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« In Which We Don't Do Coke In The Bathroom Of The Restaurant »

The Siesta


Waiting tables has never paid my bills, a fact which I prefer to hide from my colleagues with deep sighs about the price of just about everything. But through the managerially-induced eye rolls, the horrific tippers, the empty-table boredom, and the mild injustices of everyday service industry work lies my dirty secret: I could quit any time I want. I went to pick up my last paycheck from the French restaurant and ended up with two shifts a week. My name is Jackie and I am addicted to waitressing.

I tried to quit a few months ago. I got a raise at my non-profit, a sizable one, and I wanted my weekends back desperately because it was almost Christmas. My weekend shifts were a welcome excuse to stay in New York for Thanksgiving and not spend $200 on trains to avoid my father’s girlfriend at whatever trashy buffet joint his family had reserved for us for the occasion. But I couldn’t miss Christmas with my mother and sisters for the third time in a row, and my friends were coming to New York for New Year’s Eve. So I gave my notice.

The second weekend in January I came back for my last check. “So you, you want to take a few shifts again, yes?” Bruno, the diminutive French owner, asked. Turns out, he hadn’t rehired, just reshuffled, and I suddenly felt a surge of usefulness that I’d never felt at my day job.

I first waited tables in the summer of 2004 after my first year at college. It was also my first summer driving (overprotective mother), and I planned my route to the restaurant to avoid stopping on steep hills in my stick-shift 1988 Astro van (RIP Vanna).

La Siesta was a family-owned Mexican place in suburban Richmond. The Zajur Family patriarch had had the prescience to open Chesterfield County, Virginia's first Mexican joint in the 70s when it was just concrete hick sprawl south of Richmond. His sons and daughter spoke of the La Siesta heyday of their youth — before the competition for $8 burritos and enormous margaritas had shown up. Rue the day!

La Siesta employees included: two white career waitresses from neighborhoods nearby, a few Mexican guys my age who had learned English well enough to wait tables, an older Mexican man who had been an architect in Mexico and was now a host, and of course the more recently-immigrated kitchen staff who labored over vats of ground beef in the back and were probably supporting vast families back home with remittances.

The two other women waitresses were in their mid-30s and both named Rena. They had been there long enough that they’d arranged to work just on tips (ie: IRS-free). They thought I was cute and virginal (f*ing dimples) and by the end of summer, they were inviting me to their bacchanal cookouts where we smoked weed in the shag-carpeted living room while their toddlers and teenagers of different fathers ran around the double-wide trailers outside until the wee hours of the night. They introduced me to frozen margarita mix and tequila and lectured me on the importance of birth control.

The kitchen staff was mostly confused by me: why was this white girl in college waiting tables and driving an Astro van?  I had spent the year between high school and college in Argentina so my fluent Argentinian Spanish was doubly confusing. The Zajurs explained that Argentine Castellano has a snooty, European slant to it — a faux-aristocratic lilt that made them laugh every time I opened my mouth. I was the kitchen staff’s mascot.

The Zajurs barely noticed me. The family practically ran the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and were profiled by the city newspaper in rhapsodic prose, congratulating them for being successful business owners and model immigrants. The focus on their heritage was mildly absurd considering the 30-/40-something-year-old Zajur children had never lived a day in Mexico, but they all had well-dressed kids and were both deeply religious and politically conservative — the kind of Mexicans Virginia could get behind! Just don’t ask questions about the immigration status of the guys in the kitchen.

Of course, the Zajur Family politics didn’t jibe very well with my new liberal arts curriculum and recently-discovered sense of self-righteousness. I was quietly disdainful of the Zajur children, their inherited business, their assimilated values, their subpar flan. But this was also my very first job — I was ingratiatingly eager to please them all, as this was the Real World with Bosses and Colleagues. I was part of a Team — the Renas believed in me — and there were people to be fed!

La Siesta, however, didn’t exactly attract sophisticated clientele. I refilled many a chip-and-salsa basket for families trying to fill up on freebies so that the second half of their burrito plate could be tomorrow’s lunch. I had more than one person argue with me about the ounce-age of their margarita. The ridiculously cheap lunch specials brought in white and blue-collared workers alike, all demanding faster service and three Coke refills for less of a tip.

