Okay, I am about to share with you a very embarrassing moment that will probably forever ruin any desire to be a server. This is one of those moments that comes up to haunt you in the middle of the night and you do that weird twitch with your body and turn to your other side in hopes of forgetting it ever happened.
Last year, this wonderful lady, Jackie (Not her real name, but for privacy), at my church asked me to help her with her catering service at a small family get together. At first, I was going to be helping in the kitchen with clean up and I wouldn’t be serving (Mind you I had no experience whatsoever with the etiquette of serving). She had three other girls that were going to help, including my sister. However, the day before the gig I find out that two of the girls (who had experience) weren’t going to be helping. My sister and I were going to be servers instead. At this point, I was just a little nervous knowing that I had no clue what I was supposed to do. My only experience serving was watching the waiter or waitress serve me at a restaurant that I ate at (Oh goodness, I’m sweating as I’m writing this).
So, the day of the job comes along and my sister and I hop in the car of the caterer and her assistant. We drive through the beautiful scenery and we eventually approach our destination. The house is beautiful. It has a long driveway leading up to the top of their house. It looks big, but not as big as I thought it would be. I was wrong. As we enter their house, they have a map…
Let me repeat that..
A MAP of their house and it’s property.
This isn’t a simple “oh let’s have a cutesy drawing of our three bedroom one bath house,” this is a full blown, elegant map showing a house with like five rooms, four baths (I don’t remember the exact numbers), a tennis court, pool deck, and land for agriculture. Okay, by now my heart is pumping, this is the REAL DEAL. I’m just a little intimidated. There is no screwing up at this thing. The pressure is on.
Now, you have to understand one thing about me: I put major pressure on myself to perfect things and am a people pleaser. No matter how nice and forgiving a person may seem, I will still be freaking out about making things perfect for them.
I would like to make one thing very clear. These people were so kind! After we pulled up to the house, both the husband and wife who hired us came out and welcomed us. They were SO sweet and were very laid back. I should have felt no pressure whatsoever, but as I normally do, I pointlessly pressured myself.
They took us on a small tour of the house (which was gorgeous and so classy) and then guided us along what they would like the table setup to look like. The wife even helped us with the set up, which I thought was very kind.
The Wine Glasses
Anyway, back to the squirmy part…
She asked my sister and I to buff the wine glasses…
I have never done that before in my life, which may seem surprising, but my parents don’t drink wine. We try buffing the glasses, but there are still spots all over it! We buff them again, and there are still spots! I was so scared that we did something wrong, but it was just the wine glass’ fault. My sister and I finish the setup and wait for Jackie to finish the food. I ask Jackie what the etiquette is for serving. She tells me you serve from the left and smile and etc. She assured me everything was going to be fine and that they were very nice people.
Okay, phew, I guess that made me feel a little better, not much though…
The Dreaded Water Pitchers
So the big reveal of the servers approaches and my sister and I fill the water pitchers.
These water pitchers were SO HEAVY! And we had to hold them with one hand! The longer we held it, the weaker our arms got. We go out to fill the waters and to my dismay, YOU CAN’T FIT IN BETWEEN THE CHAIRS.
YOU CAN’T FIT IN BETWEEN THE CHAIRS!!!
The chairs are so close to each other that you have to reach super far, practically shoving your chest in the person’s face. I’m five foot one so my reach is not very long.
Don’t forget about the heavy water!
So I go to fill up the grandmother’s cup and, of course, I spill. I SPILL.
Oh goodness, I’m shaking and trying to keep up my smiley face without crying. I apologize and she is so kind and understanding. Luckily, I didn’t actually spill ON her, but all over the table.
I’m kind of happy it was the grandmother I spilled near because everyone knows that the grandmother would be the most reassuring, forgiving person.
The family was so kind and totally brushed off the event, but me? No. The night was ruined. I was ruined. I was determined never to do this again. If I spilled within the first five minutes of serving, what worse thing would I do in the next hour?
The Deceiving Restaurant Waiters
The story isn’t over. This next moment isn’t even a stupid, clumsy mistake. It was an intellectually stupid mistake.
So as you know I only have experience watching servers at restaurants. They ask the whole table if they would like more bread or water, small stuff like that. I knew you didn’t actually have a conversation with the people, but I figured small questions about their needs was fine.
I was wrong.
You are supposed to act like you are not there.
I go to refill their bread. Clasp my hands and say “Hello everyone, I hope you are enjoying your food, would you like anymore bread?”
*cue face palm*
Once those words came out of my mouth I knew something was wrong. The whole table stopped to look at me, kinda confused, and then the wife says (very kindly) “No thank you, Lizzie. Thank you very much.” ( or something like that) she was very kind and I didn’t get any snobby or “how dare you” vibe from any of the family members, but I knew I did something out of the normal from their slightly confused faces and I was mortified.
I practically ran back into the kitchen to Jackie and face palmed. Literally face palmed.
I explained to her what happened and she started cracking up. It was obvious that was NOT what I was supposed to do, but she, her friend, and my sister started laughing so hard. I started laughing too realizing my stupid mistake, but I was so disappointed in myself and I felt betrayed by the waiters in restaurants. They deceived me on proper etiquette of private party catering!!!
Needless to say, after we were finished serving the courses, my sister took care of the refilling of wine and water. I stayed in the kitchen doing dishes. But hey, I got paid really well, but at the cost of my dignity.
I’m still mortified and it probably seems like nothing at all to you guys, but it was a BIG DEAL to me. Some of you might relate to my personality and I hope you don’t go through anything like this.
As I continue to try to forget while I squirm in my bed and slightly twitch as I am writing, I have come to the conclusion that serving is not for me. I think I will be a port-o-potty cleaner instead.
Share your embarrassing story! Leave a comment at the top of the page. The best stories will be published!