June 29, 2009

And Totally Redeem Yourself.

A week ago I posted about the 4th of July. Many of you commented, and shared your advice as to what I should do. Most of you said I should demand the day off (or call in sick), some of you suggested that I should quit, or threaten to quit, and one anonymous blogger said I should work it "cheerfully." (Yeah Right!!)

My spineless managers are one of my favorite topics on this blog, as they provide me with endless material. However yesterday afternoon they did something so fantastic, that I may, for a week or so, have to refrain from any manager bashing to show my regards, and gratitude for a totally selfless act.

I was buzzing around the restaurant early Saturday afternoon, mentally detached from reality in order to prepare myself for the long day ahead of me. I happen to notice that all the managers were in the office chattering about something of importance. I figured it was just business, so I ignored it as usual, when the kitchen manager burst through the doors, made direct eye contact with me and said with a smile, "You owe us big time."
I was intrigued so I decided to investigate the situation. I made my way over to the office, and poked my head in, when I saw two other managers making a sign for the front door that read "Closing early for the 4th of July. Hours 12-3."
I scrunched my face with excitement. This meant that even if I was scheduled, I would be off early enough to make it up to our camp site without missing the fireworks.

GH: "Closing early, eh?"
SM: "Ya, you lucky bastards totally owe us!"
GH: "So who is scheduled then?"
SM: "None of you. The managers are gonna work it so you don't have to"

I squealed enthusiastically, almost in disbelief.
How gloriously sacrificial. I hugged both spineless managers, and thanked them obsessively for the next 7 hours.
So, after all the stupid and spineless shit they do on a regular basis, they go and do something like this...and totally redeem themselves.

Oh, and as it turns out, I also got Friday and Sunday off. Hello three day weekend, goodbye work, sanity, and soberness.

June 27, 2009

A Deal With The Devil

Tonight was pure insanity. I'm not even sure why? There wasn't anything special going on, but for some unknown reason, the entire community felt that they needed to eat at the steakhouse, and also felt like being ridiculously generous and charitable. No complaints on my part, though around 8:45 pm I would have given anything to be at home, in my pj's curled up with a bowl of ice cream and a good book.

So I made a deal with the devil.


I had a reservation for a 25 top at 9pm. I was totally dreading the large party since it would take up all of my time, and put me really far behind on all my closing duties. I knew that they wouldn't be out of the restaurant until 10:30, which would mean I would be stuck there until 11 or later.
I asked everyone, with hopes that I could get someone to switch and take it. And of course nobody wanted to. I sighed, and mumbled some choice words under my breath in frustration.
When suddenly, pregnant bitches husband skips up to me and says "Hey! You still want someone to take your big top!?!"

I tell him that nothing would make me happier, and he accepts and says he'll take it, no problem. I breathed a breath of relief.

He turns to leave, but stops in his tracks. Turning back towards me with a crooked smile painted on his stupid face he says "Oh, under one condition"

I assume he'll ask me to clean his tables, take out his trash, or finish up his side work.

GH: "Sure anything, I'll do it, just take the damn table."

PBH: "Work for me tomorrow morning."

GH: "Done."

This is a perfect example of immediate gratification. The thing my mother warned me about growing up. "Having sex with your boyfriend will only feel good now, you'll regret it later." She was right, and I did. "Cheating on your math homework may get you through the assignments, but if you don't learn the material, your gonna bomb the test. " Again she was right, and I did.
Such a wise woman, that I clearly still have much to learn from.

About an hour later, as I was wiping down my last table, the reality of the situation sunk in, but it was to late. PBH was basking in the glory of his $50 tip from my big party, while I was realizing that I would be working an opening morning shift, and a closing night shift.

June 22, 2009

The Staff Meeting

After an insane six hour fathers day shift, nothing was more appealing to me then crashing hard and sleeping late into the afternoon. But 8am came so quickly.
I woke up to a viciously annoying alarm. Rolled out of bed, pulled my hair back into a loose pony, wiped off my smeared eyeliner and mascara, and left for the dreaded staff meeting.
Box's of greasy doughnuts and flavored creamers awaited us, as if to soften the proverbial blow waiting to confront us.
"Things are gonna change around here" shouted one manager.

