The Hangry People

Every waitressing tale needs a horror story, and today, I was living in one.

I woke up late (again), with no time to grab anything substantial to eat before I ran out the door (bagel… so delicious… sitting in the refrigerator instead of in my stomach…) I arrived on the ship to sure signs of a wedding. Hooray, I thought. Perhaps more generous, tipsy people will shove bills into my hands! I love it when that happens!

But sadly, I was assigned to the upper deck, which hosted groups, which never ever tip. Oh, well, I thought. I’m here. I will work. I will be paid for said work. Yay, money. But then I found out that because of the wedding, the cruise was an hour later. Which meant that the people I was serving were showing up an hour later, too. Which meant that my call was supposed to be eleven, but there I was at ten, sitting there doing nothing (but still, thankfully, being paid for it.) So I was grumpy. I could have had breakfast. I could have waited an hour longer before walking in the sun, using my rain umbrella as a parasol because feeling the actual rays on my face made me want to die.

But anyway. My guests arrived and after taking the longest time to figure out where to sit (I swear, when faced with separate tables, even the oldest adults turn into twelve year olds when it comes to picking a seat), I approached them. I could tell from the first second that they were going to be terrible. They were obviously extremely hangry, and while I get like that too, I’m generally not rude to people that don’t, you know, KNOW me and will put up with me but eventually tell me to get over myself. These people had no such reservations. From the second I came up to them, they talked down to me and weren’t willing to wait for their orders for five minutes… but since they were being so demanding, changing their drink orders a million times and deciding to sit on the other side of the ship without telling me, they had to wait longer than usual. I don’t think it’s ever taken me that long to serve five tables. These were the types of people who, after taking their orders, would ask me as soon as I took the next table’s order, “Did you get our drinks yet?” I don’t know, have I left the room yet?

This went on for the first hour or so of the cruise, and I was about to cry again, but less from frustration at myself than anger at them. Thank God I didn’t have these people earlier in my waitressing career- I might have quit. Because they were terrifying and ridiculously demanding. I accept that I am a server and that my job is to serve; I do not feel that I am too good to do this. But demanding a second dessert when we have every single seat filled on all three levels of the ship just because you liked one half of the dessert and want more of that instead of the second half, free of charge, is NOT an acceptable reason to get mad when I say that you probably can’t have another one. (And guess what? I managed to get her one anyway. Because that’s what a freaking good waitress I am.)

I wasn’t the only one having these reactions. Co-worker Tamara had the other half of this huge group and when we were both in the waitstation and I moaned, “Why do these people hate me?”, she exclaimed, “I know! They are so angry about everything!” One of the photographer girls, whose job it is to take pictures and then peddle them to every single table, muttered as she passed us, “Does anyone else feel Satan’s presence on this floor?”

So I spent most of the first hour of the cruise thinking over and over, “I hate everyone. I hate absolutely every human being on this earth.” That was the kind of anger these people stirred with in me. I also caught myself several times just before I swore very colorfully- and I have never sworn in my life, ever. I was sorely tempted to be the typical angry waitress and do something to their food, but wasn’t brave enough (but seriously, you readers who are rude to waiters: think about how much time we spend out of sight, alone, with the things you’re putting into your mouth. Think about that. And be nicer.)

As usual, my co-workers were saint-like. When one of the more demanding tables (who, when I walked past them a few minutes after they had ordered drinks and promised they were coming, snapped “Are you sure?”) actually made one of the cooks get them water (asking another server is one thing. But the cooks have other things on their minds), the cook did it without complaint to them or to me, even doing it again later in the cruise. When I had to go do the opening performance and was still being harangued by a table about sweet tea (the pitchers only hold so much, people, and my pathetically weak arms and small hands can only hold one each), someone served them all tea while I danced around with a pom-pom and a microphone. And when I ran into the waitstation more than once muttering, “My tables are going to eat me alive,” multiple people said, “What do you need?” I freaking love these people.

And then, all of a sudden, as will happen with hangry people, as soon as they got food in their stomachs, they were all smiles and sunshine. During the performances, they clapped and sang along and gave standing ovations. Suddenly, when I would ask them what they needed, they would beam at me and say, “Nothing, everything’s perfect, thank you.” When clearing one of my tables for me, one of my co-workers was told that I was “a wonderful waitress” by a lady who had been harassing me constantly. And they kept shoving tips into my hands. Not that I’m complaining, but who knew body-snatchers could cross the water to do their work? It was all so confusing.

We ended up having to work late, which made all of us unhappy. I don’t mind working later if I’m told I will be; then I can mentally prepare myself to work for a long time. In fact, on the day of my first double shift, I was asked if I wanted to go home and said no because I was in the mindset to work thirteen hours. But finding out that you have to stay late to do someone else’s job after you’ve strategized how to get out early with your floor and are nearly finished is not a happy experience. But again… I was paid, so whatever. And I had some delicious leftover wedding cake and got to keep an abandoned bouquet of white roses, which are now sitting in my room. (The centerpieces were also quite beautiful and we were allowed to take them, but I’m trying to avoid bringing crap that I don’t need home, no matter how pretty it is.)

And so finally ended a long and crappy day. I’m just glad I had good experiences before facing these people, because… wow.

In other news, my full-length play is getting its second reading on Thursday, and I’m super excited. I was really started to miss it, and I can’t wait to see my wonderful cast perform it again. It seems like more than the planned, er… one person is going to come, too, including some people who have already seen it, which is really awesome 🙂


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. MOM
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 00:04:59

    don’t worry, my day started on the same note, but ended on a better note.
    Co-workers can truly save the day.


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