Customers: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly

The three categories all patrons fit into

One of the best bits about waitressing, honestly, is gossiping about the customers. We sit behind the bar, or in the dishwasher room, and compare thoughts on how your night is going. First date? We’ve already weighed up your chances. Graduation celebration dinner? Not only have we decided that you’re going to be a millionaire by next year, we’ve also sussed that your mum was pretty well acquainted with the postman twenty one years ago.

All this nattering, I reckon, is a fair compensation for some of the customers we deal with, who fit into one of three categories.

The Good

Most customers come under this banner- the vast majority in fact. These guys come in, exchange the appropriate pleasantries, have a nice meal, don’t antagonise us/other customers, and trot off on their merry way home with a little burp of satisfaction. There’s some great customers – the ones who take a genuine interest in your life as something other than a walking food-conveyor belt, and, my personal favourite, the ones who laugh at my jokes.

The Bad

‘There’s no niceties here, thank you very much, now stop treating me like we’re equals, garcon, just fill up my wine glass in silence and do the decent thing- piss off’. Customers that just refuse to feign friendliness completely baffle me. I’m not trying to get you to tell me your bank password; I just wanted to make chipper conversation about the weather while we wait for the card machine to roll out some receipts. Stop looking at me like I spat in your food, I didn’t.

The Downright Ugly

These are the guys that knock out all five things on a waitress’ hit list before their main meal is even in the oven. They might as well click at me and shout “garcon” whenever they want their wine glass filling up. I’m talking about snobs.

Snobs needn’t be particularly uppity, as a stereotype might suggest. Anyone can be the guy who sneers at his waiter, “Do you even know what ‘assiette’ means?” or the lady who decidedly tells you where you can “stuff your walnuts” when you offer her a nut-allergy friendly dish. (Both of these are real quotes, and were delightful to hear first-hand.) Nope, snobbery is for all. Fortunately, very few people take it up; there’s enough high-noses making reservations in restaurants to keep the waiting staff on their guard as it is.

So, the moral of the story is this: the waitresses are talking about you. Whether they’re complimenting your outfit or bitching about how you probably just weren’t loved as a child, well, that’s up to you really.

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