"We really need to get our asses in gear" screeched another.

After the yelling died down, the full story surfaced. Just a few days prior we received an unexpected visit from the health inspector. And, well...It wasn't a successful inspection, to say the least.

We failed...Big time.

For stupid things to. Like the bleach rags not being "fully submerged" in the bucket, and not having tongs in the lemons.

I laughed at the thought of the health inspector watching us work on a busy Friday night over a secret hidden camera. Picking fries off of the plates and dunking them in the ranch, taking a quick sip of our guests Long Island Iced tea, and throwing hot potatoes from the prep line, to the kitchen and back.

Working on the 4th

Husband and I have had a a 6 year tradition of going camping with both of our families for the fourth of July. We get the same spot, and have a total blast every year. This year will be the 7th time, and we began preparation in January. So when I first started at the Steakhouse, at the beginning of the year, I made sure to let them know that I needed that time off. I remember I was in my first few weeks, standing in the managers cubical. She flipped open her calendar shift book, and penciled me in. She then mentioned something along the lines of "Looks like your the first to ask for that weekend off."
I smiled with excitement.

Friday night as I was handing in my checkout, I decided that since the fourth was just a few weeks away I should check to make sure everything was still good to go.

GH: "Hey spineless manager, I just wanted to verify that I can still get the weekend of the fourth off"

Spineless manager:
(The same one that took my original request, by the way) "Ohhhh. Looks like your the fifth in line. The others must have asked for the time off before you did, sorry"
*Points down at 5 names on the book and mine at the bottom.

Now, maybe at Hooters this wouldn't be a problem because they have 30 waitresses. But my pathetic little steakhouse only has 9.

GH: "I hate to sound like a bitch, but I put in my request in January before anyone else."

Spineless Manager: "Sorry, but I have to go by the book."

I don't know what to do here. Anyone have any advice?

June 20, 2009

All You Can Eat Buffet

A strange and unique couple came into the restaurant. He was young, and thin. She was also young, and nearly four times his size. He asked for a side salad and she ordered the all you can eat Brazilian Buffet. She had a Pepsi, and he had a diet. He only ate half his salad, while she gorged herself on the buffet.

Near the end of their meal I walked by with a smile, and asked if everything was ok. He said he was great, and she mentioned how she had never been so stuffed in her life. She made it a point to tell me how she totally "pigged out" and that she could "absolutely explode."

She didn't need to tell me, I already knew. And I couldn't help but think that everything about there visit seemed totally backwards.

And Tonight's Special Is

Last weekend we featured the Brazilian BBQ Buffet that I mentioned briefly here. It did so well that we decided to serve it again this weekend to celebrate Fathers Day.
When I arrived at work I saw a message taped to the kitchen wall.

"Sell 10 Buffets win 2 tickets to the Movies"

So I clocked on, and immediately got a 4 top. Before I had time to get their drink orders, let alone try and push the special, they had already ordered 4 Buffets.
Maybe this was going to be easier then I thought.

I went to the back and was making 4 tally's on the board when I was approached by Dolly, who is known to be a very competitive up-seller (mentioned here).

Dolly: "4 already huh? Did you sell it to them??!!"

GH: "Well, they already knew what they wanted"

Dolly: "It doesn't count then, you have to actually GET them to buy it"
*Moves forward and erases my tally's

GH: "Excuse me. But the Steakhouse doesn't give a shit HOW we sell 10, they just want us to sell 10."
*Re-Tally's 4 buffets

Dolly: "Whatever... I know I could never feel good about winning if I didn't actually get 10 sells."

GH: "That's to bad. I'll think of you while I'm enjoying my free movie."

I sold 14. How's that for irony you crazy psycho.

June 19, 2009

Irony Much?!

After a long and dramatic process, and despite Ida's best attempts, on Wednesday husband and I drove home in our new car.

