you put the trash together on one plate; maybe stack the glasses, and if you’re feeling extra generous, wipe the salt and crumbs on the floor so we don’t have to see them.
5. You have a change of clothes…at all time.
Even though it is probably a pair of baggy sweats and your ex’s t-shirt, it is clean and doesn’t smell like kitchen grease, sticky soda, and sanitizer water. As a server, you know the importance of having at least one option of stink-free clothes because you always have something to do once you get off.
6. You don’t make plans.
Being a server requires extreme flexibility and patience. You never know what time your shift is going to end. Even though you usually have a 30-minute window of when you normally get off, as soon as you send the “I’m almost cut” text a huge party walks in the door and you are asked to stay because, “it’ll be good money.”
7. You pay for everything with cash.
No, it’s not because you’re a stripper. You get tipped for your personality, not your body. (But would adding a few extra bucks really hurt, bro table? I know you checked me out when I did the deep squat to lift that tray of food.) Seriously though, your $5 paychecks, every two-weeks, as a result of making a whopping $2.13/hr. minus taxes, don’t exactly cut it when making deposits to the bank. It is easiest to just keep cash on you at all times.
8. You always have a pen.
…and your friends know it. They always turn to you when they need to write something down because they know your bag is full of a variety of pens. You have the clicker pens (classic, easy-to-use with no cap), the old school Bic pens, the promotional pens (ones with medicine brands or bank names), the colored pens, and the shitty pen (yes, only one) that you keep just in case your least favorite co-worker needs to borrow one.
9. You remember all of the details.
Working in a fast-paced environment that demands constant memorization of little details has led to you being able to remember anything about everything. Here’s a VERY short glimpse of 30 seconds of inner monologue a server will experience:
“Table 9 needs a side of blue cheese, but Table 11 just reminded me that they wanted a to-go order, so while I’m at the computer in the kitchen sending it in, I’ll grab the ranch…oh shit, it was blue cheese. Was it dressing or blue cheese crumbles? The guy at Table 10 ordered nachos with no sour cream…CORNER…I really hope they wanted dressing not crumbles. Drop the check at table 8 and tell them thank you…wait, water pitcher, yes grab the water for the old lady near the door who has been slurping for 5 minutes now. Now go apologize to table 10 because he got sour cream because I wasn’t watching…greet the new table and get their drink order…oh they are ready to order – order as in like food but I have no paper. No worries, I can memorize it…oh you’re allergic to everything? Let me write this on the dirty napkin I found in my apron. Why is it wet? Damn there’s an entire ice cube in here…how the hell?”
10. Your best friends are your co-workers.
Through thick and thin (and sometimes sticky), your co-workers are the only ones who actually understand your crazy side, but still support you in every situation. They are the people who you can tell wild stories to and complain endlessly to because they just get it. They are the people who you laugh with (or at, because they dropped a glass), you eat with, you spend all of your time with, and most importantly, the people who get you most. They are the relationships for life that will never end because you have the best part-time job in the world that drives you crazy but gives you the best stories.
Now, let’s all go out after work tomorrow and remember why we do the things we do. Because we are servers.