Tales of a Hamptons Waitress: Silently Judge Everyone

   You’re in the Hamptons for the summer! Awesome, right? Except you need to get a job and your options are retail or restaurants.               

    You choose food service because you have a masochistic streak as well as a stunning lack of common sense. Welcome to the family.

    I learned all this the hard way so you don’t have to. Here are my tips to help you survive your summer in the service industry.

    1. Go to the beach as much as possible. It will make you feel better about the choices you’ve made in your life when you hear two people from Manhattan screaming at each other over who was on a piece of sand first.

    2. Wear sunblock. Trust me when I say that it is excruciating to work an eight-hour shift with sunburnt legs.

    3. Budget extra time for travel. Once the season hits, tack on an extra 20 to 40 minutes to get from wherever you are to wherever you work. If you arrive early, wonderful. Now start rolling silverware.

    4. Road rage is a good thing. Remember that table during brunch that was over-the-top demanding? As in, “I need you to personally add more horseradish to this Bloody Mary until it is at the level of spiciness I require.” “Oh, you added too much. It’s too spicy now. I’m going to need a new one.” “No, this one isn’t right either. It needs more Worcestershire. And I want two olives, not four.”    

    Unleash all the pent-up frustration that’s been building inside you on the next person who doesn’t pull over far enough when they’re making a left-hand turn.

    Equally as satisfying is yelling out of your car window at people who don’t use the crosswalks.

    5. Cultivate a dry sense of humor. You know what’s funny? Getting screamed at by an irate customer because the water is too cold, the soup is too hot, and the bread is too crispy. Hahaha. It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears up in here. 

    6. Practice your server face. Similar to a poker face in that the facial muscles remain fixed, the server face is used to convey agreeable calmness in the face of insane and unreasonable behavior. Your mouth should be slightly upturned at the corners. You are like a statue of Buddha, calm, serene, and still.

    7. Be nice. This is good life advice in general, but particularly in the restaurant business. Everyone says they know the owners. Most people who say this are lying liars, but one out of every 20 actually does and you do not want them telling the boss about their rude server. Also, you’ll probably see these people again during the course of the summer, and let me assure you that it is unpleasantly awkward standing in line with them at King Kullen.

    8. Silently judge everyone. Making fun of other people is an important tool for surviving those doubles you will inevitably have to pull when someone is too hung­over to come in to work. Pretend your shift is an episode of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” The diners are the B-movie and your thoughts are an unending stream of delighted vitriol.

    9. Drinking games. After the shift is over, drink for any one of the following you encountered:

    • A man wearing white pants and a pink shirt. Bonus shot if the collar is popped.

    • If the entire table is looking at their cellphones simultaneously (tables of three or more). Bonus shot if all the phones are iPhones.

    • Someone who cannot walk in the too-high heels she’s wearing. (Look for the wobble.)

    • Teacup or toy dogs. Bonus shot if the dog is being transported in a designer purse.

    • If more than one person in a group is wearing a fedora. Bonus shot if it’s just two people.

    • Any man who has the top three buttons (or more) of his shirt undone.

    • Anyone wearing a sweater draped over their shoulders. Why do people do this? Are their arms and stomachs hot? Bonus shot if the sweater has a Ralph Lauren Polo logo.

    • On nights when you’re prepared to get black-out drunk, drink for every guest who asks for gluten-free.

    Finally, reward for yourself at the end of the season. A vacation, a nice relaxing day at the spa, drinking yourself into oblivion. Whatever you fancy. If you can’t afford anything, just cry into your pillow every night.


Comments

How about a Shot if the sweater draped over the shoulders is clearly too small to be actually worn.

