October 19, 2007

A Waiter’s Tales

Category: News — Ira @ 7:14 pm

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“A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter,
is not a nice person.”
—Dave Barry
___________________________________________

In 1989, my life was in a state of flux and turbulent transition. The year before, I had broken away for the final time from the Amish church, and moved from Goshen, Indiana south to Daviess County. There I became a proving member of the regressively conservative Mt. Olive Mennonite Church (which in and of itself could provide a few stories, and probably will some day).

In the summer of 1989, I loaded up my trusty little tan/gold (what an awful color) T-Bird and headed for the greener pastures of Lancaster County, PA. There I worked long 12-hour days in the dust and heat, doing construction work for wages far superior to any I could earn in Daviess County.

At summer’s end, I reloaded my trusty car and trundled back to Daviess to start college classes at Vincennes University. I had just turned 28 years old. About ten years behind the average student, I figured.

When I arrived, Daviess County was buzzing with a great deal of gossip and speculation. A group of visionary investors had just opened huge new restaurant complex on the outskirts of Montgomery. Named The Gasthof, it featured Amish-style cooking and had a large gift shop. One of my friends told me they were still hiring servers. Waiting on tables was something I’d often considered, but never done. Now, as a full-time student, I definitely needed some cash flow. Intrigued, I decided to apply.

I walked in one afternoon. The place was simply breathtaking in its vastness. Rough timber-framed with wooden pegs. Post and Beam throughout. Seating space for several hundred diners. Two banquet rooms, including one on the second floor. And the aforementioned gift shop. After ogling the place, I inquired about a job and met with Gene and Mable Bontrager, the managers. We hit it off right away. I was hired on the spot for Friday and Saturday evenings. Wear a white shirt and black pants and black shoes. Come Tuesday evening for training and orientation. Half the minimum hourly wage plus tips. And so began my career as a waiter, one that I would follow through four years of college.

At the Gasthof, I usually arrived and clocked in at 4 PM. The place closed at nine. During the first hour or so, things were usually slow. We paced nervously. Where were the customers? We needed work. And tips. Between 5 and 6 PM, the flood gates opened. Suddenly the place was swarming. No more nervous pacing. Hammer down, all night. The next four hours were a frantic race to keep up, to feed as many people as possible and get them back out the door, fat and happy. I could never figure out where all the people came from. This wasn’t Lancaster County. Not that there was much time to consider such esoteric questions. A typical waiter or waitress was responsible for five to seven tables. I took to the work quite naturally and quickly rose to become one of the most productive and favored waiters on staff. A good night netted anywhere from $80.00 to $110.00 in tips. For four or five hours of work, that’s not bad wages. Especially in 1989.

A server has one responsibility: make the dining experience as relaxed and enjoyable as possible for the customer. And smooth as possible. The better you can do that, the better the tip. Well, not always, but as a rule. Be unobtrusive but available. Does the customer want conversation? If so, converse. If not, fade back and respect privacy. Don’t interrupt too often. Keep your eyes on your customers. I often stood leaning against a wall, seemingly doing nothing, but scanning my tables constantly for the slightest sign a customer needed me. And responded instantly. Refill drinks and coffee without being asked. Remove dishes when done. Smile, regardless of the situation, no matter how rude the customer. Thank them when they are leaving. Invite them back. Pick up the change they leave and slip it into your apron. Don’t act too eager doing it; your other customers are watching.

At The Gasthof, the servers developed a real rapport with each other. There were a few other male servers, but most were waitresses, high school and college girls. I listened to more dating problems and discussions about guys (from the girls’ perspective) than I could have imagined possible. Breakups. Pursuits. Fights. I heard it all in excruciating detail. By remaining quiet and emitting an occasional sympathetic grunt, I soon developed a reputation of being quite wise. And so I heard even more problems. A sympathetic ear with an occasional sympathetic grunt multiplies exponentially what you hear, believe me. But it was all good. The experience, I mean. Not the problems. Often after hours, we’d go out for pizza or meet at someone’s house just to hang out. And swap tales from the battlefield.

The Gasthof had some launching and growing pains during its first year, and in the ensuing turmoil, Gene and Mable Bontrager were abruptly and rudely dismissed. The loyal wait staff, which universally respected and loved them both, stirred with revolt. At the meeting where their dismissal was announced, I was elected to ask some of the hard questions. The staff fumed and stewed. But somehow the management held us together. All of us stayed. In coming months, we often looked back and reminisced fondly on the Bontragers’ brief tenure. They were good people. And they got a raw deal.

