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Jobs We Should All Do Once

Waiting Tables / Serving / Bartending

The fiction:  People tend to think this job is easy.  Come to my table, take my order, bring me food and keep my drink full.  Sure, there’s a lot of running around but overall it’s not a challenge as long as you have stamina and an energy drink handy.  The server is as fault for the restaurant temperature being too cold or hot, their steak being overcooked, or even the loud table they got stuck next to.  If I don’t like mushrooms and I failed to read that in the item description, it’s the server’s fault and they had better replace my meal fast.  It’s also the server’s responsibility to ensure my bar drinks and food get to me as quick as possible.

The fact:  Your waiter has to learn the entire menu and memorize ingredients, as people have special requests or dietary restrictions.  They deal with extremely difficult guests and messy children.  They have to have great timing, especially if they get two tables sitting down at once; it takes time to properly greet a table and get their drink order written and delivered.  They are often called away from their current task (you) to run food out to a table that isn’t theirs.  They are in charge of preparing some of your food, generally salads and soups, but also have expediting duties at certain hours.  They are at the mercy of the cook; how fast your food is prepared is not under their control and them yelling at the chef only results in your food being delayed even longer.  It’s the same with the bartender, who has their own customers along with making drinks for the entire restaurant.  They also work long shifts with little to no breaks until their section is closed.  Working this job makes you appreciate a great waiter or waitress even more and shows you little things you can do to make your server’s life a bit easier, such as asking for all condiments at one time or not letting your kid tear open all the sugars.

Retail / Dressing Room

The fiction:  This is a job generally reserved for retirees and high school students.  It’s a laid back job that allows you a bit of downtime when customers are scarce.  The downside is the cleaning and straightening, but it’s a little like organizing your closet, just on a larger scale.  The employees always tend to either be a little too helpful or nowhere to be seen.  They must think everyone is a thief the way they watch customers.  The sales associate is at fault if my item rings up incorrectly.  I don’t understand why some businesses won’t let me keep the hangers, I think I’m entitled to get them with my purchase.  I also better get a discount if there’s a makeup smudge or deodorant stain on the shirt I’m purchasing.

The fact:  Retail is a job with a lot of work and stress for a little bit of pay.  The dressing room can become a pigsty in minutes and often it’s on the shoulders of one person to police it and keep it clean, as well as organize all the leave-behinds for restocking.  Many stores have a speech that associates must recite to a new customer entering the store and many are told to just stay visible without being bothersome.  Loss prevention is also important and thieves come in many shapes and colors.  Some businesses require that the associate memorize the sales because they are not set to automatically ring up at the sale price.  Hangers cost money and store policy doesn’t always allow for them to be given away.  The associate must straighten every hanger to ensure all are parallel and must organize shelves; you can imagine how long this lasts when customers are browsing and children are exploring.  Many stores have also suspended discounts for “damaged” goods because there are awful people who will damage or stain an item themselves in order to get some money off.  Working this job allows you to see the challenge that goes into making a store shoppable and pleasant for you, resulting in you hopefully becoming a more considerate customer.

Door-To-Door Sales

The fiction:  This is the most annoying type of person out there!  They bother me at dinnertime, they’re pushy as all hell, and they don’t understand the word NO!  If I wanted whatever they’re trying to sell me, wouldn’t I have gone to them?  They have no respect for my privacy.  They shouldn’t be allowed to go knocking on doors, bothering people.

The fact:  This is the most annoying type of person out there!  They bother me at dinnertime, they’re pushy as all hell, and they don’t understand the word NO!  Unfortunately, that’s their job.  This type of work is easy to get into and therefore attractive to people seeking work; it’s often advertised as a “fast track to management.”  Door-to-door salespeople work on commission and your hospitality is their paycheck; if you’re not signing a check, they aren’t getting paid a cent.  Companies like AT&T have turned to door-to-door sales as a cheap way to get a hold of their customers to upgrade their packages, paying the salesperson a few dollars only if the customer upgrades.  Working this kind of job stinks, but it makes you more appreciative of your current job and every other kind of work out there, as well as shows you the benefits of putting a “No Soliciting” sticker on your door.

