It is something that weighs heavy on the mind of local employers every spring: “Will my service team be ready for the onslaught of seasonal visitors?”
After a winter of limited physical activity, you can’t just wake up one morning and start carrying trays of plated food and drinks. This can lead to sprained wrists, as well as knee and back strains.
In the early season 2015, an unprecedented number of Hamptons service personnel had on the job medical emergencies. Data suggests that many of these injuries were preventable and they primarily stemmed from employees reporting to work out of shape and unprepared for the rigors of delivering service to the tens of thousands of visitors that besieged the East End last year.
It’s no wonder this situation occurs after a winter without physical activity. Sitting around the house, watching reruns of Friends, eating junk food and doing anything else but that which requires physical effort is certainly a recipe for disaster. Besides the aforementioned consequences, those extra pounds gained during the winter can also translate into shortness of breath and, in some extreme cases, heart failure.
Because of HIPPA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations, I am precluded from going into more detail. However, I can confirm that after months of non-confrontational interactions, several local service workers, without the benefit of an acclimation period to seasonal rudeness, ended up suffering nervous breakdowns last year.
Situations like this can leave employers short staffed and without an answer to the onslaught of demanding outsiders. This can be significant, and it definitely impacts the bottom-line.
According to The Gripping Blog which is sponsored by Shoes For Crews, the average waitperson covers 4 miles per shift. That translates into 10,087 steps. And most of these involve carrying something.
So what’s the solution?
Let’s take page from professional sports, which in my opinion are no more demanding than waiting on tourists. If a player shows up for camp out of shape they are kept on the bench or cut loose. And it should be the same here.
Perhaps all service members should be required to pass a physical and mental fitness test before reporting to work this year. For instance, if your single arm strength is not sufficient to carry 6-8 entrees at once, then you are out of a job. If you can’t balance a tray with multiple drinks you need to go back home. And if you can’t emotionally handle the stress of numerous people asking idiotic questions about menu items that are clearly outlined, then you don’t fit the bill.
I am not trying to be Dear Abby and give advice. Instead, I will gently suggestion to all area service people: “Get off your lazy butts and prepare yourselves for the busiest season ever.”