After the Bontragers, we had a slew of unsuccessful managers. Each one came in, was received suspiciously by the staff, and was gone within a few months. One such mustachioed shyster, I forget his name, turned out to have an outstanding warrant for his arrest. He was led unceremoniously from the restaurant in handcuffs by state cops one day. I wasn’t there to see it, but heard all the juicy details on my next shift. We never saw him again. He may still be locked up, for all I know. Another manager, an older guy named Tom, was brusque but efficient. He constantly scolded the girls, and more than once I stood up to him on their behalf. But he taught me one thing. After one shift, as we were getting ready to leave, right in front of my co-workers, he barked, “Ira, wear a T-shirt under that white shirt.” I was embarrassed, but learned something I never forgot. No one had ever told me before.

The Gasthof had many Amish workers and servers. And many Amish customers. At that time, and it may have changed by now, most Amish customers did not tip. So if you got a table full of Amish, you simply counted it off as a loss. And told the hostess you’d had your turn for the round. Once, for breakfast, one waitress served a table of ten or so Amish customers. As they were leaving, she saw no one had left anything. Then one little old Amish man came limping back, beaming, and thanked her for her service. She held her breath. Would this be the exception? With a grand flourish, he handed her a quarter. Beaming with good will. She stammered an astounded thank-you. It was not an insult, they simply didn’t know to tip. They paid for the food and probably felt that was costly enough. But that was fifteen years ago; it may be different now.

One busy Saturday evening, the hostess hunted me down in a panic. She pointed out a trio of sour old ladies who had been overlooked unintentionally for more than half an hour. They were mad. And the waitress who had that table was afraid to approach them. Would I serve them? What could I say? Sure. I approached. They sat stonily like a trio of grim judges. I apologized for the delay and asked if they were ready for some good food.

“We don’t know if it will be good,” the oldest one snapped. She was rotund and wore wire-rimmed glasses. “We haven’t tasted the food yet and the service so far has been terrible.” The others sniffed in disdainful agreement.

Undeterred, young and idealistic and full of energy and good will and that would be difficult to summon now, I decided to accept their outraged grumpiness as a personal challenge. And so I gave them the most perfect service of which I was capable. Even though the evening was extremely busy, I hovered. I made sure their drinks were always filled. The food served hot. I gave them free deserts because of the earlier mix-up. Slowly they softened. The grumpiest old lady with the wire-rimmed glasses even smiled a time or two. After they left, the waitress who had originally been responsible to serve them almost collapsed in gratitude. I found two shiny quarters on the table. I consider that tip among my most memorable ever. From an insurmountable negative to a positive two quarters. You take what you can get.

In 1991, after graduating from Vincennes, I transferred to Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Before I left Daviess County, the Gasthof crew held a good-bye party for me one Sunday afternoon. Most of those present I have not seen since that day. My trusty and aging T-Bird got me back to Lancaster County to work for the summer. I traveled to Greenville a few months before classes began to tour the University and line up a job. I walked into the local IHOP just a few blocks from campus. The owner met with me and promised a job when I returned in August.

In August, after registering for my classes, I returned to the IHOP to claim my promis-ed job. The owner met with me at a table. He acted somber. He had no openings. And no job. I stared at him. No job? But you promised. He could not look me in the eye. “Tell you what, why don’t you enjoy that coffee? It’s on the house today,” he said, and fled. I seethed and simmered, shook the dust from my shoes as I left, and never returned. I boycott IHOP to this day.

I then began the brutal process of walking into local restaurants, asking for a job. At about the third one, Swensen’s Ice Cream Gazebo, I was welcomed by the manager. He told me I could start that weekend. The place was not The Gasthof, but it was something.

Swensen’s was comparable to Friendly’s Restaurants, a well-known chain of ice cream eateries. It had high quality ice cream and a sandwich menu. A different clientele from The Gasthof, that’s for sure. The manager, Rusty, was a local Redneck who claimed to bleed orange for the Clemson football team. He was a good-hearted and simple man. He also claimed to have a brother named Billy Bob, but I never met him.

