Saying goodbye to serving
By Kathleen Goddeyne -
I recently finished my last week as a server for a corporate restaurant chain in Grand Junction. I’d been with the company for five years and at the Grand Junction location for three.
I was more than happy to be exiting the service industry. After five years, hungry strangers have mistreated me more times than I care to count.
I’m not sure why, but somewhere along the line, servers started getting treated as second class citizens in the work force.
Some people think we are a bunch of idiots running around in aprons. Yes, our job is monotonous and overall very simple. But when you have 20 plus people sitting in your section and they all need a refill on their soda and extra napkins, the job gets overwhelming.
I’ve had people yell at me for not bringing all of their food out of the kitchen on one trip. Unfortunately, I was only born with two arms, so carrying six plates of food is out of the question.
On another occasion, a woman told me I wasn’t going to get a tip for not bringing the ketchup she requested. Normally, I could understand and empathize with her frustration. But in this instance, I hadn’t even finished handing out the first tray of food, meaning I hadn’t left her table to fetch the item for her.
My favorite type of bad-mannered behavior happens within the first 10 seconds of greeting a table. There’s nothing like walking up to a table of strangers and saying, “Hi there! How are you today?” and being interrupted with the phrase “iced tea.” My usual response is “Okay, well I’m Katie and I’m doing great.”
It always surprises me when people don’t treat me like I’m a real person. Sorry, but if you wanted the drive-through treatment, you should’ve gone to a fast food joint. I thought it was common knowledge that when you go to a sit down restaurant, you’ll be forced to carry out a conversation with your server.
Times like these are enough to drive a person crazy.
This is where great coworkers come in. I wouldn’t have survived my serving years without mine.
For five years, my coworkers laughed with me, cried with me, and complained with me. They’ve seen me through my best times and truly carried me through the worst. I don’t think that all work places share the sense of family that comes with a restaurant. Nor do they have such creative ways to pass the time and lift each other’s spirits the way restaurant workers do.
For instance, a contest to see who can eat the most saltine crackers in 60 seconds is always entertaining.
Fake accents, making up songs, and secret handshakes also help to pass the time.
Work isn’t always fun though and a good support system of coworkers and managers, in my opinion, are a must-have.
I was lucky enough to land myself a position in a restaurant with good people. While I am excited to start the server-less chapter of my life, leaving the restaurant biz and my fellow servers was a little difficult.
I can never repay my restaurant-family for all of their hard work in getting me through that job with my sanity intact.
Leaving the restaurant was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I envisioned myself walking out the doors with a sense of relief. Instead, I was laughing while wiping away my tears.
I later realized, that I’d left part of my family behind me. I also realized, good coworkers are the key to success and that you never know just where or when you’ll find them.