These were the days of smoking and non-smoking sections in Tobacco Country. Women in scrunchies would perch their infants precariously on their knees to light up and tip me 5% because I’d “put down the hot plate too close to their baby’s hand.” Men would stumble out to their pick-ups after five coronas before I could meekly offer to call them a cab. (The blond, 90-lb. Rena, on the other hand, once shoved a lumbering hick onto the pavement in order to snatch back his keys.)

Then again, I wasn’t the brightest waitress back in those days. I once poured the secret XXXrta-spicy-habanero sauce all over the steaming fajita plate at a customer’s behest. The entire restaurant had to be evacuated when people’s eyes caught fire. I made an army of children cry all at once.

Nevertheless, I worked my ass off that summer and brought in enough cash to fund my extracurriculars for the next three years of college. When I was home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break, I was happily roped into shifts. Once in DC after college I signed up for a second job waiting tables at a bland but high-traffic “neighborhood bistro” on DuPont Circle a few times a week. And again here in Brooklyn, a kitschy French bistro called Moutarde.

Restaurant work keeps neurons firing in my brain that might die otherwise. The sheer physicality and pressures of it are somehow comforting - it feels like running a race, the kind where you cross the finish line with sore feet and $200. How many shifts you do and how hard you work is directly proportional to how much you make — a simple capitalist truism that is not always reflected in non-profits.

There I watch people get doughy and become masters of delegation. I watch people procreate and suddenly think they are entitled to leave work at four. I watch people suddenly be too good for certain tasks after a salary hike. I watch thousands of donor dollars being spent to coddle those same donors so they’ll give us more to spend on them. I exaggerate, of course; non-profits are full of talented people doing valuable work but there are thick layers of inefficiency in an office environment that would be excised by a thrifty restaurant owner in seconds. The contrast between the two worlds can put things in perspective.

Bartenders, busboys, wait staff, line cooks — the people you meet in restaurants are far more interesting than most. Many have creative pursuits, ill-advised tattoos, recreational drug habits, sordid tales from their past, and fascinating sex lives. And they’ll tell you everything. You'll learn more in 10 minutes than you’ll ever know about the colleagues you see five days a week.

Rampant sarcasm, sass, gossip, petty disputes, strong personalities, hook ups — these are the sine qua non of restaurant culture. Waiting tables exacerbates any judgemental, nasty and racist qualities you already have, but it also makes you better at hiding them strategically. Never doubt for a second that your server hasn’t pegged you for a good tipper or a bad tipper right off the bat, or that they don’t already know that you’re going to complain about your food after you ask for myriad substitutions that she has to plead with the chef for. Now, whether that means she puts in minimal effort and risks the self-fulfilling tip prophesy, or whether she vies desperately for your affection in order to disprove her own snap judgment, that’s another question.

I am the latter, boring into your soul from my perch above your table. Do you like the silent, stealthy waiter who anticipates your needs and keeps the table minimalist? The deadpan, witty type who gives it to you straight about the quality of the salmon? Do you want me to flirt with you? Because I will, oh I will. I will compliment your wife’s purse and flash dimples while I’m pouring your wine and make up stories about the awful mess the kids who sat here before you made so that you feel sophisticated and unencumbered. “Remember, wifey, when the kids used to be such terrors at restaurants? So nice to have some peace at our age. Bring on the crème brûlée! What a nice little waitress.”

Restaurants are a goldmine for twitter feeds and writing material - a human petri dish of social interactions and intimacies. I have seen dour-faced couples spend their meal on their respective smart phones. I’ve seen the adorable parents trying awkwardly to sweep up their kids’ mess, as well as the nasty ones who, I swear to god, must be encouraging their toddler to throw French fries on our floor.

I have watched blind dates, breakups, morning-after brunches. I’ve had crotchety 70-year-olds tip me 10 percent — only to have their mortified children come up to me after and press bills into my palm. I’ve watched poorly-endowed men impress their dates by ordering the most expensive bottle, only to have no idea what they’re tasting for. (Hint, you’re tasting to make sure the cork wasn’t compromised, not because we expect you to comment that it’s “tannic” or “oaky.”)

