1. Spilling a tray on the ground — or even worse, on your table — ensures a ruined night or complete embarrassment. At least, until the customer leaves.
2. Carrying a tray full of drinks becomes your true talent in life.
3. Everything will get dirty, no matter how hard you try.
4. Insulting tips, or worse, no tip at all. Some people just don’t understand that tips are the main source of income.
5. The people who have you running all over the place. First they need ketchup, and once you bring that, it’s napkins. Once you bring that, it’s ranch, and so on. Like, “Can you not just tell me everything you need the first time I ask?”
6. Constantly smelling food when you’re starving because you haven’t eaten anything except some chips and salsa in the back.
7. The stalker manager who basically checks every one of your tables as you leave. “Like, can you just let me do my job? Obviously they are doing just fine.”
8. Waiting on someone you know but haven’t seen in forever. So awkward and you usually don’t look your greatest after running around all night.
9. The campers. Servers usually only have a set number of tables in their section and on a Friday night there’s always that one table that will sit there and take up that table for an hour after they’ve finished. “No, I will not refill your cold coffee because I poured it an hour ago. Go home.”
10. The people who walk in 15 minutes before closing. You try to find the most subtle way to let them and everyone else in the restaurant know that it’s almost closing time.
11. Missing parties, events and shows because you get off work around 11:30 p.m. or later after closing duties. Usually Friday and Saturday nights are when you can make the most money too, so there’s no getting around it.
12. Smelling and feeling gross after leaving. “Must… take… shower… now…”
13. The overly unsatisfied customers. It’s like they expect you to kiss the ground they walk on and ignore every other table you’re waiting on because they asked for no croutons on their salad, and there are five right on top. “How many more times can I apologize to you before you understand that I’m doing everything I possibly can to please you?”
14. Or being blamed for food coming out late. “Sir, I am not the chef. I am not wearing a chef’s coat. I do not cook the food. I am your server.” And then trying to spend the rest of the time avoiding eye contact with the table until their food is actually ready.
15. But there are also the rare, awful moments when you completely blanked and forgot to put in an order. “D*mn it.”
16. When they tell you what was wrong with their meal after they’ve finished and expect a discount or a comp.
17. The creative tipper. “I’m sorry but this proclamation on fake money will not pay my rent.”
18. The “Customer is ALWAYS Right Rule” when really 99 percent of the time they aren’t actually right.
19. The insulting customer. “Are you stupid? I didn’t order this!” And what you really want to respond is, “No actually I’m not stupid, I’m actually very smart and am working to pay for college so that one day I can contribute to a society that is seriously slacking in their efforts to be kind to their servers and people in general.”
20. The guilt you feel to always tip servers at 20 percent even when you’re not the one paying. “Excuse me, maybe you should tip a little more. Those servers work their asses off.” They just don’t understand…
21. “In the end it’s totally worth it though, right?” You practically have a new family who sees you through all of these struggles and then is up to hang out even after you get off at midnight.