Does Anyone Still Wear A Hat? While Waitressing?

Summer is upon us and the humidity level is creeping higher and higher. Here on the East Coast, the weather is a crazy thing to me. Having lived here for 16 years I am still not used to the fact that in the winter it can be 5° and then in the summer it can be 95°. What the hell kind of place is this? And I don’t care what people say about it not being the heat but the humidity. If it’s 95° it’s fucking hot no matter what the humidity level is. The reason I’m so flumfluxxed about the temperature is because I have to wear a uniform to work and that uniform is black pants and a long sleeve black button up shirt. You try wearing that and walking into the depths of holy hell that we call the subway and try to stay fresh for more than three minutes. It’s impossible. When I get off the train and get to work, it’s not pretty sometimes. Sure, I could carry my uniform to work in a garment bag, but really? A garment bag that carries a stain covered pair of pants and a faded dress shirt? Not worth it. Or I could fold it and carry it in a bag, but really? And then get to work and have to wear a stain covered pair of pants and a faded dress shirt that is also wrinkled? A true dilemma. So what do I do? I wear it and and turn into a big hot sweaty mess and then serve my guests looking like a tired dried up French whore who just gave a blow job in a sauna.

At my last job, I could wear whatever I wanted which was a good thing for about two weeks. And then I realized I was getting all my real clothes stained with coffee and grease and I started longing for a uniform again. I don’t know who came up with the universal uniform for restaurant folks to be khakis, but that’s what it is most of the time. Pizzeria Uno, Bennigan’s, Houlihan’s and Black Eyed Pea were all khakis. I have spent about 13 years of my life being forced to wear Dockers and Gap pants.

My big issue with a uniform is when the restaurant requires you to wear a certain article of clothing but they make us pay for it. That pisses my shit off. If I have to wear that ugly ass burgundy shirt, Mr. Houlihan’s, I don’t want to pay for it. Same thing with you, Mr. Black Eyed Pea. I have to buy the green shirt with the stupid ass embroidered logo? Or sometimes they will give you one shirt but if you want another it comes out of your paycheck. Fuck that. I will take the one free shirt and wear that bitch every day until it has so much food on it that it walk itself into the restaurant and start picking up shifts.

If I have to wear a uniform, I want to wear one that has some personality. I want a little hat and an cute frilly apron and a name tag. I want a big starched white collar and white sneakers. I want bright red lipstick and a beehive. Basically, I wanna be Flo from the television show Alice. I have written about her before and I have even been her for Halloween. Now that’s a uniform.

And does anyone get what the post title is referring to? Does anyone still wear…a hat?

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I wait tables and bitch about it on my blog, The Bitchy Waiter.

22 thoughts on “Does Anyone Still Wear A Hat? While Waitressing?

  1. i worked one summer at a McDonalds. i was a closer, so i showed up for work at 6 pm to wait on customers and then had to tear apart the store and clean it for the breakfast shift the next morning. we'd usually leave by 2 am or so. my uniform was a two piece polyester monstrosity, and they wanted us to wear a hat thingy that was a ballcap brim with a little elastic band holding it to our head. i hated McDonalds, and i hated the sweaty, hot uniform even more. it smelled bad. i felt bad. and when i quit, i got to give it back to them…enjoy, McDonalds!love your word verification is "messi". which reminds me of when i spattered milkshake remnants all over my manager one night while dismantling the shake machine. but that's another story.

  2. "I wear it and and turn into a big hot sweaty mess and then serve my guests looking like a tired dried up French whore who just gave a blow job in a sauna." I'm gonna have that stuck in my head ALL day!!

  3. At Hooters, we have to buy all our uniforms (save for the one black and one classic orange and white they give us at orientation). That's right, we have to buy all of that from Hooters: tank, shorts, nylons, sock, pouch, shoes. That totals to just over $70 a uniform. Seriously. Now, I'm not having to buy all parts of the uniform at once obviously, but it's still expensive. I probably buy nylons an average of once a week, maybe every two if I'm lucky. At four dollars a pop that shit adds up. But I guess I signed up for it, right?

