This I Believe

Ashley - Flat Rock, North Carolina
Entered on August 6, 2007

Common Courtesy, a Myth

Written by: Ashley Harriman

At the age of 24, I have come to realize that it takes a strong and humble individual to persevere through common and awkward situations that occur in the restaurant scene. Waitresses and waiters all over the world tolerate unreasonable behavior and the belittling ignorance of customers in hopes to take care of their responsibilities. Speaking from personal experience of six years, being employed by local restaurants, I can say that one of the biggest problems here in America are that many don’t know how to properly communicate. Asking for extra blueberry vinaigrette or an extra side of bourbon glaze without stating that you need it would be a good start.

Here is a little piece of what should be common knowledge. Treat others as you would like to be treated. There really should be no exception. I know that people pleasing is part of the job title, but there is no where in writing that it states that I should always have to stand down to myself and my beliefs for employment. Honestly, when a customer generates a position of authority in a simple conversation, it makes for an uncomfortable situation for everyone surrounding.

I would like everyone that reads and or hears a conversation about this subject to take a good look at themselves. Can you remember the last time that you snapped at your waiter or waitress or spoke to them rudely because your 12oz ribeye was overcooked or your Caesar salad was late coming out of the kitchen? I remember this one instance where I brought out a piece of prime rib to an irate customer, a big burley looking man dressed in a blue suit jacket with a mismatching shirt underneath, yelling at me because it took 25 minutes for his well done steak to cook. As busy as it was on that Friday evening he did not take into consideration that his meal really didn’t take that long. In my opinion he was lucky to have it in front of him in that short of a time. He should have been grateful not impolite. I lost an incredible amount of respect for him due to his behavior and he was a complete stranger to me.

My mother always told me that first impressions last a lifetime. The power of a smile is massive. I am representing not only myself but also the company in which I have chosen to work for. I’ve chosen not to argue with you. Knowing that the only reason why I was in this profession was exclusively for my benefit.

The Service industry might very well be the one of the most horrific jobs I have endured. I have taken advantage of the piddly two dollars and fifteen cent wage offered to waitresses with grace and dignity. I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge, first and foremost, how to shut my mouth, bite my tongue, while always keeping a smile on my face. This is a tool every individual needs to acquire to be successful in every day life. I do believe that it would benefit society and citizen morale if everyone was mandated to wait tables before pursuing other forms of employment. I know that this would change the way humans treat one another, and in turn would form one of the most worked jobs in America into a more enjoyable experience.