On Saturday at work I cried.
At a table.
In front of the customers.
I just stood there, biting my lip, tears running down my face, my cheeks turning red.
I said "I'm sorry."
They told me to sit down and have a drink with them.
I've cried at work before, but never in front of a customer.
But these customers...not the ones I cried in front of, but the ones at the table next to them, were making my life very difficult at that moment.
And let's be honest: it was that time of the month when I get a little emotional anyway.
So let me vent a moment, and take this as an opportunity to learn about customer etiquette at a restaurant.
The table of 7 sat down.
I took their drink orders. Almost everybody order an alcoholic beverage and a water.
I said, "okay, I'll get those drinks right away for you."
The computer to ring in the drinks is right next to that table, and there is also ice and water and tea, but the bar is on the other side of the restaurant. My plan was: ring in the bar drinks, get them each a water and say "I'll be right back with your drinks from the bar", go get them, and pass them out.
The whole ordeal should have taken approximately 3-4 minutes.
But as I was ringing in the drinks, each person at the table took a turn calling me away from the computer to ask me questions.
Now, keep in mind, as this is going on, I'm always standing within 5 feet of the table.
Then this guy says to me, "can you get me my water?"
Now, when you see that your friends haven't even allowed the waitress to leave the table to get drinks for ANYBODY, it's not really reasonable to expect that she's going to have your drink.
That was the story for the rest of the night.
Before I would even leave the table, they wanted to know where their: drinks, bread, bread plates, appetizers, extra butter, tartar sauce, drink refills, entrees, etc were. I would set something down in front of them and immediately they would say "we're going to need some ___". Usually it was in my other hand, or on the tray next to the table.
For example, at one time (close to my breaking point) they asked me for some tartar sauce and butter.
I came back with it in my hand, on a tray with their drink refills as well.
I reached the table, they complained that they were missing a salad (why didn't they tell me that when they asked for everything else?? They were already aware of it!) and then the water guy snapped at me that they still needed tartar sauce and butter.
It was in my hand.
IN MY HAND.
When the waitress has something IN HER HAND, please don't snap at her that you still need it.
That's why it's IN HER HAND.
He had just asked me for it two minutes earlier. Which is why I was GONE for two minutes...I went to GET THE THING YOU ASKED ME FOR.
And now it's IN MY HAND.
The WHOLE night was like that. Over and over and over again.
And to add to it, one lady flat out didn't like her food, the trainee delivering the food didn't read the ticket and forgot the salad and several other items, and another lady said her food was overcooked, so I had to get it recooked.
Now, if your food is overcooked, that's a valid complaint. Your food should be perfect when you're paying $35 for a single entree.
But don't get mad at the waitress when the kitchen isn't cooking fast enough.
And don't ask the waitress why she doesn't have your drink yet when you just sent her to the kitchen with the food that you didn't like and didn't mention that you wanted another drink (a non-refillable drink, that is).
All the while, I had a table of 10 high school and college kids that just could not coordinate when they wanted their beer refills (for the over 21 college guys). Every time I went back to the table, somebody else needed a refill.
At least they weren't rude about it.
I finally delivered the re-cooked food to the first table, only to face the glare of a very unhappy woman who waited too long to get her food that the manager was already giving to her for free.
I was sweaty and tired. I had been running back and forth across the restaurant for over an hour for these two tables, and putting up with the most extreme impatience I have ever seen from a group of adults.
Then the college guys flagged me down.
They asked for two shots of Patrón.
I started crying.
I think I scared the high school girls silly. It must have seemed so out of nowhere. They had no idea what was going on at the other table. But they were the ones who had to watch me cry.
I stood there for quite a while trying to get myself under control. They told me to take my time, they were so sweet.
I went and put in their order, a manager yelled at another server to get me a glass of water, another manager brought me the lady's entree that she now wanted boxed up (they flagged her down, of course, because they couldn't wait two minutes for the waitress to stop crying) and she put in the massive food order that was still looming over me for the group of 10. I went to the kitchen, wiped my face, drank some water and cried my little eyes out.
Then I boxed up the food, put on a fake smile, and delivered the drinks and the boxed entree.
They were suddenly very apologetic.
Both tables left me an excellent tip.
I was thankful for the money, and how God provides even when the circumstances appear dim.
But I also look forward to the day when I can say "I used to be a waitress," and not "I am a waitress."