It was about a year ago that I realized it was time to face the inevitable. It was time to become a waitress. Cue-scary music. Although I definitely needed the money, I also felt like it was a rite of passage to enter into the acting world. For the first time, I had absolutely no connections or help, and I needed to prove to myself that I could do it.
I still remember my first day of work like it was yesterday. I remember clocking in in the basement after being greeted by a pack of rats. Was it too late to turn back? Yes-Turning back is for suckers. I quickly learned that I would be working nine-hour shifts with a fifteen minute break to eat. When I found my name on the schedule, I realized that I would be working every Saturday night until 4 am. Correction- I later learned that the restaurant closes at 4 am and then we were allowed to start cleaning.
When I first began waitressing, I was awful. This is not me being self-deprecating. My learning curve for carrying lots of dishes, dealing with impatient customers, and trying to communicate with the kitchen staff in Spanish took some time.
Eventually, I found my inner confidence, learned to go with the flow, and actually grew to enjoy waitressing. I could easily write an entire book about my experience, but I’ll just tell you about some of the customers I met along the way. Let’s put them into three categories-Angry, Nice, and Too Nice.
The angry category was comprised of the people that acted as if I had ruined their life when I messed up their order. In this category, I think of a woman that grit her teeth so hard when her cookie took too long or the man that stood up and yelled at me when his sandwich was missing pesto. At first, I used to get really upset and felt like a failure, but with time I just learned to problem solve and not take it personally.
The nice category was filled with the majority of customers I met. There were so many customers that asked me my name and even asked about my own life aspirations. I got to be a part of many birthday and anniversary celebrations. You have no idea how many older women told me the stories of how they met the loves of their lives. It was really sweet.
The “too nice” category is made up what some might call “the creeps.” I remember going to a table with two very attractive guys my age who were out with their uncle. When I turned to the uncle to take his order, he said, “I’m sorry. I can’t order right now because my pacemaker’s going off. “ Yikes…
During one of my last days of work, a man handed me his business card. On the back it said Mr. ________ turns out to be the most important person in the world. I’m not writing his name here just in case he turns out to be the most important person in the world…
Now that I’ve told you all about the customers, it only seems fair that I confess one thing about the waitresses. At the restaurant, we served these delicious buckets of fries. Sometimes, when the customers were finished and there were still fries left in that bucket, well…you can imagine the rest. When you’re exhausted and hungry, the grease starts calling your name. Believe me, no one was above the bucket of fries. I recognize how disgusting it was, but it was totally worth it.
All in all, I had a great time waitressing. I had to move on because of the low wages and bad hours, but I would like to leave you with a thought that sums up my experience. My friends often joked that I put on my waitressing uniform as if it were a costume. While I cannot deny enjoying wearing my apron, the truth is that all of the girls were just wearing costumes. I met some really intelligent girls that were waitressing so that they could pay for school, start new lives for themselves, and even some that were helping to support their parents. If you take anything away from this blog, please tip your waiter/waitress!
Have a Funky Friday!