From Rachel Masterson, Kitchenette Jezebel
I grew up in a small southern town, the kind with the picturesque courthouse and magnolia-lined town square, and for some reason really wanted to be a waitress in this one cafe. It was our only cafe, I suppose, but it was an antiques store during the day and had a small indoor koi pond, so my sheltered adolescent brain thought it was classy as hell.
I applied as a high school freshman, and they put me in the back kitchen. The owner was quickly revealed to be a jerk, but he had a pretty logical system (I think) that new people do the hardest jobs so the more experienced servers will empathize with them during a rush. This meant that I was a freshman nerd in the back, and all the servers were literally the most popular junior and senior girls in school. Cheerleaders every one of them, and at least one future homecoming queen. But the system worked, and everyone was nice to me at work, and we didn’t really have reason to interact at school, so it was copacetic.
One fateful night, my eighth night working there, they decided to book nearly the entire restaurant in two parties on full menu. A group of 20-25 arrived at 7:00, followed by another the same size at 7:30. On full menu. The whole place could sit maybe 75. Fucking madness. The kitchen was tiny, just me and a cool older woman, so we were inventing places to plate things and barely holding it together, but it was alright.
Food for the 7:00 table went out around 7:45, and frustratingly, the assholes at the second table flagged the waitresses down to take what they assumed were their meals. We heard some of it, and it sounded like the kind of entitled, fat, old, white, lecherous men you would expect to flaunt their relationship with the owner to get what they want. Then, the first table realized what was happening, and used their same grossly lecherous nature to harass the waitstaff for giving away their food.
Someone flagged down the owner (surprise, both tables are buddies with him), and he started throwing everyone under the bus. Whoever was in sight, he just dressed them down in front of the staff for being incompetent. Then he came to the kitchen.
The cook quit as he walked in the door, she was taking none of his shit. I was left standing in a kitchen that was still overwhelmed, a few weeks short of 15 years old, and he started moving things around telling me that I’m slow and stupid.
He touched about two plates, hesitated (because he had no idea what he was doing) and I loudly told him something like, “Yelling at teenage girls to impress your friends isn’t going to get them their food as fast as letting us do our jobs.”
He stopped, dumbfounded, and wandered off, tirade over.
The two girls in the bathroom, crying, heard everything and told the rest of them. We survived the night. I was put on probation for not knowing the sauce combinations (bullshit), and to everyone’s surprise they were evicted a week later for not paying rent.
My coworkers told the others what I’d said. They were more than sweet to me at school, and I never once had a problem with a popular girl the whole time I was there.