February 2, 2009

Waiting for the Wait Staff

Someone once told me to work like I don't need the money. I said that if I didn't need the money I wouldn't be working. Before spring semester started, I spent six days a week at a well known corporate family restaurant. I have been waiting tables at Applebees for four years now. During this time, I have seen my fair share of all sides of the general public. So when my main source of income is directly effected by the people I serve, I began to make decisions about the quality of service I would give based solely on their appearance. If I didn't think a table was going leave a good tip, I would put a lot less energy in to the service I gave them. Whether justified or not, this is not an uncommon practice in the serving world.

About two weeks ago I went out for dinner with a friend at a different coporate restaurant. It was later at night and the restaurant was not very busy. Our server was a lady who was probably in her late 50's. I could tell that she has been waiting tables for quite some time. She came up to us to grab our drink order and I could tell right away, by the look on her face, that she saw my friend and I as a "bad tip" table. We ordered our drinks and our food and off we went. Our waitress treated us exactly as I would have treated a similar table. She assumed that we were poor students and would not leave her a decent tip. Another waiter brought out our food and our waitress never came to check on us. When she finally did come back she was short with us and never asked if we wanted another drink. At first I was upset, but then I realized she was treating me no different than I would have treated a similar table. Then something happened that I never thought was possible. I saw myself in a middle aged woman. I realized I was sitting in the seat of many of my guests over the years. Our waitress brought our checks and I tipped her very well. I went home and thought about the events of the night. I realized that I assume things about people that I have no right to. I realized many of the times I assumed and made an ass out of myself.