Confessions of a Bitter Busser

I’m a busser.  I bus tables.  I hate it.  By no means does this mean I hate my restaurant; it’s a cool place, the food is awesome, and my coworkers laugh at my jokes, which (in my book) makes them great people.  I just hate the job, and I would hate it anywhere.  The pay is low for the amount of work, and loss of dignity.  Bussing tables offers me absolutely no mental challenge, unless (of course) you factor in dealing with the emotional strain from the fact that it’s a dead-end job.  The rewards are less than bountiful, and the only things I get out of it are self-humility and horrible movie ideas (like, The Bussinator: A cybernetic organism is sent back in time, and programmed for one purpose–bussing tables; the only thing that sits in his way are the customers!  One of my favorite lines will be, “You don’t get it!  He has no pain, no remorse!  He won’t stop!  Not until–every–table is clean!”)  Not everything is terrible, just most everything, especially customers.

Even the nice ones, I still despise their existence in the restaurant.  Sure, they tip, and I receive a portion of that tip, but I still have to clean their damn table while they sit and enjoy themselves: patronizing me with every bite, every laugh…will they choke, and put themselves out of my misery already?!  Okay, that was a little too far, but I need to drive my point.  The worst, though, are the parent patrons; I loathe them more than their kids, and I hate kids.  Most children don’t have the coordination to transport food from their plate to their mouths without getting the shit everywhere.  It’s terrible.  Then, they run around the restaurant like it’s a DZ: Discovery Zone (remember that short-lived place?).  These little shits are very lucky that I don’t trip, and accidentally drop my massive load of plates on their tiny skulls.  Seriously, I’ve never seen kids act like this in my life: I don’t know if it’s a California thing, an ADD thing, or if I am crazy, and it’s how kids are supposed to act in public.  If the latter is the case, then I wish I would have known a long time ago, so I could haven take full advantage of swinging from handrails, running around tables, and generally disrupting other peoples’ work.

Regardless, I blame the parents: they’re even more terrible.  I think back to when my family went out to eat, and how we (my brothers and I) did not mess around; my father was strict when it came to being polite in places where people needed to work.  Now, I see why he got so pissed when one of my brothers would do something stupid, like spill a drink, crawl under the table, or shit my pants at age 12…okay, 13, but who’s counting?  He didn’t put up with that crap, and didn’t have to physically beat us (except on occasion) to keep my brothers and I in line.  All he had to do was glare at us: he had a look in his eye, a emotionally soul crushing way of letting you know you did wrong.  Suffice it to say, I compare these kids to me, and these parents to mine, which leads me to the conclusion that both (the dining parents, and their kids) are ass holes.

Moving on from these pricks (I could do an entire book on customers, believe me), the job itself is demeaning, demoralizing, and dehumanizing by nature.  The most rewarding part of my job is seeing how few of trips it will take me to clear a table (this is called Man Testing, but I’ll save that for another day).  Even at the risk of shattering tons of plates and glasses, I almost always get it in one trip: I’m the bussinator.  It also serves as one of the two ways I am able to slightly challenge my intellect: determining the best way to stack the most amount of plates for optimal table clearage sits at the root of everyday physics.  The only other way I get some intellectual fulfillment (again, bringing back the customers) is by actually interacting with a table.

Sometimes, I’m genuinely have fun, and really talk to the people as if that’s what they actually are; it makes me feel good when I make someone laugh, or help someone that seems pretty normal, like me.  Most other times, I’m the biggest undercover smartass.  I’ll challenge myself, seeing how risqué I can go with snide comments/actions, and still get away with coming off as a funny, nice busser.  For example:

Once a customer said, “You didn’t give me enough lemons for my water.  I need more lemon for my water.  Four slices, that encompass half of the rim, do not provide sufficient juice for my water.  Bring me more lemons.”

