50 Things Your Waitress Wants You To Know

1. I only make $3 an hour. 20% is a standard tip for good service, whether it’s at the bar or at a table. A dollar a drink is acceptable. A dollar a round is not. More than 20% will make me do a little happy dance.

2. If you don’t tip me, I can’t pay my rent.

3. My job requires remembering fifty things in my head at once. If one of them slips occasionally (like your third glass of water), it’s only human. Don’t be an asshole about it. If I forget everything, go ahead and be a jerk, I deserve it.

4. If you’re incredibly thirsty, ask for a pitcher of water. Don’t make me run for water six times– water is free. Which means every second I spend going to get it is time I’m not getting paid for.

5. If you go to the bar and then sit in my section, you’re taking away my ability to make money on that table. Pay your bar tab, and I’ll be glad to wait on you, but if you continue going to the bar and taking up a table in my section, I’m going to curse you until you leave.

6. If you only plan to have a soda, or a glass of water, please get it at the bar, or tip me a dollar for every glass I bring you (which is what I’d probably be making if you ordered a drink).

7. If you decide you’d like to move to another area or table in the restaurant, please tell me first so I don’t have a panic attack and think that I’m going to have to pay your dinner bill out of my tips.

8. If you don’t pay your tab, I will have to. Walking on a tab is probably the shittiest thing you can do in a restaurant. It shows that you have no class whatsoever. You might as well jump me and steal my apron. Either way, it’s robbery. **If you leave a credit card and get drunk and forget to close your tab, that’s ok. I won’t have to buy your drinks. You can tip me when you come back tomorrow to retrieve it.**

9. If the menu says “No Substitutions” and you try to make a substitution anyway, I will get yelled at, glared at, and possibly called a moron by the kitchen. You may not end up getting your substitution anyway. If you don’t, it’s not my fault, so please don’t take out your anger on my tip. **If what you want is not on the menu, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT.**

10. Chances are, most of the cooks in my restaurant don’t speak English very well, if at all. If you mess with a dish too much, they won’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

11. When it’s really busy, every time I have to explain your order to the chef, we’re both losing money. And if he doesn’t speak English, he might screw it up anyway. Hell, he might do it out of spite.

12. If you make me stand at the table while you decide what you want, it’s not only awkward for all involved (except you), it also costs me money. Tell me you need a minute, and I’ll be back when you’re ready.

13. When a restaurant is busy, it’s like a war in which the servers are pitted against everyone else on the staff. Bartenders hate pain-in-the-ass drink tickets; cooks hate pain-in-the-ass food tickets; managers hate fixing pain-in-the-ass mistakes and answering pain-in-the-ass questions. Order as simply as possible, and I’ll love you, and everyone I work with with love me.

14. If you don’t like your food or your drinks, there’s no reason to be rude to me. I didn’t make them (unless I’m bartending, in which case I’ll gladly make you something else). Giving your waitress a bad tip because you didn’t like what you had is insulting and tacky. **If you ate every bit of it, I don’t care whether or not you liked it; you should pay for it**.

15. Never, ever, ever, whistle to get my attention. I’m not a dog.

16. If you want to buy me a shot and I tell you I can’t, it’s because if I do I’ll get fired. Don’t take it personally, I’d love to do a shot with you.

17. Everything in a restaurant takes time. If your food/drinks/sides/extra sauce/water/refill/special request doesn’t get to you immediately, it’s because you are not the only customer in the restaurant, and food doesn’t cook instantaneously.

18. If you order a burger well done, it’s gonna take a while, pal.

19. If you order a steak well done, WHY DON’T YOU LIKE FOOD?!

20. If you have a bus/boat/train/plane/concert/etc. to catch, GET TAKEOUT.

21. The answers to most of the questions you have are printed right on the menu.

22. “Excuse me” means “You’re in my way.”
“Excuse me please!” means “Get the hell out of my way.”
“EXCUSE ME PLEASE!” means, “If you don’t move your drunken/fat/oblivious/skanky ass out of my way, I’m going to kick you in the shins.”

23. If you flail around like a freak when you’re dancing, dance at home. If you knock out a tray of drinks (or one of my teeth) because you’re oblivious to where your own limbs are, I’ll hate you. And no, I don’t want to dance. I suck at it, and furthermore, I don’t know you.

24. If your friend says “I don’t want any more,” and you try to order them a drink, I’m not going to bring it. If someone shuts themselves off, it’s because they’re being responsible, and I respect that. You, on the other hand, are probably being obnoxious.

