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Monday, January 4, 2010

Out of a Crowd of 500, SOMEone's Going to be Last...

I worked a buffet in a church great room yesterday, one attended by 500 people.

Have you considered serving? Are you wondering whether or not you have an aptitude for this kind of work? Just answer the following questions!

Does working for cash make you happy?
Do you have a pair of black pants?
Are you familiar with the differences between plates, bowls, forks and spoons?

If so, let me know if you and your black pants are available. We’re always looking for new blood.

Or perhaps you prefer to utilize servers, rather than become one?

Do you believe that the coffee could be hotter, the ice water icier?
Does making demands of people in black pants make you happy?
Perhaps most importantly, would you rather enjoy a meal with friends and family than work an additional job?

Simple, iddin it?

If you’re already a server, let me say that you have both my admiration and condolences.

But if you’re not, and have no plans to become one, may I offer some advice, on behalf of servers everywhere?

If you’ve been told that the tables will be released four at a time following the presentation, then that’s what is meant. When whole tables get up, on their own, jumping ahead of the tables that really should be next, it’s an invitation to anarchy.

As one of two people “releasing” tables to go to the buffet line next, some of those line-jumping made their excuses as they passed me.

“The Vikings game is on in 30. We need to go next.”

“Two of the women at our table are handicapped and we need to go next.”

“I’m hypoglycemic. Our table has to go next.”

Some of them said nothing, just walking past me to the buffet, averting their eyes.

They knew they were wrong.

I spit in their desserts, but it lacked the subtlety I prefer.

And no, of course I didn’t spit in their desserts.

I spit in their drinks.

No, no, no; I didn’t do that, either. There’s nothing you can do, is there, but smile? It’s a church function, they’ve paid good money for this, and I can’t very well send them back to their tables, can I? Not to mention that it’s Minnesota, and even while they were making it harder on the people who were playing by the rules it was all I could do, after they offered their excuses, to keep from saying, “Oh, that’s okay.”

We say that a lot around here, even when it’s not okay.

So there you have it: My thoughts on line-jumping in a buffet situation. There will be further instructions on what not to do where servers are concerned, but I think we’ve covered enough for one day, don’t you?

Questions? Suggestions? Dirty jokes? We’ll can discuss them over Bloody Marys and buffalo wings – and if the server treats us right, we’ll tip 20%.


Maelstrom said...

You could have said, "Oh, that's alright. I'm sure Jesus would cut in line too if he were a Vikings fan."

Kurt said...

Ice water can always be icier. It's a scientific Law. Like BMX jumps are extreme or I need to wear pants when I go out in public.

Mandy's Kidding said...

I put the kibosh on some line jumpers at Best Buy's Geek Squad yesterday. The Geeks were all, "Oh it's okay" and I was all Detroit Mama on them and loudly announced, "No, it's NOT okay with the rest of us who have been standing in line for forty-five minutes."

*Add evil glare*

The jumpers were sent to the back of the line. I even got some pats on the back and nods of approval from my fellow line waiters.

*Absorbs good karma*

Gregory said...

worked as a server, once, yea, only once... lunch crowd does not tip, lunch crowd is rude, lunch crowd is demanding, one table, 14 people, my mind is too simple, what did you order? your drink? oh I am so sorry, let me go get that... jeeze never again. I'll stick to computer servers from now on.

GregoryJ said...

Used to work at church buffets.....FOR FREE.
I did spit. Yes, I did.
There's no line jumper like a holier than thou christian. They think you should thank them for getting in front and making you wait longer.

mmmm. don't go to church anymore....any connection? probably not.

Douglas said...

I think Bob Dylan said it best (wasn't he from Minnesota?) when he wrote and sang "Gotta Serve Somebody." Those church buffet thingies is what he was talking/writing/singing about, isn't it?

Pearl said...

I must admit that I absolutely LOVE the majority of the people at this particular church -- Orthodox Maronites. I was very surprised, however, by the number of people who jumped the line.

And Mandy? As the Aussies say, good on ya! I'd have been right alongside you. I don't care who says it's okay, you can not "butt" in front of me. The line serves a purpose, dagnabit!!!

secret agent woman said...

I love it when church peole behave unethically.

De Campo said...

This is why I don't own black pants...or ice water.

Lori E said...

The rules are whichever table I am at is the one that goes last. I don't know why but that is how it rolls. Except once.
Last May we were at a wedding. A friend didn't get to a bank machine and needed money for the cash bar. My husband passed her a 100 dollar bill. Thirty seconds later they announced that the first table to produce a 100 dollar bill would go up first. Score.
As for line jumpers, not on my watch. Don't get me started on the nasty Costco incident...

The Retired One said...

It is quite a dilemma isn't it?
The rude ones and pushy ones get their way and everybody suffers.
I agree...the table releasers need to say at the beginning that there will be NO execptions and that anyone "jumping the line" will automatically be sent back and have to go LAST.
And then quote something from the bible that will totally humiliate anyone who tries....
That will fix them.

powdergirl said...

Line jumpers should be summarily executed.

Chris Mancini said...

My favorite part: "It’s a church function, they’ve paid good money for this" Often the exchange of money makes people miss the point.

WrathofDawn said...

I am beginning to believe that Minnesotans are really Canadians in disguise, what with all the politeness and apologizing and all.

But if you're going to jump a line around here, you'd better have two wooden legs, a blind dog and be about to lapse into a diabetic coma. Otherwise, someone just might push you face first into the potato salad. Oh, they'll apologize all right, but your hair will still be full of mayonnaise and you'll have diced onion up your nose.

Jenn Jilks said...

My son has served part time. No fun. Great post. Thanks for following My Muskoka !

pilgrimchick said...

People never cease to amaze me. I got the same thing when I worked as a hostess at a chain restaurant. The comments were just that much more pathetic, though.

mapstew said...

I live next to a church. Sunday mornings? cars abandoned everywhere! Corners, footpaths, cycle-lanes, GARDENS!
I spit on their cars, that'll teach 'em! :¬)


Kavi said...

Oh we say thay here too. 'Thats ok' when things are really not !

and i have heard some good advice. Like, 'be nice to them or they spit in your drinks' ! Hmm. Seems to be a worldwide trend !

Berowne said...

We also serve who only stand and blog. :-)

My name is PJ. said...

One of the more endearing human traits is the sense of entitlement....and when it manifests itself in line jumping at a church function, well, DON'T THAT JUST BEAT ALL! People suck.

My favorite part of your post...just so you don't think I overlook detail) 'iddin it'. Must. Use. In. Future.

Jeanne said...

I loved The Retired One's suggestion -- much more powerful than the simple, "Get your ass back in line," I would have gone with....

BTW -- did I tell you about the humor/human interest essay contest that opened entries yesterday? If not, I think you'd be great at it! (See my Monday post or Google "Erma Bombeck Writing Competition" for details....)