Call Center / Customer Service

The fiction:  These so-called helpful people are anything but.  They always say the same thing:  “I care about your problem, I’m happy to help, blah blah blah.”  It’s frustrating to wait so long to get through to someone only to get the person who is condescending/unhelpful/foreign/whose system is down/etc.  I’m calling you so you can fix my problem because that’s what you’re paid to do.  Don’t put me on hold and don’t transfer me.  Resolve my issue!  How hard is your job?


The fact:  They probably don’t care too much about you personally because they’ve already talked to dozens upon dozens of people like you, been cussed at and called an idiot, and had their eardrums blown out by loud yellers and hang-ups.  They generally have a script to follow which includes a lot of “I’m happy to help” and other variations of it.  They are the people who deal with the repercussions when a business or another individual screws up.  Sometimes they have to transfer you or rush you off the phone because they are often required to take a certain number of calls during their shift; if they talk to you for an hour, they are putting themselves behind.  Working this job will help you keep your anger in check next time your cable is out and you decide to go off on the poor girl who happened to answer your call rather than be angry at the storm that knocked things loose.

Janitorial

The fiction: Sure, it’s a dirty job, but it’s not challenging.  They clean up, which is something we all do at home (unless we’re a trash bag away from starring on Hoarders).  It’s all right if I make a bit of a mess because it’s their job to clean up, after all, and it’s not like anyone tries to make MY job any easier.  They need to work harder anyway, have you seen the bathroom lately??  Besides, how difficult can it be to empty a few trash cans and sweep up?

The fact:  Do you have any idea how messy and disgusting people are, especially when they know that they don’t have to clean up their own mess?  Have you ever stood ankle-deep in sewer water, trying to unclog a toilet filled with someone else’s mess, then had to mop it all up, all the while listening to angry women complain that they can’t use the stall?  Dealt with the frustration of cleaning a glass door only to have someone walk through the minute you’re finished and put their hand print on the glass?  People also tend to treat janitors worse than the trash they are emptying.  Working this job will make you think twice about dumping your half full coffee cup in the trash can or dumping a wad of paper towels in the toilet.

Nurse / Receptionist / Anyone But The Doctor

The fiction:  They never seem to know where my doctor is or why he’s running behind today.  Every time I ask, I get the same few excuses about an emergency patient or some procedure that ran over.  They tell me to come early, but they never manage to get me on time; such bad organizational skills.  I don’t get why I need to give them my insurance card every single time either, or why they make me fill out my address every visit even after I told them it’s the same.  It’s like they’re on a mission to slow me down and make me miss work.

The fact:  Their job is to provide assistance so the doctor can get through their patients as quickly as possible.  These patients are generally always overbooked; the overbooking compensates for cancellations without the practice losing money on that particular day, so when no one cancels or you have emergency walk-ins, the whole process gets behind.  Sometimes they are forced to lie; “emergency patient” sounds better than “your doctor ate too much Taco Bell and is locked in the bathroom.”  Your information is requested each visit because honestly, you can’t be trusted to remember whether or not your insurance card or bits of personal information have changed since your last visit, especially if it’s been over a year ago.  Working this job will make you realize that the nurse/receptionist has zero control over practice policy, what the doctor does and how fast they move, and definitely deserves a little slack.

Feel free to let me know which ones I’ve missed and why they qualify as a job everyone should work at least once. 

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on October 25, 2011, in Food, Life, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. plr articles hey there,
    just came across you on aol. Nice article, I was just thinking about something similar. May start out blogging myself! Many thanks plr ebook

  2. I’d change the first one to just work in the restaurant business. Fuck being a waiter. I’d be a waitress though.

  3. “how fast your food is prepared is not under their control”

    It is if you put in the wrong temperature in the computer such as let’s say I order a medium rare steak, but you put in medium well, it takes LONGER due to YOU, NOT the kitchen staff, 100% SOLELY YOU!!

    It’s under their control as to how long you wait to put the order in as far as in a fair manner goes, meaning I don’t expect you to put in my order if you have food you have to deliver that ordered BEFORE I did, but if you have time to buss a table or VOLUNTARILY without a customer calling you over check on them, THAT IS UNDER YOUR CONTROL.

