Pete Gilbert">

Waiting Tables. Preparation for Parenthood

Back in the day, I waited tables for a living. Who knew it would prepare me for serving meals to my kids?

Let’s start with the first step of someone’s dining experience, getting seated. At a restaurant, the process is pretty simple. You approach the host/hostess stand, and he or she seats you. They aren’t randomly choosing a place for you to sit either, the servers are all assigned sections, so the table you are given is in the section of the server due up next for a table. So, when you request a booth, or a table near/not near the front door, what you are really saying is, “I’m a pain in the ass, and I don’t really care if there’s an order to your operations or not, I’m better than that, and here to screw it up.” Well, the same goes with meals at home. Listen up kids. When the high chair and booster seats are set up in a particular place, they are there for a reason. You can’t just “toddle” in and demand you sit next to mom or your sister or whatever whim you feel like tantruming about today. If your seat isn’t next to your sister, I guarantee you there’s a reason for it. And as for it not being next to mom either, well, maybe she’s tired of your shit for the day too!

Next, up drink orders. Ok, Mr. Customer, who wants his soda with no ice, you’re once again just being a thorn in my side. You know we have free refills. 99% of people in here are ok with me putting ice in their drinks, what’s your issue? Do you have a frozen water allergy? Then there’s the people on the opposite end of the spectrum, the ones that have downed their Mountain Dew before you’ve even taken everyone’s food orders. Calm down Mr. Caffeine Buzz, I’m aware we have free refills, but I have, and will cut you off once you hit a certain limit. Also, you know that stuff is full-calorie soda right? Just because you order a salad with your burger doesn’t mean you should wash it down with 800 liquid calories. I wasn’t the best server, I’ll admit that. Getting drinks for kids at home can be equally as outrageous. Let’s see, you want Sprite for breakfast? Hmm…let me think about that for a second, no. Oh, I’m sorry the ice water you requested is too cold, let me boil it for you. And gee whiz I can’t believe I didn’t read your mind and know you were going to freak out if I didn’t put your milk in your favorite Disney Princess cup. It’s just one drink at one meal in your life, calm down people, young AND old.

Dinner is served. Your food has arrived Mr. Customer, but I can tell from your look of complete and utter disgust, it’s not exactly what you THOUGHT it would be. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t make it my fault, or the kitchen’s fault. I’m going to go ahead and let the blame fall on you for this one. Or, I drop off your food, I come back to check on you a few minutes later to see you’ve eaten half of your meal, but all of the sudden you say it doesn’t taste so good. Hmmm. Let me guess, you don’t want to pay for it either. Many nights when dinner is served to my kids, there is the same look of disgust. Usually followed by questions like, “What else are we having?” Sorry kids, as the host, cook, server and bus boy around here, I make all the rules. You don’t like it? Well there will be another meal at this table in a few hours, I guess you can try again next time. But for now, this kitchen is closed.

-Pete

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