The Nation Wired

Those who serve

Guest editorial

Savannah Peck, guest editorial

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I believe you should tip your waiters, be nice to your waitresses, and smile at your cashiers.

A little after midnight on a cool night in June, my boyfriend is sitting across from me in the booth by the door, at a Denny’s on the southside of Indianapolis. The lady who showed us our seats took our drink orders and then went home for the night. About 15 minutes later, two sodas found their way to our table, after a new waitress explained the situation. Smiling, we told her it was ok and my boyfriend sympathized with her by swapping stories about waiting tables.

She took our orders, apologized again, and went to the kitchen. When she was back with our food, she stuck around and told us about the time she had to break up an all-out fist fight between two grown men in the parking lot. This could have just been blamed on the location of the diner, but no waitress should ever have to put up with that, especially when they’re paid less than minimum wage. She thanked us for being so understanding, but we honestly didn’t think much of it.

About two weeks ago, I was working the drive-thru at one of my jobs, right before we closed. There were lines all through the restaurant and in the drive-thru. My manager was up front with a younger employee, both scrambling to manage the register and custard station. We had one person in the back, flipping patties, throwing fries, and calling out orders. I was making fast conversation with the guests in the drive-thru line, serving drinks, and passing out food.

After passing a large vanilla shake, his receipt, and a few napkins to a man, I began to take the order of someone else in line. Upon completing the order, I thanked

 the woman in line and asked her to pull up to the window. I turned around to continue making drinks, when the man, whom I gave the shake to, honked his horn, threw up his hands and began to cuss me out and demand I give him more napkins. 

This full-grown man cussed and screamed at a 16 year old girl, working at a fast-food restaurant, because he wanted more napkins.

Serving food and waiting tables is not an easy job, as hungry adults and impatient parents are quick to turn their backs to the fact that those employees are people, just like them, trying to get by. Most people don’t think twice when they point blame and complain about the setting they have thrown themselves in.

If you ask any waitress, waiter, or staff in any food establishment to describe the general aura of the customers, they’ll most likely begin to spitefully recall the times they were yelled at by grouchy old men or stressed-out moms. This is an unfortunate reality for about 4 million teens and adults, who work in the food industry.

Most of us have started out behind a counter at McDonalds, cleaning off the headset you have to wear, or flinching as the grease from the fry basket hits your arm. So why do we act like we don’t understand how stressful it can be to work these small jobs? I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I hate talking to people,” from coworkers, customers, and just in the general public. We tend to forget that no one really wants to be taking orders, cleaning trash, and sweeping floors, which somehow gave us the excuse to be as nasty to these people as we want, with little to no repercussions. This is completely uncalled for, almost inhumane, and just plain rude, and is why I believe you should always be nice to those who serve you.

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Those who serve