  4. I'm on the east coast too. This weather SUCKS right now. The kicker at my restaurant is that we wear short-sleeve polos…. no matter how cold it is in the wintertime. We're not allowed to wear a black long-sleeve underneath, nothing. I get so fucking cold at time I stand in the grill line trying to warm up. And ironically enough, my word verification is "i caring"

  5. Hey Bitchy,I've been reading your blog for a while. Started first by reading "Girl and Guitar" and then followed her link to you. I've been a restaurant groupie for …years!! And now I've got like four kids in food service! Shit!What the suits never seem to realize is that the front-of-house "glad rags" that they make the waitstaff drape themselves in are an important part of their marketing message. Say what you want about someplace like Hooters, for example, but at least their marketing message is consistent. I swear if I see another cookie-cutter khakis-and-polo uniform I'm gonna puke! Tux shirts and black pants or skirts are almost as bad. Positioning is what it's all about in business to make your product offering stand out. Even the simplicity of whites and a contrasting apron, like red, green, or even orange, says more than a stupid-ass polo shirt! Don't even get me started on jeans and a logo'd tee-shirt! Can we tell the staff from the customers?Anyhoo, I enjoy your blog a lot and congrats on Blog of Note.Bdrumr56

  6. I can still conjure up the olfactory memory of fried-grease embedded in every polyester fiber of the two-tone brown pants suit uniform I used to wear doing food service at the University of Minnesota back in the 1980s. No amount of Tide could get out that smell. It was awful. Oh, great — now I remember the cockroaches, too!P.S. You're a good writer, BW. Thanks for making me laugh. xo

  7. Working in a kitchen quite a bit, I've had to sweat it out year round in the past… since then, I've moved on to retail the corporate giants have deemed all black shoes, black slacks, and (preferrably long sleeve) light blue dress shirt the appropriate work attire. Kind of sucks when I'd been unemployed 7 months, feel lucky to get the job, then told that I have to come up with a uniform out of my own pocket. Thank god for mom's department store credit card.At least we're not forced to wear the over-priced ones they offer with a logo… that we're forced to pay for with our own check card/credit card, because the cheap fucks won't even authorize payroll deductions.

  8. Just for common sense sake… Why doesn't the restaurant have uniforms according to the seasons? Is there some health law that u have to wear long sleeves 365 days a year? As far as those hats, that is crazy a cool do rag would be nice.

  9. Im from Florida, so I know how you feel. But, atleast you get 5degree weather at some point during the year. Florida's winter is considered anything that goes below 80.

  10. Wouldn't be nice if servers could have the linen service press and starch. Damn that would be nice. Everyone would look so sharp and neat. Locker room with showers too. go with clean pressed uniforms. Fantasy I'm sure. I ate at Lowery's in Chicago recently and I could swear our lovely server was wearing a little hat thing. This was after many spirits so I could be mistaken. It was a dress with a small apron/pinafore.

  11. Never seen my waiter or waitress wearing a hat – and you'll never see your nurse wearing one, unless it's an old dried out 80 year old shoulda retired but we keep her for the novelty factor!! I agree if they wanna MAKE you wear it, then they should BUY it, not you!! Hell, they can have it back when ya move on!! *L* (sorry, imagining the nastiness of THAT!) What do they think you're gonna do with these fashion masterpieces?!

  12. i agree with you on the weather here on the east coast… hot is hot and hot pluss humidity is miserable! im a western gurl, i like my heat DRY, not wet! but 95 degrees is fucking hot no matter where your at!

  13. When I used to bartend in New York, this one place made us all go buy three bright yellow dress shirts from BROOKS BROTHERS. And made us bring in all three to prove we bought more than one and wouldn't be wearing the same nasty shirt every day. You ever bartend in a bright yellow dress shirt? That shit doesn't last very long.

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