Impressing People for a Living

I am currently at the point in my life, where I am looking for a career. I am writing resumes, cover letters, and trying to “make things personal”. Companies have seen resumes from every type of person, so it’s important to make yourself stand out.

As a waitress, I have to make myself stand out for a living. For example, the smallest thing like presenting your name in a way people will remember it. To my tables, I introduce myself as Paisley. Now…with a name like that, 99% of tables react to it. Although many people remember this name without any assistance, I always want to be positive. So I may add a comment like, “My mom was a hippy” (sorry mom, you have a lot of tie-dye) or “Paisley, like the pattern”. Although these comments may seem silly, and it is not necessary for someone to remember your name, it is always nice to make things more personal. Every company is looking for their employees to have a more personal relationship to the brand, or their customers, and waitressing has given me many test-runs on the best ways to accomplish this.

Secondly, we are really good at accomplishing a lot of work in short periods of time. For example, 3 hours. Most dinner rushes range between 2-3 hours. In that time, your mind, body and soul are torn apart, stressed, and wondering if there is hope. You are running around, trying to please as many people as possible while making more money. That’s exactly what any company wants. More money and happy customers.

I am also really good at making people feel any emotion they want. For example, if someone thinks they are funny, I have perfected my fake laugh. I have also come up with with a variety of pre-rehearsed jokes to say back to my customers. If someone is happy, or celebrating an event, I am very good at singing celebration songs on the spot. When my customers are angry or upset, I can sense it, and try to cheer them up. Now, although I would love to put “ability to sing happy birthday in a room full of strangers” on my resume, that is not my point. Waitressing has given me the ability to feel out the situation, and respond accordingly, which can be helpful in many work environments.

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This is only a short list of how waitressing has taught me many skills. My problem is, I have all these skills, but people just see the word waitress. But when I finally get my “big girl job” I will impress my co-workers. I have the job of impressing people for a living, and I am very good at it.

I’m Back!

After a long needed break after school, I am back to blogging.

Now, At this time last year, I had it all planned out. I would graduate from school, as a A student, no debt, and a new career. Well, it turns out my plan didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would.

  1. I did get mainly A’s!
  2. I still have debt
  3. I still work 3 jobs, and see no future in them

Now, a lot has happened this year, from me graduating, to getting married. This means that I have many reasons to be in debt (from a societal point of view). From my side, I see no reason to be in debt. Why do we spend money if we don’t have it?

Which brings me to my next point, do not go out for dinner, if you cannot afford to tip! There is is folks, in the easiest way I can explain it. I thought this was just something people knew, but apparently us servers need to make it more clear. Sometimes, I wish I worked at a restaurant like this:

This video is great, because we all think things like this. I like to think I am a nice person, and I like to find the good in people, except for rude customers I serve. I will never be rude to your face, but there are many possibilities, that do not end with me being jobless.

Last night, after having two large parties not tip (after I served them perfectly, they were just cheap) I had this great table:

  • All you can eat spaghetti, for $5.00, you can add toppings for $1.50, and have endless refills. My table of two ordered their food, without adding toppings, and the cheapest drinks on the menu. They ordered countless refills of spaghetti, and sat there for a good portion of time. Regardless of the price tag on their meal, the table required my service every couple of minutes to order refills of food. At the end, they just wanted their bills, and I knew not to expect much of a tip. But not even a nickel (since we no longer have pennies).

Last night, I wanted to tell my countless tables of non-tippers, to eat at home. But I stayed quiet. It’s my job right now, and there are people is worse positions than me. But servers deserve more respect than that. We all have bills. Were putting ourselves though school. Some of us have children. Some have weddings to pay for. And we definitely do not pay those bills with our pay cheques. And last night, I did not pay anything with my tips either.

I Hope I’ve Served You Well

Well folks,

Today is the last day of my undergraduate degree as well as my diploma. I have been doing my blog for school, and today, it ends (school that is). In writing this blog, I have realized how much goes on in the restaurant industry, as well as how much “outsiders” don’t really know. I have also realized how much fun I have at work, and how fun it is to tell my stories. This will not be my last blog post, but It will be the last blog post of my degree. And for that, I am celebrating!