Its really interesting how things work out.
We had enough saved to pay half cash, and thought we would use the loan to pay the rest. But the loan we expected to get from Ida was at a 17.9% APR. YUCK! Well, it turned out to be a good thing that we weren't approved because that gave us the opportunity to use another method. We decided to put the rest on a credit card because it had a lower APR (not much lower though).
We were literally on our way out to make the purchase when I grabbed the mail. I saw a letter from my credit card carrier and I tore it open.
Inside was a letter that read,

"Congratulation, based on your responsible credit card usage we are lowering your APR from 15.9% to 6.9% until 2010."

Woahh! Perfect timing? I think so.

June 16, 2009

Insufficient Income

During my second visit with Ida, I was asked to provide Income Verification so I rummaged through the drawer at home and snatched up my most recent pay-stub. As I looked it over, I realized that on paper I looked pathetic. Almost as if I'd be better off holding a sign on the side of the road, begging for change and fishing my dinner out of a garbage can. Because everyone knows that waiters and waitresses aren't paid shit for hourly, in hopes to earn enough in tips to make up for it.

I slid the pay-stub over to Ida, and watched as she snickered and rolled her eyes.

Ida: "$130 in two weeks? You'll never be approved for the loan."

Once again I reminded her that was not including tips, and she asked me why the tips were not accounted for on the pay stub. I went on to explain to her that at my restaurant it was only mandatory to claim 8% of our total sales as tips to be taxed, and the rest we get to keep free and clear as there is no way for the restaurant or the government to track any more than that amount. She then told me to pencil in my monthly income via tips, but that she doubted they would accept it as income, and I might have to go else where for the loan. She said she would call when she heard back and that it wouldn't take more then 24 hours. Three days later I still hadn't heard from her, so husband and decided we would use another option to buy the car. As we entered the bank together to make a withdrawal, I spotted Ida. I tried my best to avoid her as we waited in line, but she approached us rather dramatically.

Ida: "They declined you the loan. Insufficient Income. I knew they wouldn't accept it!"
She shouted.
The entire line at the bank turned towards us, and raised their eyebrows. Thanks for letting us know privately Ida, you rude bitch.

Ida: "Yah, your income from tips doesn't count, I told you it wouldn't."

Good thing we had another plan. But that Ida sure knew how to call us out in front of everyone.

June 12, 2009

Last Call

I've mentioned in the past my dislike of spineless managers. One's that cower at the sign of slightest discontent, and cave at every mention of dissatisfaction, in order to avoid unpleasant confrontation.
But then there are my managers.
Tonight was a weird night, where several miscommunications with the "teenage hostess" ended up in a reservation for 15 people at 9:45pm. This normally would be fine, but seeing as we close at 10pm, there were several annoyed servers, and one furious closer.
To me, this seemed like an easy fix. Call them up, let them know of the miscommunication, apologize sweetly, and suggest they come in at 9pm instead. But this would have been much to simple for my spineless manager. For fear of either rejection, or having to actually face someone in a situation that might result in conflict, my spineless manager decided to avoid the situation completely.
So the group started trickling in around 9:35. I had hoped that they would all arrive together and punctual, but that would have been much to simple, and stress free.
At 10pm the party was still waiting on 8 people, so I asked my manager what she wanted me to do. Do I remind them that we are now closed, do I suggest they order for their friends as the kitchen is shutting down, or do I wait.
And so.....I waited.

And waited.

And to make matters worse, my manager decided that since she was keeping two kitchen guys, a waitress, a dishwasher and a busser all on for an extra hour after closing for just one table, we might as well let anyone else in that happens to stop by.

So I had a full blown second rush of the night, and when the initial assclowns finally showed up it was almost 11pm. I should have already been home, showered, fed, and blogging by then.

I guess I just don't understand something. Why have rules if they aren't enforced? Why have a close time if its optional. Why let people walk all over you, and never stand up for yourself because you to much of a chicken shit to say something. How did you climb your way into management when you clearly have no administrative authority.

My advice to the spineless manager...Grow a pair, or get the hell out.

The Complaint

Being a long time veteran of the service/hospitality industry I am familiar with complaints. I see them often, and have gained the ability to predict when situations will almost certainly end in one.

