As many of you already know, despite possessing a BA from a Top 25 public school, I’m doing really big things career-wise in NYC: I’m a cocktail waitress at a bar on the Upper West Side. While you’re wearing your Banana Republic pant suit at your Fortune 500 company, I’m rocking a push up bra and cut-offs, hearing how beautiful my eyes are from ultra masculine men chugging their well vodka cranberries. (I just threw up in my mouth a little.) With that being said, my co-workers are some of the most talented, intelligent, and ambitious people I’ve ever encountered. Nonetheless, I’ve observed a host of behaviors to avoid that you, as a person who may appear in public from time to time, may find useful as to not inadvertently present yourself as an asshole that thinks otherwise. (To those who work in the industry, this is my preemptive “you’re welcome.”) Here are my top ten ways to piss off the waitress/bartender:
- Get my attention using anything but “excuse me.” Bad news: I’m neither a dog nor am I a cab; Therefore, you’re decision to whistle at me from across the bar is downright degrading. Also, my name is not Baby, Sweetheart, Honey or the title of any other Mariah Carey song. Don’t be a douchebag, douchebag.
- Ask me detailed questions about everything. So, like, what do you have? (Well we’re a bar, so take your best shot); Yo, what’s the strongest drink you can make? (Now I instantly know you’re cheap and won’t be tipping me well); Well what’s your favorite drink? (You don’t strike me as the kind of chick that will appreciate Jameson). We’d really rather not be forced to attempt to read your mind, teach you how to properly read a draft list, or educate you on the difference between “on the rocks” or “neat.” This is Happy Hour, not Amateur Hour, kids… come prepared.
- You should complain about your drink not being strong enough and/or ask for free drinks. Why do you think practically every bartender/waitress in New York is an aspiring actress (but me)? Because our job requires us to act and the fact that I’ve managed to convince you that I like you when I think you’re deplorably disrespectful only proves that I deserve an Oscar. So that’s great that you think we’re besties and you’re comfortable asking for free shots… But you’re not going to get them. Also, complaining that your $3 drink isn’t strong enough isn’t the greatest strategy for forming alliances either. Think of it this way: “Ask and you shall not receive.”
- Act especially pretentious and exude an attitude of undeserved entitlement. There’s nothing better than an overly demanding customer intent on taking full advantage of the whole “the customer is always right” concept. But seriously – who do you think you are, sauntering in, moving a million tables and chairs around, hoarding an entire section for yourself and your friends that inevitably won’t show up, demanding I change all the TVs so you can watch your game from twelve angles… You’re not the only person at this bar, and it’s not The Plaza. So dismount that high horse of yours, because it’s reserved for Ryan Gosling.
- Refuse to ask for everything at once. No seriously, it’s the New Year and I’ve still got some turkey to work off. So I really appreciate it when I walk across the bar, take your order, bring it back, and then you want a napkin, and I go back and get you a napkin, bring it to you, and then you want an extra lime for your stupid vodka soda, and I go back… and the dance continues and I’m now covered in blisters. This falls under the category of “blatant inconsideration.” No really, I’ve got all day just for you.
- Whatever happens – use as little English as possible. When I’m clearly being nice to you and asking you what you need, the polite thing to do is surely to point, nod your head, grunt, wave your hand, or make as little eye contact as possible to ensure I feel less-than. I’m not asking you to curtsy and kiss my hand, just exhibit some behavior that implies you weren’t raised by wolves. I know it’s hard, but technically you’re a legal adult – time to start using your big kid words.
- Get wasted and expect me to fix your problems. So you put your tacky Juicy Couture clutch underneath your seat, left it unattended while you were puking in the bathroom, and (shocker) it’s no longer there? And now you expect me to drop what I’m doing, go all Dog The Bounty Hunter and track it down for you? Or you can’t remember where you left your drink, but you’re sure it was like, full and you just like, know that a busboy cleared it away and now you expect me to replace it for free? You’re hilarious. No, really, where is Ashton Kutcher because I must be getting Punk’d right this instant. No? Someone put me out of my misery.
- You should probably get really beligerant over something ridiculous. Apparently you’re livid that we don’t serve champagne, frozen drinks, or that your beloved Grey Goose martini isn’t part of the special today. I’m definitely the person you should yell at about it since I clearly made that decision…? What would possess you to sit there and chew me out over something I have zero control over? There’s a plethora of bars in Manhattan, find one that has what you want and take your nasty attitude there.
- Get very drunk and handsy. Hold my earrings because I’m about to get serious here. Just because there’s a foot and a half worth of bar space separating you from one of our hot bartenders doesn’t give you the right to touch me. Anywhere. Ever. It’s sad that I even have to include this, but due to the fact that bouncers I work with have had to escort men out because they thought it was acceptable to grope me, I’m forced to. Let’s keep it simple: Look. Tip. Don’t touch.
- Be a shitty tipper – or better yet – don’t tip at all! What do you do for a living? Whatever it is, I’m sure you get PAID to do it. I don’t work for free either, jerkoff. I may live on the Upper East Side, but my life isn’t an episode of Gossip Girl and I actually have to pay my rent. There’s nothing more degrading than someone not tipping. Also, in case you’re wondering, 10% doesn’t cut it either. If you refuse to tip 18 – 20% or more, especially during Happy Hour, I have bad news for you: the Gratuity Gods are watching.
You, bar patron and reader of this blog, may be thinking that I’m just a disgruntled minimum-wage server taking a moment to vent my frustration… Well, you’re absolutely correct. (Shots on me!) But I’m also writing this for your own benefit. Consider this a public service announcement, bar-goers: If you take heed to avoid committing the above-stated egregious sins, waitresses and bartenders alike will generally love you. It’s surprisingly simple. All of us that work together talk and if you’re a great customer, everyone that I work with will be told you’re great, just like they tell me when their customers are great. And then you will be showed privilege, earn extra attention, and receive those coveted free drinks. You’ll walk into the bar and I’ll remember your order and have your drink made before you even order it. I assure you that I will take care of you all night long, Lionel Richie style (Now get your mind out of the gutter, perv).
Hell, I may even give you my real number when you ask for it… (That last part is a lie. Sorry, a girl can only take so much.)