Welcome to my blog, aka my place to comment and reflect on things I find inspiring, amusing, irritating, or baffling. When I was young, my Stanford PhD, former physics professor, software engineer father used to help me with my math homework, and I, being mentally deficient in all things math, could never quite get it. He would constantly say to me, "Jill, it's not rocket science." (Did I mention the PhD was in Aeronautics and Astronautics??) So I thought it would be an appropriate title for this blog because everything I write about is, indeed, not rocket science.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Service Industry Experience Should Be a Life Requirement

In high school, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant called The Good Earth. I was 15-16 years old, just trying to earn some extra spending money, and I was often treated poorly and even yelled at (I told a family that they couldn't put a high chair at the end of a booth because it was against the fire code, and they yelled at me and stormed out). It turned me into a cynic, and I hated that. So I quit. Ever since, I have said that everyone should work in the service industry (retail, restaurant, etc.) at least once in their life because it makes you a better person: more understanding, compassionate, and patient. 

I also worked at Gap for a while after college, when I was searching for a "real" job. For the most part my experience was pleasant, but every once in a while, I encountered a real jerk. Usually it was someone trying to return something without a receipt and wanting cash back (I've never heard of a store that allows this except Nordstrom). People would complain to me about the return policy, because a $10/hour cashier sure has a lot of say in determining corporate policy. I never took it personally and understood that it was just people venting their frustrations to the person in front of them. But overall, I found that working retail was more pleasant than working at the restaurant - I think people are ruder when it comes to their food.

People who are jerks to waiters probably have never worked at a restaurant before, hence my reasoning for service industry employment being a requirement in life! My grandparents were notoriously snarky with waiters, and my family and I joke that they probably ate a lot of boogers (or worse!) in their day. You just don't mess with someone who is serving you food! Of course there are exceptions when it's appropriate to be firm with a waiter (when they're terrible), but I think some people get off on treating others poorly - especially those who are "serving" them. It's an ego-boosting, "I'm better than you," sicko power trip. I want to round up these people and force them to bus tables at their local Applebee's. Then maybe they'll think twice the next time they're nasty to a server - they never know what unwanted surprise they might find in their food.

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