Waiting tables is not (surprise!) intellectually demanding. You just have to be efficient, organized and mildly articulate. And you need patience, serenity and stamina (read: cocaine, for some). The reason so many creative, scenester types work in restaurants — besides the flexible schedules and the decent haul — is that it doesn’t suck out your mental energy and soul like office jobs can.

I can come home from a Sunday brunch shift around four, my arms exhausted, my feet aching. But my mind would be alive — circuitry engaged by the physical demands of serving, like that runner’s high people speak of, or what yoga does to some. A bottle of wine and six hours later, I’d have several poems written, a few essays outlined, be in bed by 10 and ready for my day job bright and early the next morning.

My day jobs, god bless them, have noble pursuits (the environment, science education) but I am, and likely always to be, a mere cog in the machine, churning out memos and carefully crafted databases that are utterly crucial and utterly banal. I come home, my body flaccid and my brain withered away by ostensibly productive but uncreative pursuits, and all I can muster the energy to do is watch Law & Order and resew a button on my Ann Taylor cuff.

I could make more money if I quit my day job and waited tables full time. Don’t think I haven’t thought about it. But most of the other servers my age are saving up their money to go back to school and pursue their creative ventures full time. They have the courage and confidence in their talents enough to risk the career insecurity of an MFA (a Masters in Financial Anxiety, as my father would say) or the like. I like health care, and happy hours, and blazers with rolled sleeves so I can pretend I’m working up a sweat at my desk. And, if I were to give into my waitressing addiction, the Renas would be very disappointed in me, wherever they are now.

Jackie Kruszewski is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. She blogs here and here and twitters here.

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Reader Comments (40)

If I ever run into you professionally, Jackie...... And before we order, an extras tip up front, and not for nothing, but because this is a great f*ing post and everyone should be paid
March 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJSE
I just got off of my shift, serving at a mom & pop-type restaurant in our downtown area and I can't love this piece enough. Thank you for this.
March 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Jackie, I was going to click through to your previous piece, but it's gone?
March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterK
Really interesting and well written. I enjoyed this. Qualms:

"La Siesta, however, didn’t exactly attract sophisticated clientele. I refilled many a chip-and-salsa basket for families trying to fill up on freebies so that the second half of their burrito plate could be tomorrow’s lunch." Can you be both poor and sophisticated?

Also, "jive" and "jibe" are two very different words...get thee to a dictionary.
March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNoam Sane
@JSE and Amanda - Thanks for reading!

@K - That post was taken down. Long story. Sorry!

@Noam - Thanks for pointing out the 'jive'/'jibe' thing! I fear I've been using them interchangeably, ha, but that will stop.
Of course one can be both sophisticated and poor! I didn't say those people doing that were necessarily poor, just tacky - thinking they were gaming the system somehow and being super clever. When you send your waitress back for more chips 5x, you should be tipping accordingly, and few were. And, if you don't have the money to tip appropriately, you shouldn't be dining at restaurants. I have no idea how much money people make when they walk in. I've had assholes with those fancy, heavy credit cards (presumably rich) tip 10%, and I've had people who act like this is their annual dining-out-adventure (potentially poor) tip superbly (perhaps because they also work or have worked in service industries). It's not a commentary on their financial status, just on their attitude toward servers. But thanks for letting me clarify - not trying to start a class war here ;)
March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie
I'm a recently transplanted writer from Richmond who works in an NYC restaurant when not at my day job. I guess I'm saying your piece had all sorts of resonance for me. That and I love tacos. So thank you for this.
March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKB
I so loved this piece. I waited tables for much of my high school and post-college years. When I left that industry to join the office-based workforce (where I remain to this day), it wasn't long before I was longing for the simpler, relatively less political environment of restaurant work. When you're a server, you obviously have to work hard to please your customers (your livelihood depends on it), but this can make you resent them, even though some of them of decent and kind people. This tends to result in an Us (the servers) versus Them (the customers) attitude among restaurant staff, which fosters a rock-solid solidarity that I've never experienced in my 9-to-5 work, where there's always an ass to kiss, another person's slack to pick up, or a bus to get thrown under. I miss it.
March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Nice piece. I worked in restaurants for over a decade doing everything including waiting on tables. Now I sit at desk all day staring at a computer screen and thinking "This is what it means to be a professional? It should be considered hell - chained to a desk with a load of student loans to worry about." Waiting tables with its instant gratification and talking to different people over the course of a shift is exponentially more rewarding. It's also very hard work.
March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTim
Ah, crazy. Longform sent me here, and it turns out you wait tables 10 blocks from where I'm reading this.