I might have embellished the quote, a little.  Anyway, I returned with three whole lemons, and roll them on the table, but with a smile.  The entire table laughed, as did I, but for a different reason: I successfully got away with being a complete smart ass, and they never noticed.  A little victory, I know, but it got me through the shift.  Whenever I’m able to show a table that I have more to offer than just a pretty face, and dirty towel, I feel better about myself; especially when I outsmart them in this personal war in which they have no care, or significant part.

I’ve said a lot to bad mouth my “occupation”, and can’t help but feel bad that I’ve degraded others in my position whom really don’t mine, or in fact enjoy the job.  Therefore, it would be an injustice on my part to not point out any of the positives of being a dirty bus boy.  First off, there’s camaraderie between us bussers; we call it, The Benign Bus Boy Brotherhood…of Bussers: BBBB for short, or 4B for shorter; oh, there’s even this awesome, and secret handshake that you’ll never learn.  Jealous much?  We share a connection that no one else in the restaurant can understand, except the dishwashers, but we’re higher in the restaurant class system, so I shan’t mention them again.  Secondly, it’s a job, and it pays the bills…sort of.  Tertiarily (another made up word to add to my list, it’ll catch on), I don’t take work home; although I would love a career where I constantly work, by no means would I ever want to have to bus from home.  Another great part is not dealing (as much) with people; of course, there are times when idiot customers (sorry for the redundancy), who’ve been there long enough to understand that I’m not their server, nor have I been for the past 20 minutes, ask me to put in an order; to which, I sometimes like to give those snide comments like, “Oh, I would love to help you, but I’m not your server, so I won’t!”  (Of course with a smile, so everyone laughs, and I win another battle.)  Finally, I can’t talk much about this, because it wouldn’t make Kristen very happy, but there are a lot of sexy—sexy girls that come in to eat, or for me to stare at: I haven’t quite figured it out, yet.

As you can tell, I feel a lot of passion, or apathy, about bussing tables.  For me, it’s a terrible job, but I’m glad I have one; I’m also glad I hate it, because there’s a lot motivation to do better.  My new philosophy on success is something like: Not only should you not be happy about where you are in life, but you should also hate it; that way, you force yourself to do better, to be successful, to strive for your dream, and to not be miserable.  Or, even better: Don’t settle for happy, because there’s always happier.  Wow, what a terrible way to look at life.  This is precisely why Dan Ray Sucks, and if you can’t be happy with your life, have an overall perfection complex, and complain about everything under (or above) the sun, then you suck, too.

Tips to suck less:
-Leave a comment.
-fb/tweet/just tell your friends, friends’ friends, random bums–I don’t care, just do it.
-Finally, clean up your act, and your table.


8 thoughts on “Confessions of a Bitter Busser

  1. Miguel Hill

    Hey, man. You hit the nail on the head, but you’re not a busser you’re a writer. You did a great job. Great piece.

  2. SuperDave

    Good job man, u hit it dead on I’m a busser/dishwasher at ihop and that job will kick ur butt if u don’t watch it. You get slack from everyone, if your good and dont kill yourself by dropping plates or puking from looking at the food and get paid the second lowest sorry host(ess) y’all get less than us.

  3. Jojo

    Your a witty guy;I wish I had your humor. Your incredibley accurate on the pits of bussing. But what about the people you work with? The servers are so cliquish they make you feel like a worthless tool. There only nice for the obvious reason of having you bus their table first. These blood suckers take a toll on my mental state. Which leaves me questioning my ability to think things through to prevent myself from going on a rampage and slipping something in their drinks.

  4. Corey C

    I man tested my way into a broken glass tonight… My first in months (the others weren’t my fault! God damn kids running around.) I’m so depressed. It’s like everyone in the restaurant had to individually find me and ask if I was all right (I guess I show off too much and no one wanted to believe I could break anything.)

    Great Read. It’s almost as if you wrote my thoughts years before if ever get to think them. Spooky.

  5. Maria

    Yup. Undercover smart asses, unite! Say, what shoes do you wear for bussing? because i haven’t quite figured how to not want to chop my feet off at the end of every day.


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