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With Rusty, the Redneck manager

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Outside Swensen’s at night

At Swensen’s, we had a saying that pretty well held true, “If the people at the table pray before eating, there goes your tip.” Not always true, but generally. Some such people left a small tip. Some left a tract printed like a fake $50.00. Or worse, a fake $100.00. A very few left a good tip. Most left nothing. And we served many large groups like that. Usually, much swearing ensued after their departure. All the tracts were instantly thrown into the trash can.

Once, a young mother brought in her three young children for ice cream. I waited on her and took her orders, ice cream for each child. About that time, the children started fussing and scrapping with each other. She firmly told them once, then twice, to settle down. They did not, but continued whacking each other. One started crying. She called me back to the table, apologized quietly and asked me to cancel the order. She then took her children and left. Just like that. I was impressed. Most mothers would have urged me to hurry up with the ice cream so the children shut up. I never forgot her. I’ll bet her children never forgot that lesson. I’ll also bet that today they are well-adjusted, mannerly adults.

Rusty the Redneck manager loved to lurk about and watch his servers work. He knew what was going on. He dubbed me and another BJU student, both squeakily clean-cut and above reproach, his Apostles.

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The Apostles; From L, Dave Bell and Ira. Spring, 1992

Once, while serving a table of young urban coffee drinkers, a full cup of coffee slipped out of my hand and crashed onto the table. The coffee splashed and splattered all over, a good deal of it landing on the person I was serving. I was so horrified that I began to laugh before I could stop myself. Fortunately, the fine young urban coffee drinkers found the situation hilarious as well. I apologized profusely. They left a $5 tip. You just can’t never tell. Rusty saw it all come down and shook his head and placed the story into the category of unbelievable Acts of his Apostles. I overheard him retell it many times to his friends.

Waiting on tables is hard, brutal work. I always worked the late shifts, and most times after clocking out, I could not relax or unwind for hours. I often was doing homework at 2 or 3 AM, unable to sleep. It was hands down the most stressful job I’ve ever had.

Since my experience as a waiter, I always tip heavily. I can imagine almost no sce-nario where I wouldn’t tip. If the server hit over me the head or deliberately poured hot coffee over me, I might consider leaving something less than usual. In the early 1990s, I took a local Lancaster girl out to eat one night. We had such a lively conver-sation that I completely forgot to tip. I remembered after dropping her off at her home. Horrified, I raced back to the restaurant and arrived just as it was closing up. I asked for the server by name; she was just clocking out. I handed her a $10 and apologized humbly and sincerely. She looked dumbfounded but appreciative.

The server is at the very bottom of the chain. All who walk into a restaurant feel superior to the lowly waiter. Some customers feel they have a right to be condescending, rude, demanding, or just flat-out mean. I had less troubles with such customers because I’m a big guy and generally amiable. But many of my co-workers throughout the years were younger, less experienced and easily intimidated. Students, working for pocket change. Scared single mothers, struggling to survive, out there just trying to put bread on their own tables, to provide for the child or children at home. I remember them especially, their hard, tired faces run together, their lives and circumstances blend as one.

As for the customers, I have seen them all. And served them all. The harried and abrupt doctors. The lawyers and their spouses and snooty friends. The professionals. The businessmen in suits. The parents with the sulking teens. Parents with screaming kids. Grandparents with screaming grandkids. The coffee klatch ladies. Groups of students. The Goths, the Grungers, the tattooed bikers. Cops and thugs. The young couples, out for a date. The young couple on the first date. The doctoral student from Bob Jones who was so distressed at our contemporary music he waited for his food outside (upset his spirit, he said). The Amway guy who boasted an international import/export business (and had a card to prove it). The guy who asked me to microwave his pie and ice cream for exactly fifteen seconds. The local politico trawling for votes. The whiners and the grumblers and the “special request” freaks. The polite and the rude. The demanding and the passive. From every background, every culture, every lifestyle. I have seen them all and served them all.

For me, waiting on tables provided a sufficient part-time income for a specific time frame in my life. The experience provided many good memories, but few profound conclusions. Perhaps in some small way, the moments we shared, as the server and the served, provided my customers a brief and enjoyable respite from the quiet drudgery of an otherwise mundane day.
___________________________________________________

To those it concerns:
A certain house in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area will be infested with demonic activity this weekend. Address the matter to the Lord as your heart leads you.

