Dear Baby Boomer I had the misfortune of waiting on,
You looked at me and saw a 20 something year old girl working for a catering business. You saw me running around like a mad woman trying to wait on the 80+ other people at the party you were attending. You snapped your fingers at me to get my attention like I was a dog. You talked to me like I was gum on the bottom of your shoe. You wouldn’t even look me in the eye when you spoke to me, and you made nasty comments about me to the other ladies at the table. You were sarcastic and belittled me when I was just trying to do my job.
The industrial-sized coffee maker at the building broke that morning. It wasn’t even the coffee maker that belonged to the catering business, it was the one that belonged to the owner of the building who insisted that we use hers. It was no part my fault. I explained that to you and the other ladies at your table. I explained that we had smaller coffee pots down 3 flights of stairs that I was running up and down in order to bring coffee to all the tables as soon as the coffee was finished. I explained to you that I was doing the best I could and everyone else was waiting on coffee as well. You told me that wasn’t your problem.
You proceeded to say to me, “Honey, this is exactly why you need to go get yourself an education.”
Your words cut into me like a knife. I saw red.
“Ma’am,” I replied as sweetly as I could. “I have worked for 5 years educating the children of this community. I have possibly educated your grandchildren. I am a highly qualified teacher with 4 areas of certification. I’m going back to get my master’s degree, and this is how I have to pay for it because unlike your generation, college is NOT affordable and teachers are NOT always paid well. Your coffee will be out in just a moment.”
I don’t know what it is with you and your generation thinking you are allowed to treat service workers like trash. I don’t know what you get out of treating us that way. It doesn’t make your service any faster or the quality any better. It slows us down, it makes us feel like crap. We are humans and with the way you treated me today, I know I am more of a person than you are.
Furthermore, I don’t know why you assume that people in this industry are uneducated. Many people my age have a career, and also have a “side hustle” in order to make extra money just to get by. I teach full time, I work for a catering business part time, and I take care of people’s pets when they go on vacation. I do all of this while going to grad school and maintaining a 4.0. In my state, you have to earn 24 post-college credits to keep your certification, so it’s not like I have a choice in getting my degree. My husband is working 2 jobs as well. Our house probably cost triple what your first home did. A 4 year education was about $6,000 in your day. One semester is more than $6,000 today. Sometimes only the man in your house had to work, while my husband and I are both working more than 1 job.
Boomers, stop assuming that millennial are trash. Stop assuming those working in restaurants, as cashiers, as janitors, and in fast food positions are uneducated. Stop assuming we are lazy and unmotivated. You have no idea what we are doing just to get by.
The educated waitress