To all of you who have read my blog, and supported me, I thank you, and I hope I have “served” you well (get it). I cannot take credit for coming up with that, because my lovely finance came up with it last night.

But I really do hope that you have learned something, and if you haven’t, I hope you enjoyed reading.

Peace.

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The Manager

Sometimes, we have good managers, and sometimes, we have the complete opposite. At one of my three jobs, I have the complete opposite. All you have to do is one thing that she thinks is “wrong”, and you’re screwed for life (or at least a month). Her example of doing something wrong is taping the cutlery into napkins with the front a little to the side:

0009838232504_A(For this to look right, the logo has to be right in the centre)

So if I do one of these wrong, I will not get scheduled for a month.

This is why it is always nice to have an amazing shift where I do everything perfect. I know that she will be watching me, so at the end of the shift, I do this:

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To my managers, sometimes, you get better quality work out of your servers if you respect them, and are nice. I recommend trying it if you aren’t already.

The Double

I work three jobs, and I’m a full time student. Recently, it has been hard to find time to shower..let alone spend some quality time with any other human being…That is, except for the people I serve. Recently, I have been working at least one of my jobs a day, and sometimes, more than one. After these shifts, this is how I feel:

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I may be tired, but my pockets are definitely full. If I didn’t have jobs that I enjoyed, the money would not be worth it. So just remember (to all the angry old rich men who told me that they are now paying for all of my expenses through their taxes, because I am in the lowest tax bracket, and need a real job)…I may have made a little more money this year than you think. Don’t be rude to your server!

My Most Prized Possession

There is one item in this world, that a server could not live without…What could this be?

A PEN!

Now, this would be the ideal shift:

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Unfortunately, it rarely happens. Personally, if I go to work with an apron full of pens, I feel like I have my life together. Most of the time however, I am limited to 1 or 2 a shift, and this shift never ends well. Why? Because whenever you are limited for pens, someone else is too. By the middle of the shift, one or both of you have lost your only pen, and need to “borrow” one….(pause for laughter). This normally happens after you have gone to your party of 15, without a pen, and they try to order anyways…This is always awkward.

Unfortunately, it always sucks to be the person with lots of pens too. When a server asks to borrow a pen, 9.9 times out of 10 you will not get it back. So then, the next shift you are the person with 1 or 2 pens, because no one gave them back! The lesson here, never give out your favourite pen.

When deciding which pen to give, always ask yourself this question:

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Server Life Lesson: You can never have too many pens.

The Stories

My job is the best place for someone who loves to eavesdrop. I am basically paid to listen to peoples conversations…well…not really…but thats what I choose to do with my time.

Sometimes, there are boring shifts at work. The ones where you play with your hair, and wonder around pretending to do things…the other day, I was explaining to my co-workers how good I am at pretending to do things. One time, I knew I was being watched, So I went over to the ice cube holder, picked up a few pieces, and then placed them in the sink. My boss couldn’t see what I was doing behind the counter, but to him, I was making noise, moving around and “busy”.

But sometimes, Its hard to make yourself look busy over a four hour shift, when there is nothing to do. So I listen to people talk…Of course I can’t let them know what I’m doing. So I only clear a few plates at a time, and very slowly, to catch all the details.

The other day, I overheard a conversation about what it was like to live in the 1930s. The cost of rent per month was $18.00, and a new car was $640.00. I wish. But it was interesting!

The thing is, I learn a lot just from listening to people speak while i’m bored. So tell your stories, because I’m listening!

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Nice Guys Eat First

The other night, I was talking about my blog with my boss, and realized that I have been talking a lot about the “terrible customer”. The customer that doesn’t tip, or makes rude comments. Then I realized, I haven’t told any stories about my favourite customers!

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Working at a private golf course has given me the chance to serve the same members over and over again (this can be a blessing or a curse). In getting to know the members however, I have met some amazing people. For the purpose of this story, we will call my favourite member Jennifer.