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(10 Comments) »

  1. Well said my uncle…a waiter’s tales are much the same world over :) Being of the Mennonite/Christian faith myself I have often been baffeled and down right embarrased at the lack of tips from “plain” folk and “Christians.”

    With my current restaurant involvement, I have however tried to stress to my servers how important it is not to seem too eager about THE tip…and was embarresed to the max by one of my young (Dutch) girls who took care of a rather large group of Amish which included some of our friends. Upon their leaving when they were still in earshot, she went off in her mother tongue about their lack in leaving her no tip…not a good senerio!

    We too have the local groups who come in groups of 4 or 5, leave $1 or so and a longgggg tract which provides great irritations, more dumpster fill and some jabs about lack of spirituality to the recipient.

    Recent experience brought some French folks across my personal path–let’s just say French are excellent tippers–one area we may take lessons from the French :)

    I have always known Waglers to be good tippers–I guess we learned from personal experience. I also fondly remember visiting Swensons…You were excellent at what you did! Do you ever miss being a waiter?

    Comment by Dorothy — October 19, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  2. For a little Balance, and or lasering in common sense on this Restaurant thing, let’s consider a few points.

    A. I usually go to an eat out place to satisfy my hunger. [5-8 times a wk,], not to socialize with lower IQ folk.

    B. I may sometimes go eat out to be with friends, family, peers, associates, etc. No, the help does not fit in for that.

    C. A proprietor-run restaurant, where you know and are known, almost makes a great eating experience a given. Most Managers, on the other hand, usually have another agenda, their own.

    D. A bad eating experience, if the waiter’s fault, means he, she, it, whatever, deserves no tip….zilch, nada, zero, zip, zilzo. [Cold food is always the waiter’s responsibility, as is surly or no service, while mix-ups generally aren’t]

    Now, a few things a restaurent meal is not.

    A. It is not now, or ever been a place to worry a lot about the wait staff’s financial trials, sob stories about lay-a-way emergencies, car troubles, etc, etc.

    B. I bring my peers, friends, with me, and don’t usually expect the wait staff to fill that position. Certainly not if they have metal chunks hanging from their tongue, belly-button, eyebrow, or whatever.

    C. All my life, if in a group, I have always, and I mean always, gotton the smallest baked potato. And the least soft too. And that’s not fair.

    D. A waiter that condesends to, pigion holes, analyzes, or otherwise figures out a paying customer as that poor, hungry,chap comes in the door, deserves a swift firm kick out the back door. [By the proprietor,of course.]

    E. The wait staff is always dispensable. Just look at the turnover at most restaurants. The good food is all-important. Indispensable. Heaped up. Running over.

    F. A self polished wait-person may be like the fancy dog bowl, all shiny and spiffed out, but note it’s the food the dog enjoys, not the bowl.

    Comment by new grampa jess — October 20, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  3. I love hearing from the other side, and always enjoy tipping, even tho I pray before the meal. Once my wife and I were at Outback on a date, and had exceptionally great service. We tipped the guy $20 for our meal and he runs out of the restaurant after we left to thank us, made our day! My question is this, since I don’t have the patience of Job, what is a polite way to get the check and expedite the credit card swipe so you can clear the area for other hungry patrons? Seems like when your meal’s over, that’s the time for waiters to disappear. Or maybe I eat too fast.

    Great blog Ira. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by J Yutzy — October 21, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  4. Well done Ira, enjoyed the blog this week as usual. I generally think that 20% tip is standard for anything approaching ‘good service’ at a full service restaurant. The 15% rate is reserved for careless, crass, or surly servers, and servers at buffet style establishments. I have on extremely rare occasion (twice that I can remember) completely stiffed a server (the one time I actually also stiffed the restaurant, as the experience was so poor, I refused to pay for anything). I figure that if you come to work and bring me my food and coffee with anything close to a smile on your face, I’m happy to leave you 20% of the bill as a tip.

    On the rare occasion where my wife and I get to go to a nice restaurant, we may purchase a bottle of wine with our meal. Even though it seems a bit pricey, tipping on a $35 bottle of wine, I figure if I have already decided to drop a Benjamin or more on dinner, it probably won’t kill me to leave a few extra bucks for the wait staff.

    Based on what I know about your interaction with our customers at work, I have no doubt that you were an excellent server. Keep jivin’ away….

