If slapping the S*** out of someone that deserves it was legal, how many customers would get slapped during your shift tonight. After bartending for 10 years I’ve had my fair share of moments were I was close.
1. The Young Bar Star – while working at a suburb nightclub, I encounter this enthusiastic little vixen. She loves attention and starts her order at my bar by asking “Can I get a free shot if I show you my tits?” ~ what? I am so tempted to reach over the bar and give her a smack, delivered with the message, “this is from your father.”
2. The Vodka Aficionado – while working in a casual-high-end restaurant/lounge I encountered this winner often. He only drinks Grey Goose Vodka and even when ordering a Caesar demands it. Now I’m all for giving people what they want, no judgement here. But this dude feels like he needs to announce it to the whole bar so everyone knows he’s an idiot. I mention to him, there’s no way you can tell the difference in a Caesar. Why bother? He laughs. “When you can afford it you only want the best. Only Goose, always.” Ok, pay more for no reason, cool with me, bigger bill. But I still have to resist the urge to reach over the bar and smack the pompous grin off his face and slap some sense into him.
3. The Ice Hater – the laws of physics escapes this dunce. While bartending at a busy downtown nightclub a customer freaked out when I filled his glass with ice. “Why you ripping me off man? My drinks all ice.” I showed him the shot glass and pointed out the fact that the amount of rum in his rum and coke was constant. The only thing the ice does is make the drink stronger cause less coke, plus keeps the drink cold. “Ya ya whatever. I don’t want to buy ice I want to get drunk.” ~ What? His ignorant response made me want to ask him, what the five fingers said to the face? “UNITY!”
When you’re dating in this industry, your pool is small and close to home. Maybe it’s because you work weird hours, maybe it’s because you don’t see anything wrong with binge drinking on a Wednesday, or maybe it’s because you’re so conditioned by restaurant humour that normies consider you insane. Regardless of why we date our co-workers, here are the four boys you’ll “date,” (and using that term very loosely,) in this industry.
A) The hot Chef: He burly, loud, tattooed and likes to drink. You never really considered him a prospect. How could you? You’re from two different worlds. Until one day, you’re waiting at the pass for table 33’s mains and you see him shouting orders at the line cooks. Everything goes silent and there’s a slow motion fire ball coming from oil hitting a pan in the distance. You make eye contact through the chaos as he wipes his brow and smiles. You’ll date for a year before you realize that you can’t love his alcoholism away.
B) The MEGA babe: Maybe he’s a busboy on the weekends, maybe he works nights to keep his days open for auditions but he’s so hot, you stumble over your words when you have to talk to him. One night, you’ll go out for drinks with the team and you’ll end up alone, somehow. His eyes pierce through your soul as you discuss his workout routine and you cut him off with a kiss. Throw your fist in the air like Judd Nelson, mama. You got it.
C) The Server that everyone thought was gay but then surprise, he’s not: Your guard is down with him because he’s always thrown out gay vibes and that one time he was in a relationship, he always used the word, “partner”. You’re having drinks after work and he puts the moves on you and IT’S TOTALLY WORKING. Cut to: he bangs you silly and you pledge to never assume someone’s sexual preference again. How many lost opportunities?
D) The douchey Bartender: He oozes ego and he’s got a gaggle of groupies. You’ve never been attracted to a man that cocky until one evening, he tells his swooning barflies to beat it and singles you out from the post-shift herd. Then you get it. For one to five nights only, he is your charismatic leader. He makes you feel like you’re the only girl in the world…but usually falls short in the sack. Oh well, we can’t have it all.
We may look like average people but we have a couple inhuman abilities
1) inhaling food
You’re starving. You’re one tummy rumble away from stealing a fry off of table 63’s dinner plate. There’s no time. Table 4 needs refills, table 9 is missing a ranch, and you’re 10 top’s food is up. What do you do? You don’t chew…ain’t got time for that. You inhale. Seeing a server eat is something out of a sci-fi movie. How we have learned to eat an entire burger and fries with no evidence of a chew is unbelievable, and can make for very awkward first dates.
