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At Your Service: The Stupid Season

I thought going back to school would give me a reprieve from the stupidity at work. And I'm not just referring to a classmate in my environmental reporting class who asked what malaria was. No, no. Rather, it seems the stupidity has compounded itself. Now, instead of dealing with a few jackasses each of the five or six shifts I work at the restaurant, they wait for me. They pile up during the weekend and fill up my section, asking for the salad dressing on the side because they don't like a lot of it and then want extra, thereby putting twice as much on the salad as I would have. They ask if our personal-sized pizzas are "manly enough." If you need a pizza to confirm suspicions you have about your masculinity you're in deep trouble my friend. But yes, it is manly enough to feed you. From the first bite on your chest hair will double in size and your pheromones will render you the most desirable creature on the planet. (I don't know what that says about the 10-year-old girl that ate almost the same thing you did about an hour ago but I don't really care.)

As the summer season whimpered away, our lovely guests chose to leave a stronger reminder of their presence than the non-existent summer we had. From bringing their Jenny Craig meals in and asking us to heat them up to bringing in their own cheese for us to put on the pizza to spelling out the word "box" instead of just saying it . . . oh, douchebags, I won't miss you. Oh, and to that woman that complained about me being rude because I went to the other table before you wanted me for the fifth time in 15 minutes . . . I hope that pizza went straight to your thighs.

One of my favorite customers the past week was an elderly lady who insisted on talking to me only when someone else at the table already was. However, every time I talked to her, she looked bewildered. Finally, she told me she is deaf. So then I tried to only communicate with the others at her table who could pass the information on to her. But no. This wasn't good enough. She tapped me on the arm and asked me, "How can you hear over all this noise?"

To be fair, I wasn't always the most pleasant server. One of my most cringe-worthy moments was entirely my own fault. I had a table of 10 people, five of whom were screaming children. I don't mean fussy. I mean shrieking, temper-tantrum children. I was all smiles but I had to let it out somehow. Our bussers help us bring the food out to the tables. I was in a section that was pretty secluded, where everyone usually makes up their own table numbers or puts descriptions on the tickets so the busser knows where to drop the food off. For this table's ticket, I wrote "Screaming kids."

You know where this is going.

The kind busser who dropped the pizzas off for me had the ticket with him when he arrived at the table. I came in a minute behind him - just in time to see one of the adults pick up the ticket. He was showing it to the busser as I swooped in. The busser and the gentleman were both looking at me and the busser asked me what the ticket said. He truly couldn't read my handwriting and I was hoping the gentleman couldn't either. I snatched it while mumbling a "nothing, nothing." I don't know if the guy could make out my chicken scratch. I wasn't going to ask and he didn't tell.

There were a few truly wonderful random moments as well, such as finding a tiny pink plastic penis in one of the salt shakers; watching a server who has been there for 20 years trying to figure out how to use the coffee machine; and the day everyone put temporary tribal tattoos on. (Even the cooks and hosts.) We had some very deep discussions, such as how to ask very large people to use two of our very flimsy chairs so they don't fall. There were a couple of nights of doing shots at a bar after drinking at work. New friendships were forged and old fights were forgotten.

All in all, I am looking forward to the slow season. I don't think I'll miss explaining a dozen times that our exit is located the same place you came in. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

-

The pseudononymous Patty Hunter brings you tales from the front lines of serverdom every week. She welcomes your comments. Catch up with the rest of this series and its companions in our Life At Work archive.



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Posted on September 24, 2009


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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