25. If you treat me like a stripper, I’m going to spit in your food, or punch you in the face. You pick.

26. If the bartender in your hometown made up a drink that you really, really love… we don’t know how to make it. But if you know what’s in it, we’ll try. If it has more than four ingredients, wait to have another one until you get home.

27. If you’re order a round of mixed shots and every one of them is different, you are an asshole, and so are all of your friends.

28. If you were wondering what I’m doing after work, the answer is “Not you.”

29. I graduated in the top of my class at a prestigious university. I wait tables and bartend because I like to travel and prefer to have low-obligation employment, not because I’m a moron. If you talk to me like I’m a kindergartner or a retard, I’ll talk to you in exactly the same way.

30. I’m sure that tipping isn’t common in your country. But I’m willing to bet that you know that it’s custom here.

31. If you can’t afford to leave a good tip on the meal/drink you want, order something cheaper or eat at home. I can’t afford to eat out, either. .

32. Your black Amex card means that you’re rich, not that you’re special. Don’t wave the damn thing around. I’m not impressed. I’ve seen dozens of them, in the hands of people far more important than you.

33. If you say, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you,” I’m going to start worrying. Most people who say that seem to think a 15% tip is “taking care” of your server. It’s not.

34. I don’t get to keep the whole tip you give me. I have to give a percentage of it to the bar, a percentage of it to the kitchen, and a chunk of it to the government. Keep that in mind before you shave off a few percent to save money.

35. I’m not flirting with your fat/ ugly/ old/ toothless/ drunk/ sleazy/ obnoxious husband/ boyfriend. I promise.

36. If I card you and you’re over 30, take it as a compliment (the older you are, the bigger the compliment). If I card you and you’re under 25, don’t pitch a hissy fit, and DON’T tell me you’re “old.” I’m only doing my job. If you intend to drink in a bar, bring your ID and expect to get carded. It’s as simple as that.

37. If I card you and you’re under 21, don’t try to convince me you left it at home/your wallet got stolen/the other bartender knows you’re of age/you’ve been drinking in this bar for years. I may be blonde, but I wasn’t born yesterday.

38. If you’re borrowing your friend’s ID to get into a bar, DON’T GO DRINKING WITH THAT FRIEND, MORON. We do look at the pictures and read the names.

40. If your kid makes a mess, you should clean it up. It’s only common courtesy.

41. If your kid is a flailing, shrieking monster who throws french fries and finger-paints with ketchup, leave the brat at home.

42. If you’re on your cell phone, either hang up and order, or I can come back when you’re finished. I’m not going to come running when you flag me down so I can stand awkwardly and listen to you have a one-sided conversation.

44. If you haven’t ordered anything in half an hour and you don’t plan to, it’s probably time to get your check and go home. If I’ve asked you already whether you’d like dessert, coffee or another drink and you’ve said “no” to all three, you’re done. If you want to keep chatting with your date, move to the bar so I can turn the table again and make rent.

45. I have a thing about answering questions about myself. If you ask more than three in a row, it starts to feel like the Spanish inquisition. If I seem to be trying to change the subject, it’s because I don’t want to answer you.

46. If it looks like I’m not smiling, it’s because I have fifty things to remember and I’m concentrating–or it’s because you/another customer/the kitchen/the bartenders/the managers have just done something that screwed everything up for me. Telling me to smile is obnoxious. Nobody smiles all the time, not even flight attendants. And if I look a little flustered, it’s probably because I’ve had to pee for three hours and I’m starving.

47. If you make a bet with me and you lose, pay up. A bet is a bet, even if your opponent is a waitress and a nerd.

48. If you can’t keep your hands off each other/tongues in your own mouths/clothes on, it’s time to take the night’s adventures elsewhere. If for some disgusting reason you feel the need to consummate your love in the restaurant/bar bathroom, please be quick and quiet, throw the condom in the trash, and take your underwear with you.

49. If I cut you off and don’t throw you out, I’m being nice. If you’re a jerk about it, there’s a big tattooed angry guy in the corner who will be coming to talk to you in just a moment. We’re pals.

50. When the music is turned off and the lights go up, PAY YOUR TAB, TIP ME, and go home. If you’re going home with me or one of my coworkers, stick around but stay out of the way. If I want you to have another drink, I’ll offer you one.


~ by saltgirlspeaks on 1 November, 2010.

