Ben Zoltak is an artist and author that has worked a wide variety of jobs and has an appreciation for labor that rises above the ordinary.
Servers are smarter than they let on
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Waiters and waitresses are oftentimes brilliant learners and secretly, they think you're pretty dumb
Waitresses and waiters are often students of academia and always students of life. They get to see all sides of the public. They witness hubris on a scale not seen by someone who works in a more private setting.
When you order a heaping helping of panna cotta and pronounce it pain-a coat-a they laugh at you when you are not looking. They deserve to laugh too. Not because you are dumb. After all, you and I both know you are the smartest thing since a funny bone on a kitchen counter right! No no no, servers get to laugh at some of us, because some of us believe we are better than they are.
In much of the world, waiters and waitresses are held in high esteem, a position to be revered for it's skill in public affability and mental gymnastics, what with all the rote memorization and constantly changing orders. But here in the United States, much of the public looks at Servers as though they are beneath them. They are not after all, members of the Very Important People's Club. They are not Presidents of corporations nor are they Doctors of medicine or Hollywood actors who don't wear underwear in public, mostly. They are what some Americans deem as serfs in what is supposed to be a serf-less society. So what if many of them are studying to be lawyers and teachers. So what if they were able to memorize forty different items on a menu each with three words in Italian that you can not pronounce proficiently but that rolls off of their tongue as though it were velvety truffle oil. They are merely the lowly waiters and waitresses.
When you are ready to wind down for the day, having mostly kept to yourself juggling numbers at work and only having to call your stock analyst twice to check on your mutual funds, these people are gearing up to baby you. Why? For the bread mon frere for the bread. They will tell you how great you look and you will concur. They will laugh at your pun, "Ha ha, you're right sir plate of food? More like Plato food! You are funny!"
Sure that plate maybe approaching four hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit but never mind moving your napkin over an eighth of an inch, they will endure second degree burns so you might enjoy a heaping hot plate of Chianti braised ribs. Enjoy! Maybe they come back to check on your meal and you're upset that they've come back already! "Why won't that waiter leave us in peace!"
Maybe they wait a little longer and you're upset you weren't attended to sooner, "Where is that damn waitress, whadda day think we have all night, this isn't rocket science."
Oh but it is, it is rocket science. In their laughter and quiet resolve a server is intricately calculating your next move, deciding either on their own or commiserating with an equally abused server what bone headed notion you will spout off next. Perhaps you would like to argue why Champagne is most certainly from Australia? Maybe you would like to explain why you are 100% positive that all great fillet mignons are served well done. You are the boss after all, you are the paying customer. What does a lousy waiter know anyway? You might be surprised if you would spend a week or two in their shoes. But you never will because you are such a resounding success in all your endeavors. You will never be laid off. You will never be cornered into a job you don't care for. You will never have to stoop to physical labor, because you are so damned brilliant.
Maybe you should think twice about this human being who is carrying your food to the front of your smug and sanctimonious mug. Perhaps you should think twice about the person who is trying to make sure you have a great experience relaxing and eating out away from home for a night. What if, just what if they are playing you like a flute? What if you are the Emperor who wears no clothes in the restaurant tonight? Maybe you should shelter your ego in some magnanimity and savor the flavor of this wonderful, bright man or woman who cared enough to treat you with sincere service.
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Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on March 06, 2013:
Thank you WebWatcher Review. I have an abundance of writing style it would seem. Less so a readship for my eBook I'm afraid ha. If you like my bit here, you might enjoy my eBook "Your Life As A Painting" the link is above. Still no reviews for it on Amazon! Maybe you are the reviewer I've been waiting for WebWatcher?
