As a broke college student, I rely heavily on my exhausting job as a server. I work in a small-town, family owned pizza place where the workers wear t-shirts and tennis shoes and speak with thick accents. It’s not exactly glamorous, but it pays the bills. Sometimes.
Has anyone you know ever had a bad day? Have they taken it out on you? Did it feel crappy?
Now imagine that complete strangers do this every single day. Or that they treat you like low-life servants. Or that they are just plain rude. But that isn’t the worst part. When ignorant jerks are mumbling profanities, and throwing insults after insults, we must be nice to them. We have to pretend that they are wonderful and that we are so happy to wait on them! As the saying goes, “the customer is always right!”, even if they aren’t right at all. I’ve heard some of the craziest stories. I once had a customer who ate his entire pizza, and then complained that we messed it up. He demanded we make him another one for free. We’ve had people try to explain OUR coupons and promotions to us! There really isn’t anything we can do to change the rules. Talk to a manager if there is a problem. We are just there to take your food orders and bring you that food. So please don’t harass your servers. Have some respect, don’t treat them like scum. We are human, we mess up too. We are not your punching bag.
Also, we understand that dining out is convenient. You don’t have to cook or clean. You just sit there and eat. But don’t be a pig. If you spill sauce all over the table, wipe it up. Stack your dishes before you leave. Don’t let your children throw spaghetti on the wall or put gum on the table. Someone has to clean up that mess. Does that sound like a job you’d want? I’m not your mother. Spend 30 seconds being a decent person.
Have you ever noticed that most servers are young? I can guarantee that many are working their way through school, raising a young family, or just trying to make ends meet. Unless you are at a 5-star restaurant, your servers aren’t professionals. We make $2.13 an hour, which almost always goes straight to taxes. I understand that you might not be swimming in money, but if you can’t afford to tip, don’t go out to eat. Plain and simple. And don’t throw a dollar down on the table and be pleased with yourself.
I know that there are good people out there. People that leave overly generous tips and hand out compliments. These people can make a server’s day so fast. If you have a server who did a great job, write a friendly note on the bottom of the receipt. It’s so uplifting to receive praise from customers. And I can assure you, if a server knows that one table is fun and generous, and that another is rude and stingy, you can guess who is going to get the better service. Karma is a bitch and life is a cycle. If you want a pleasant dining experience, be a pleasant customer. You would be amazed at how easily servers remember customers. You’d be even more surprised at the lengths they’ll go to please those that they enjoy waiting on.
So be polite, be tidy, and tip well. Or don’t even consider dining out.