I was a waitress for about four years and recently quit the business and decided to get off my feet and take a seat at a computer for the time being. It was aging me quicker than I wanted – I felt like I was 50. My back, hips, and feet hurt on a regular basis. I also gained a general dislike for all people around me, especially children. Screaming, crying, chewing on their hands and touching me children. Of course there are hundreds of dreadful stories I can dig out of the recesses of my memory where they lie dormant and repressed. And plenty of situations that I’m sure many a waitstaff member has found themselves in.
There have been way too many times where I have watched children throw up at one of the restaurants I worked at. ‘How’s the food here, you ask? Well, it has been found to sometimes invoke vomit.’
I’ve watched couples fight, break up, and make up all in one meal. And somehow the making up is my least favorite part. There’s not too many situations that are more uncomfortable than asking someone if they would like a refill while they’re feeling the urge to rediscover their significant other’s body in public. I think the worst was when I watched a couple probably older than my parents make out at the end of our bar at one job for literally two hours. My happiness for someone else’s passionate love affair ends when I have to watch exactly what that means for them.
In the spirit of fighting, I’ve also seen children and parents get into fights. The kind of fight where they’re trying to keep it civil and composed in public, but that image shatters when one of the fighting parties sits the remainder of the meal in the car crying.
I’ve dealt with some of the strangest dietary restrictions and watched people rework a dish until it is nothing like what was originally put on the menu.
I had one woman in the upper east side tell a coworker she “doesn’t like that little one over there” in reference to me when I had never even spoken to her before. The upper east side in and of itself is a place that I will NEVER serve another spoiled person food again, though.
Bosses, customers, and coworkers have made me cry. But some have also brightened my day significantly.
One coworker at an old job liked to list on a daily basis every characteristic he loved about me while simultaneously begging for my phone number. And after almost a year of working there, I can proudly say he never got it!
I have at various times come home smelling like cajun bbq, seafood, hamburgers, and sushi.
Now waitressing isn’t all bad, and honestly I mostly enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun times, got the chance to usually talk to some very interesting and kind people, and I made some amazing friends. However, being a waitressing in Manhattan scarred me in a way that made me need a break for a few years…or potentially the rest of my life.
And on a final note, I can almost guarantee that you have on at least one occasion been served by a waiter/waitress that was completely drunk.