Do not be anal when sweeping. Appreciate those superior to you. Ignore the illiteracy of your coworkers. If you are not busy, ask the cook if she needs something to drink. Do not eat pie in front of those on a diet. Do not complain that your shirt is too big; you are skinny and you should be thankful for that. Be courteous to all customers. Unless they are really rude, then there's a procedure for that too. Keep the syrup bottles in the fridge so they don't fill up with ants. Waffle cookies are best eaten frozen. Do not keep your personal food items in the fridge. Check that the creamer isn't spoiled before you pour it into a customer's coffee. A “warm-up” means they want more coffee. Don't be offended when you don't get tipped; it probably has nothing to do with you. Remember the regular customers' “usual”; they do not like to be asked again. Do not get upset when they call you Blondie; your real name doesn't matter. You worked a $300-day – congratulations, you must be exhausted. Your tips make up for you not being paid minimum wage. Don't leave the milkshake machine unattended. Honey does not microwave well. We're short $57 today; it must have been you. Never mind, here's a $57 check I forgot to enter. Are you stealing silverware? Did you fill the ketchup bottles or just hide the empty ones in the back? These are a dead woman's paintings, and yes they are lovely. Why can't anybody spell? Do you want that warmed up with ice cream? You broke the yolk; why do you hold your spatula like that? It's all in the wrist. Don't put the mayo away yet; we'll get a rush – I can feel it. I understand, a hangover. Go lie down in the back; I'll do your job. Wait. I don't understand. Your boyfriend was only wearing underwear and cowboy boots? That was even funnier the second time you told me. I put this sticker here so that you can't see my bra through the hole in my shirt. Don't wear knee socks. You can't wear shorts. Okay, do what you want, but I'm going to wear shorts. If you don't like the way I talk, go get a job somewhere else. Does this say sausage patty or half a grilled cheese? What if the health inspector were to walk in right now? Some customers just got here, but your mouth is full of huckleberry ice cream. Does this kid get a menu? Can he even read? Why not let him play in the jelly; it's not your problem is it? No, please don't walk out. I'm sorry – I was just so busy I didn't notice you come in. Yes, I know there are only ten tables. Please hurry up and leave so I can vacuum. You are aware that we're closing now, right? Oh, sure, that's fine, no hurry. Okay, just two hours and fifteen minutes left to go. You can do it. Get out there. Put a smile on your face. Be the best that you can be under these circumstances. Why am I here? Oh well, soon enough, on to better things. But I'm still here. For two hours and six minutes. And there's always tomorrow. But I won't be here forever. I can't, can I? Well, yes, it is possible, and there's your proof. Get over here. What are you doing? Look at all these dishes – they're not going to wash themselves. Sigh. I've got to get out of here.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.