I’ve worked – albeit reluctantly – in hospitality for years. I genuinely enjoy it, because you get to meet all sorts of people and every day is different. I’ve picked up a few pet peeves along the way, and – being the charitable soul that I am- I’ve decided to share those frustrations in a bid to avoid such behaviours in the future.
1. Don’t snap your fingers.
I will snap off said appendages with my teeth and decorate your kid’s hot chocolates with your pinkies. It’s rude and unnecessary.
2. Keep an eye on your wayward, sugar-fuelled children.
I’m bringing hot beverages and steaming meals from kitchen to table – it’s a dangerous environment in which to let your offspring wander unsupervised. And yet, there is little Mary, waltzing clumsily around strangers’ tables in a purple princess dress, eyes closed, caterwauling some key-less song at the top of her lungs; a three-foot-tall, mobile obstacle course. Don’t come crying to me if she gets a blackened eye from a teapot spout. Mary is your responsibility.
3. Don’t bother me when I’m on my break.
I make small talk with people all day long. I drink two litres of water every day to keep salivating. If I’m sitting down, with an apron draped behind me on the chair and my eyes glued to a newspaper, take it for granted that I am not all that interested in the new jogging pants you bought for seventy percent less than your sister-in-law did four months ago. Take the hint and piss right off back to your table.
4. Don’t order whatever you “had the last time.”
You are not that memorable. Leave your delusions of individuality at the door and tell me what you want so I can promptly deliver it.
5. Sit at a clean table.
It seem most people are magnetically compelled to seat themselves at the very table that has been relinquished from its previous tenants just moments before. These people knowingly sit at a messy table, even if there are other, cleaner options available. These people are the quickest to cluck their tongues and tap their feet; these are the quickest to roll their eyes skywards at the crumbs I missed with the cloth due to the abundance of elbows-obstacles. These are the worst of people.
6. Sit according to your party.
Another table-related peeve. A single diner does not belong at a four-seater table. Stop being so selfish – you don’t need all that room, but a family might.
7. Never ask for a discount.
If you’re a close friend or family member, maybe the boss would be so kind as to knock a bit off the original total. If our only mutual friend on Facebook is the social media page of a local pub that’s been out of business for several years, open your wallet.
8. Don’t expect me to cater to your latest fad diet.
“I want the fat free option. That means that I don’t want there to be any fat in it. As in, put proportionate amounts of the same ingredients from this dish on the plate – except without fat. I need to lose weight for a wedding in September, so it has to be without fat.”
Enjoy your plate of lettuce.
9. State your allergies before placing your order.
There’s little I can do to avoid a reaction if you inform me of your chilli-intolerance after ordering the sweet chilli chicken wrap. If your allergies could turn to elegies, it’s best you ask all the questions pertaining to your particular condition before any food is prepared.
10. Never underestimate your waitstaff.
I’ve worked alongside nurses, travel agents, I.T. consultants and psychology graduates. I’ve worked with natives and foreign nationals alike. You should never talk down to your waitstaff, or make assumptions about their culture. We are not slaves, paid to do your bidding. We are hard-working, tax-paying employees.Treat your server with respect and dignity.
After all, little Mary in the purple princess dress might need a job someday and she’s sure as hell not going to make it as a waltzer.