The job, however, does teach you the most important lessons you need to know in life, and it did have its benefits. You don't have to worry about being drug tested, you go home with cash in your pocket every night, and you learn the true meaning of being overworked and underpaid.
The job of waiting tables does, however, carry some misguided myths. You always have that one guy who swore he consistently pulled down a minimum of $250 each and every Friday and Saturday night after tip-out. Right. The answer to your next question is no, the cooks don't spit in your food if you send it back to the kitchen; they're usually happy to oblige. That is, providing you don't cop an attitude and send it back twice.
The biggest myth of all goes somethin' like this: You and your girlfriend are having lunch at Harper's on a Saturday afternoon so she can fill you in on all the juicy details about this hot guy she picked up the night before at Dixie's. She's dying to tell you, frame by frame, about everything, absolutely everything they did in his hot tub, his bed and on the kitchen table, when your waiter comes to refill your iced tea. You nervously make the motion for her to stop talking for a minute and she exclaims, "Oh jeez, the waitstaff doesn't pay any attention! They could care less about our conversation."
The hell we don't. Customers aren't just the source of our income; they're our entertainment as well.
I was once a waitress at a fine-dining establishment and had the pleasure of serving a very nice looking couple for dinner. The only word to describe this man was "dashing." He was the essence of success and intelligence, and was just dripping with sex appeal. He had on a very expensive suit, spoke with a pronounced Australian accent, but there was something odd about the woman he was dining with. She didn't seem to "match" him. I mean, she was attractive enough, but he was a Casanova, and she looked like she wasn't going to cut it for the next issue of Playboy. I walked away wondering how she ended up with such a trophy.
I returned with a chilled bottle of chardonnay, which he had ordered from the top of our wine list, and I was beginning to pour when I heard fragments of their conversation, which led me to believe that they were on their first date. He mentioned the Adams Mark Hotel, and I heard her ask him questions about his career. I eventually picked up enough to realize that they had only met last night.
My suspicions were confirmed later as they talked on more freely about how it was great that they met each other "last night," as I set down their Oysters Benet appetizer and poured each of them their second glass of wine. He was becoming more publicly affectionate with her, and they were getting quite cozy as the evening wore on. Their conversation gradually increased in volume, and they both became less aware of my presence, which I made a special effort to make as inconspicuous as possible.
I felt more like a voyeur than an eavesdropper. I watched him closely as he expertly focused all his attention on her. I observed her deliberate attempt to bait him even further as she took a perfectly lacquered fingernail and traced the outlines of his jaw. As I leaned over to clear their dinner plates, he had every reason to think that I didn't notice his right hand on the inside of her thigh, just up past the hemline of her skirt. As fascinating as it was to watch the whole charade, I couldn't help feeling sorry for her. She was looking like one of those women who actually thought he would travel back to see her again. It was like watching a lamb going to slaughter.
After dinner, she politely excused herself to go to the ladies' room as I brought him their check. She also took the customary stumble as she took her first few steps. It was hard to not laugh. He made eye contact with me the entire time as he told me to wait while he pulled out his, you guessed it, American Express Corporate Card. The bastard wasn't even paying for dinner.
"I need your opinion on something," he began as I took the card. He leaned closer to me as if he had a naughty secret to share, and I kneeled down to listen carefully. "Do you think I need to order another bottle of wine, or just a glass?" he whispered in a deceptive tone.
"A glass is all she needs," I advised, as I stood up grinning and took a step back, while suddenly feeling like a co-conspirator, "however, if you'd like another bottle, I'll be happy to bring it." He could see clearly that I was aware of his precise intentions.
"Two glasses will be fine," he ordered.
I returned a few moments later with his request, as well as an updated check for him to sign just as she returned from the ladies' room.
Some time later, I watched as they began to leave. He gently assisted her with her coat, as she wasn't coordinated enough to consummate this minor task herself. The Australian gave me a final glance and a smile before they made their way out of the dining room. I went to the table to see what my take was for the dinner affair. I discovered that $100 was the going rate for aiding and abetting a sexual rendezvous. I didn't savor the victory for very long when I realized that she and I had something in common. Both of us were being paid for services rendered. *