2 Responses to “50 Things Your Waitress Wants You To Know”

  1. “3. My job requires remembering fifty things in my head at once. If one of them slips occasionally (like your third glass of water), it’s only human. Don’t be an asshole about it. If I forget everything, go ahead and be a jerk, I deserve it.”

    NO, your job requires you to WRITE 50 things and go back to those written things to TRY to remember them. Trying to remember them by memory is being LAZY and shows you don’t CARE, so then when tip time comes, you won’t have as good of a tip, because you didn’t TRY YOUR VERY BEST TO TRY TO REMEMBER WHAT I SAID.

    You should be writing ALL requests, even a to-go box, a coke, a refill, the check, and OF COURSE FOOD/DRINK ORDERS.

    If you forget my 3rd glass of coke, is it because you didn’t TRY to remember it by WRITING IT DOWN? If so, do you say you are SORRY or do you act like you could care less? That DOES matter when tip time comes if you are NICE about a mistake or not.

    Most of the time it’s because the server didn’t WRITE IT DOWN WHY they forgot. Quit being lazy and WRITE IT DOWN.


    So if a person is a jerk about it, just maybe it was because you acted like you could care LESS if you remembered it or not, because you didn’t WRITE IT DOWN EVEN.

    I hate when I see servers not trying. It makes me more pissed at them, because they were TOO LAZY to WRITE IT DOWN. They took ZERO EFFORT into remembering what I said, so then it’s hard to be happy with someone that was that LAZY like that.

    “40. If your kid makes a mess, you should clean it up. It’s only common courtesy.”

    I don’t have kids myself, but that’s your job. I do clean up after myself personally, but if there is some mess a kid left, you as well as the bussers have to clean it. Think about it, we are tipping for service WHILE WE ARE THERE, so if there is some mess and we are ready to leave, we aren’t going to BENEFIT from cleaning it, are we?

    • Well, Mr. Self-Righteous, I do write most things down. And I do give very good service, and when I mess up on something, I apologize immediately and sincerely, and attempt to do my best to rectify the situation. When the kitchen or the bar messes something up, I take the same initiative to right the mistake. I am not a lazy server, and I try very hard to do my job perfectly, but it’s not always possible for your meal to turn out exactly the way you want it–or even exactly as I rung it in; or for me to be in ten places at once. I work in a high-volume restaurant in which the kitchen is undependable at best, there are no food-runners or bussers, sections are large and many of them are far from the kitchen, tables turn quickly, many of the customers are drunk, and awkward shift changes mean that you can end up with tables on opposite sides of the restaurant (or upstairs).

      I don’t care how much experience you have in restaurants, you sound like an absolute nightmare of a customer (and a human being). I give my customers the courtesy of doing my absolute best to give great service; you sound like the kind of person who goes to a restaurant looking for mistakes or inadequacies in order to justify leaving a shitty tip. The only time I leave a bad tip is if my server is CLEARLY not paying attention or making an effort, or is noticeably contemptuous and rude. This is never the case with me–and yet you assumed automatically that it was.

      It’s probably a good thing you don’t have kids, because they’d surely be arrogant assholes, too. I wasn’t suggesting parents should scrub the tables or pick up every french fry, but if the place looks like a bomb went off, it would be courteous to at least TRY to minimize the cleanup for the server. Especially if you’re only going to leave her a $5 (or $2) tip. I bet you’re the guy (or gal) who leaves your used condoms on the floor when you stay in a hotel room because you think the Mexican maid who makes $6.00 an hour should be glad she has a job at all. Perhaps you empty your pockets of all their change and leave it on the dresser in the room, thinking that’s a generous tip.

      Either way, it sounds like either a) every server in the area you live in is an ignorant fuck-up, which has made you bitter and jaded, or b) you’ve been a fine dining server for so long it’s made you a total asshole.

      Every boss I’ve worked for will give me an enthusiastic good reference. I have a loyal following as a bartender, I have worked in everything from pubs and bars in California and Florida to fine dining restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard, as a server and as a bartender. I create my own cocktails, and had featured cocktails on the menus of two Vineyard restaurants. I have management experience (not in fine dining–I value my sanity and dignity). I did reach a certain point, though, when I realized I didn’t want to ascend any further into the world of fine dining. Upscale casual was good enough for me, because I was still allowed to have a personality, and did not have to be a robotic sycophant who would embitter with age until I became an unbearable person to be around.

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