WebWatcher Review on March 06, 2013:
Hello I really loved reading your blog, I admire your writing style.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on August 01, 2012:
thanks shin rocka04...smiling indeed...goes a very long way, as does please and thank you...giving a great tip, somehow makes both parties really happy haha!
shin_rocka04 from Maryland on June 02, 2012:
LOL. This is hilarious but a very interesting read. I think waiters and waitresses have enough experience to typically read people whether it's a simple rest or even an expression. I always make sure that the waiters or waitresses' time serving me a good experience especially when the service is just right. Some people forget that smiling, saying please, thank you, and giving a decent tip goes a long way.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on April 05, 2012:
My pleasure midnightbliss, and thank you as well. I am a big fan of midnight too :o)
Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on March 30, 2012:
Well I once was a waitress, so thanks for the compliment! :) ~ Nice article!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on March 28, 2012:
Agreed Casey, I was in a bitter way when I wrote this...now I'm on a more positive path with you. To be clear though, I've only tried being a Server a few times in my life, once for a few months, another time for a few weeks. Since then I've come across a lot of customers that treat Servers poorly as well as some Servers who treat customers with disrespect. Glad for all this dialogue either way, don't be afraid to enter some more into the fold Casey.
Casey on March 28, 2012:
While a good article, it does come across as kind of bitter, especially at the end :\ Because while you're going to get pats on the back from us and words of encouragement, I wouldn't give this to my friends if I wanted them to treat what we do with more respect. I'm sorry if I come across as harsh, but I think it's something to keep in mind, if that's alright? :)
Lissachck on February 15, 2012:
This was a great read! Thank you for posting it. I was a lighting designer for ten years when the company I worked for cut out our commission, lessening my income by 1000 a month. At the time we had just had a baby, with whom we used months of fertility treatment to get pregnant. She was 6 months old and that money paid for her daycare. Still we managed. Until I found out I was 3 months pregnant with her brother! We couldn't afford child care for both and we weren't low enough income to get assistance. I ended up leaving when my son was born. We lost our house and I was unemployed for nine months.
I found a job serving at a restaurant chain and it was perfect. I work nights part time and my husband works days. We don't have to pay for anyone else to watch our children. I make decent money.
Still it's not easy. You learn how to time meals, read people, memorize drink and food menus, remember every wine and what it pairs with and the subtle flavors of each. You smile and banter, trying your best to make every guests experience as enjoyable as you can. Still I am talked down to, harassed, ordered around, and once even hit! I deal with people that dont believe in tipping because its my job so why should they pay me extra. I do it with a smile because it's what I do. The good guests help to outweigh the bad. The people I work with are great, and it is perfect for our family.
I hope this article helps others look at us as people and not just the person serving your food!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 06, 2012:
Thanks Suzanne, for your warm words. It's very true, so many think they know better...why is that? Ah well, best to you and yours, glad you got a kick from this article, I still do too!
Suzanne on February 04, 2012:
Awesome article! I've been a bartender for 10 years, during and after college and my husband is a restaurant manager (same restaurant where I work). We got a kick from this and from the comments! Everyone always thinks they know until they or their kids have done it. You're aces!
Emma on January 10, 2012:
I was a server when I took a year off between undergrad and optometry school. The personal skills and patience with people that I learned while serving have actually come in handy when seeing patients!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on January 09, 2012:
Thanks Miss Pickles and Truthhurts. I have received, as of late, some negative feedback about this article. I suspect they were comments written by nonservers. At the heart of this article, my main point was to point out that waiters and waitresses are human beings and should be treated as such. I wasn't trying to say it's the toughest job in the world, or that you need to have a PHD to be one, although many servers are on their way to achieving one. In all professions there are good and bad people, in many professions respect is automatically granted to all even though many who reach these positions don't deserve to be there. Whereas servers have a lot to juggle, and in the USA at least, are rarely given the respect they deserve.
truthhurts on January 06, 2012:
A great article Ben! Bravo!
But let's be honest, there are many servers who aren't very bright, aren't in school to become Lawyers and Doctors, and are hustlers right down to the core. Not that I don't respect the hustle. At the same time, I don't respect the pretentiousness that waiters/waitresses have to succumb to. All part of the job. But it's never black and white. Regardless, a great read. Cheers!
