So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

A somewhat whimsical look at waiter charateristics by generation


Baby boomer – increased emphasis on ear and nose hair, greying hair, managing the balance between bald tops and remaining side scalp, concern about moles, age spots and wrinkles, complying to the letter with uniform standards because “We must have standards”

Gen X – keeping a tight, crisp hairline concentrating on the neckline and/or daily headshaving, the genesis of the grooming concerns of baby boomers because of the start of a bald spot or a receding hairline and the stray ear hair, mild rebellion against strict uniform standards – “Shouldn’t we be wearing a more contemporary uniform?”

Gen Y – concern about having the most current hairstyle as portrayed by their favorite Twilight star, assuring that they have the most evocative tattoo, concern over the ability to manage a developing facial hair profile, a hatred and/or disregard of strict uniform standards because “It messes with my personal style”

Work habits

Baby boomer – a dogged, almost pathological predisposition to report to work early, often and with as few callouts as possible, an almost manic dislike of taking a break, a serious concern about burnout by trying to manage long work hours, a judgmental take on the work habits of those in other generations, a preoccupation with how others, especially management, see their work performance, a profound fear of losing their job because of a single customer complaint

Gen X – a preoccupation with maximizing income, an annoyance when a co-worker interferes with the said maximization of their income, the need to take a smoke break because the forgoing of said smoke break might interfere with their focus and therefore interfere with income production, an envy of a baby boomer’s ability to maintain a large call party base, the ability to work as many doubles as possible by not clocking in until a table is assigned to their section, thereby avoiding the overtime restrictions

Gen Y – the ability to see a concert trumps work, a texting break is essential for the maintenance of their shift, the receipt or sending of a text always takes precedence over the waiting task at hand, showing up 10 minutes late shouldn’t be considered a big deal, even if it means more work for their co-workers, leaving early to watch the season premiere of Twilight live is more important than making an extra $30, if a cell phone is forgotten, the shift will be very uncomfortable, the ability to trade shifts with others so that the social commitments can be met is paramount

Overall view of life and waiting tables:

Baby boomer – life sucks because there are few funds available for retirement, younger waiters get all of the breaks, “boy, are my knees hurting”, waking up sore from a long shift sucks more than waking up sore after a night of partying and non-stop sex, in fact, waking up in general is a pain in the ass, although the alternative is too frightening to contemplate, “Arbeit macht frei” (“work makes you free” – what’s forgotten is that it’s a Nazi saying that greeted Auschwitz concentration camp workers)

Gen X – life sucks because they feel that their life is passing them by and they should have taken that cushy mid-management job in marketing after all, older waiters get all of the call parties and younger waiters seem to get all of the “fun tables”, waking up after a long double is a necessary evil even as their head pounds from too many shots of Patron the night before and having to leave their barely legal hostess in bed because it’s her day off, “what is that little sneaking pain in my knees and back”, work is a necessary evil (they forget that Mark Twain added “to be avoided”).

Gen Y – life sucks because having to work as a waiter sucks even though the money is good because a cool job like an intern for a concert promoter or a programmer at a cool social networking site just can’t be found because of the economy, going to work after staying up all night partying, texting and having copious amounts of meaningless sex is a pain in the ass, having to cover that cool Oriental character that’s been tattooed on the wrist is a profound invasion of personal freedom,  not being allowed to tweet during the shift is just stupid – “old people just don’t get it”, work is optional (Jonathan Safran Foer just hasn’t thought of a pithy way to express this yet)

Here’s a little advice to the gentle reader – don’t take this too seriously.



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