    Comment by pat — October 21, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

  5. J Yutzy, from our perspective, we don’t want to make anyone feel rushed..I think it would be very appropriate earlier in the meal, say at a drink refill to let the server know you’d take your check at any time–that way they will not have to feel like they are “pushing” you out–thats my opinion–not that you asked for it :)

    Sounds like you have good tipping habits!

    Comment by Dorothy — October 21, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  6. I’m curious; what do you mean by ‘regressively conservative’?

    Once when the service was especially bad I left a penny- guess I don’t really have anything worse than that to confess.:)

    Comment by jason yutzy — October 22, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

  7. Ira,

    Your server career reminds me of my college work career as a security guard. The summer of 1975, after my high school graduation and before my freshman year at the University of Detroit, I was out looking for work. That year, the economy was in recession and summer work was hard to find. The class of 1975 was the largest ever and the peak of the baby boom. I finally secured a job at a Wendy’s and bought the black pants that I needed to wear when working there. The next day, before I could report to work at the restaurant, I was called by Fisher Security to see if I wanted the security guard job I had applied for. That was the beginning and end of my career in restaurant service.

    That summer, I was a fire watch security guard. This means that I worked the graveyard shift, 11 PM to 7 AM to provide a presence in the Continental Rubber plant (now long gone) to satisfy the fire insurer. In the days before good fire detection systems, the fire insurers required that the industrial properties always have a fire watch, either guards or a regular work shift. Every hour, I walked a circuit around the plant with a time recorder clock and stopped at key stations along the route to insert the keys into the clock and leave a record of my visit and the time. The keys were tied to the station with a chain so that the guards did not collect them and sit in the guard office, inserting a key every few minutes. My tour usually needed 20 minutes. The other 40 minutes, I sat and read. The company issued me uniforms, pants, shirt with badge and hat.

    If I had worked for the company before 1972, I would have carried a S&W K-38 (Model 14) revolver chambered in .38 special on a company gun belt. In 1972, PA drastically changed their private security law and required that any private security guard who carried any weapon (gun, knife, night stick, mace) needed 40 hours of training and a psychological examination. All I could carry was a 4-cell Maglite machined aluminum flashlight. This was common for guards to do at that time, it was only a flashlight, not a weapon, right. I worked five days a week at that plant all that summer until I left for my freshman year. That Christmas, I worked all four weeks of break for Fisher.

    During the holidays, two things happen. One, the long employed guards wanted vacation over the holidays. Also, some plants had three shifts working most of the year and did not need guards but did shut down for the holidays so they needed guards for those one or two weeks of shutdown. I worked 12-hour shifts, seven days each week, even Christmas day.

    The summer of 1976, I returned to Fisher for weekend work and got a 90-day job at Penn Brass and Copper. That was a swing shift job moving copper coils in and out of drawing and annealing machines. On day 91, I automatically would have joined the union so I was laid off on day 90. I returned to Detroit in 1976 but only until Christmas break. I decided to transfer to Penn State and I needed to attend Behrend College for one semester, the spring of 1977, to get enough credits to move onto the main campus at State College. That time, I worked in the family business, a miscellaneous iron (stairways, railings, catwalks, etc.) fabrication and installation company. I worked part time, mornings, until school was finished then worked full time until it was time for me to go to basic military training in Florida at the start of July. No guard work that year.

    My junior year at Penn State, I found out that another security company, Penn State Investigations, hired students as guards. Since I had a car with me, I applied and got a weekend job at a chemical plant, Neese Chemicals. This plant had exploded several years before so they needed weekend guards to watch for small fires before they blew up the plant again. My dormitory was one mile from where I could park the car, so Friday, Saturday and Sunday I would walk to the parking lot, drive to work, work an eight hour shift then home again.

    In the summer of 1978, work was slow again so no chance to work at a manufacturing business again. I called up Fisher Security to look for work that summer. My old supervisor from two years before said that they no longer hired people under age 30 because they had a bad attendance record, the single most important attribute in that job. The work was mindless and menial, not needing any intellect, but since a guard always must be in the plant, attendance was absolutely essential. If the relief did not come, the on duty guard needed to stay until a supervisor could come to finish the shift. I was fortunate that I had worked for them before this change. They did hire me again because of my perfect attendance record in 1975 and 1976. This time, I drove one of the security cars. I would drive by different plants to make sure doors were locked and to watch for suspicious activity. I carried a radio telephone in those pre-cell phone days. I would run the car from 10 PM until 6 AM.