Miss Pickles on January 05, 2012:
I love this post!!
I've been a server for a dozen years, left to take office jobs, but always come back.
It's a great industry full of surprises for those of us who get bored easily.
We do hold superiority in one category, emotional education: we stay cool under pressure, we balance a priority list at all times while completing chores, we take degrating comments and questions from those who see us as their evening peasant, all with a smile, I don't know any government workers or lawyers who can boast the same. Maybe it's because we know sooner or later one of these fine folks will ask for a glass of the red Chardonnay :)
Thanks for the great read!!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on November 23, 2011:
Ah your words hit home cabmgmnt! Thank goodness for hard working people like you. Still haven't seen "Waiting" myself I'll put it on the list, sounds pretty funny/scary haha.
A friend of mine said recently, a long time server, said well, not all servers are angels, and I get that. But at least in the States, so few people that I've met, especially the wealthier kind, are kind or notice the hard work that goes into waiting on people at bars and restaurants.
I agree too, more people need to walk in the shoes of servers!
Corey from Northfield, MA on November 21, 2011:
Kudos to you. I have completely enjoyed this. I have waited tables and have been a bartender to pay my way through college and in my 40's have resorted to waiting tables again for some extra money. I cannot tell you how many times someone has looked down their noses at me while expecting excellent service. Catch 22 for them. Haven't they ever seen the movie 'Waiting' with Ryan Reynolds?
My own set of morals would never let me do any of the disgusting things to a customer's plate of food like was done in that movie but oh how I thought about it many times!
Unless you have walked a mile in their shoes always be kind to your server!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on November 08, 2011:
Thanks for that Laura, I think a lot of women go through the path you took, though not all of them come out with a smile on their face as you do! Although I promise I would have kept my hands to myself, I would have loved to have seen what you dressed up on at that biker bar I'll bet you looked pretty then as you do now. I fell in love with a server, we have a one year old son and she adopted my daughter from a previous marriage. I hope your story ended up as good as mine did.
Laura Deibel from Aurora, CO on November 05, 2011:
I waitressed at age 16 for Howard Johnson with the heaviest plates in the world. Those at the counter were the cheapest I ever met.
Then I cocktail watressed at a biker bar (doing well) and got through Tech school. I made change on the spot, hard to do with loud music in your ears and men pinching my ass.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on August 03, 2011:
Thanks Bud! I agree that servers can be a valuable resource, well phrased my friend!
Bud Gallant from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on July 15, 2011:
Again, I'm impressed with your writing style. I always take advantage of the server's knowledge, and I've found in all the times I've asked for advice with my order, only once did it not pan out well, and I suspect it had a lot more to do with the menu itself than the recommendation. Servers can be a very valuable resource, especially if you're eating at an establishment you do not know well. I've found the key is to be direct with what you're looking for, and then to trust their ability to suggest something appropriate. I've discovered some great items I would likely never have tried solely on my own initiative.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on April 18, 2011:
Thank you Painted Seahorse, I can't wait to see "Waiting" sounds great.
Yeah I have lots of experience working with the public, less as a waiter/server but some. Mostly this article was meant as a wake-up call for those that treat workers poorly, and as a rallying cry for those that have to put up with pompous asses.
Brittany Rowland from Woodstock, GA on April 17, 2011:
Great hub! I've never worked as a server, but I have a lot of respect for people who juggle so many responsibilities and have to put up with rude people! Have you seen the movie "Waiting?" It's a pretty funny comedy about the "reality" of working in a chain restaurant.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on March 03, 2011:
Justagirl, you are welcome, and thank you for working hard at all that you do. There is a certain skill for servers that not everyone has, I thought I might, but I don't think I do. Maybe serving beers and shots! Haha, but that's about it. I appreciate that people like you have pride in your work, and are justly rewarded, and can get past the nimrods with the bad attitudes!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on March 02, 2011:
Thanks Stan Fletcher, glad to hear there's another advocate for the working people out here in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the wealthy have pitted the liberals against the conservatives here and people like waiters and waitress will get the shaft. Our lying Governor Scott Walker threatens to take away the only health care available to many of these people that serve him and his wealthy gang of bandits.
