When Hate Happens (I Probably Shouldn’t Write About This)

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I try really hard to be a mostly positive person. Sure, I bitch about shit. Life’s life, guys. Shit happens. Bitching happens. And Hate. Hate unfortunately happens. Not my hate, though…someone else’s hate was spewed on me. Just like that one time I got hate mail from MySpace. And so my dear friends I am offering you a piece of my past.

I Used to be a Waitress Server

I grew up in a bar, so it wasn’t unusual that I found myself working in restaurants and bars whenever I wasn’t working a full-time job. For about 6 months, I worked as a waitress an Irish pub (you know, the dark wood, make the servers wear kilts and knee highs kinda place).

But at the same time. After that job, I swore that I would never be a waitress again.

I’m going to give you a little glimpse into the why.

One afternoon, two very unhappy looking ladies entered the bar and sat in my section. They ordered chips, soup and salad. No beer. No booze. And no smiling.

So I tried to be my chipper cheery self.

Unfortunately, they also got to meet my super klutzy self. As I was clearing their plates away (and God forbid they should have attempted to move out of the way just a smidge so that I could easily access the empty plates that they wanted removed…), I accidentally tipped the dressing boat/ramekin and some spilled out. Most of it went to the floor, and a few drops landed on this girl’s winter coat. I rushed to clean the mess, and apologized profusely, but I was met with disdain. Disdain for me being a lowly server. Disdain for my MASSIVE life altering error. Disdain for me as a human being. And I apologized. And this girl glared at me. And I offered to pay for the coat to be cleaned, because God forbid you spill anything on an old-looking, dark colored coat…

She paid the bill, and forgot to leave me a tip. I’m going to assume she forgot. I mean, she must not have realized that servers get paid like $4/hour if they’re lucky.

Seriously guys, I’ve spilled ice cream on bridesmaids that were nicer to me than this girl was. I went home and cried.

A few weeks later, my boss came to me with the following (on which I’ve blacked parts out to protect the guilty.)

Bitchy Waitress

Bitchy Waitress
The dry cleaning cost more than the bill she stiffed me on.

If you’re wondering whether I sent her the check? I did. A few weeks afterwards…I wasn’t making a whole lot of money at said bar…I didn’t think she was that desperate for the $20 based on the fact that she spends $20 to dry-clean one item…

Unfortunately for this girl, the check was returned to me about 3 weeks after I retired from waiting tables. Apparently, she gave me the wrong address.

I didn’t think it was necessary to seek her out.

For the record, guys…ALWAYS be nice to your servers. The Golden Rule ALWAYS applies. Even when it’s lowly, bitchy waitresses. Because one day, she might be almost famous and tell the story about how you were mean that one time.

Were you ever a server? Bartender? Anything in the service industry? Dealing with people sucks, amiright? Tell me your story!


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28 Responses

  1. People basically suck. I worked at a coffee shop when I was 14 but it was in an industrial neighborhood and 90% of my customers were truckers and factory workers who doted on me.

    But when I worked at the bookstore I once had someone yelling at me over the phone about an order that hadn’t been delivered (this was an online order that had nothing to do with the store). At the same time I had a pissed off customer in the store who was also waiting to yell at me about the fact that we couldn’t return a damaged book. Since I was the only manager on shift at the time I was trying to placate them both at the same time when the person in the store REACHED OVER THE COUNTER AND HUNG UP THE PHONE I WAS ON. She was pissed that I was making her wait while I dealt with the other customer. I was furious but of course couldn’t tell her to go screw herself like I so clearly wanted to.

  2. I waitressed and worked for retail for years. The worst experience I had:
    I worked in a franchise store that sold kitschy stuff. Crafty style house decorations, lacy stuff, beanie babies and collectible bears. There is this one particular brand of collectible bears that some people are die hard collectors of. This chain of stores offered those little promotional cards where you get a punch every time you buy a bear and eventually you get a free bear. Well this lady came in from out of town and wanted a punch on her card, but it was for another store so I couldn’t do it. She raised absolute HELL over this. Yelling, threatening to have me fired and have the bear company stop using us (which, by the way, had no affiliation with this promotion and couldn’t have cared less whether or not this lady got her card punched for a $15 bear). People are freaking crazy. But, she didn’t send me a bill for therapy for emotional distress, so I guess I should call it a win.

  3. You already know this (I think…) but I once spilled two Captain and Cokes on the same guy… within a 10 minute period of time. I’m talking FULL Captain and Cokes – right down this guy’s back. Twice. And they let me keep my serving job. WTH?