    Also, you put in the order completely wrong, your food can’t be prepared as fast if the TICKET IS WRONG, CAN IT?

    If you forget let’s say a side dish, no matter if you put in the order correctly or not, if YOU are my server that brought me my food, it’s *YOU* that is at fault for it taking longer to get to my table.

    If you drop the food on the floor yourself, that’s your fault it takes more time to get to me, even though it was an accident, it’s still YOUR FAULT.

    “It’s the same with the bartender, who has their own customers along with making drinks for the entire restaurant.”

    NOT THE SAME!

    Have had orders FORGOTTEN to be put into the computer.

    Have had wrong orders put into the computer.

    Have had wrong orders BROUGHT OUT that were OBVIOUS to the SERVER’S EYES they were wrong.

    Have had at least 4 servers FORGET to get the drink from the bar.

    “such as asking for all condiments at one time”

    I do that just about 99.9% of the time and it DOES NOT HELP AT ALL!! Most servers don’t compare their written order to the food or if it’s another server, the ticket to the food.

    Also, some servers are too lazy to WRITE those down. Like I have had servers write down my order, but when I say I want ranch or tartar sauce or something like that, they don’t write that part down, just the main part and then OF COURSE it gets forgotten.

    Sometimes some servers are too lazy to write down your full order even.

    • Well someone has their panties in a twist.

      Either you have the worst luck in the history of food service or you’re a difficult customer who is impossible to please and exactly the type of person who should walk in a server’s shoes for a week or two.

      How fast your food is prepared is NOT under their control. Your argument is based on idiots putting orders in wrong. My argument above is based on people like myself and like many servers I’ve encountered who care about their job, at least enough to work for their tips, which despite what you may think is most of them. The $2.13 an hour isn’t quite enough for people to justify slacking off. If they put a med rare steak in as mid well after dropping food on the floor and forgetting side dishes, they’re incompetent. Most aren’t. The servers are at the mercy of the kitchen staff. If they are backed up, your food slows down. If you have bad/lazy/new cooks, you get the same result. People don’t seem to understand that a busy restaurant means your food won’t be out at lighting speed; you are no more important than any other table in there.

      In all honesty, you came off as a bitter person in your comment and going by my experience in various restaurants, you are probably the type of person people dread waiting on. I guarantee the attitude you put into your comment also comes across when you ask for condiments, drinks, etc. and I also guarantee your server senses it. I don’t give a damn who the customer is, just because someone is “serving” you doesn’t mean they are below you. Servers deal with rude and inconsiderate people every day multiple times a day, people who they must please in order to make money, as the $2.13 an hour pays their taxes and their paycheck is usually under $10 if anything. Do you honestly think that any server wants to risk their tips and purposely do a shit job? If you’re as unpleasant in person as you are in your comment, I can’t blame any server for not wanting to bust their ass for you. They have long memories customers that won’t be happy no matter what can be spotted from a mile away.

      • “How fast your food is prepared is NOT under their control. Your argument is based on idiots putting orders in wrong.”

        IT IS, I just mentioned how. So you are saying you are ***PERFECT** that you couldn’t possibly put in an order completely wrong or forget to put in a side dish or press mashed potatoes when you meant potato salad for example?

        I doubt that. It doesn’t make you an idiot to put in an order wrong. It just happens, it’s a MISTAKE.

        The thing about it is, if the server puts in the order wrong, if the original server is the person bringing out the food, that’s when they can catch their mistake, which most don’t by comparing their written order to the food.

        I also mentioned WHEN you put in my order. It COUNTS. You wait so you can buss a table, that’s 100% IN YOUR CONTROL that I wait longer to get my food.

        Also, forgetting a side dish or a wrong side dish or condiments for example is the fault of your server if your server brings out your food as to why you wait longer for your food.

        “If they put a med rare steak in as mid well after dropping food on the floor and forgetting side dishes, they’re incompetent. Most aren’t. ”

        I hate to break it to you, but most ARE incompetent and LAZY. Some don’t write down your orders. Most don’t check over their written order or tickets with the food for any obvious errors.

        If you were correct, I wouldn’t be complaining, now would I? I would have my order almost always correct, instead, I have it 80% of the times WRONG.

