Respect the server, eat the food

Michelle Poje

I’ve held several jobs in my life. Babysitter. Movie theater usher. Sales person. I’ve cleaned popcorn and puke off theater floors and sold clothing on “Black Friday.” On more than one occasion I would put on my dorky uniform and think, my job sucks.

And then I took a job as a waitress.

It was about two years ago when I needed a new job. I figured being a waitress would be easy; all I had to do was take orders and serve food. I could see myself chatting with smiling regulars and pocketing $100 in tips at the end of the night.

Did I mention I was also a bit naive?

Throughout college, a lot of students will most likely end up working server jobs to pay the bills. Some may like it, others may not. Regardless of the situation, it is difficult and thankless work, and it didn’t take me long to realize.

I accepted a job as a waitress at Bob Evans. The pay was cruddy, but the manager assured me that the tips would make up for that. So I reported to work, visions of dollar signs dancing in my head.

It didn’t take long to find out what life was like as a waitress. It is a constant cycle of taking orders and listening to complaints. I was never fully able to grasp the order taking process. Instead of writing down what the customer wants, Bob Evans uses a single letter to represent a food item. Some were obvious but others were stupid, like D for cheeseburger. “The D stands for Deluxe,” my manager told me as if that’s something I should have known my whole life. “We can’t use C. C stands for Soup, as in Chili.”


The majority of the customers were downright rude. They complained that their applesauce wasn’t the right temperature or that their mashed potatoes were touching the meatloaf. They made wisecracks and left horrible tips. My co-workers were nice, but were also too busy to train me properly. Each shift became seven hours of torture.

My breaking point occurred when I waited on a woman who had a conniption because there was a leaf of lettuce on her burger. She demanded I remedy the situation immediately, so I took the burger back to the kitchens and flicked off the lettuce myself. That sent her into another conniption. “I want a brand new burger!” she screamed. “And if I taste any lettuce on it…” I was back in the kitchens and shaking off my apron before she had time to finish.

All in all, I lasted an embarrassing two weeks. But the experience wasn’t a total washout, for I learned an important lesson in that time: Respect the server.

Don’t scream if the server forgets to bring you ketchup. Don’t complain and leave a facedown penny as a tip. If you have a problem, there are other ways of settling the situation without being ignorant and rude. I learned this the hard way.

To all you servers out there, I salute you. And for all you customers, be nice and, for the love of God, just eat the stupid cheeseburger.

Michelle Poje is a senior newspaper journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at