  4. UGH, that sucks. I hate it when customers are rude to service people. I have friends who are terrible under-tippers and when I eat out with them I always bump up my tip to make up for it because it’s so embarrassing to me. I worked retail for 6 years and in computer customer service for almost 12 and people do tend to forget that service providers are people too, not robots. 🙁

  5. I didn’t wait tables very long, but four months was enough. I got stiffed tips several times (the lunch crowd is cheap.) I cannot believe anyone was that awful. Seriously. Like she’d never spilled on her own stupid coat. Please. There’s got to be a special kind of karmic retribution for people who are rude to servers. We always over tip. Even for bad service.

    1. I remember when you were a server. The lunch crowd is SUPER cheap. Especially at the place you worked.

      We over tip for bad service too. And ALWAYS make polite conversation with the servers to let them know that we’re on their side.

  6. AMEN sister! I’ve been a hostess, bus girl, waitress and bartender off and on my entire life.

    I’ll begin with the caveat that most people are very well-behaved restaurant patrons. When I was leaving for college, a whole bunch of the regulars at the restaurant where I had been hostessing/busing for years got together and gave me a big envelope of cash before I left to pay for my books. I still get misty-eyed thinking about it.

    But then there are the others.

    When I was in grad school, I bartended at night to pay the bills. I worked in an upscale place that catered to the professor types associated with my annoyingly pretentious university. They, on the whole, were arrogant windbags who treated me like absolute trash. They were rude, condescending, and tipped horribly. One particularly evil one who I got stuck serving all of the time once asked me, “What does it feel like to know that you won’t amount to anything more than bringing people their drinks? You really should have focused more on your education.”

    It was all I could do not to throw his drink in his face.

    But, I got to exact my revenge in a subtely delightful way. The next semester, I took a class from the particularly evil one. I sat in the center seat of the front row. I immediately made eye contact with him. The shocked and then panicked look on his face when he recognized me was AMAZING.

    I like to think he learned a very valuable lesson that day.

    1. That’s a fantastic story. When I was tending bar right after college (IN MY PARENT’S BAR), this guy told me that a year later, I would still be slinging drinks and not have a real job. I looked at him and told him to put money on it. A year later, he paid up.

      1. Well done! I hate that people assume servers are there because they have no other options or aren’t qualified to do something else — sometimes smart people sling drinks, either because they have to or because they want to, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because, you know what, when customers aren’t being evil dictators, tending bar can actually be fun and rewarding.

  7. I cleaned houses to put myself through college. I had a few people that treated me like I was dirt. Some people are so shortsighted. You really get to see what people are like by how they treat people they *think* are beneath them. Pretty crappy.

    1. SO true. People can be so judgmental. At the time I was studying for my masters degree and the only job I could get was one that allowed me time to do school stuff.

  8. ohhhh!! This brings back memories of a job I probably never should have taken. It was of a “host”, “busboy” and slave to the kitchen. I had to deal with crabby waitresses whose tables weren’t filled amongst other things. I also had to bring margaritas over that were iced and full to the brim. On night I was in a rush and klutzed out. You guessed it. Two margaritas went right in the laps of customers who glared at me but didn’t say anything. Immediately, I apologized profusely.
    I quit the next day 🙁

    1. Talk to a manager…Odds are, the manager will “take care of things.” However s/he might choose to handle something. But also consider the following: Sometimes, people treat servers like shit. And sometimes that can be very costly (monetarily and emotionally). So consider that your server might be having an “off” day. If you get stiffed, you end up PAYING to serve a table. Because you still have to tip out the bus-staff, the bartender, the host and sometimes the runners. I’ve only forgone a tip once in my life and it was under EXTREMELY bad conditions. And I was younger than. If the same thing had happened now, I still would have given the guy 10%. One of these days, I’m going to let my brother (a professional server and bartender) guest post with all of the crap that has happened to him over the years. I have stories–but he’s got a series of novels worth.

  9. Chrissy,
    When I am really mad at a server, for bad service, or rudeness, I usually spit in my food, when they are not looking. That will show them.
    Le Clown

  10. I think I got a phone call about this!!! Let’s see I worked for Wal-Mart and Lowe’s from the time I was 16……… I could write an encyclopedia on rudeness….. Mostly Wal-Mart customers Lowe’s people aren’t nearly as bad!!!

  11. I worked at a Wal-mart when we were getting out of debt. They offered the hours I needed (8pm-4am) so I could still take care of my son, so I did it. I have never been treated so poorly. Customers assumed that since I was working at Wally-world, I must be stupid and not worth treating well. The off-duty prostitutes were the nicest to me. They felt my pain.

    1. Admirable of you and horrible for you at the same time. I have friends who have or do work at Wal-mart, and customers can be so rude. Sometimes you have to do what pays the bills, right?

      LMAO at off-duty ladies of the night.

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