Wow! Time flies. It's already Volume 8 (don't understand why they're called "volumes". These aren't very long. Haha!). One not to everyone, the chances of your question getting picked increases if it's something different than what's been asked before. As always, if you have questions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your first name and the first letter of your last name. Like this: "John S.".
Q: I loathe the day I ever heard of the word Groupon and Living Social. Cheapskates pop out of the wood works and I can say goodbye to decent tips, if at all. You're a "former" waitress, which means you probably worked in an era before the age of daily deals. How I envy you. Since this ought to be in a question format, I'll ask only rhetorical ones. How can two people come in and share an iced tea? How can restaurants continue working with the inevitable waiter strike looming in the shadows of social freakin' media? When have high-star restaurants start becoming Denny's? Maximum work plus minimum tips means angry servers!
- Tim C.
Agreed. Groupon and it's ilk are evil, evil, evil! Aside from running away with the extraordinary fees which they charged restaurants with, restaurants are fooled into thinking they'll keep these customers. Nope. Once these coupon frenzy customers use up these coupons they'll move on to the next Groupon-ed restaurant. I'm very sorry you have to deal with this...coupons were popular even before Groupon. My restaurant printed them out with xerox machines and sent them pre-Groupon. I hated coupons, since a lot of people will use any excuse to skimp on the tip. Rest assured, someday these things will fall in its face...most restaurants aren't making money out of them! For now, Tim, I hear a lot of restaurant require specified tipping rules or minimal amount for spending on food. They're somewhat effective.
Q: So I have this habit of making origami with my bills while paying for my meal. I didn't think this was wrong until a waiter got visibly annoyed with me. My friend said it's because they have to unfold them one-by-one, but really I only fold them for the ones I like. These things take effort. Was this a unique case or do servers generally hate folded bills? This was the only waiter that ever got mad.
- Katy N.
Yeah, Katy, most of us hate that unless we're really into you, and only then just fold something meaningful like a heart. Don't ever stack bills and make pyramids, especially when they're little Washingtons instead of anything less than a Jackson. Now if the tips are exceptional it wouldn't matter if you fold rings, diamonds, swans, hats or swords. A good tip is a good tip!
Q: Okay, Miss Ask the Waitress, I got a question for you. What do I do when the waitress starts pouring her problems onto me? I really don't want to sound uncaring but I'm really hungry here.
- Pon P.
Pon, I had my series of bad days when I was a waitress and on the rare occasion, felt it was my rightful karma to spill my world out when I've had so many people pour their problems onto me. That being said, I've always sensed when and who it was okay to talk with. There should be some kind of invitation for conversation on the part of the customer. If the body language is clearly a wall, the waitress needs to respect that and deal with her feelings elsewhere, as cold as it sounds. She is at her job, and much like any job, we should be professional at all times. The best thing to do is to kindly insist that you're not interested or not the right person to listen to her. Some people are drama queens, some really need help. Use your best judgment. If they're being a drama queen, you're given the green light to put her to her place!
Q: Fellow waiteress here. I get complimented for smiling a lot at work. It makes me wonder if a lot of others don't?
- Sandy C.
I used to get in trouble for not smiling enough when I first worked. People thought I was grumpy, when the real reason was that I just got so nervous and improperly trained. I was constantly ina state of worry and panic about screwing up. I have since learn to psych myself up into feeling better. If I'm starting to feel tired or angry, I'll put an extra zing to my step and purposefully walk taller instead of slouching or plodding along. The best way to describe it is walking in an upbeat manner, like there's a purpose. At any rate, I don't think enough of our fellow servers do it and it's a big mistake because it can really work to their advantage. When dealing with someone rude or indifferent, a smile and politeness can go a long way. I smile when I make eye contact and every once-in-a-while secretly want to stab them for being jerks. These kinds of things can mess a waitress up psychologically, but they do help bring in the tips, Sandy!
Q: Got hired recently to wait tables at a pretty prestigious restaurant (don't mean to pat myself on the back, but I'm happy...don't judge I'm only 17). They have this policy where I have to wear my hair completely up and out of my face. It gets a little dull. Any way I can wear it where it's a little more stylish? I'm thinking of basic ponytails, perhaps to the side, or a bump...maybe even braided. Sometimes I have it messy too. What else is there to do besides just using hairband and clips?
- Amy F.
Just 17? Becareful! Don't let anybody know...
Try some ponytails at different lengths and it can be cute if you put some different highlights. For casual, it never hurts to look a bit "fun" with purplish highlights. If it's serious, conservative highlights work too. For buns, I recommend low buns, then switching to high buns, side buns and partial pony tails. Some girls can pull it off while others can't. It all depends on your face structure for pony tails. Rounder faces don't look as cute because they make you look like a little kid. Remember, up do's all the rage now, so be creative with clips, bobby pins, twisties and swoop curls. And always compliment your new 'do with a smile and wink. :)
Okay, another five questions! That was quick and fun! To ask questions, please send to: email@example.com. Please leave your first name and the first letter of your last name (example: John S.). We'll take the five we like every 15 days!