Airing of Grievances: Serving and slaving

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Emilie Eliopoulos | Staff Artist

Airing Serving and slaving

Tyler Mead, Senior Staff Reporter

Dear Callous Customers,

Reliving memories of this summer stings like salt on a fresh wound. I was tormented daily by an enemy with a different face and new sadistic technique. My enemies are everywhere and blend seamlessly into a crowd. They are cruel, and they are called “customers.”

This summer, due to the threat of being physically dragged out New Orleans by my parents, I was forced to find a job on extremely short notice. None of the 50 internships I applied for so much as responded (with the exception of Hulu, who emailed me weekly to remind me they had more qualified applicants), so I was left with whoever was desperate enough in mid-July to take a humanities major with no useful work experience. I was recruited into the service industry, like so many wannabe creative types before me.

I ended up in a restaurant, partly because I’m not cool enough to work in a third-wave coffee shop so I ended up in a pizza joint that delivered to campus. I was no vanguard of the floor, but even from my position of relative safety in the kitchen, I endured horrors that I still can’t speak of.

The people who walked in with gaggles of shrieking children, parties of 36 that needed immediate seating or, worst of all, old people who didn’t see me or my brothers and sisters in the food industry as people.

We were meat, there to prepare slightly different meat. After experiencing their behavior, I have no doubts these monsters would gladly sink their teeth into our tired flesh.

When a customer enters a restaurant or calls in, inflicting pain becomes their primary directive. Each day, they found new twisted ways to make life more difficult for us disheveled workers. Each day, we’d dawn our apron and ugly hats like armor to protect us from levels of specificity that they sought to inflict upon us.

Each day, we would fail them.

They would send back orders for being too burnt, not burnt enough or anything in between. One particularly vile creature complained to a manager that her mixed green salad possessed a singular bitter bite and demanded another.

They wanted to destroy us. They would not stop until we were allowed to retreat. Orders would come in minutes before closing time, prolonging our much needed escape. These are not hungry, well-meaning people. These are villains who in their wake leave only pain, misery and loathing, but never a decent tip.

I got out, but I left good people behind. Decent people, who are just trying to pay bills. To them, I say “Godspeed.” As for the customers, I have only this:

Thank you for coming; hope to see you again soon.

Sincerely,

Band of Bussers