Next, I got a job at a beer restaurant. Many college students worked waiting tables, so I thought it must be easy enough to do even if you are an inexperienced youth.
The restaurant was run by one of the major beer brewing companies. The interior had a quasi-German decoration, and staff wore uniforms that remotely looked like the Oktoberfest costume. They never took down the hiring ad, which implied the staff rarely stayed long. Beautiful, model-looking girls were deployed as hostesses at the reception. Most newcomers started from waiting tables until they eventually could move up to “silver,” who looked after the cutlery, or “pantry” who dealt with plates.
I remembered the restaurant was recently introduced on TV because of the elderly man who was a “master beer server.” He was at the beer server counter and did nothing but pouring beer. From what I saw on TV, he tilted and straightened the glass at the perfect angle to the tap of the server. This sealed the carbohydrates with creamy, long-lasting foam, which kept beer fresh and delicious. He was a revered figure among baby-faced waiters. I wanted to be respectful, but I had to carry multiple glasses of beer at a time that my wrists started to hurt. I spilled beer on the tray once and had to return to the master. I apologized to him, who sneered at my clumsiness and reluctantly poured another in front of me.
About a week into the job, I was carrying a bowl of coleslaw to a table. When I got there, I noticed their drinks hadn’t arrived yet. We were told to serve drinks first, so I turned around so I could come back once the drinks were served. A waiter who had the drinks and noticed I noticed the drinks were missing, rushed to the table and crashed into me as I was turning around. The long cocktails fell on the tray, spilling the icy-cold liquid straight over the head of a customer who had sat by where we collided.
The restaurant manager hurried to the scene and took the drenched customer behind to dry her hair and clothes. I apologized to the customer feeling completely inadequate. It wasn’t entirely my fault because I couldn’t see behind me, and the waiter made too swift a movement to cause the collision. But I was new and had already spilled beer once, so I came to a hasty conclusion that it was all my fault. No one blamed me, which made me even more ashamed. I stayed with them for another week before letting them know I was quitting. They seemed to be used to people leaving, though they said they were sorry to let me go. It would have been a beautiful story if I persisted and overcame the hardships to become a top waitress or even a beer server.
In the U.S., I read many notable writers, actors, and young politicians waited on tables before earning income as their current professions. Their humble experiences have made their success more heroic, and I understood it was due to socio-economic factors. But it sounds as though the success story is only valid if the poverty is temporary. In reality, there are people whose profession remain to be waiting tables or serving beer, and they rarely receive the same level of respect or hardly a living wage. Therefore, the success stories exist at the expense of the opposite end of the spectrum, and the spectrum is incredibly broad in the U.S.
My experiences were nothing but an embarrassment. Almost all college students did some part-time jobs, and they did the job far more excellently than I did. I know this because I never got drinks spilled over my head nor received wrong changes when I bought a piece of cake.
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