Great article! Could you please tell me how to pronounce the name of your restaurant, though? My friends and I have been pronouncing it Moo-tard, which I'm pretty sure is wrong.
March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJax
Jax, I say Moo-tard too and that's actually correct. But you should come hear Bruno put his little French accent to it. I work Sunday evenings!

Thanks for reading everyone! So honored Longform posted it and glad to know it resonated.
March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie
My mother was a waitress and beat into me the necessity of being a good tipper. I have always been so. But after traveling throughout the world, I have decided you don't deserve 20% for refilling my drink and bringing the food. I should support a waitress to make $200 a day. My college education at many times didn't supply that.

I shouldn't eat out if I can't afford 20%? I have run several business that didn't return 20% of my investment, but waiters with no more investment than a smile and a few lies to make me feel good deserve more profit than the deeply indepted owner. An overestimation of worth if there ever was one

Restaurants should have to pay wages like the rest of the businesses.
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYnot
I loved your post!! I waited tables for 30 years, a single mother of 3. I must say that I truely loved my jobs. Some at chain restaurants and some at small privately owned restaurant-bars. I had to change careers because of the physical stress, I miss it though, especially the day to day conversations with "regulars" . Thanks for the memories. I now drive a school bus for special needs kids, rewarding for sure but not the same. :)
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary DePew
Hey Jackie. I enjoyed reading this. My acting teacher highly recommended waiting tables for the reasons you mentioned. Meeting so many different people and personality types gave him a wealth of characters to study for use in his improv acts.

P.S. your article was featured in The Daily's "What We're Reading" section. Congrats!
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwolfshades
Wow! I bussed tables at La Siesta in 1991/92... The place was a madhouse and a revolving door of characters! Loved reading this. Still have lots of memories of that place including Michel letting Jim Kelly (Buffalo Bills quarterback) autograph THE WALL for some reason.
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNorton
I started bussing tables while in college and was bitten by the restaurant bug! I've done every job there is to do in a restaurant and I've tried countless times to get away - have a real job in the real world, so to speak. But I always miss the physical activity, the interaction with my customers and coworkers, the feeling that, at the end of the day, I've actually accomplished something more than pushing a pencil around on my desk all day. It's been 38 years since I first walked through the door at Casa Rillo, and I wouldn't change a minute of my life since then. Thank you, Jackie, for the trip down Memory Lane!
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
No way! That's hilarious. Somewhere there are embarrassing pics of me posing in those awful, offensive cutouts of Mexicans that you could stick your face in. Wish i'd had those for this piece. That place was a trip. I wonder about the Renas a lot.
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie
Jackie, did Humberto and Marcello still work in the kitchen when you were there? Those guys had us rolling every night. I learned lots of vulgar Spanish phrases from those guys.
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNorton
Gosh that rings a bell but i barely remember the Zajurs' names. Been so long. But I remember the guys in the back seemingly having a ball and laughing hysterically at my argentine curse words.
March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie
Aw Jackie, that's too bad, I remember it being an interesting read. Anyway, your post was picked up as one of the headlines for TMN earlier this week, and then I saw it's also on longform. hoooray!
March 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterK
Brings back memories of my long-ago high school days as a waiter at a cafe-motel-gas station joint located on a major U S highway in the Midwest. Boy, did I learn about life! Great writing, Jackie...you're supremely gifted at it, so keep up the good work!
March 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHD
A highly entertaining and spot-on article, thanks. Having spent my high school and college years in the food service industry I've long been an advocate of mandatory food service experience for everyone just to learn basic life skills, like how not to be an intolerable douchebag to others.
March 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEl Gaucho
Nice piece. I came here via longform.org. I'm a radio journalist here in Dublin, Ireland. Money is tight in this country right now so my wife had to go back to work in restaurant at night. The tips pay for our son's playschool. There's also a bit of a debate here right now because some chefs banned kids after 6pm. My wife says a lot of parents think waiters are there to mind their kids as well.
April 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuairi Carroll
That's fascinating. I totally get it from the Manager/server/chef's perspective but banning kids seems even a little harsh to me. I'd just ban bad parents, if that were possible :). Or at least the rude parents who let their kid scream through the entire meal and ruin everyone else's dining experience.

