Sunday, March 22, 2009

What I Really Meant to Say...

By now we all know that waitressing is all about creating a pleasant, cheerful, persona. One that doesn't get upset or frustrated. One that can handle anything thrown its way on a busy Friday night.

I have found the best way to keep that persona alive, is to play a little game I like to call "What I really Meant to Say". So the customer may never actually hear what I really meant to say, but believe me, the rest of the staff knows...

When serving the couple who can drink 7 glasses of diet soda during a one hour meal.
"Of course, I'll be right back with a refill."
What I Really Meant to Say...
"Are you kidding me??? I've made 6 trips to your table already, and I know that you are only going to leave a $4 tip. Maybe I should just hook up an IV!"

When serving the man who ordered a Medium Rib Eye and got a beautiful Medium Rib Eye that is making my mouth water.
"Oh I am so sorry sir. The kitchen seemed to have under cooked it a bit, I'll take it right back and have them put it on for a minute. Would you like a salad on the house while you wait?"
And When I return with a slightly more cooked Medium Well Rib Eye....
"It was only on for a minute, I cannot understand how they managed to overcook it in only 2 minutes."
What I really meant to say...
"Just order the damn chicken!"

When serving the family who let their kids throw popcorn all over the floor, dump out all of the sugar packets, and smear marinara sauce and hot fudge on the table, the seats, the windows, and the couple sitting next to them.
"Oh, don't worry about the mess, I can take care of it."
What I really meant to say...
"It's a busy Friday night. Not only is my table taken up when you eat, I now have to take 20 extra minutes just to clean up the mess that your little heathens have made. Thank you for that 12% tip. It's good to know that you appreciate my time."

When serving the couple that can't just order off the menu, and need 15 changes made to each item ordered.
"Oh, I can't believe that they forgot the walnuts on your sandwich! I'll be right back with some for you."
What I really meant to say...
"The 17 other things you ordered changed came out right. I know you didn't ask for walnuts, too. But I will get them because you won't eat the sandwich without them, and I need you to eat - fast - so you will leave."


HaHaHa - That's an understatement.

In early December, I fell down my basement stairs and injured the muscles in my back. (I'm fine now, months later, but it's still an interesting story that has led to MANY changes in my life.)

About 1 hour before my shift on a busy Friday night, I was talking on the phone and running down the stairs to get my work shirt out of the laundry. Who knows what I slipped on, or how I managed to fall the way that I did, but I caught one of the stairs square on my side. PAIN.

No one was home but me and the dog, and all he could do to help was to lick my face. Seriously, when you are stuck on the floor this is not a sensation you want.
I managed to drag myself to the top of the stairs and was able to get my phone. I called a friend to come pick me up and take me to the hospital, and I called the restaurant to let them know that I may be a little late - maybe even a few weeks late.

Long story short - I spent the next few weeks on my couch with a heating pad and some pain killers. What a fabulous relief to not have to work!! It has been years since I actually took a vacation. Although this one was forced, I still enjoyed it. Maybe it was the painkillers...

As much as I missed the money, and as much as my mortgage company missed the money, I did enjoy the time off. It made it that much harder to go back after my 4 weeks was up.

So what did I do during those 4 weeks? I may have sat on the couch for most of it, but I was sitting there with a laptop in front of me. I started a business. Yes, 19 years of waitressing experience has finally led to a career in customer service. I am now the proud owner of a small second hand clothing boutique that works to raise money for local schools. Since I just opened at the end of January, I'm still waitressing 2 nights a week. I was even able to pick up a bartending shift on Saturdays.

I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's very bright....