Since I’m in the midst of my job search, I’ve naturally spent a great deal of time reflecting on jobs I’ve held in the past. I’ve worked for an interior design company, a gallery, I’ve coached a synchronized swimming team, and I’ve been a server at a sports bar. Each of those jobs taught me a lesson but the most important lesson I learned, is that I am not meant to be a waitress. No matter how desperate I become on this journey, you can guarantee that you will not find me taking your order.
The sports bar that I worked at was in the heart of down town Denver, right next to Coors field. During Rockies and Broncos games, the bar was crammed with rowdy customers. On one particular occasion, the server working in the section next to me was dramatically fired on the spot. The big game had started and there was no time to call in back up. I was forced to take on her section as well as mine. Let me preface this story by saying that, #1) I have a horrendous memory, #2) I become easily overwhelmed and frazzled #3) I’m painfully slow with technology.
My new section included 11 four-tops, and two tables of six or more. Per usual, I was moving slowly and my customers were growing impatient and thirsty. I hadn’t yet turned 21 and my alcohol repertoire consisted of Key Stone Light, Bud Light, and plastic bottles of vodka. I had barley memorized what was on tap and had learned words like “Wheat”, “Belgium”, and “Hoppy” to describe different brews without knowing what they meant. When customers asked me about our seasonal beers, I arbitrarily chose one of the three words I knew and hoped for the best. If I was feeling extra frisky, I’d incorporate words like “fruity”, and “dark.”
As beer orders filled at the bar, severs were expected to embellish them. Beers like “Shock Top” and “Blue Moon” came with an orange slice on the rim. I had no idea, which beer was which so naturally I began placing orange slices on the rim of a Guinness.
There was a group of older women in my section that I had forgotten about amidst my sprinting around the restaurant. Their orders were complicated and they drank water like they hadn’t seen it for days. Every time I passed their table they were shaking their water glasses at me like a butler’s bell. Of course their orders came out wrong and I could never keep up with their water consumption, so when I went to retrieve the receipt they left on the table I found a single penny (I guess that was my tip) and note that read, “You should be fired!”
Sitting just a few tables away was a family with a toddler and a newborn baby. As I rushed from table to table, I tried to think of new ways to become more efficient. Rather than using the small drink trays, I decided to grab the big one and carry drinks for multiple tables at time. I had three beers and three glasses of water perfectly balanced on my new big tray. Once I reached the family’s table, I picked up the glass of water, which set the tray off kilter. The remaining two waters and the three seasonal porters tipped, sloshing onto the dad and his new son. The beer-covered baby started crying – Tavern: 2, Mallory: 0.
As it got later, I eventually got a table full of frat boys because things weren’t bad enough. They had been drinking and were flirting with every girl in sight. I introduced myself and gave them my unenthusiastic spiel about our specials. Once I was done, one of the hooligans looked up and said, “Redheaded Slut!” I had made at least 15 wrong orders, my feet hurt, it was late, I had spilled a tray of beer on a baby, and had been left a penny as a “tip.” My face turned red, tears built up in the back of my throat and pushed until they streamed down my cheeks. The man looked at me with tenderness and said, “I’m sorry miss, all I wanted was a round of redheaded sluts.” I quickly found out that a redheaded slut was the name of a drink which includes Jagermeister, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice…
Always leave a good tip -