Lipstick Stains (#116)

After being a waitress for 7 years, I’ve discovered that you can tell a lot about a person by how they react to lipstick stains on coffee mugs.

Despite their best efforts, the dishwashers at my diner never seem to be able to fully clean our coffee mugs. This means that when someone orders coffee or tea I pull out 3-5 mugs looking for one that looks relatively clean on the inside and has no leftover lipstick on the outside. However, this is not a perfect system so every once in awhile a mug with lipstick sneaks through my inspection and accidentally gets served to a customer and their reactions are always very telling.

For  example, there’s this one super friendly businessman who comes in about every other week. He’s polite and always tips at least $10 which is awesome because a coffee + a normal breakfast only equals about $11. Last time he was in I accidentally brought him one of the aforementioned lipstick stained mugs, and he looks at it and goes “sorry, I don’t think this is my color!” We both laughed, I brought him a new coffee right away, he still tipped me $10, and we all survived the encounter in good spirits. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

Lots of people are pretty chill about it and politely draw my attention to it and are completely fine once I bring them a new cup of coffee. This people are generally the type of tables we all enjoy serving, because they realize that I am not a servant but a person doing a job. They also are the people who only make 1-3 modifications on their food and are patient when the kitchen gets backed up. Sometimes customers get extremely mad and demand for their coffee to be free (usually well-dressed ladies on lunch dates) or act like it’s the grossest thing they’ve ever seen (LOLS, guess they’ve never worked at restaurant). These are the type of people who say “I’ll have exactly what she’s having, but *insert literally 9 changes here*.” My favorite is when customers ask like me giving them a dirty mug was a personal attack on their dignity. More often than not, these customers are named “Lisa” or “Carol” or “Frederik P” and ask to talk to a manager before they leave and/or post an angry review on Yelp, as if it has any type of impact. These are the people we remember clearly and go out of our way to not serve them the next time they come in, because they always come back.

Moral of the story, don’t be a jerk to your server and remember that there are always people waiting to judge your whole character off of how you act in one particular moment. Check out any restaurant ever if you’d like to meet them.

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