…..and your server, and your barista, and your mechanic, and the kid behind the counter at McDonald’s……….
Basically, I’m just judging you. Hardcore.
Whenever I say something like this, people right away say something like, “Well, I can tell you work in customer service!”. Like the only reason to treat people with basic human decency is because you use a cash register at work or something. That never made much sense to me.
I went out to dinner with a group once around my birthday to celebrate. We went to my favourite bar, had a few drinks and ordered some food. Since it was the weekend, the place was pretty busy, but the waitress still came around to check on us every chance she got. She even came around to update us on when our food would be ready. Like, if there were server Olympics, she would’ve walked out of there with a gold medal around her neck.
Still, all my group did was complain. The food wasn’t fast enough, then it wasn’t hot enough (even though the plates were almost too hot to handle). The drinks weren’t strong enough, as if they expected free doubles for everything. The lines in the bathroom were too long, the toilet paper was too thin, and the toilet flushed too loudly. Seriously, my friend’s girlfriend complained about the toilets. Somehow the waitress checked on us too much and not enough at the same time, and was both too cheery and not cheery enough.
They put that poor waitress through hell, making her grab new forks because theirs didn’t look clean enough, and bringing them extra lemons because the one in their water was cut wrong. When the bill came, we went about dividing up what we each owed. As we threw in our money, I noticed no one else left much of a tip. We each spent a little over $40, and no one put in more than $45. Their reasoning?
“Well it’s not like she did anything special. Why should we just throw free money at her for just doing her job?”
Buddy, you ran the poor girl ragged all night, making sure she knew that nothing she did was ever good enough for your high standards. You complained about the food, the drinks, the bartender, and the server herself. You treated her like we were her only table in an extremely packed bar on a Saturday evening, and expected her to jump every time you snapped your fingers.
And yes, he did actually snap his fingers at her once.
Needless to say, that was the last time I went out with those friends.
I swear, it takes more effort to be outwardly mean to people sometimes than to just be a decent human being. My friends could have just sat there and enjoy our meal, enjoyed our drinks, and enjoyed each other’s company. Instead, they had to go out of their way to make some poor server miserable for no reason other than they wanted her to really earn that tip.
And I really don’t have the mental energy to deal with people like that. I don’t think a lot of us do. And it’s not limited to just how you treat your waitress. There are a tonne of people working jobs out there that seem to attract assholes like cats to catnip. I don’t know what it is, but people just seem to love to talk down to people who work any kind of service job.
I’ve seen people demean cashiers for not having better jobs, yell at fast food workers for taking more than 12 seconds to make their order, even lose their minds at mechanics for having dirty hands while working on their cars. This sort of entitled crap seems to be ingrained in some people’s minds, like a personality trait or a compulsion to try and make themselves look better than the common worker because “the customer is always right”.
Here’s just a few things that people do that I am totally, completely, 100% judging them for:
- Doing anything that suggests that a server has to “earn” a tip. This includes making outrageous demands, laying out a few dollars on the table and taking one away any time the server “screws up”, loudly complaining to anyone within ear range about the server, or leaving any sort of “tip” that isn’t money. This includes your phone number, business cards, religious pamphlets, written advice, or samples from work-from-home business. Avon samples and dude-bro’s number won’t pay the bills.
- Throwing any kind of shade when a cashier asks if you want to donate to whatever cause they’re told to ask for donations for. The cashier did not pick the charity, they have no control over what charity they’re told to ask about, don’t care if you saw a documentary about the charity 7 years ago that said their CEO is a millionaire, and they may not even be particularly fond of that specific charity. They are, however, fond of collecting a paycheck and paying their damn bills, so they’re just doing their job when they ask you.
- Making a mess is not “creating jobs”. If you leave your table covered in ketchup and ice cream, McDonald’s isn’t going to hire more janitors to clean it; they’re going to make their employees work even harder to clean up after your nasty ass and earn their minimum wage. Leaving grocery items out in random places around the store only makes the already busy employees have to work harder to run go-backs and do the paperwork needed to throw away the frozen ribs you left behind the toilet paper display an hour ago. None of these companies are seeing your mess and saying, “Well, it looks like the public is demanding we hire more employees to meet their needs. Better throw a job fair!” Instead, they make their already over-worked employees work even harder to put way your groceries, clean up your messes, and undo all your little “make-work projects” around their workplace.
- “It didn’t ring up, that means it’s free!”; “Here’s a twenty, I just printed it off this morning!”; “Hey, can I get your discount?”. Dude, you’re really not funny. You’re mostly likely not the first person today to make that exact same joke, that poor worker probably already heard it 25 times before you and will hear it 25 times after you just today.
- Unless the worker flat-out says something like, “Would you like to go out to dinner some time”, or “here, take my phone number and call me some time so we can go out”, or “my bed is way too big, why don’t you come over and share it with me”, they’re not flirting with you. They are not smiling because of your charm, they’re not talking to you because you’re so intriguing they can’t tear themselves away. They are literally doing their jobs. The fact that you think that a worker talking to you means they want access to whatever you have in your pants says quite a bit about you, and maybe you should get out a bit more.
That’s just the short list, the bare basics. Seriously, it takes so much energy to be an asshole sometimes. Why bother? I mean, what takes more effort; picking up your tray and throwing away your garbage after you eat, or making a large mural on the booth walls with ketchup and melted ice cream? Is your cashier ringing up your groceries slightly slower than usual really going to ruin your day, or are you just an asshole who wants to blame their bad mood on someone else?
But seriously, how you treat the people employed to serve you in any way, whether it be customer service or food service or vehicle service, is indicative of how you naturally will treat others. If I go out with a guy and he screams at our waitress and refuses to tip because “she’s the one dumb enough to stay in a job that relies on tips”, then there will be no second date. Hell, when that actually did happen there wasn’t even a full first date! I walked out of there as soon as I could (after making sure that server got a tip, of course). If you’re comfortable enough to scream at your mechanic in public because you have to wait an extra 10 minutes for your oil change, then what kind of asshole-style rage are you going to be comfortable with behind closed doors?
You don’t have to work any type of service job to be nice to service workers. You just need to not be an asshole.