Thanks for posting man.
Justagirl on February 28, 2011:
Ben...thank you! I was a waitress/server years ago before I had my child. Then I quit the restaurant business and entered the 'professional' world and worked in HR (boring). I took a serving/bartending job 2 years ago as a second job to earn money for a trip and am still in this job. I call it my fun job and I really do like it. For the most part my customers are wonderful people but every once in a while we get those people that instantly talk down to you because of the industry that you are in when they have no idea what your particular circumstances are. As someone mentioned above....there are a lot of people that could not do this job. I'd love to do it in a resort town where I am contantly meeting new people. Get paid and have fun at the same time! :)
Stan Fletcher from Nashville, TN on February 27, 2011:
This was brilliant man. I've had these same thoughts for years and never bothered to put them on paper. I don't have to now, as I couldn't have done it better. In my opinion, there is no greater a-hole on the planet than a person who treats a waitperson as a slave.
Well done (and I'm not talking about my filet mignon).
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on December 26, 2010:
Thanks fastfoodcynic! A little kindness to servers does indeed go along way, and makes us all a bit more human.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on December 26, 2010:
Thanks J. amie I agree with you wholeheartedly. I find most waiters and waitresses to be disarming, hard working people. I feel their pain when they're dealing with added stresses in a job that can have so many reoccurring. My wife says the same thing as you about having the 'serving bug'.
TheFastFoodCynic on December 26, 2010:
So true, most waiters and waitresses stare at the menu all day so most of them know a lot about what you are about to eat. Sometimes asking a a sever what would they order and they could give you helpful hints and great deals. A little kindness to your server will surprise you. A great server always want to be of "service" and when you let them help "serve" and appericate it, it gives a nice morale boost.
j.amie from PA on December 25, 2010:
hah! Agreed. I was the GM of a fine dining restaurant for several years, and boy do your comments hit home. Even in that upscale environment, respect was scarce for the service staff yet the offending consumers delighted in showing off to their friends that they knew my name and could trust my judgement in selecting their wine for the evening. It makes them feel special, or animalistically royal perhaps. Royal pain in the ass I think.
I miss the business though. Once it's in your blood, it's there. I firmly believe that everyone should work in a restaurant at least once, it will open their eyes:
attemptedhumour from Australia on September 06, 2010:
One of my mates tried to impress his girlfriend by taking her out to dinner. When asked how he would like his steak he replied. "With chips" i'm still laughing now forty years after the event. Having been a drink's waiter who could remember twenty five different drink's orders, they all get my respect, plus a tip too. Great hub. Cheers
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on August 22, 2010:
Server Justice: Thanks so much, I will check out the site!
Hub Llama: I appreciate your recognition! I try and try :)
Arctic Llama from Denver, CO on August 17, 2010:
Nice insight. This is why I like to randomly browse HubPages. Every once and a while you find a gem like this one :)
Server Justice on August 11, 2010:
I love this post!!! Check out my website to see some entertaining stories from the industry! www.stuckserving.com
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on June 27, 2010:
Thanks AHS! Everyone needs to see the value in serving and Servers! I learned a bit from my attempts though not as much as you I'm sure!!! It takes a certain type of soul.
SJ on June 21, 2010:
Ben, love that you gave it a shot, it's not for everyone. When I first started serving, other then the memorization, I actually found it to be pretty challenging...I kept thinking, 'how can this be this hard, it's just bringing food to be people and not dropping stuff.' But one day I was at the bar of my restaurant, studying for my state board exam for nursing, asking one of the waiters when he was going to stop using heroin, and a single mom I was friends with if she was going to put her baby's father in jail...and it had been 7 years of serving. I have no idea how that happened, just did. Honestly, I really liked it somehow, met great people, learned a lot. It was like life on methamphetamine.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on June 21, 2010:
Thanks ahs! It takes a lot of discernment and stamina to say the least, I've tried it more than once and it's too hot in the server kitchen for me! But I admire those like yourself who can do it and make serving look easy!