Yikes, I hope I never cross your path after you've had a frustrating night and several shots, particularly on the road. Seems like it's time to pick a new line of work, or join AA.
I get it. As a summer person, even I appreciate how many of my fellow summer people can be difficult, especially in restaurants. I'm sure it can be frustrating. However, the tone of this article is sneering and rather offensive. The most offensive aspect is the suggestion to drink heavily to numb the pain of having to serve these annoying people. The Star regularly covers DWIs and alcohol fueled deaths on the roads and it is rightly a subject of great concern. While the drinking this article promotes is in jest, I hope, there is really nothing funny about people drinking themselves into a black out.
C Johnson, C Johnson, C Johnson. If you think this article is offensive, you better hold on to your seat. What a [...] moron you are. Your advice to Rebecca is to pick a new line of work when it's pretty obvious that you don't even have one because if you did, you wouldn't have the time to use this comedy piece as your platform. Keep your fat ass under your veranda and find a real cause. Where did you get drinking and driving out of this article? Where is drinking and driving advocated? Do you assume that restaurant people don't know how to take cabs or that they're all a bunch of delinquents? You missed the whole point of this piece so I'll write it with the voice of a People Magazine writer so you can understand it. RESTAURANT WORK IS VERY TRYING IN THE HAMPTONS BECAUSE OF THE OVERWHELMING STATISTICAL PREPONDERANCE OF DOUCHEBAGS. WE DRINK AFTER WORK MUCH LIKE DOCTORS AND LAWYERS AND FAT HOUSEWIVES LIKE YOURSELF. WE TAKE A LOT OF SHIT AND NEVER GIVE IT BACK. I think you need to rent Fight Club to realize that you're at the disposal of all the people that you think are "help"-ing you. Now keep to yourself and shut up, because they'll know it's you when you order your Bloody Mary with 2 olives instead of four, but you won't know that you're actually drinking a Bloody Rebecca--same drink, but with the writer's muddled tampon. Have a great, paranoid summer.
I had to create an account to respond to the person above. Get a sense of humor, pal. If you found this offensive and sneering its because you felt the article addressed someone like yourself. It's you're uptight attitude that is the premise for this article. You're on vacation, relax for once, and be happy. I don't think it ever said to get hammered and then drive home. It suggested that drinking is the only cure for dealing with people like yourself. Do us all a favor and cut up your Hampton Jitney Ambassador tickets and head to Martha's Vineyard this summer.
Just remember the same people you complain about are the people that pay your bills (and fund whatever winter traveling you do while getting unemployment checks). Just sayin.
actually there are nice people that come into restaurants and don't treat people like shit and they tip substantially better than the jerks. i work during the winter and i do not get unemployment. lots of waiters are writers, students and teachers, etc. just trying to make some extra money. leave your condescension in the city.
nicd, you must be the only person to have never complained about their job. What line of work are you in? PS: Some restaurants are open year round.
Thank you for writing this, Rebecca. As someone who has lived on the East End my whole life and has worked in the restaurant industry for five plus years, everything you said is completely on point. We understand that it's beautiful out here and don't mind people coming to visit, we just wish you would be nicer about it. Some people are awesome and make waitressing great, but most of the clientele in the summer months treats you like you are their dog (or worse, because I've definitely seen some of those little ones sneak into the restaurant cradled in designer bags). The sense of entitlement that some people have makes you - for lack of a better way to put it - hate people. At my last restaurant, we would often joke that the customers had "86'd our souls." Waitresses have to remove themselves to the kitchen or computer to bond over the absurdity of people's requests and to laugh at customers' affinity for the debasement of those serving them. I have been called a "snide little bitch" for not guessing what type of wine a customer wanted. I have seen my friends belittled, harassed and degraded. I have seen college students and professionals who are just trying to make some extra cash brought to tears by people treating them like slaves. I cannot tell you how many times people have forcefully grabbed my arm and pulled me to their table like they owned me. If you want to visit the Hamptons, I understand. Please come enjoy yourselves, it truly is a remarkable place and we're happy to share it with those who appreciate it. But there is absolutely no reason to be so cruel to the people who live and work here. If a person is nice to you but is not nice to their waiter, they are not a nice person. They are, in fact, a douche bag. (looking at you C Johnson).
Nice language, folks. Is that really necessary? (My folks, may they RIP, used to say that folks who spoke with profane or rude words just had a limited vocabulary. Tsk tsk.) I, too, thought the article would have ended better, if it said something like, "Oh, and be sure you have a designated driver to get you safely home after you do all this drinking." Yes, many summer/weekend people have a bloated sense of self-importance, but then many are just fine. We often tell the waitstaff or salespeople in restaurants and stores, that we live here year-round, and smile ... we hope it translates to our being nice, polite, and patient. The alternative, is to just stay home all the time and wait until the Season has passed. I'd rather enjoy this great place, and be a customer as well!
Limited vocabulary? 37Clamshell, you use "folks" three times in the first three sentences. Maybe get a thesaurus?
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