I met Jennifer years ago, while I was serving at a different club. She recently became a member at my current club, and I could not be more thrilled. She says hello to me by name, asks me about my day. She wants to keep up to date with what I’m doing, and she shares her life with me too (especially her puppy stories)!

When Jennifer gets a little alcohol in her, she does tend to get a little silly. On New Years Eve of last year, when I should have been celebrating 2015, I was serving at the club! She felt bad, so she came over to me and we talked for a few minutes. When she went to leave however, she did not say a simple goodbye…She gave me a good slap to the bum. Now, I am all about being friendly with the guests, but this experience was hilarious!

Being the nice customer, you get many privileges. You get a friendly server, who serves you fast! You don’t get talked about behind your back in the kitchen…You get a spit free meal…There are many perks to treating your server well!

Needless to say, most customers at restaurants are not terrible to serve! Once you can build a relationship with your customers, the experience for both parties is much better. Now, I do not recommend slapping the butt of your next server, but try getting to know them a little better before you leave!

March Madness

March makes people crazy. I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, as to why this is…but I have observed it first hand.

People have now started to come out of hibernation. Winter is almost over (hopefully), and people don’t want to stay in their houses and eat kraft dinner anymore. So they have all decided to make my day and keep me company.

I enjoy serving people, so they really do make my day better. But there are customers that make you so angry that it can ruin your day. The other day, I was serving a customer who made me want to quit my job. After serving a very awkward dinner to a lady (we will call her Sue), her husband and her two friends, Sue made a few comments that were not appropriate. I went over to her table to ask if anyone wanted any dessert, tea or coffee. Sue continued talking to her friend, but her husband looked up at me. He knew Sue was’t paying attention, so he looked at her and asked her the same question. She then looked at him and told him that he was interrupting her. Then she looked up at me and sternly told me I was interrupting her too. She huffed and puffed at me for a second, then asked what we had for dessert…Then, Sue told me to go away. (The best part of the story is that her husband called me back over right after I left because he wanted coffee)

I had a problem with this comment because it is my job to interrupt my tables…If I didn’t, they wouldn’t get served. I try my best to go to my tables when people don’t have food in their mouth, or are in deep conversation, but my timing isn’t always perfect. This does not give anyone the right to be rude to me, or treat me like a child.

After this, Sue was the conversation of the night with the other servers. The lesson of this story…If you don’t want to be talked about in the kitchen, don’t be a terrible person. I heard a quote the other day (I forget exactly how it was worded). It said “If you know a nice person, but they are not nice to the server, they are not really a nice person. This is a lesson to live by.

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I Was A Bad Customer

Last night, I was a bad customer.

I think that is something everyone needs to know, since I preach being a good customer all the time. And I didn’t do anything mean, or rude. I was very polite to my server. If any other person looked at my experience, they would think I was a great customer. But from the perspective of a waitress, I was one of those people that they secretly hate.

Last night I went out with my sister to have a drink and an appetizer after work. We went to a bar that was close to my Grandma’s house, so that we could walk back home . We sat down in a very busy bar, where people were trying to find seating. Luckily, we found a seat right in the middle of the room (perfect for people watching), and sat right down. Our server came, and asked us if we wanted a drink, and we ordered our nachos at the same time. So our food came, and we ate it and had our drink…and then we sat there some more. We were done eating, and we were just chatting and catching up. But we weren’t leaving. Our server kept coming over and asking if we wanted another drink, and we didn’t, but we also didn’t want our bill yet.

So we were campers. (See my blog on Gossip Time for the definition)

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What was going through our servers head at that time…I can tell you exactly.

  • She was wondering if we were going to order anything else
  • She was thinking about how we only ordered one drink each and one appetizer, so her tip would only be about $2.00 from each of us
  • She was wondering if she should come over and ask us if we wanted more…but didn’t want to bug us too many times
  • Finally, she was wondering when we were going to leave

All these things may seem like minor things, but they are all things that run through a server’s head each shift. The best part of the story is, before going to the bar, I was working a shift. And a table would not leave. I wanted to re-set the room, and they sat there and talked for hours. I got mad at them, but then did the exact same thing. So for that…I  was a bad customer last night.