SJ on June 18, 2010:
How I loved this. I waited tables through most of high school and college, and I was definitely smarter than most of my customers. I called that laugh we do when an oh so witty customer cracks that joke that just is not funny my 'courtesy laugh.' If i had one more customer pronounce the 'l' in salmon, I swore I'd offer them a K-nife to go with it. On behalf of every person who has ever served, thank you...brilliant!
waiter shirt on May 15, 2010:
well put thanks so much
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 19, 2010:
Thanks Becca, I have always wanted to bartend at a roadhouse, but alas, both of my attempts were at fancier supper clubs and I wasn't very good at either of them! But I did meet a lot of servers/bartenders (and have dated/married a few!) enough to know what a time they have of people out there! I think most (maybe half?) of the customers are respectful, the other half are deranged! I met a man who treated servers terribly when I asked him why, get this, he said he was a server his whole life and people treated him terribly, so now it was his turn! I'm not perfect, but I wouldn't want to spread that kind of pain around!
Becca Hubbard-Woods from Outside your window. on February 19, 2010:
Either you or someone close to you has been a server. I served tables for almost 5 years and loved and hated every second of it. You hit everything on the head and had me smiling the whole time. You never fail to impress me with your writing skill. Loved every second of it! : )
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 18, 2010:
Good for you Flightkeeper, I have a lot of respect for those (myself included) that worked through college, it's not an easy balancing act! Here here!
Flightkeeper from The East Coast on February 18, 2010:
Ben, I was a waitress for the summers in between college. It's so true. If customers only knew...that's why I'm always nice to waiters and waitresses.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 18, 2010:
Hah, that's a great idea Janny! I wonder how long you wore the sign for?
JannyC on February 17, 2010:
I used to be a waitress enjoyed this! One thing I did was put a sign on me that said it was my birthday and boy did I make the tips! See not so dumb now am I?
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 17, 2010:
Thanks Magnoliazz! I've tried it several times in my life, I'm not too good at it! Which I guess is why I'm that much more impressed with those who can.
magnoliazz from Wisconsin on February 17, 2010:
Great hub, and very true! And...being a waitress or bartender is not at all easy. Most people could not do it. They deserve a lot of respect!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 10, 2010:
Thanks festersporling1, as someone who has enjoyed many a well made drink (and from someone who has failed miserably at attempts at bartending) I applaud your efforts. What's more, I hope you know that a lot of us out here really do appreciate the hard work of servers, bartenders and restaurant/bar managers!
Daniel Christian from Los Angeles, CA on February 09, 2010:
Haha, having spent years as a bartender, you are 100 percent correct!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on February 09, 2010:
suziecat: I get how managing a restaurant can be no picnic either. I told the "ribs" story to my wife (who managed/served for over ten years, we both had a good laugh at that!
stephensaldana from Chicago on January 29, 2010:
Thought provoking hub!!!!!!!
This hub can be regarded as most intriguing hub. The waiter and waitresses are definitely intelligent. This reason is that, they serve various kinds of people and in due course they learn a lot. I found some time they behave like a super intellect human beings. The ordinary looking phenomenon is depicted in very extraordinary way. Thanks a lot.
Mia from North Carolina on January 27, 2010:
So true is this well written article!!! Intelligence is sometimes measured in the compassion one shows STOOPID people !!! Great reading here!!
suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on January 27, 2010:
Great Hub - I managed a restaurant for many years so I know what you're talking about. I still work with the public. Just recently, I sold a rack of ribs to a woman who then asked me "Does it have bones in it?" Snicker, snicker. Or another when considering a bag of frozen shrimp said "Are these fresh?" duh
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on January 27, 2010:
Wow Laura thanks! My wife and I just finished reading your response. Good for your husband. I've met several restaurant managers and those people are good at not letting other's see them sweat! I always knew they had a juggling act going on but not nearly as much as you've described! Thanks for the compliment, I like your style!