Thanks (everyone) for reading! Pretty psyched about being posted on Longform!
April 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie
Ah yes, waitressing days. Makes me tired just thinking of it now, but love this article! On "s-c-e-n-e-s-t-e-r types..." Should that be s-i-n-i-s-t-e-r? Just wondering, it caught my eye. Keep on writing, Jackie, you are entertaining!
April 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKrista
I meant 'scenester'! You know, the people who are always going out to concerts and up on the urban scene and what's what. I think it's a word :)
Thanks for reading! So glad you liked it.
April 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie
Thanks for the great article, Jackie. I've worked for mom & pop restaurants for nearly 20 years and can echo nearly every sentiment already expressed by the commentators and you. The comradarie of the servers, cooks, and dishwashers balancing the demands of the customers is probably my favorite part of restaurant work. I've made more close and lasting friends by kicking some serious booty together as a team than I ever did at my office jobs.

And did you ever observe the beauty of a team of synchronized employees moving quickly without panic? That's my second most favorite thing. :-)
May 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristie
what a great essay. I am not addicted to waitering its all i know. I work for the greediest most ruthless bosses in the world. but it pays the bills. Nice to know its the same everywhere .
May 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
I worked a 'tips only' job for a year. It was frustrating to recieve puny tips, and exciting to get the big ones. I finally learned to ignore the amount of the individual tips, instead looking at the grand total. I was always pleased with the amount at the end of the night.
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephen
This was great. Other than making me feel a bit drab about my soul crushing 9 - 5 Mon thru Fri corporate office job of course. I was pleased however to find out that we are one of those "adorable" parents who pick up our toddlers mashed up food as he's flinging it to the ground. Until now I've always assumed the staff was peering at us from behind the bar waiting to pounce on us the minute we walked out just for simply bringing our tiny mess into their establishment in the first place.
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterS Williams
Great Read! I, too, did my stint in The Biz. I tell folks that it's like those who drink Scotch: You either do or you don't.
I also believe that everyone should be required to work in a restaurant at some point. You know, like Israelis and the military. It teaches you how to behave in public and is a great lesson in humility.
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCCC
First off, great article! Second, this is your childhood friend Cristina from elementary school. I was reading Slate, which had posted a link to this article - I saw your name and figured it had to be you! This was just too much of a coincidence, so I had to comment. Glad to hear that you're living an exciting life!
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCristina
Ha! It's true, CCC, whenever I go to eat at restaurants, I can always tell which of my fellow diners worked as a server once. You either get it, or you don't.

@S Williams - It's funny because when the nice parents try to pick up after their kids, I don't let them, take the napkins from them, tell them to relax, etc. It's our job - you're paying to have us take care of things, even if we're not exactly making money off your baby. But when we get the nasty parents who don't seem to care ('here, my infant, here's another French fry to lick and throw on the floor to be crushed under your highchair that the waitress can scrape off the floor later, oh aren't you so cute and destructive!') then we're seething in the back saying 'WE'RE NOT MAKING ANY MONEY OFF YOUR BABY.' In fact, we're probably losing some: people will walk in, hear screaming kids, and walk back out. It's all about how you go about it!
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie K.
Hi Cristina! That's awesome - I hope you're well too! Find me on Facebook? I can't find you.
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie K.
Well if you like the restaurant biz for it's energy and intrigue then consider working at a small, for profit clinic. I have owned and run one for 13 years. I have seen and heard things that are very similar to any restaurant. I have said, we have to turn these beds over and get people in and out. Pretty much like turning over tables. Because I could care less what the surgeons think and do I am on my own to generate referrals to my therapy clinic and need to please every customer that comes through the door and convince the staff to do likewise.