The Steakhouse provides comment cards at every table, with the incentive of a free appetizer to get people's participation. Throughout the night I will receive at least a dozen, and at the end of the shift I'll read through them just before I turn them in.
Being on the receiving end of my fair share of complaints from guests, I know it is both annoying and ridiculous, and though I do not claim total innocence, I must say in my defense that often times there is little I can do when the kitchen overcooks a steak, or forgets to send an appetizer out first.
There is nothing I hate more then being berated by management, accused of God knows what and being forced to defend myself.This being said, I know what it is like to receive a complaint. And I don't like it. I dislike it so much in fact, that I have tried to not become the type of person who makes such complaints.

A few days ago I shared a story with you about a fat old hag called Ida. Well, I had another run in with Ida on Friday. She called me to tell me that the loan offer had come back and that I needed to come into the Bank with several pay stubs for income verification. Due to my overall annoyance, and lack of desire to give the old bag anymore airtime then she deserves, I will spare you all the gruesome details, but will say this: Never have I been so publicly mocked, berated, and alienated. She spoke to me as if she were royalty and I was no better then a maid. Couple that with the snarky attitude, unacceptable comments, glares and the complimentary eye rolls, and I will go on record as having officially had The Worst experience with someone working in Customer Service.
After the first experience, I though maybe Ida had a rough day. Maybe she was frustrated and took out her aggression on me. After the second experience, I realized that either she hates skinny blond girls, or she is just a self righteous, and self serving sack of horse shit that has no place working with the general public. My guess is the latter.
So after some serious reflection, I have decided to file a complaint. Now, unlike the douche tanks that complain at the steakhouse, I do not hope to gain anything by doing this and I do not have an agenda. I simply hope to accomplish one of two things. The first is to send Ida a message.
You cannot treat people like they are garbage. Sure I am in my early twenties, and working as a waitress but I deserve the same amount of respect as the lawyer in her forties pulling in 100 large a year.
And second, to inform management that one woman's actions may be costing them much in terms of business, because if anyone else received the same treatment that I did, then they would be wise to react the same way I did, and that would be to take my money, and my business elsewhere.

June 9, 2009

Old Man Terry

I only recently began working the morning shifts. They are not my favorite, not by a stretch, but because of weird school scheduling and trying to have a little time to spend with husband, I decided to drop some weekend night shifts.
This was when I was first introduced to Terry. A quite particular elderly man that comes in every afternoon, at the same time, sits in the same booth and orders the same thing.
Now, I often wonder what it would be like to be a regular. Is it the food item that they love so much, is it the company of a familiar face that keeps them coming back, or is it to be in a place where you feel so comfortable, and accepted. Whatever it may be, the Steakhouse has plenty of regulars, as do most restaurants.
Terry however, is a different kind of regular. Not because he is difficult to wait on, quite the contrary in fact. He is simple, leaves a decent tip, and is very friendly. It must just be the look in his eyes. He sits for hours just stirring his coffee. He looks as though he is waiting for someone who never shows up and It seems as if he if often holding back a floodgate of emotions, always looks as if he is about to cry.
I always feel a bit depressed when I am serving him. His emotional turmoil just really takes it out of me. I feel as though I should do more for him, smile more, laugh more, show him a good time so that maybe he will seem happy, if not but just for a short while.
Just recently there have been some major changes to the menu, and we have featured some new items. In honor of Terry, we have named his "usual" after him. A grilled Italian chicken sandwich with fried zucchini and squash.
Last week I arrived at work early to begin my opening duties when I saw Terry sitting outside. I reminded him we didn't open for an hour, but that I would let him come in and have a cup of coffee. When I sat him in his usual booth, I dropped a menu on the table and told him to decide what he wanted. He looked at me a bit confused and told me that I already knew what he wanted, so I explained to him that unfortunately his usual was taken off the menu, and that he would have to find something else, but that luckily we had replaced his chicken sandwich with something similar so he was in luck. I snuck around the corner and watched as he tore through the menu looking for the new item that had replaced his beloved sandwich. And then he spotted it. Terry's Chicken Addiction. He cried first. And then he laughed. I couldn't help but get emotional, considering this was the happiest I've ever seen him. He shuffled as fast as he could around the restaurant hugging everyone he could get his hands on, and thanking us all for the honor. And then he left the restaurant smiling, singing, and still crying tears of joy.
It was a good day.

