I started watching this great show: Party Down.
You'd think, given my recent words about my waitress-ing career, that I'd hate this show and that it would bring up all these horrible memories. But I find myself totally enjoying it and laughing really hard because I can so relate to this group of people.
So I started thinking about it all. There were always similar waiter types in every service team I worked with. Today, I'd like to reminisce about three general types: the newbies, the bitter waiters and the career waiter.
The newbies are all excited about the people they are meeting, all the glamour (depending where you work), and the constant cash in their wallets. Basically, they're being paid to party and chat people up. Usually they are hopeful with all these dreams and aspirations ahead of them. They're networking themselves and they smile a lot. They're thinking, "this isn't my real job", but they're still proud of it. All these new relationships and friendships begin to develop and before they know it, they are part of a cooky and often incestuous family - the restaurant staff. This is a super fun time. One that I look back on with great fondness. You all work hard, and then after work you play hard.
But soon enough, the bitter waiter develops. They are either still students, students on hold, artists, or looking for their next venture. They've been there long enough to realize that all these wonderful people they meet and serve are highly repititious and that no one is really that original. The magic behind people and social interaction is no longer existent. All the customers they serve at the bar or at the table, the've met before. There's the successful business man, divorced three times and now ordering a Cosmopolitan for his super young girlfriend because he thinks Cosmos are still 'in', the cougar obviously on the prowl, the young entrepreneur always trying to get you on board or trying to sell you something, the partyers who ingest nothing else but vodka/redbull, the young girls trying desperately to get some attention, the rich kids mixing coke with a quality whiskey and returning their food because you (the waiter) didn't mention that there was meat in the spaghetti bolognese or the families pretending to be perfect thinking they're hiding their dysfunctions so well. These people are all the same, yet they think they're unique and that is so sad. These waiters are tired of saying the same things and laughing at the same jokes over and over, as if for the first time. They're tired of being expected to jump at a snap of the fingers or to produce extra tables on the terrace out of thin air. Believe it or not, many people think waiter = slave or magician. These people have probably never been waiters. And the reality that these waiters go to work everyday, just to be treated like dirt is sad. But they are willing to take it, willing to swallow it all for the money. They often remind themselves about their nice clients or their friends at work who can empathize, and that somewhat makes up for all the crap.
Then you have a special kind of waiter - the career waiter. He takes himself very seriously and has a lot of experience. He is resolved with the fact that waiter is his profession. Some of these guys or gals are cool - really cool and they have developed their skills into a sort of artform. They can control their clients and elicit the desired responses from them. They are excellent at their job. They fully understand behavioural psychology, even if they don't know they do. They just really suck if they're power trippers and they can make your life, as a coworker, a living hell.
Being a waiter has its good times and bad times. It's not a complex job, but what makes it hard is the extreme physical and emotional demands. But as I've mentioned before, and of course depending where you work, it's an easy way to make fast cash ... legally that is. One could then always consider being a prostitute or a drug dealer...
'till next time,