- Where am I from:
- I'm malaysian
- Sexual orientation:
- I prefer guy
- What is my gender:
Yeah, so I might not be able to get this done in the time I initially quoted you. If you tip less than 20 percent, you are a criminal of the pettiest and most craven variety, and should probably shoot yourself and your children in the head.
Back in March, in the days just after COVID had been declared a pandemic, waiting tables was sheer anxiety and fear.
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Crowds of people filling the restaurant to capacity, chairs at adjacent tables just a few feet apart, waiters squeezing between the gaps as they move from table to table. A full, crowded restaurant had seemed so normal before. Stressful, sure, but that was the job. Now it was a different kind of stress. We held our breath a lot. Every innocent cough was a sudden bang. A patron could reach over and touch someone at the next table or snatch a piece of pizza off their plate. Those of us on the staff had discussions about how this might be normal for a while, how we might not make any money.
Why would people go out to eat when restaurants in other parts of the country are already shutting down, right? The virus was here. Then, around 6 p. I snapped a photo of the full dining room because there was something quite literally wrong with the picture. It looked irresponsible. It looked foolish.
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It looked like an epidemiological nightmare. We lean in between people to set things down on the tables. We clear dirty dishes, forks and cups that mouths touch. We talk to so many people at close range throughout the night. Bar customers are a foot away, face to face. I can smell the alcohol seeping out of their pores.
Waiting tables, pre-pandemic, was already brimming with eyeroll-worthy moments. Waiting tables during a pandemic has taken those obnoxious moments and made them feel darker, and more dangerous.
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Waiting tables these days is someone ordering a Corona as a joke. The job of a waiter exists because people want to be served. They want to get out of the house, sit down somewhere and have someone else take care of all the cooking, the drinks, the cleaning, the pesky dishes — all the cumbersome dining needs.
No one aspires to be a waiter when they grow up.
It just happens. The shifts are relatively short, and although you work your ass off, you see the tangible of your hard work and leave with a pocketful of cash.
Servers weave in and out of your dining experience and then you move on and they move on. Waiting tables is high-intensity multitasking. And table 11 needs a box and a lid for their ranch. Roger can watch whatever sport is on. Sorry, Roger. Waiting tables is a little girl telling her younger brother not to use a straw. Waiting tables is real. Waiting tables is getting to know people and making friends. These gestures mean something to us. They tell us that we exist to you outside of your dining experience. Just leave at least 20 percent.
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That does matter now. After three nights of waiting tables in a dining room full of human bodies, I had to behave as if I were infected.
This weighed heavily on me. I figured that aside from work, I had to self-quarantine. And I worried about how long I would have to live like that. Would I ever be able to safely be around my family? The efficacy of masks had been downplayed in the early days of the pandemic, so no one wore them. Our only protection was solitude or hand-washing.
And every working waiter you know, or who has ever waited on you, was legitimately freaking out. In a text thread with my general manager and all the other employees, I said all my shifts were up for grabs.
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So did one of our other servers. The following week, the governor announced that all dining-in was suspended. The waiters at my restaurant were now carhops. Our hourly wage was bumped up, but we were all worried about money. But, because we work in a pizza place, the curbside business boomed. A Friday night would generate the same amount of money as it would have pre-pandemic — but without bar sales.
Waiting tables these days is having 17 conversations a night with people sitting in cars about how weird life has become. Waiting tables is an old man honking at me and cussing about how long his pizza was taking. This is bullshit! What about them?
Do I have to poke a hole in the mask to take a drink? And what makes it even harder for us is people being difficult. Waiting tables is thinking about quitting waiting tables. Waiting tables is serving people food and drinks when what you want to be doing is going out to protest and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Waiting tables is a middle-aged, well-off white man entering the restaurant five days after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis.
He looks Waiting tables sucks the TV, which is tuned in to the protests on the news. Going out to eat is a risk. Going to drink at the bar is an even greater risk. If you choose to dine out or party at the bar, please be careful. Mask up. Think about your parents and grandparents.
Put a mask on. If you happen to catch the coronavirus at a restaurant or bar, I hope it was worth it. I hope you were respectful and tipped well.
Waiting tables sucks.
And I hope that you and your loved ones are all going to be OK. Masked and gloved and ready to serve. All sections Close sections.
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