What’s Your Worst Server Nightmare?

It’s been a minute since I have written about the one thing all servers share, no matter what kind of restaurant they work in or how long they’ve been wearing an apron: server nightmares. Once you work in a restaurant, you can be certain that server dreams will forever be a part of your life, just like herpes or glitter after a very unfortunate crafting accident.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting the new girlfriend of my brother. As we were getting to know one another and I shamelessly plugged my own blog, she informed me that she too had been a server years earlier. She wore the apron for over a decade, so waiting tables was still in her blood and subconscious. I didn’t get close enough to know for sure, but I can only hope that the smell of waiting tables had long since been washed off her skin and out of her hair. The topic of server nightmares soon came up and she informed me of the worst one she has ever had. Unlike mine, where the restaurant is as big as the eye can see and the kitchen is like a mirage that’s always out of reach, her’s involved a menu that was written in Sanskrit.

“Damn, this girl’s smart,” I instantly thought. “My brain isn’t complicated enough to create a menu out of Sanskrit.”

“And the menu had sixteen different sizes of orange juice,” she said.

My blood turned cold at the very thought of people pointing to a menu that was written in a forgotten language and then having to decipher which size orange juice they wanted. “How would you memorize all those sizes?” I wondered. And where or where do you store all of the the glasses for that? Think about what your sidework would be like if it was your job to stock the sixteen different kinds of orange juice glasses. It makes me shudder.

The topic of conversation turned to other things, but I eventually steered it back to the sixteen sizes of orange juice and we began to come up with what the sizes would be called. We got through about five sizes, but then that night, as I laid in bed unable to fall asleep, I began to come up with the remaining eleven sizes of this nightmare orange juice scenario:

  1. Micro mini
  2. Teeny Tiny
  3. Venti
  4. Kinda small
  5. Teacup
  6. Medium-ish
  7. Mid-Range
  8. Toddler
  9. Orange
  10. 6-9 Months
  11. 7 3/4
  12. Life Size
  13. Regular
  14. 36 x 30
  15. Double D
  16. Todd

Surprisingly, I did not have a server dream that night. Maybe by actively embracing the horror of sixteen different sizes of orange juice and keeping it solidly in my consciousness, I kept it from seeping into my subconscious that night. Besides that, a Sanskrit menu and sixteen sizes of orange juice is Betsy’s horror show, not mine. The next time I have a sever nightmare, it will be my  familiar mile-long dining room with a kitchen I can never reach. That’s my own personal nightmare and I’ll let Betsy keep hers.

What about you? What’s your server nightmare?

8 thoughts on “What’s Your Worst Server Nightmare?

  1. Kitchenmagician007@hotmail.com

    Im an extra in a movie set in front of a national monument. In this scene im a waiter that is supposed to pretend to take a couples order. Quickly i write down their order and walk briskly to the base of the monument through a series of mazes and tunnels where i get to the pos. As im pretending to put in their order, the floor supervisor appears and asks if ive been put in the system yet. I say no and he starts to type on the pos, then he hands me a phone so i can complete my paperwork. I wake up on the phone with the irs trying to straighten out what i will claim and in a cold sweat. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to give this nightmare its much needed serenity.

    1. Sean Caldwell

      I was a Playboy Bunny…my nightmare is fitting into my 22inch waist costume! I am 60 now…still a server and this nightmare never ends!!!

  2. Dorie

    My server nightmare is waiting on tables up a flight of stairs and across the street and I can’t keep up! I’ve had that one several times!

  3. Duggie

    The kitchen is located at my house, a 20-minute drive from the restaurant, so after taking orders I have to get in my car, drive home to pick up the food and then drive back to the restaurant to deliver it.
    I am happy to report that I have not had a work dream since working at a terrible restaurant in 2007. I gave my notice the day I woke up from that dream.

  4. Leslie

    In my server nightmares I’m ways in a different restaurant that my current job said I HAD to go work in to “help out.” Then I get there, I have no training on the menu or new computer system, that for some reason is different than every other restaurant POS out there. So I basically wander around for hours, taking people’s orders, not ringing them in and panicking.

    1. Kellie Ann Ward

      I am usually asked to come back to a place I used to work. Nothing looks the same though. The POS is usually somewhere I can barely reach, and it’s all crazyfied. I don’t know the table numbers and can’t find the chart for sections. I go around taking TONS of orders but never have enough paper to write on, and then I get to the POS and can’t find and/or read what I wrote down, plus can’t operate the computer. My tables start to leave because I haven’t been back to them in like 4 days and I’m mortified. Thankfully I usually wake up around this point. Good God, after just typing all of that, maybe I need to get out of the biz after my 20ish years in (not counting fast food work in younger years). 🙀

  5. Joan

    They just keeping coming in. I get my big tray all loaded up with soup, salad, cocktail glasses with a big garnishes and as I go to pick it up a very very large person comes and accidentally bumps my perfectly balanced full tray with their ginormous ASS and all my perfectly balanced items go crashing to the floor. And they are still coming in.


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