2) being able to smile when you actually want to kill
Regular people may not understand the self control and super human strength this entails.
When someone flags you down during lunch rush, pissed off because they are super ready to order and they thought you “left for the afternoon” then proceeds to take a solid four minutes running their stupid fingers up and down the words of the menu because in all actuality they have no clue WHAT THEY WANT……and you can still smile? And not attack? YOU, my friend are an anomaly. Bread salutes you.
A server’s mantra: “I CAN NOT still be serving when I’m 30, I need a “big girl” job.” We have all said this, right?
We all think that we are better than serving. We are not. When you finally get that “big girl” job, you’ll agree with me and unless you are doing something seriously cool, you’ll be back.
1. You’re gonna get fat
When you are shopping for your new office attire, take my advice and be sure that everything you buy is stretchy. AT LEAST 15 pounds stretchy. Your body is used to burning roughly 750-1400 calories per shift. Your metabolism is going to freak out and the gym won’t protect you from this evil. Trust me.
2. You’ll be broke
That oh so desirable office job might pay $30/hour but it’s taxed and you won’t be able to pick up an extra shift after overspending on a drunken night out. Sure, you know exactly how much you are going to make every month but you’ll soon realize that you were making way more serving. You just didn’t know it because you never actually kept track…because you didn’t need to. No more shopping extravaganza’s after a glorious cash out.
3. Your self-esteem will suffer
As servers, we get confidence boosts alllll day long. Compliments about your amazing service, your smile, your hilariousness, your bum. Everything and anything that you have going for you is brought to your attention every single day. You will realize that you took that for granted and you will want it back.
4. You’ll miss the high
There is absolutely nothing that matches the intoxicating feeling of being in the weeds, coming out of it alive and then counting a pile of cash. Nothing. You feel super human. One day when you are out for lunch (because you need to get the eff out of your cubicle), you will see a server with a packed section and that familiar wild look in her eyes and everything in you will want to get up and help her. Not because you feel bad for her, but because you want to be her.
FR – For Real
Sus – Short for Suspect or Suspicious. Can be used as an adjective or a verb.
Dead – Apparently when something is too amazing/funny, millennial’s die, and you can too. Instead of laughing, just announce that you are now deceased.
Woke – When someone has realized or is aware of something or drops some knowledge, he/she may be referred to as “woke”.
Shade – Usually thrown, shade is judgement. Like, to call someone out would be throwing shade.
Extra – Being/having/doing too much.
TFW – That Feel When
See, we still got it. 😉
3 Things You Got from Serving that Prepared You for Life
1. How to handle shitty people
You know that Mother in Law you hate? She has no idea you hate her. In fact, she thinks you love her. Why? Because as a server, you’ve learned that the best thing to do with condescending, know-it-all people is to kill them with kindness. You make them feel like their sense of superiority is justified; that everything they say actually IS brilliant and that you are lucky to have been graced by their presence. You learned to do this for the tip. Now with the Mother in Law, it’s for the free babysitting.
2. You developed a super human bladder
Congratulations! All those shifts when you had to pee but were in the weeds with no one to cover your section so you had no choice but to hold it for 4 hours, has actually prepared you for having a baby! As a parent, you learn very quickly that waking your sleeping baby is a suicidal move. Even if your baby is sleeping on your chest and you just drank a gallon of water to get that breast milk flowing, you will lie there still like you are a statue in a wax museum. Going pee is not an option. You’d be better off wetting yourself. You won’t though. You have a magical bladder, thanks to your days of serving.
3. No matter how crazy it gets, DON’T panic
Remember when squirrel crashed, a lady found a tooth in her soup and a 20-top walked in all at the same time? Did you panic? No, you didn’t, because you learned in the early stages of your serving career that panicking is the absolute worst thing you can do. I would bet that if you are ever in a hostage situation, you will be the hero in the room who talks down the assassin and calms your fellow hostages. And if that fails, you will no doubt use your incredible reflexes to dodge the bullet. Remember to thank the service industry in your hero statement for giving you the skills you used to save countless innocent lives.