        Most servers don’t even know how to take an order even.

        I have had 2 servers at Red Lobster I say “NO tomatoes, NO cucumbers” for their side salad, they both assumed I didn’t want onions when onions come in their side salads. That’s just one example of incompetence.

        “The servers are at the mercy of the kitchen staff.”

        Sometimes, but not always. If my server is chit-chatting, my food sits ready, no one is there to bring it due to it is very busy, well that’s not the kitchen staff’s fault, that’s my server’s fault.

        “you are no more important than any other table in there.”

        I 100% agree with you on that one. The thing is, I find servers will show some customers are more important such as handing things off a tray in the wrong order.

        Once, my husband and I had a waitress at Red Lobster that had our 2 entrées on the SAME TRAY as 2 side salads for a couple that wasn’t even there when we ordered(think about it anyways, they were just starting their side salads, our entrées were ready). The unfair waitress decides that the people that ordered their side salads had more importance that their time was more important than ours meaning because we were FIRST that it was OK for them not to wait, but OK for us to wait longer for our stuff we ordered.

        It’s just morally wrong. She should have honestly not even brought out there side salads to begin with, but since she did, she should have bypassed their table and came to ours since we had ordered WELL BEFORE THEY DID. It’s just the “right” thing to do not to make someone else more important as if there time is somehow more important to let them CUT in front of other people’s turns.

        “In all honesty, you came off as a bitter person in your comment and going by my experience in various restaurants, you are probably the type of person people dread waiting on.”

        I am NICE. I am actually NICER than most servers when they forget something, I say “Thank you”, NO SORRY to speak of 95% of the times. It’s sad that I am more polite than they are and they are the ones that need US to pay up more, meaning the more nicer you are, it’s common sense, the nicer we are going to be in the tip, DUHH!!

        “just because someone is “serving” you doesn’t mean they are below you. ”

        I only feel they are below me when they do stuff that is common sense that they shouldn’t be doing like bringing me 4-5-6 VERY OBVIOUS mistakes on just one plate of food. Blaming the kitchen staff for stuff that’s obvious isn’t their fault. Blaming the computer for a wrong price when I can see it, so can they. They can get it fixed from their manager and not involve US in that issue of the wrong price on our check.

        “Do you honestly think that any server wants to risk their tips and purposely do a shit job? ”

        YES, because they don’t feel it’s worth it. They’d rather not work as hard and just get 15% rather than striving for 25%-30%, because most are too lazy to work that hard to get higher than 15%-17%.

        It’s true. Think about it. If I asked for 3 condiments with my appetizer, 4 modifications for a burger order, then adding 4 condiments to that as well, do you want to work that hard or would you rather just say you don’t care? Most don’t care and would rather get the table that isn’t as much WORK. Think about it. A lot of servers are lazy out there. I didn’t say you were, I don’t know you. I am saying from OUR EXPERIENCES we have had MANY MORE LAZY AND UNCARING ONES than caring ones.

        “They have long memories customers that won’t be happy no matter what can be spotted from a mile away.”

        I have long memories too as well as I keep restaurant receipts so I can remember what the server’s names are so I can AVOID them if they really sucked.

        It goes both ways.

        “If you’re as unpleasant in person as you are in your comment, I can’t blame any server for not wanting to bust their ass for you.”

        As I said above, I am VERY NICE. I am not mean. If anything, as I said above, most of the time the servers aren’t apologetic about their mistakes.

        • A few things & then I’m done wasting my time on someone who is too set in their ways & too close minded to listen to another point of view.
          1. I have never entered an order in incorrectly and allowed it to go to the kitchen. The handful of errors I’ve made were basically typos into the system and were either corrected by immediately getting a manager override or by notifying the cooks. No one is perfect.
          2. You do come across as mean, whether you intentionally do so or not. Your attitude about servers is clear as day and I have no doubt it goes noticed when you go out to eat.
          3. If I had to make a guess, I’d say you have never worked in a restaurant. Maybe I’m wrong, but you strike me as exactly the person I referred to while writing this. Plus all the words you put in caps make me feel like I’m being yelled at and I’m getting a headache.

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