June 6, 2009

The Fat Old Hag

Husband and I have always functioned with one car. Our schedules worked perfectly, and we never had any problems, but he has just started a new (much better paying) job and this has drastically shifted his schedule. At first we just dealt with the inconvenience of it all, but after he was forced to show up a hour late during his second week because I got held over a bit in class, we decided it was time to invest in a new car. Yesterday we both had the day off, so we got up early, put our haggling hats on, and set out on a hunt.

After hours and hours of dealer bull shit, we found a car we both liked. Ironically the same make and model of two prior cars I have totaled. (A sign not to get it??) It was listed at a totally reasonable price, but husband got them to drop it a grand and a half, so we took the offer. It was 5:15, and we figured we had plenty of time to get to the bank. We decided to put half down, and get a loan for the rest... easy peasy.

When we got to our bank, we were met by the cold eyes of a fat old hag, lets call her Ida. Her glares burnt through the back of my skull. She made several attempts to turn towards the clock and sigh heavily, as if to say she didn't want to deal with us so close to closing. She said she would help us, but what she really meant was that she wished we would go fuck ourselves.
She asked us a series of questions, and things were going fine until her computer "allegedly" lost all of our progress around 5:45, that's when she snapped. As we were going through round two of the same questions she made it a point to add a snide little comment to everything we said, letting me know how she disapproved of my "career" at the Steakhouse. She even sorted with laughter at my estimated monthly income, and when I said "That's not including tips" I heard her mumble "like it matters" under her breath.

Now here's the thing, at the steakhouse if someone shows up 1 minute before we close, I will serve them. I may not be overjoyed about it, and I may even bitch about it to the cooks in the back, but when I am staring at the customer, I am all smiles and rainbows and unicorns because for all I fucking know, it could be a secret shopper, or a big tipper.
Looking back, I am only bothered because of the way she she judged me. How her sickeningly obese eye looked down on me with disgust because of my "career" or my income. She doesn't know me. I am a student first. Waitressing is simply getting me through, a means to an end if you will. Whatever though, I'll let her have her laughs. I'll let her go home thinking how much better off she is then me because of her fancy desk job, her business cards and her plus size ergonomic office chair, although I secretly know one day she'll be my patient, begging for her life as I put her on dialysis for fucking up her kidneys with one to many cheeseburgers.

Who will be judging who then?

June 4, 2009

Just a cup of water please.

I have to mention, in my years of serving I have had encounters with the lowliest of humanity. I have been verbally assaulted, and mentally mind-fucked, but rarely do I ever have a situation that is just so damn ridiculous that I can't stop thinking about it for days.
Such was the first time someone asked me for a glass of water, with lots of lemons. I figured they liked lemons, as do I. Then I noticed them making homemade lemonade with all the splenda they could get their grubby little hands on. So I bookmarked this clever trick, and made a mental note to only give one extra lemon wedge per request for "extra lemon."
During an afternoon shift last week I learned what seemed to be a new customer trick. Several young couples came in together. The six adults asked if I could bring them each a glass of hot water, with lemons. It was bitter cold out, so I figured they just wanted to warm up. Personally the thought of hot water makes me gag a bit, but whatever.
Later in the meal, I returned to check on the table, when I was asked to provide more hot water and lemons. I reached forward to removed the empty cup when I noticed the tea bag at the bottom.

Honestly, who brings their own tea-bag into a restaurant, and then asks for hot water to make their own tasty beverage? Is that acceptable? What's to stop people then from bringing in a package of instant oatmeal, or a Cup of Noodle for dinner?!
The things people will do to save a dollar never ceases to amaze me. Clearly if you are needing to skimp on a beverage, your probably not making enough money to warrant going out to eat 5 times a week anyways.