1. Do NOT have shitty responses
“What’s the best thing on the menu?” If your response to that question begins with, “Well that depends on what you like”, you had better follow that up with something like, “What are you in the mood for? Something meaty?” Otherwise, you make your guest feel stupid for asking and also you look like a twat.
2. Do NOT be a fake asshole
If you are going to make conversation during that awkward time when the bill is being paid, PLEASE do NOT:
A. Say, “Any plans for the night?” with a fake smile and a dead, glazed over look in your eyes. DO NOT DO THIS! It is a real dumb ass, thoughtless move considering the person you are talking to (who you are making feel completely invisible) is holding a machine to decide how much money to give you.
B. Decide that now is the right time to turn on the charm. If you haven’t given your table anything other than, “What would you like?” and “Is everything okay?” for the whole night, then please just be consistent and stay formal and disengaged. You might still get 10%.
3. Do NOT be “Oblivious”
When you fuck up and don’t acknowledge your fuck up, you either look stupid or like a dick. Neither of those qualities will make you money. If apologizing is really that hard for you, at least make a self-depreciating joke about it.
I Got Out!
Every day, as I ride my bike to work I look at my hands in awe. For the first time in 12 years I have soft hands, and fingernails that do not instigate curiosity about my gender.
This little spark of vanity is just an inkling of the benefits I have been reaping since my break up with the hospitality industry. Though I have had a solid romance with my guests and my coworkers, the toll the job took on my knees, my back, my sleep cycle and my social life was outweighing the benefits.
The decision to leave my sanctuary behind the wood was not only fueled by my physical ailments but also by my sobriety. I had given up alcohol nearly two years ago, and though I love the bar culture, the history of cocktails, the art of bartending; with time I began to really see how detrimental the bottle can be to some. Slowly but surely I began to find myself in a moral dilemma which resulted in the imminent decision of no longer pouring libations for others.
As I have had the opportunity to step back I realize that the “industry” is just one big university experience. The first couple of years (decade) is the socializing, the drinking, the partying, and slowly, you begin to get good at what you do. Your skills allow you to choose which restaurants you would like to work at. You no longer need a resume, as you have at one point worked with almost every person that can get your foot in the door. The initial fear of walking up to tables is now something you could do in your sleep. And voila! you have your first degree; the ability to speak to ANYONE.
Deciding to go for your “Master’s degree” is when you become selective about where you want to work, when you hone your craft to the point of being coveted, when you earn your Sundays & Mondays off, when you can jump in on any station and dissolve any issue. I believe by your late 20’s, early 30’s you are granted this Master’s as you are in this now by decision. The plateau that follows this degree is what brings light to the fork in the road ahead of you. Are you going to be a lifetime academic? Or will you take this education and apply it to an industry where you keep the hours the rest of the world does.
Not unlike the university experience, the most important takeaway from this field of education is your social connections. If you do decide to make the transition into another career and you are confident with your skills, you can sell yourself to anyone. You are proficient in problem solving, are excellent at time management, can level with any type of person, work well under pressure and most importantly have the social skills 80% of people wish they did. The biggest decision is to choose the field of work that will satisfy your professional needs. Here is when you start chatting absolutely everyone and anyone up.
To make the initial transition a little less difficult I would recommend holding on to your bar/restaurant job to start. It is hard to cut from your industry family cold turkey, especially when you realize you have no friends that have weekends off. Slowly, as you burn yourself out working two jobs, you shed your hospitality skin and hang it up in your closet, hoping it will still fit someday.
It is a sad breakup, it is. As you begin to look at your own longevity, benefits and career possibilities, the need for separation becomes inevitable. That being said, open your eyes to ALL other options, just because the hospitality industry is no longer your jam does not mean there aren’t a ton of other fun jobs out there.
What do I do now?
I sell weed, legally. I may have been able to brush a lot of things off but catering to vices was not one of them.