I left university to become a waitress, how cliché.
I started waitressing when I was 15 after a week’s work experience at a local tearooms and apparently I haven’t been able to find another profession since. Each and every summer I spend my time waitressing and this is the first year that I have ever spent a September working. I can’t deny it, I actually do love my job: I love talking to the customers, and finding out about their holiday, discussing the history of the Old Pharmacy and the local legacy of my family.
Over the years I have spent waitressing in tearooms, pubs, and even a Chinese restaurant I have witnessed so many lovely things: I have seen couples on first dates talking till the place closes, anniversaries where couples look at each other as captivated as it was their first date all over again; I have seen catch ups between old friends, family treats and celebratory meals, I have even sung (badly) happy birthday to many a poor person, and within countless photo albums I am the cameraman. Yet in spite of all the enjoyment I have found in the world of waitressing, it is not all sunshine and roses…
Waitressing is like a sitcom, and my personal experiences as a waitress could actually write a television show. I have watched many an awkward argument when someone at the table pipes up and asks “are you really having another glass of wine?”; been the victim of many an unhappy customer, and I am the one who is always asked the most ridiculous questions.
During one of my first shifts serving evening meals in a restaurant I was shouted at for the poor lighting and the poor quality of blubs, to the point that I almost cried.
I have been asked if I sell bananas (single or bunch) at a tearooms, and after explaining to them that we did not sell fruit or vegetables (but a variety of loose leaf tea, including real fruit tea) then asked if I had any packet of strawberries for sale.
Recently I was even questioned the true colour of bread, and despite possessing a university degree I could now answer how white the white bread was and how brown the brown loaf was. As well as the struggle to explain a crumpet to an American couple. (Can anyone describe it?!)
Some look down their noses at waitressing but believe you me it isn’t easy. Yes it has its rewards, but on occasions it can be excruciating…especially when you have to stick to the motto “the customer is always right” *insert fake smile*.
So to all my fellow waiters and waitresses, I salute you.
And to all the millions of customers in the world, please don’t forget to tip.