I just read this headline at Food & Wine: “Your server knows when you’re lying,” which is really only half a headline. The other half: “and they don’t care.”
Granted, I haven’t waited tables in more than 20 years but I’m certain the sentiment hasn’t changed. In fact, the only actual reason I ever checked on the satisfaction of a table was because I wanted to sell them more drinks. I didn’t really care if “everything was okay” for a few reasons:
1. I was a good server. My service wasn’t shitty. I knew everything was okay.
2. If their food was the problem, they would have already waved me down to tell me about it. But my tip wasn’t dependent upon their food being amazing … unless they fell into category #3 (next).
3. If my service actually was shitty, it was because the customer wa a terrible customer who deserved the service they got and they weren’t going to tip me anyway. So I already wrote them off. Another reason for not giving a shit.
Anyway, waiting tables has been in my rear view mirror for a couple of decades now so maybe things have changed and servers are driven by the satisfaction of their customers. Slinging food and clearing plates has become an altruistic endeavor. People become servers because they love delivering plates of often uninspiring foods to groups that just don’t want to do anything. Servers aren’t actually trying to earn a living. That pittance you leave is just a bonus.
Exactly. Waiting tables is now the equivalent of teaching where everyone is in it for the students because teachers just want to give their all to ensure the next generation of adults will excel in a society that presents all of us with opportunities just waiting to be claimed. Paychecks be damned — teachers would do this shit for no pay if they could. Hell, some of the most devoted might even pay for the privilege.
BTW, I was also a teacher. Fifty-six years on this planet. I’ve done a lot.
Also, if all of this talk of altruism makes you wish you were reading Food & Wine’s, you’ll find the article I mentioned here.