One of the rites of passage as a human being is having that first part time job as a waitress, or bartending as a student. Some of the best laughs of your life are to be had working with fellow disgruntled students serving up a burger and salad with a pubic hair carefully placed betwixt patty and bun to the slug/guy hybrid creature who talked solely to your breasts whilst you took his order. Some of the best parties I've ever been to involved the liberation of leftover stock from hotel weddings to whom I served the bride and groom with my fellow soup-monkeys. Some of the wildest nights out I ever had were with folk I used to work with at the cocktail face after we'd chucked the last punter out of the club. But a life in the service industry? An actual career serving people? Not for me.
As soon as I left Uni it was my goal to never serve again. OK it didn't work immediately like that- I had to make ends meet and all that with crummy jobs in theatre box offices, petrol stations and one particularly horrible stint as a receptionist in a hotel that seemed to be solely for oil-rig bound gorillas who were fogged in onshore and permanently drunk and/or angry. But, you get my point- as soon as it was feasibly possible I got out of the exhausting arena of the service industry tout suite. Never to return.
Or so I thought.
Twelve years ago I joined the ranks of those in service once again. The conditions I find are still much the same as they were:
- Demanding and often unreasonable customers
- Poor personal hygiene standards
- Ordering off menu
- Lack of manners
- Occasional acts of violence
- Complaints about the service
- Complaints about the food
- Repeated demands for service even though the kitchen closed an hour ago
- And don't even get me started on the mess they leave behind
- Lack of remuneration
When you have kids-that's it. You are back in service for good. And you can't spit in their soup in the kitchen before you bring it out to them if they are rude to you.
Apparently, if you do, they get their own back when you go and live with them as an old lady.