I’m Too Old For This Nonsense!



I don’t know how to say this any other way, so I’m just going to go ahead and be blunt about it. I’m too old for this waitressing/bartending shit. I really am. Last night may well have been the final nail in the coffin. As I left the restaurant last night I swore that I heard the metaphorical toll of the death knell, signaling the end of my career in the food service industry. Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

It probably wasn’t helpful that I was scheduled to work two doubles in a row this week — one of them the dreaded “bar double” — for absolutely NO good reason. Turns out it was a scheduling glitch, a memory hiccup on the part of the manager who makes the schedule. Okay. That’s fine. We all make mistakes. These things happen. I was cool with it. I got myself in the correct frame of mind and I sucked it up.

The powers that be have been very understanding of late — I’ve needed quite a bit of time off to help with my mother and to attend all of the graduation functions that my daughter has been involved in. Payback can be a bitch, but when it’s necessary you just do it. You don’t complain about it while you’re doing it. That just makes people feel bad.

There is, however, no rule against complaining about it now, though, is there? I don’t think so.

Let me start off by saying that when I am scheduled to work twenty-four hours out of forty-eight, I expect that I’ll at least come away with a fair bit of money for putting myself through the physical and mental misery that is concomitant with that kind of work schedule. Well, that didn’t happen. It was painfully slow both days.

There were spurts of activity, though. It was during these spurts that I had the pleasure of waiting on a menagerie of morons — some were just plain old drunk or stupid — in one bonus case, they were both. Still others were just downright and deliberately mean. It was a real treat.

Last night on a total of almost $300 in sales, I made absolutely nothing. In fact, it cost ME money to kowtow to these (less than) exemplar creatures. (Yes. It’s true. Yes. It’s perfectly legal. We tip out our support staff based on our sales, not based on what we make.)

After a dreary lunch shift, I was actually looking forward to a more profitable evening. Of course I was. Why wouldn’t I be?

My first table relieved me of that kind of thinking. And, pretty much, it went downhill from there.

These three guys, I’ll call them “The Ganja Triplets” were positively delightful. They chose to slur, grunt, and point their way through our time together. Surprisingly, I didn’t get a contact high from my proximity to them, so thick was the odor of marijuana.

They weren’t happy potheads, either. They were nasty, smelly jerks. And, they were, in my opinion, entirely too old for this kind of behavior. They racked up a $100 check, paid with $90 worth of gift cards, and left crumpled dollars and a mound of change for the rest of the bill. For me? They just left a mess and an overwhelming desire to go out after them and ask them for their mother’s phone numbers. Of course, it’s entirely possible that their mothers are just as bad as they are. What do I know?

Next up was a couple who seemed to be on a blind date. They, too, seemed too old for this sort of thing. Judging from the look on the woman’s face as the guy ordered up his fourth vodka on the rocks, I’ll bet there won’t be a second date. If she has any sense there won’t be.

He thought he was a class act. He wasn’t. He asked me for bleu cheese-stuffed olives. I informed him that we don’t have bleu cheese-stuffed olives. In a condescending and superior tone, he asked me if we had olives. I told him “yes”. He asked me if we had bleu cheese. You can see where this line of questioning was going, right?

I wasn’t stuffing anything into anything for this idiot, except maybe a sock in his big, fat mouth. Maybe if he’d asked me nicely, I would have gotten him his stupid olives. He didn’t. As a result, I wasn’t going to go out of my way for his sorry, alcoholic ass. This inebriated asshole took both copies of his credit card receipt. So, again, no tip for me! (It kind of made me smile, though, when I realized that he was paying with one of those credit cards that you have to load with money. He can go right on thinking how he’s better than me. He’s not.)

Plus, at the moment I was contending with two “gentlemen” who appeared to be homeless and who had, during my fascinating conversation involving bleu cheese and olives, planted themselves at the bar. I feared that if I didn’t get over to them soon we would need to call in a paramedic for the neck injuries they were no doubt sustaining as they were looking around for someone — anyone — to wait on them. Clearly, they were in need of a fix. Or a chiropractor. They had the money to slop a few drinks back and hastily search their pockets for enough humidity or urine-soaked dollars and plenty of change to cover the check. Even on, what I am assuming, was a stellar day in the wonderful world of panhandling, it didn’t produce even so much as a left over penny for yours truly.

The final straw though was the father and son team that arrived fifteen minutes before closing, sat at a dirty table — there were two clean ones flanking the dirty one — and made a “wiping” motion, an “eating” motion, and a “drinking” motion to alert me that they wanted to sit there, that they wanted me to clean the table, and that they wanted to eat and drink. Yeah. Okay.

