Work Stories: Catering: “Where do I know you?”

I was working at a catering event, an engagement party at a fancy house in the obnoxiously affluent Marina district in San Francisco.

“Where do I know you?” the soon-to-be groom approached me, “I know that I know you from somewhere.”

“I don’t think so.” I said politely.

“No really. I’ve met you from somewhere. Where was it?”

“I’m not sure.” I smiled.

“Definitely, we’ve met before.” He said while he stood a little too close to me. He had a strange twinkle to his eyes.

I went back to the kitchen to change to a fresh tray of horderves and I figured out where I had seen him…AlAnon. I went to a few AlAnon meetings because my boyfriend suggested it, (he went to AA meetings religiously). His selling point for going to AlAnon meetings was that I might run into the cheesy, romance writer, Danielle Steele at one of the meetings in the posh Marina. I wasn’t a fan of hers but I went anyway to please my then-boyfriend.

“You’re right. We met at an AlAnon meeting.” I told him.

“Oh! Yes, that’s where I saw you!” he smiled.

A few minutes later, an old woman approached me with an angry look on her face. “Why are you talking to the groom?!” she confronted me.

“Uh, he asked me a question.” I nervously replied.

“What did he ask You?!”

“He thought he recognized me. We met briefly at a meeting.”

“Huh! Did you hear that?! My future son-in-law is Already flirting with that Girl over there, one of the Servants!”

I hid in the kitchen as much as I could for the rest of the shift.


  1. From your stories, Classism seems to run much closer to the surface on the west coast. Living in DC for so many years, I never encountered/experienced/witnessed this level of economic bigotry.

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    1. Interesting, I guess it’s relative to the perceiver. I never noticed the difference in surface racism from the east to west coast. I grew up in Maryland in a wealthy area and also lived in a middle class neighborhood. I saw a lot of discrimination of my parents by store clerks and their coworkers, and I was made fun of as “a Chinese Ching Chong” in elementary school. I saw a clear division between blacks, whites and asians. The wealth divide in Baltimore city is shameful, there’s shack like slums right next to the inner harbor area. The Bay Area has a racist and classist wealth divide with legions of homeless.

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      1. Well I was only talking about classism. There’s plenty of racism on the east. I’m sure there’s classism but I can’t imagine ever being at a party where the caterer is called a servant. Of course I’m probably not invited to those parties.

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      2. Yes, I’m not invited and I don’t want to be invited to those parties. It happened awhile ago, so my memory is an estimation of what she said. She might’ve called me the help or even waitress, I’m not sure but I felt her classism. I think discrimination is more obvious on the east coast, more sneaky on the west coast.

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