Every week, Perdeby sends their journalists to experience something out of their comfort zones. In this week’s experience piece, Asleigh Nefdt was a waitress for the first time.
It all started one morning during the last few days of the December holiday before university. Like most students, I too had allowed the summer to seduce me into spending money carelessly.
I needed a job. I followed the same direction that most students, struggling actors and female leads in movies do, I became a waitress. Anyone who has ever waitressed will tell you that the first day is the toughest.
I arrived at the restaurant to be met by a swarm of people gliding between tables. I was given a clean uniform and an apron. It all looked so glamorous.
As the kitchen roared with the sound of orders coming through, the bartenders swished, mixed and made masterpieces out of liquor, I couldn’t help but feel intimidated, like a child playing pretend.
I began serving my first few tables and I felt like I was coping with the job.
That was until happy hour struck, we were one waitron down, I had to serve a table of 20 businesspeople and to top it all off, it was raining.
I raced back and forth fetching orders for tables that weren’t mine and trying to memorise things I didn’t have time to write down. I recited orders over and over again in my head for a table of twenty and still forgot one. I carried multitudes of cocktails, slipped and tripped and prayed that I wouldn’t drop anything.
I served hot food that burnt my hands and wondered at how the veteran waitrons did it all.
In situations like this, you just have to deal with the people, good or bad, calculate bills in your head but watch children smile at the size of their milkshake. You pay out your own money when people underpay, but also want to chase after them and hug them when they do tip you. You’ll walk 8km in total from going to and from the kitchen, but also be happy when you look up and see another waitress in the same position as you. Somehow after all of that, you end the night feeling kind of heroic.
In the end, I was happy that I took up the opportunity even if it was very though as I had learned a lot.