Why Yahoo (and Reader’s Digest) Can Get Bent

The other day there was an article on Yahoo titled 15 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You. It was in essence just a reprint of a Reader’s Digest article and others of the same ilk. In it anonymous servers wrote in all their dirty little ‘secrets’ they keep about the restaurant business.

Secrets like how ‘we’ (as in not ‘we’ but just some dumbass servers in some crappy restaurants that still have some things to learn about the biz-sometimes sarcasm is hard to convey in print) carry a fork around in ‘our’ aprons so ‘we’ can repeatedly snatch bites out of a cobbler all day that will eventually be served to customers. Secrets like how ‘we’ will heat up a spoon to the point that it burns a customer’s mouth if they say their soup is too hot for the sake of exacting some kind of petty revenge. Secrets like ‘Hey if you treat us nice then we will hook you up with a free margarita’.

The problem I have with these types of expose articles is that all they do is lower the opinion that a lot of the public seems to have of restaurant industry employees.  And judging from the majority of the comments that most people left, we don’t need any help with that. The majority of them were Joe Schmoe mouthing off about how they much they hate ‘entitled’ servers and how if the person waiting on them didn’t care for the abuse Joe was going to heap on them then they could just go get another job.

Joe if you’re out there, know this: most servers have a higher grade of professionalism than these articles would lead you to believe. We don’t spit in your food or double dip into food that is intended to be served to you and we aren’t going to hook you up with free booze just because you might be nice for a minute. These articles are written for shock value and the views represented are not shared by the vast majority of the people in this business. It is safe to go out to eat and you will be taken care of to the best of our abilities.

Know this also: when you speak of ‘entitled’ and ‘uppity’ servers it belies a bigotry on your part that you might not be aware of. When I hear people talking about how they like to put servers ‘in their place if they get out of line’ it smacks of the racism prevalent in the South in the twentieth century. It reeks of racism, classism, homophobia and all sorts of isms and other personality flaws that don’t make you look all that good. My advice would be that you should quit trying so hard to find reasons to hate and belittle any certain group of people because of their skin color or nationality or economic status or what kind of job they have and start trying to find reasons to like yourself a little more. As cheesy as it sounds, the more love you have in your heart the less room you have for hate.

I really can’t stand the back and forth animosity between servers and the asinine patrons that inspire said animosity. It’s like a never ending argument that never gets anywhere. These scandalous articles that supposedly inform the public all the nasty little ‘secrets’ of the restaurant business only serve to damage the public’s opinion of us and inflame the debate.

I’m doing my best to teach an attitude of Dignity and Respect Towards Restaurant Industry Employees and to peacefully educate as many people as possible. Granted, I’m not getting a lot of traction with that idea but I am at least trying.

If anybody has any other ideas let me know. I’m open to suggestions.

Dignity and Respect

Me, The JerBear

 

P.S. The one about what a big pain in the ass hot tea is is pretty dead on. Why oh why is hot tea always the most difficult beverage to put together? In some of the places I’ve worked I’d have a better chance of assembling a friggin Chevy in the dark out of random assorted parts than I would of getting all the stuff together to make hot tea in the required timeframe. Sheesh.

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Why Yahoo (and Reader’s Digest) Can Get Bent

  1. Oh the hot tea dance at OG wa absolute hell.

    As to the rest… WTF? Ive never eaten food intended for customers, nor have I seen anyone else do so (ok apart from tasting things before I sent them out, as a chef ought. As a server, never
    Scalding hot spoon? Like I would injure someone because they want their soup hot?
    And if I could figure out how to score free margaritas, I’d be getting them for myself, not a “nice” customer. (like people who are “nice” are going to tip better? Rarely true)
    I’m in this game cause I need money to live and foodservice is what I know. As much as I bitch and moan about bad tips, rude people, and the “agony of de feet”, I truly want people to enjoy themselves and their food.

  2. Me, The JerBear

    Yes! Everything you just said I agree with. And the hot tea dance at OB is a lot easier than at OG:) But it’s still a pain.

  3. TMS

    I seriously doubt any servers out there are saying that they do any of that crap. I think it was just some bored writer at Readers Digest writing what they THINK servers do when no customers are looking. As a former server, I would never have thought to have eaten off something I knew was to be served to customers (ok, maybe a random french fry once or twice). This is why, on the rare occasions I do go out to eat nowadays, I make sure to treat the servers the way I wanted to be treated when I was in their shoes, and always, ALWAYS tip 20%.

  4. Nice post, well said and way overdue. Though bitching on both sides (customer vs waiter) does indeed go on a lot (I’ve done it myself as a bartender) and though it is a sexy topic for a magazine article, you couldn’t be more accurate it’s a bit overdone. Especially this business of dirty little secrets. One fly in the ointment, or to bring it close to home… one spit in the soup… makes it look like that stuff goes on all the time. When of course it doesn’t. All it serves to do once the gasping and laughter dies down, is cause justified paranoia when a customer has to send back his steak that’s too rare. Which is his right. Not good for business!
    It was refreshing to read your take on this where the goal is “dignity and respect”, keep up the good fight and you will get “traction”.
    Cheers!

  5. I fucking hated that article. I hated it so much that the post I tried to write about it came out with 4 curse words for every 1 “real” word. I gave up.

    • I wasn’t terribly pleased with what I wrote but I had to write something. I’ve seen all that stuff before but when it was on the front page of the yahoo site it flipped a switch. I think it’s called the ‘Aw Hell Naw’ switch.

  6. NYCgirl

    Bravo on the “isms” – from reading wonderful blogs like yours, FMT and Do You Do That At Home?, I’m seeing a truly ugly side to dining out. I’ve never been a server, but it’s amazing to me how there are people who see you as their own personal punching bags or that they have free reign to treat you like little more than indentured servants.

    • Eh, it’s not all bad. Seriously at least 80% of the public returns your niceness right back to you. It’s a shame they’re not the ones that haunt your thoughts at the end of the night.

  7. I did a rebuttal post on that article a long time ago. I’ve been in food service for most of my life and I’ve never done any of the stuff other servers claim to do. Heating a spoon? Who has time for that shit? Just heat the damned soup. Keeping a fork in my apron? As if. I’m not eating off the fork once it’s been in my apron with the filthy money. Eating off food that will be served? Not a chance. Giving you a free drink? Likewise.

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