Working in the Service Industry can be both stressful and pleasurable

By Diana Arutyunyan

I have always wanted to be more independent from my parents. I was constantly arguing with them and trying to convince them that I am an adult and that I should be able to make decisions for myself. I came to the realization, though, that if I want to be independent, I would have to take responsibility.

This is when I understood that working is part of being an adult. My parents have often suggested that I should focus on school work and maybe go to work later. Although I followed their advice for most of high school, I have recently started working in my senior year. 

Working at a pizza place is definitely a high school job, and it provides me with a wealth of valuable experience that will aid me in future career fields such as business, management, and so on.

Being a host can be stressful, however. Although the only things I have to do is to seat people, help them if they need something, take to-go orders and help with pick-up service, dealing with customers is not easy. 

First of all, servers often have to work with so-called “Karens.” On my very first day (which was a training period) we were really busy. We had a full house with people on the waitlist and a bunch of online orders. It should have been obvious that preparing the food would take longer than expected.

However, several customers came to check on their pizzas every five minutes. Customers like this often look at me and the other hosts as if we are lying and hiding their pizza somewhere in the back.

At some point, this particular customer just started yelling at me. He was screaming that we didn’t value him as a customer. To be completely honest, at that moment I really wanted to say that he was indeed not valued or welcome, however, I of course held my tongue. Due to the stress, though, I could actually feel my heart beating faster and faster. The man then left with his pizza while I was shaking for the rest of the day. 

Another case that happened a few days ago had nothing to do with the customer but rather with delivery. Our place delivers food through various delivery companies so their drivers pick up the food. A driver came in and was waiting for us to pack the food. Once she got that, she just threw the food on the floor. As it turns out, she was not sober. 

“It was such a show. She literally threw the box with pizza on the floor and all the people were looking at her. I didn’t know how to deal with this so we ended up with the owner actually taking care of this problem. When things like this happen, I have a hard time,” my coworker Olga said. 

Another case happened when the delivery guy came for two orders. While the first one was ready, the second one needed 20-30 more minutes . While this is fine for the driver, it is our pizza place that will be blamed for the cold food because he decided to wait.

There are a lot of cases like these that happen every day. People complain and blame us for things outside of our control.

However, even with the stress of working with challenging customers, working in a restaurant is worth it. Most of the time people are happy and satisfied with the service. They are very thankful and polite, sometimes even leaving tips for the staff. The people that I work with are very nice, and we have become good friends. 

I am enjoying this work. I think it is a great experience because I learn new things, I meet new people, I am socializing. I do believe that having those cases with “Karens” is stressful but it gives me great experience (and a test of my patience) and it is really nothing compared to the good part of this job.