Waiting tables is extremely hard work, and there's an unspoken camaraderie between restaurant staff that others can't relate to. Here are 20 things that only people who have waited tables will understand.
1. It's physically exhausting.
Running back and forth between the kitchen and tables all day is super tiring, and your feet ache at the end of every shift.
2. ... And somewhat dangerous at times.
Picture a heavy tray of sizzling fajitas on your shoulder, with hot oil splashing onto you as you dodge customers in a crowded restaurant.
3. You are what you serve.
You smell like whatever kind of food you spend all day serving. It soaks into your clothes and your hair, and you can't wait to shower every night when you get home.
4. ... And you always leave work with new stains on your clothes.
Ketchup. Pasta sauce. Olive oil. They're all evil.
5. Waiters are awesome tippers.
They've been there, so they'll never tip less than 20%, and are often even more generous.
6. Picky customers are the worst.
Don't come to a chain restaurant where the menu is the same across the entire country and start making unreasonable demands.
7. Restaurants that give free nibbles attract the cheapest customers.
It doesn't matter if it's free chips and salsa or free breadsticks. You'd be amazed at the number of people who will eat their heart out on the free stuff, then order a round of waters and split an appetizer between four people.
8. You get blamed for everything.
It's not your fault that the kitchen is slow, but you still get to hear about it from disgruntled customers.
9. The notion of a regular live/work/sleep schedule becomes totally foreign.
You work nights, weekends, and holidays. It's normal to get off work at midnight, eat a 1 am dinner, and go to bed at 4 am. Wash, rinse, repeat.
10. ... Which means you become tight with your co-workers.
It's only natural, since you don't have any other friends who keep a vampire schedule.
11. ... And someone is always hooking up with someone.
The cook and the hostess. The bartender and the manager. The busboy and the waitress. Something is always going on.
12. No one wants the tables with kids.
Children leave behind a huge mess and parents never pay you any extra for having to clean the disaster zone.
13. Alcohol drinkers are the best.
Alcohol = expensive = higher bill = bigger tip. For the most part, anyway.
14. ... Until they get really drunk & obnoxious.
It's even worse if they get handsy and start calling you "baby."
15. Manners are a rarity.
"Let me have" and "Gimme" are shouted at waitstaff far too often. How hard is it to say "please?"
16. Splitting checks 100 different ways is enough to make you go totally crazy.
One bill, three credit cards, four people paying cash, and one person who thinks it's totally acceptable to pay their share in nickels. NO.
17. Some people expect to be your only priority.
They want what they want, and they want it now. Nevermind that you have seven other tables to serve.
18. ... But they aren't willing to pay for VIP treatment.
The most demanding ones are always the worst tippers.
19. Biting your tongue can be really, really hard.
You want to tell that horrible customer to stick it where the sun don't shine, but you know your manager will soon be visiting their table to ask how they're enjoying their meal. Dammit.
20. Dropping a tray or breaking a glass in front of everyone makes you want to crawl into a hole.
It's even worse when everyone starts ironically clapping.