I get to interview patients and because I am a physical therapist cannot order expensive tests I get to use my senses to figure out what is the problem. You know the old fashioned way with your noodle, what a rush! I freaking love it and am addicted as well. And boy the stories I have heard and the shit I have seen are appaling and magical as well as maddening. Just a trifle stimulating and boy do I feel useful.

Trust me, big pharma can go take a long walk off a short pier. If I see one more drug whore in a tight black skirt go by my office I'm gonna throw a condom at them and tell them to get a STD test.
May 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbryan wodaski
I loved this article. I started working in food service when I was 16 and haven't stopped, despite now making enough at my "day job" that I don't really need to wait tables on weekends anymore. I thought I was a weirdo for preferring the company of my fellow servers to that of my fellow teachers, or for sometimes feeling more accomplished after giving excellent service during a busy dinner shift than after a week of educating children, but now I feel relieved that there are others out there who do the same. Thanks for articulating the lifestyle better than I ever could have, and your descriptions of waiting tables are spot on and hilarious.
May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAaron
I feel as if I get the sideways eyes when I mention being on a waitstaff has an addictive component. My first job was at a local oyster bar my freshman year of college and I loved every second of the entire experience. So much so, that it was a difficult decision to stop waiting tables. I actually had to weigh the pros and cons in list form. If I'm being completely honest, the list of pros to staying in food service outweighed the cons. It just didn't feel like the grown up way to make a living so I moved on to a different profession. I made more money per pay period waiting tables and tending bar in the hole in the wall joint than I have at any other job I've had since 1997. I really enjoyed your essay, thank you.

On a side note, I just mentioned this to my lunch partner yesterday: Every bar/restaurant restroom I go into I immediately wonder where the waitstaff has designated as the best spot to cut up their lines.
May 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Being Australian, the culture of tipping in restaurants is foreign to me. It is clear that restaurants should be required to pay their staff higher wages, so that they don't need to live off tips (and whatever the ramifications for the industry/prices etc.). Also, if this tipping culture is to persist, why can't the value of tips actually be given proportional to the level of service? Particularly infuriating, from my experience in America, are the restaurant that add an automatic 15% gratuity to the bill. While not always the case of course, this often gives the waiters a carte blanche to be as unhelpful as they want.
December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
Jackie, I caught this on Slate's 2012 best essays list. Loved it! It's witty, funny, raw, and true. I forwarded the essay to several coworkers and family members :)
December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Pacheco-Bell
Thank you! Thanks for reading!
December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie K.
Gosh, I can't understand how this piece made The Longform's list of 2012's best. It made me feel used. It degraded writing to the 'tip me' ulterior motive of that waitress calculatingly manipulating customers egos so as to ingratiate herself to their none-the-wiser generosity.

The piece, it's content and reason for being both begin and end with: "Restaurants are a goldmine for twitter feeds and writing material - a human petri dish of social interactions and intimacies."

This is the answer a friend gives to the would be writer who says, 'I don't know what to write about. I need something that's interesting, human and sure to sell'. Well dear, they say 'write about what you know'...and I know you waitressed--surly that's interesting and human--I mean restaurants are just chuck full o' characters...you know?

But we never got further in than skin deep...the demographics on the Zajurs, the fact that the writer didn't need the job, and overstatement of just how lucrative waitressing is and the sensation that's it's a cajoling no-brainer rush of physicality that leave aspiring writers cognitive energy enough to make notes in the evening. Yet, beyond a one-liner on the hazards of hot-sauce on a hot-plate, we didn't get not even a single anecdote, no what happened one evening that reveals anything insightful about the good or bad of waitressing. No presentation of even one of those real characters alluded to, no effect of even a single quirk on the outcome of a sticky restaurant situation.

What we got was a tour-guide overview from a writer who pays more attention to herself than her subject. Sure, the writing was lively and dimpled. But that won't suck a decent tip out of me, I want some real service.
December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWoody Brown

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