I, myself, could have made my own hand gestures at this stage of the game. I could have pointed at the two tables that were, indeed, clean and ready to be waited on. I didn’t. I suspected that they, too, were drunkards. I wasn’t wrong. The apple, I soon discovered, didn’t fall far from the tree in their family.

In the midst of readying their table for habitation, they proceeded to bark their orders at me. They were slurring over each other, so it was difficult to process what, exactly, it was that they were ordering/asking me. I, very nicely, asked them to slow it down so that I could hear them properly. It was late. I didn’t want any drunk mistakes. I wanted to insure that I got their order right. I didn’t even have a pen and paper out at this point. I was still wiping the table.

The father then proceeded to speak to me as if I were a total nincompoop. He began talking to me like a tape recorder that’s been put on slow motion — a “gag” which he continued with the entire time he was there. Delightful, right?

I was in that moment very grateful for two things, and so should he have been: 1) That I was too tired to fight and 2) That I don’t have more money in the bank. Because, seriously, I wanted to punch him in the face. He did leave me six bucks, though, so I guess I should have been grateful for that, too. It didn’t feel like a success, though. It felt more like a Pyrrhic victory, to tell you the truth.

I’m feeling more well-rested today. Hopefully today will be a better day — a day when the societal rejects find another restaurant to frequent, another waitress to terrorize. If it’s not, money in the bank or not, if I have to deal with one more cretin, this may be my last shift — ever. I’ll go out with a bang, though. You can bet on that.

photo credit: cannon

19 thoughts on “I’m Too Old For This Nonsense!

  1. I think you should seriously consider finding another location or vocation. You must have the patience of Job to put up with all the rude behavior. I hope, if you decide to leave, you do it with flair.


  2. DonettaS says:

    I wasn’t laughing at your horrible evening, but it made me smile at your wonderful description. I was a bartender for close to 5 years, so as I read your story, I was thinking back to all my lovely customers that seemed to know when I would be the bartender and waitress for the evening. I can picture the one who could see the entire bar was full but by sliding his can of empty beer in my way along the bar, he was sure to get faster service. The one who stood at the bar’s entrance, for staff only, with one foot practically inside, because I couldn’t ignore a man in the way when I tried to walk out with an order. It takes a special kind of person to work these type of jobs. I finally couldn’t handle anymore. Good luck. I did learn though to always be polite as possible and tip good because I know it’s earned.


    • javaj240 says:

      I’ve been doing this job for over 30 years. More and more I find that I have less and less patience for all the nonsense, LOL! People sure do have interesting ways of making their presence known, don’t they?

      Thanks for reading. I’m happy to have made you laugh. 🙂


  3. nehakhanna81 says:

    Interesting style of writing


  4. You need to quit that damn job and start writing your book, missy!


  5. Louise says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you went through this. I’ve never waitressed, but I’ve never understood those who are anything less than polite to people who, well, handle their food. It’s just good sense.

    My husband and I have a few regular spots we eat at, or go for drinks at. We know the staff, we like the staff, we tip well. Over the years some have become and remained friends. But simply put? Being at least civil, if not friendly just makes the entire process more enjoyable all ’round. And we’ve amassed a nice collection of bar swag for the home in the process. We’re never short promotional pint glasses and I enjoy relaxing in my Guinness shirts from time to time 😉

    But that said, I don’t envy those in the service industry.

    Here’s hoping the above was an aberration and you get normal folk for your next shift!


  6. Oh, wow. If you can afford to quit, you should–you deserve so much better than this!


  7. As much as I enjoy the story, I feel your pain! Personally, I despise hand gestures which make it seem as if one might think they need to pantomime activities for which I possess a stellar ability to comprehend. Like the one for “Call me” with the thumb and 5th fingers near the face. Yeah, I get what “call me” means. i really do.


  8. Your industry is badly in need of an overhaul, especially in compensation.


  9. Serving people who are fucking jerks is not fun. I’m pissed for you. I am always so grateful for any kindness a server shows to me. I tip very well. And that others don’t (or that restaurant owners don’t pay their wait staff adequately so you wouldn’t have to depend on the kindness of strangers) is a crime.

    I hear you about being done. I reached a place like this with nursing. It was only seeing how blogging for a living (you can stop laughing now) would be so much worse that I found a way to make nursing work for me again.


  10. valj2750 says:

    I have the utmost respect for wait staff. I would have been fired years ago. I’m not a great multi-tasker. But when I’m tired and crabby, nothing goes well for me, no matter what I am into. I enjoyed reading your post. I could feel your pain.


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