Archive for November, 2008

86 Lazy coworkers – Sub Mark* name changed for “privacy”
November 24, 2008

We have a bunch of “new kids” working at the restaurant now. And I can say things like “new kids” now that I’ve been at this place for four months – I’m practically a veteran!! But some of these new kids just don’t seem to buy into my philosophy of teamwork.

Teamwork means you help people out – you don’t just stand there in the corner flirting with the busboy or talking about your nails or that diet you claim to be on even though I just saw you shove a shit load of eggplant parm in your mouth. Teamwork means…you do your stupid sidework! You clean up before you leave! You do a decent job of closing so that I don’t have to make up for it in the morning when I come in to open!

Gosh.

I wish every single co-worker would be as awesome as this one guy I work with with. I’m calling him Mark just to be safe – not that anyone reads this…but I’d feel weird if someone blogged about me. Anyway, Mark is maybe in his mid-forties. He used to be a chiropractor, but then decided to switch careers and went to sales. Unfortunately, he was doing some type of sales for the real estate market – so when the real estate market when down, his company went belly-up. He has a new sales job now, but because it is just starting up (and it’s commission based) he needed a second income. So he’s a server.

I’ve never met a more hardworking person in my life. The guy works 7 days a week to support his family, which is tough to do when you are working for tips. And given this economy, tips seem to be “so last season” as most of us seem to get earn less than 20% on a ever-more-consistent basis. Nevertheless, this guy is so helpful, so sweet – doesn’t seem resentful or regretful at all.

These lyrics remind me of him:

Saw a story on the local news last night
About one more struggling single mother
She was talking about how hard it is getting by
With no help, no money, no nothing from the baby’s father
Made me think about this guy I know with a wife and a child
Who’s working two jobs just to get by
Yeah, he says he’d do anything he could in this world
Just to give his young family a better life; yeah, a better life
Oh, that’s a man

(That’s a Man – Jack Ingram.)

Positivity is contagious.

About two weeks ago, my friend died in a horrible accident. She was hit by a semi when walking down the street at college. She was 19. She was beautiful.

For a few days, all I had heard was that she was in “critical condition” or “seriously injured” or “guarded condition” and I didn’t know whether she would live or die. I’m usually one of the peppiest, bubbliest people – but for those few days I was visibly down at work and I couldn’t help it. I’m the type that doesn’t want to talk about stuff (why talk when you can blog right? haha) and people have to pull it out of me to get me to talk about feelings and shit. But it that situation – that is exactly what I needed. I needed someone to push me to talk about it. And he did. He cared enough to make me get this off my chest.

He’s not just a great co-worker, but a great person. We don’t just need more servers like him…we need more men like him in this world.


RIP Lindsay. May angels lead you in.

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I haven’t posted in FORRREVVERRR
November 23, 2008

So yea, this is like my second post in November, I’m a huge slacker since I’m no longer required to post stuff for my project. Also, I’ve been seriously hating my job lately and didn’t feel like writing another hate post.

But really, what’s just one more?

All I can say is that the “spirit of giving” most certainly does not apply to the tipping habits of customers in this frigid economy. The most pathetic scenario of late were these three women who ran up a bill of $54.00. Leaving me a ridiculous $5 tip, they sheepishly avoided me as I walked back toward my section to deliver some drinks and collect my “earnings” from the table.

Seriously? $5? Even I can afford a better tip than that. That was so pathetic.

But then the same night, one of my hostesses came in for her friend’s birthday party and I had their table. They were such nice kids and I totally enjoyed serving them. I let my guard down, got to relax and chat with them, and I didn’t charge them for drinks. They got an employee discount on the bill, so overall the bill wasn’t very high at the end and I wasn’t expecting much. They split the bill like 6 ways, and one of the splits was around $60.

He left me a $20 tip – TOO MUCH 🙂

This kid doesn’t even realize how much that meant to me. The money really really helped me out this week – it was gas in my tank! And I know that because he is a server, he tipped that much because he understands exactly where I’m coming from. It’s nice to feel understood once in a while.

So thank you. You will never read this and most likely never know how good it felt to know that someone understands your job and what you go through, and compensates for that.

Uncontrollable
November 3, 2008

You just can’t win.

This week, I had several instances when people flipped out on me for  things that weren’t my fault and it’s not cool.

For example, some woman ordered a beet salad at my table, and she was pretty pissed off when she got her dish and realized it was made with spinach, not arugula like it said in the menu.  She asked the busser to ask me for a side of arugula, which I couldn’t deliver on because it turns out we had run out of arugula – hence why the salad was made out of spinach.  And then to make matters worse, I guess there were only two chunks of avocado and she inquired – in a very smart ass way – if we had also run out of avocado.

At the same time, I had this lady at the next table over wanted:

-A big plate of penne pasta with garlicky alfredo sauce

-A side of marinara sauce “because I like to mix it together and make my own delicious blush sauce”

-A side of a half-order of eggplant parm with marinara and cheese

-The opportunity to comment that “I’ve been here three times and so far no one has gotten my order right yet”

WTF?!  What makes you think fourth time will be the charm?  Go to Olive Garden or stay home geez.

So it took me like seven trips back and forth to her table to completely understand what she was and was not asking for, making sure I was correctly communicating this order back to the chef.

Which leads me to one of my points – and I promise I do have at least one.  So much of this is about communication.  Me, properly interpreting the petty requests of irritating customers to chefs who, lucky for them aren’t paid through tips and have the luxury of not giving much of a shit what the customer thinks.  The chefs, communicating to me that, although I am being a complete pain in the ass and making their jobs very difficult, they understand my request and will reluctantly do it.  The managers, doing everything short of a lap dance to communicate to the customers how right they are, how wrong we are, and how this shitty service/hair in the food/insert favorite problem here never usually happens at this restaurant.

Most of my income completely relies on how effectively we all communicate with eachother because that is how the right food and the right experience gets to the table – and that is what the tip is based off of.  If the chef had just communicated to me that we were out of arugula, I could have communicated that to my customer.  Because I worked hard to completely understand the details of the other customer’s order, I was able to clearly communicate that to my chef, and the right order went out.  Most of my job, really, is about controlling this communication between the eaters and the food makers.

But unfortunately, this part of the restaurant experience that I actually control is only about 10% of what happens.  This idea of me only being able to control 10% of what happens is advice given to me by another server – and she has no idea how validating her words were.

And if I can only control 10% – the how on earth do I go about earning 20%?