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Extra angry on a top.

San Diego, California. A day in a restaurant during the pandemic.

By Oleksandr MatvyeyevPublished 3 years ago 7 min read
Extra angry on a top.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

"Oleg, table nine left, no pay!"- I hear my manager's mom saying with a Vietnamese accent. "Okay, and what type of rice do you want with that? Steamed? Ok. Sriracha? Sure. Twelve packets of it? Sure(I had to squeeze that one out of me). How long will it take? Ten-twelve minutes. See you then, bye." And they say that there is no service in taking out. It blows my brains out how much service I have to do during some of these take-outs, and this is our future. "Oleg, table for four."-said M. showing four fingers.

A job in a restaurant. So many of us had it, so many of us have done it. Whether it was during school, filled with hard days at work and hard parties after, it could be a survival full-time job in the Meatpacking district in NYC or a part-time gig for your gas money in LA. It could be cash for a birthday gift for your partner or parents, or even your last retreat while looking for something more substantial to do in life. Regardless of the reason, whoever decides to walk into this hell deserves respect. It takes some courage to stand the action of serving people.

"Bing- new online order."- monotonously said delivery tablet.

I just came back from visiting my parents in Ukraine and it happened to be that I decided to ditch NYC for Cali smooth San Diego. I mean what was I thinking?

"Hey, I am here to pick up an order for Sarah."

"Sarah- I am walking towards the table with deliveries in front of me to check the name and see if it's ready.- It's not ready yet. Wait a few minutes."

"You told me to wait five minutes before."

"I did. I also said it is an estimate, “You infant." I hear inside my head roaring. "So much for expecting men over forty to be more patient."

"The order is not ready yet. It'll be ready in a few minutes."

The man joined the waiting line of people while shaking his head in disapproval. "If you can't wait, honestly, you are the one who came here before I hit the Order's ready button."

Bing, bing, bing. Another three online orders came across the table simultaneously. I look at it, I look forward and I say: " Good evening, what can I do for you? An order to go? Awesome. Traditional spring roll, Salt and pepper calamari? Done. And can I have your name? James? Ok, That will be 14,56. You gave me a twenty-dollar bill. Receipt? Here is your change, your order will be ready in ten-twelve minutes." If I don't get murdered.

By Clay Banks on Unsplash

"Bing, bing, bing, bing!" - Another four orders. Let's see. Brilliant. I wondered how long it has been since I put the menu on table three?

"Can I pay my bill?"


Table three:" This is great. I've been here twenty minutes at least. "

"Here is the menu. Sorry about that."

" I already know what I want to order."

"Okay. What will it be?" I heard a little "Bing" sound go in the back, while I was taking his order. After that, I marched back to the tablet, where M. was trying to get our guest's bill settled but because the communication was absent I gladly took over. I had to.

"That will be $25,86, please."

"Here is my card."

"Thank you."

"John, can you be here for a minute?"- I say to my younger colleague passing by in a rush, looking nervously if he missed another table.

"We have two more tables. They sat already."

"Oh, man. I need to drop water bottles for those ten people and take their order."

"Okay. Gotcha" I am walking around towards the two newly seated tables.

"Hello, finally, you are here. I didn't even get the menu. Barked a guy wearing a t-shirt with a logo in all caps: "emotionally flexible".

"I don't need a menu. I know what I want. I want rare steak Pho, hot tea, and two egg rolls."

"Bing! New online order."

"Egg rolls either come in there or six per order."

He nodded agreeably, taking the bitter pill. "Three, please."

"Got it." At least he is trying to live up to his t-shirt's standards. On my way back I was sporadically stopped as if a bolt of lightning stroked in front of me.

"Excuse me. Can we please order, we've been waiting and nobody came."

"I am here." You shall be saved.

Honestly, I have worked here for one month. And I have a message to all San Diegans. Respect your servers and tip them at least 20%, we are struggling! I thought new yorkers are dicks. Let me tell you something, a New Yorker can complain about something not being delivered to a table and still tip, because they get it. Here, in glorious San Diego, everything can be done well in a timely manner and NO TIP is received, and it's 20% of the time. Or if you go to a restaurant, ask yourself a simple question: "Can I afford it?" If you can't, don't go. It feels nearly worse when the bill is over 100 and you leave 7 bucks on a table. That is conveniently sadistic. Are you seriously considering yourself grown-ups after that? And also, especially those, who are educated, if you think you are smart, because you went to SDSU while your friend asked me for a glass of water and a bottle is standing in front of him, you say: It's my water.

