They come in all different shapes and sizes. There’s the guy who finishes the entire meal before deciding it needs to go back to the kitchen. What about the woman who insists on asking, “How hard is your job?” The group of new-licensed teens who ask you to divide the check 9 ways, then forget about tax…and tip. There are some woes that you can only understand if you’ve carried a 10-entree tray in your hands. Since this is a blog about a server’s silver lining, however, here are a few ways to show ’em who’s boss:
Remember IT’S NOT YOU.
You just met these people. You’ve done nothing but smile at them. You’re literally serving them. I know it sucks, but don’t get hard on yourself. Nothing makes a busy night harder than wondering what you’ve done wrong. Keep telling yourself that it’s just another table, just another tab, and it’ll be just another few minutes until they get the hell outta your way.
Feel sorry for them.
Honestly. Think about it: something in their life is SO AWFUL that they are willing to pay money to have someone to yell at. I’ve served enough martinis to enough divorcees to know that when it really hits the fan, people just need to leave the house. If someone is being exceptionally rotten, try asking them what’s wrong. Sure, it’s ballsy, but I’ve tried it and actually helped somebody out. Or, if you think the customer is just total douchebag to the core, keep in mind that the greatest way to say F*!# YOU…is silently, with a smile on your face.
You gotta let it out, people! Talk to somebody who’s willing to listen, who works the same job..hell, talk to me! I know everybody in the food and booze industry is trained in letting things roll of their shoulders, but sometimes people just get to you. Letting things bottle up can (and will) ruin your shift, and probably will continue to spoil things as long as you keep it in. I promise, saying things out loud can make a total bummer into a funny story.
So the next time someone asks you how hard your job is, just smile at them and think…well, you know. 😉