    Back then, many radio stations used to sign off at 12 MID so the early morning was very boring. The only time there was criminal activity that summer, I walked on past it. One of the clients was the Erie Zoo. Vandals had killed some animals so they wanted a night time drive by every few hours. I would park out front then walk by some pens where the animals were most vulnerable. One morning after shift, my supervisor called me at home and asked if I had seen any problems. I said no, I had not. What had happened was some burglars had pried the doors off of the gift shop by pulling out the hinges, pilfered the shop then stood the doors back up. If I had seen the doors in the daytime, I probably would have noticed that the hinges were not flush with the door frame. When that summer ended, I was finished with Fisher Security. They are no longer in business. I do not know when they closed.

    Fire watch and plant exterior security is in less demand because of today’s fire and security systems. When I returned to Penn State for my senior year, I returned to Penn State Investigations. This time, not only did I work in that Neese Chemical plant on the weekends, but I had the perfect weekday job for an engineering student. Three to four days a week, I drove to Claster’s Lumber in Bellefonte to work a 4 PM to 12 Mid shift. I sat in that guard shed and did almost nothing. At 5 PM when the day shift left, I collected everyone’s ID badge. At about 6 PM, the delivery drivers would come in to get their flat bed semi trucks to take out to the branch stores. I would let about six drivers in. About one hour later, they would begin to move the trucks out. I opened the gate, checked the cab number against the trailer number to make sure each driver had the right load then closed the gate, usually after all of the trucks had left, not after each one. At 8 PM, I walked through the office to make sure all the office machines were off. After then, I did nothing unless a driver returned before 12 Mid. Exactly at 12 Mid, I locked the gate and guard house and drove home, this time to an off campus apartment so I did not have a one mile walk as the year before.

    Of course, I used all this time to study. I was paid a premium over minimum wage to sit and study. If I would have stayed at the apartment in the evening, I probably would have sat and watched TV with the room mates and wasted time. I graduated in August 1979 and that ended my security guard career for good.

    Comment by Mark Hersch — October 23, 2007 @ 10:07 am

  8. Though some may have missed it, your point is well taken: Christians (and some of us are obvious) should not have a reputation as skin flints. We are to adorn the doctrine of Christ, and little things are what others see, which either attract or repel. Leaving a tract is not more spiritual. Thanks for pointing that out (“He who has ears to hear…”)

    Secondly, in defense of Amish testimony: I grew up in an area sodden (ahem) with Old Order folks. I was neither Christian nor churched. The Amish and their ways were something that helped draw me to Christ, I’m sure. Their testimony about keeping the Lord’s Day is still helpful to my understanding of how to live the Christian life, yes, without being legalistic (and with me now being born again, that is, a true Christian by faith, not works). Though those “inside” may see inner problems (as in all groups), I just want to give some equal time to those who do live that lifestyle intentionally with heartfelt devotion. There is definitely something to learn.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — October 24, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  9. Started working as a server when I went back to college and still do it on the weekends. Not much has changed from when you were doing it. Amish still are notorious tippers and Christian folk still think a tract = a tip. But there are good folk out there who make it worth while and no other job lets you make as much cold hard cash as quickly…well at least not ones that I would consider doing :)

    Comment by Eileen — January 29, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

  10. Great story! You really hustled while in college.
    I worked in the restaurant business a couple of times. Dirty work!
    My first job was at a smorgasbord. People were always coming in with plastic grocery bags to swipe the fried chicken. No wonder the place closed down.
    One particular incident sticks in my memory as being totally gross. This teenager decided to remove his retainer and place it in a napkin near his plate. He and his parents went up for round two. At the end of their meal it was noticed that Junior’s mouth piece was missing. Unbeknownst to the busser as to what the napkin contained it was removed and disposed of in a mega-sized garbage can with everyone elses gnawed, pulverized, spit out, and unwanted food.
    Well, it doesn’t take long for waste to accumulate in a restaurant so the mega-can was especially ripe and ready to be dumped into the big bad dumpster. Or so we thought.
    The parents of retainerless Ralph insisted on sifting through, or should I say slogging through, the bulging can of slimy, stinky refuse of countless unwanted meals in search of the very expensive white napkin. It was Mom who found it and without hesitation popped it back into her child’s gaping mouth. Yum!

    Comment by Francine — September 17, 2013 @ 2:01 am

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