YOU PROBABLY DON’T HOW THE HALF OF IT | COLUMN

I haven’t been working in retail for too long, but I have been working in customer service jobs for most of my teenage life, and let me tell you this: It isn’t easy. I remember the first time someone screamed at me, I was only 15 at the time, and it was because her child couldn’t go to the bathroom. Because there was someone else inside. Not only did I find this rude and disrespectful, but extremely immature and uncalled for. What did she honestly expect of me? To go into the bathroom, and beg for the person inside to ‘finish their business’ and leave?

There’s something about the younger generation when it comes to customer service, I personally think they’re just too scared to say or be rude to other people. The lack of social interactions these days, huh? Whereas, when it comes to customer service, middle age/elderly people, they really know how to let loose when dealing with workers. Working in customer service has given me a vast understanding of how people work, and how society works, as opposed to people who don’t, therefore they become difficult whilst serving. Seeing as I work in customer service, I could never see myself going out to a restaurant or to a shop, and be rude to someone. Yet, people still do it.

The way people treat restaurant staff definitely, I think, somewhat reveals their character. As I believe it, someone that is actively unpleasant to waiters is best avoided, along with those who patronise, and of course the people who treat waiters as though they’re invisible. Someone that does this may as well stick a sign to their head saying “I think i’m too good for you and i’m over-privileged, cold, ruthless and rude”.

Why is rudeness in restaurants becoming more and more common? It could be due to the disappearance of manners in general – again, we can thank our rise in technologies for that. But perhaps, people feel the need to demand more? Maybe they assume that the restaurant needs them more than they need the restaurant? Does that really give them the license to bully?

Working in customer service, and as a waitress, I believe, that I myself, when going out to dinner, am quite nice to wait staff. I believe that making the waiter feel as comfortable as possible in your presence is a key issue. I overpraise, sometimes. I even overtip (sometimes when it’s even not granted, I’m THAT nice). I’m just grateful to have someone serve me for once, instead of the other way round.

I’d like to think that I’d behave like this, even without my experience being the waitress. But it probably has as a lot to do with my experience, and also my manners. When going into a new restaurant and seeing wait staff many questions arise – when did the shift began? When will it end? Their feet – do they ache? I know mine do after every shift.

Whilst working in a restaurant can be not only frantic, but extremely tiring, there’s always a positive out of it. There’s those lovely customers that brighten your day, and compliment you, and make you smile by waiting on them. It’s a great way to meet people too, I believe it boosts confidence.

So, in the end – please be good to your waiter. I understand the frustrations when thing’s aren’t right. I know it’s annoying to be given a large bill when your food has been slower than the table over there that came in after you.

Just remember this: Waiters are the messengers most of the time. So, don’t shoot them. No matter how bad the news is.

Love, Lauren

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