Recap of May I Help You? Tales from the Service Industry

Rabbit Box: May I Help You, Stories from the Service Industry
by Melissa Harward

For someone who has lasted just one shift in the service industry, the patience of our storytellers of Thursday night’s Rabbit Box: May I Help You? Stories from the Service industry was quite impressive.

Alex White, our emcee of the evening, kicked things off with asking each of the storytellers for their best tip. Their answers ranged from reflections on the generosity of strangers to crucial life lessons, as our first storyteller, Ivan Sumner warned: “Watch out for women!”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, Rabbit Box veteran and road-side sign holding rock star Ivan learned that gratitude in the service industry can take many forms: blessings, beer, and even boobs. When he attempts to return the favor to a fellow sign-holder, Ivan discovers a new dynamic in the world of opposing genders.

A chance encounter with a Taco Mac patron leaves Francophile Emily Barkelew with a strange box. Thankfully, the contents of this box were a little more pleasant than Se7en’s finale. Where’s Brad Pitt when you need him?

The relationship between serviceman (or woman) and customer can sometimes run a fine line between normal interactions and inappropriate behavior. Exchanging pleasantries, requesting and providing, and familiarity all span the realm of a typical encounter. While working at Horton’s Drug Store in downtown Athens, Ophelia Culpepper found out first hand when that line is crossed.

Rabbit Box virgin Debbie From always remembers her servers’ names, and you should too. Find out why in her tale of kitchen floors, rude customers, and last straws. Seriously, start remembering names.

Our crackerjack storyteller of the night was Brittany Barnes, who let us all in on a secret of karma. Finding a giant wad of cash may look like a blessing, but giving it back to its owner may be better for your health.

A common theme of the night emerged as Rachel Eubanks took to the stage. As a server, you can sometimes feel invisible to those you are serving. Rachel knows this all too well, and her patience is tested to its limits one evening serving a catered event at Creature Comforts. Someone grab the broom and dustpan. It might get a little messy.

Christopher Becerra explains that “lifers,” veterans of the restaurant industry, are some of the raunchiest folks out there. As a new server trying to fit in at a new elite restaurant, Christopher takes the crude barter a little too far, right in front of Chef. Laughter ensues.

When a member of his restaurant family is treated poorly, a young Dr. Paul Guillebeau enacts sweet, sweet revenge on a particularly difficult customer known as “The Senator.” Now an entomology professor at the University of Georgia, we catch a glimpse of Dr. Guillebeau’s initial fascination with the world of creepy-crawlers.

Long hours, long drives, and long tables can wear on you, but it’s what many in the service industry face. Turn the tables over quickly. Shoot for a great tip. Smile. Hide your frustration. Repeat. After dealing with a particularly ungrateful group of regulars, Virginia Baumgartner gets the miracle everyone in the industry hopes for one day.

Rabbit Box will continue into 2015 on THURSDAYS! Too tired for Tinder lately? Be sure to join us in February for our next Rabbit Box, Internet Connections: Hits and Misses in the World of Digital Dating. I’m cringing just thinking about it.

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