Laura Thykeson from Central Texas on January 27, 2010:
Ben the wise one, lol! Good for you! My hubby is a restaurant manager, and people sneer at him all of the time when they find out what he does for a living. If they had to put up with the undisciplined, spoiled brat kids that work for him (when they WILL work), do all the paperwork, account for all the banking and paperwork and reports, watch the bottom line, labor costs, P&L reports, train new help and fire the losers, answer to all the higher ups, attend all of the meetings, along with the daily running of the store and getting it done correctly, they would think differently! He has been in the restaurant business for several years now, and even tho' it has nearly killed him, it's in his blood and secretly he loves it. He sometimes works 14 hour days, but never slows down. I don't see hoe he does it.
I recently wrote a hub about this very subject, but mine was about not looking down your nose at others if they are in the restaurant business. For one thing-it's practically recession-proof! People are always gonna eat!! Better to "flip burgers" :), than not have a job at all!! I am going to link this to my hub. Keep it up Ben-you rock!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on January 26, 2010:
GhostWhisperer: Thanks, sounds like a restaurant I wished I had gone to when I was single! One more reason to get my butt to Vegas. Thanks for your warm words.
GreenLotus: Thanks for the empathy, I feel you!!!
Hillary from Atlanta, GA on January 26, 2010:
Very good Ben. I got a laugh and a cry at the same time. I too was once a lowly waitress.
JG the IGNITER from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals on January 26, 2010:
I am really chuckling reading this one! Rock on! Funny yet truthful! I usually try to do my best to analyze the guest-and I am usually correct in personalities-many of us are indeed intelligent!
(Except that one job in LV where the white leather shorts kept falling down every three steps I took. I spent far too much time trying to keep them up than analyzing any customer. hehehe
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on January 26, 2010:
Mike: Thanks for the great anecdote, hilarious as usual! It really is a skill to be able to up sell on your feet, I don't know how those servers do it!
Gaming Guru: Thanks for the affirmation! As a restaurant manager I'm sure you see things from all sides.
Hello Hello: I don't know why people look down on others either. Methinks it's because no matter how grand their station in life, some people still espouse their own low self esteem.
Tammy: Thanks for the link up, and I agree about nurses as well! You could just as easily replace the word waitress with nurse!
Tammy Lochmann on January 26, 2010:
LOL Ben...this is how Nurses feel, and are treated. I never treat a waiter or waitress like a serf, I know better. I got a big kick out of this. I linked your "biggest loser" hub to my newest.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 26, 2010:
I don't know why people always to look down on others. On e does one job and the other does another and yet they are equally important. If you switched around they wouldn't how to start the other man's job. So stop looking down on anybody. Thank you for your hub and a good rea.
Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on January 25, 2010:
A waiter at a restaurant in Las Vegas saw me for an easy mark when I ordered the steak and crab legs. He asked if I would care to substitute prime rib for the steak, and I said, "Sure." I discovered when I got the bill that this substitution was worth $15 more.... He got me. I bowed to his superior intellect and paid.
A waitress at a far less upscale spot helped our party of eight, never wrote down a thing, and even kept things straight when some of us switched chairs! I was extremely impressed.
I do find sympathy in my heart for the wait staff that have to wear what might be called "themed" uniforms--costumes, in layman's terms. I have no problem with wait staff being asked to dress well, and I enjoy a waitress in slightly revealing garb as much as the next red-blooded male, but--I feel bad for folks that have to wear a ridiculous outfit for the sake of a restaurant's image.
Of course, as you suggest, in ten years they will probably be doctors and lawyers, and look back in sympathy at what they perceived as my income.
Life is all about trade-offs, right?
Thanks, Ben. This was an enjoyable read.