I think it was Shakespeare who wrote this famous line about everyone’s favorite useless article of clothing, the neck tie:
To wear, or not to wear, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of a stupid ass tie,
Or to take it off and show a Sea of chest hair,
And by opposing end them: to fuck it, to wear
No more; and by a vote, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural knots
That ties are heir to?
Yeah, Bard of Avon, I hear ya. Wearing a tie as a server is pain in my neck and I too am wholly against it. I got an email from work the other day mentioning a possible uniform change. “I’d like for servers and runners to wear a purple tie over black button downs. Please give me your feedback on this,” the email said. Here is my feedback: NO!
I worked at The Marriott for six years and every day I was there I wore a tie; the same tired tie that was tied into a double Windsor knot on the day I was hired and it stayed that way until the day I left. It hung in my locker and was never untied or wash. It collected crumbs, bacteria, stains and ire. I think wearing a tie while serving in a restaurant is silly. How many of us who have had to wear ties as servers have looked down to notice that our tie just went for a quick dip in the cream of tomato soup for the lady at position one? It happens. When we are carrying a tray of drinks and it almost spills, the first thing we do is bring it closer to our bodies to try to regain the balance. Sometimes we spill the drinks on that tray and our uniform is covered in Coke or cocktails. The shirt, pants and apron all get tossed into the laundry that night. The tie, however, gets wiped down with a damp cloth and laid out to dry. The next day, it’s a little stiff but what are you gonna do? Dry clean it?
Women have it even worse. What woman wants to wear a button down man’s shirt buttoned all the way to the top and then put a tie on? How in the hell is a woman like my co-worker Lo supposed to show off her amazing cleavage to improve her tips when the occasional straight guy sits in her station? It’s downright misogyny, I tell you!
Another reason ties are bad in restaurants is because they are dangerous. Imagine, if you will this scenario:
Darla is at work in her required tie. She is in the sidestand grinding the coffee beans for all the coffee that day. Darla is a little bit shorter than the other servers so she has to stand on a stool in order to pour the beans into the grinder. It’s early in the morning and Darla is a little bit hungover from the night before when she went to the $2.00 Margarita round up and spent 22 bucks. Darla is half paying attention when she begins to dump in another pound of beans. She has flipped her tie over her shoulder in order to keep it from getting dirty. She really cares about her tie. So there she is, standing on a stool and looking into the grinder to see why it is making that weird noise. She thinks it is just the machine doing its thing, but really it hasn’t been right ever since Moe dropped an espresso spoon into it and fucked it up. She leans over to get a better view when her tie falls from her shoulder and into the grinder. Immediately, the tie is pulled downward, caught in the gears and coffee grinds. Darla does not panic at first because it seems like she would be able to just pull the tie out quickly and move on to filling the creamers. But the coffee grinder has a mind of its own. It grabs at the tie, not ready to give up and in turn it pulls Darla closer and closer to the machine. “Oh, shit,” says Darla. “Can somebody help me, please?” The only other person in the dining room at that time is Edgar the bus boy who is eating an egg and cheese on a roll and is not on the clock yet. He ignores her because the night before she only tipped him out $35 but according to her sales report that Edgar printed out, she should have given him $40. “Fuck you, bitch,” me muttered in between bites of his deli sandwich.
By now Darla is worried. The tie is being pulled tighter and tighter and she is having trouble breathing. The switch to shut it off is just out of reach. She struggles to stretch her little short arms to the red button but as she does, the stool she is standing on slips out from under her and falls to its side. Darla is now grasping for air. “Help! Oh my Gog, help me, Edgar!! I can’t breathe!”
“I’m not punched in yet,” he says.
Darla is on her tip toes with her hands at the top of the machine trying to pull herself up when the coffee grinder comes crashing down on her, spilling beans and coffee grinds all over the floor. “Goddammit, bitch. I just fucking mopped that last night. Fuck!” yelled Edgar. But Darla didn’t hear him. Her ears are full of House Blend and her head is crushed from the weight of the machine. She is barely breathing but she manages to whisper out one more sentence before her life slips away to a world of 25% automatic gratuity, no tip-outs and never any sidework. “Edgar,” she whispers.” “Tell the manager that the milk is about to expire…and that I hate wearing ties at work.” With that, the life slipped out of Darla and her eyes closed forever.
Edgar, now finished with his breakfast, looks at Darla’s lifeless body and the mess surrounding her. “Fuck this shit, man. I quit.” He reaches into the cooler and gets a quart of orange juice and walks out the door.
Moral of the story: ties suck!