Call your college and ask for a refund!

It's like my friend said: "If you can't afford to tip your server don't fucking go out!" She is from Philly. I agree with her. It's actually that simple.

When New Yorkers complain about something not being done according to their recipe they express it in the moment of that experience. They shape it all into their pissed-off behavior. And they still tip. Cuz they truly get what it's like to be you, to deal with their bad day at work, their eccentric behavior, their obliterated faces asking for a selfie and a shot of vodka after that.

Californians on the other side are whole another story. Their complaints are usually made of thin air inside their heads and if you complain of nothing then it must make you nothing and if that goes on, then all you can ever be is nothing. Simple, isn't it?

Here is a positive affirmation for the year 2022: "Start tipping your servers, Especially in California, even more so in San Diego!" We serve your food and we are barely making it above minimum wage. That is a fact! I work in a Vietnamese Bistro and I honestly have never seen such ungrateful customers. At first, I kept my optimism intact but then:

"Excuse me. - An elderly lady pulled me virtually with her finger while fighting someone on a phone.-I see a lot of beef in my broth."

I looked straight into her bowl. "Those are shallots, ma'am. They come with the broth."

"Okay." - she responded ambiguously.

Ten minutes later she came back to settle her bill.

" I still tasted beef in my broth."

I opened my eyes wide open in awe. Really? "Strange, I have never seen them pour beef broth into vegetarian noodle soup"

"I know, I've been here lots of times. I was wondering if I could get a discount?"

She is a regular. I see. Should we start like a membership discount on stupidity? We are all stressed and if you consider yourself a human being then act like one! You won't become less if you do, it all only nourishes your personality.

Asking yourself simple questions would help.

Can you afford it? Do you remember that it is a pandemic?

I know it is a temporary job, but how can I participate in the great resignation to get a better future for myself, and this includes all servers if all we can do is pay our bills? If you let go of your money and we will invest ours, then the world will just keep moving on more efficiently.

At the end of the day, one decides who he, she, or they are and what we put into ourselves, into this world! When you give me shit then by mat means of the law of attraction should you get anything better than that?

I am your server for tonight and that is it. Anyone who wants to do better will listen to this and the rest is going to have to eat the sandwich of their own making. Probably all by themselves too.

If you read this then you definitely get it. Thank you.

We are all nothing but servants to this world.

"What would you like to order today?"

Neat man, in his mid to late thirties, sat down at table two. He was focused on his thoughts. I could tell he was holding his breath a bit building the tension, waiting for his turn to speak. He opened his mouth delivering his merciless cannonade of suppressing fire.

"I would like to have Two Shrimp Spring Rolls, Chicken noodle soup, and iced coffee."

"So, Two orders of Shrimp spring roll, one Chicken noodle soup, and an iced coffee." My eyes were wide open and my eyebrows were raised.

"Yes. He replied. Good. thank you."

"Wonderful. Thank you"- I said with a smile while gently taking away the menu and marching back to my station. In about seven minutes I was back:

"Here are your two Shrimp Spring rolls."

"Oh, I ordered one shrimp spring roll."

"Oh, You ordered one shrimp spring roll.

You told me two. I asked you, remember?"

Where are you? (I asked him directly inside my head)

"Oh, I meant two Shrimp Spring rolls."

(No comment, just a little explosion going off inside my head).

Another masked man comes inside the restaurant. He was short, with a wide stance, wearing his earbuds inside his ears with a wire resting on his neck. He carried a phone in his left hand and his child in his right.

"Hello. Do you want to dine in or are you here to pick up an order?"

Showing his son in which direction the restroom was, he nodded and turned his head to face me: "Oh, I am here for David."

"David?" I asked him.


"Here."- giving him a bag full of goodies.- May I see the name in the app?"

"It says Devin here, man."

"Whatever. Devin then."


Bing, bing, bing, bing...

"Order for Sarah?"


About the Creator

Oleksandr Matvyeyev


I am an actor and a writer. I began to write since the pandemic began back in March of notorious 2020. I've crossed the South of the US on my bicycle and went home to Ukraine for 4 months. I have a lot to say, so let's begin.

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    Oleksandr MatvyeyevWritten by Oleksandr Matvyeyev

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