Archive for the ‘Co-Workers’ Category

BS: Non-returnable
March 22, 2009

Real conversation between me and my manager. (Love it.)

Janet: “Hey, can you delete the wine special from table four’s bill?  She didn’t like it, so she wanted another glass of Prosecco.”

Manager: (sighs) “Yeah…okay.  I guess so.  I’ll be right over.

Janet: “I mean, we don’t have to.  She ordered it.  Why do we have to refund someone every time someone orders the wrong thing or doesn’t like it?  It’s not our fault.”

Manager: “I know.  It’s like, I didn’t like my taxes this year so do I get to return those?”

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Tomato Sauce IS Marinara Sauce
March 19, 2009

I’m rushing across the kitchen on my way to the other computer terminal, probably rushing to get some table more bread and ring in ANOTHER glass of Beringer White Zin. A co-worker stops me.

“Not so fast Janet, this is YOUR table and you need to deal with it,” she says, flinging a plate of spaghetti with meatballs into my hands.

Another co-worker, holding another plate of spaghetti with meatballs explains: “It’s for table 101. She said she one was supposed to be made with marinara sauce and the other one was supposed to be made with tomato sauce. So she sent these back with us when we went to run your food.”

“They’re THE SAME THING! Come with me, we’re taking these back to 101,” I said.

So we go back, drop off the food, and before this lady has a chance to explain to me why I’m wrong I say, “Maam, here at (insert name of my restaurant) our tomato sauce is our marinara sauce. It’s the same thing. Enjoy your meal.”

She had that open mouth stare going on like she was about to respond, but I walked away.

Sometimes, the customer isn’t right. Sometimes, she’s just dumb. News flash, kids. Tomato sauce is marinara sauce. Check out the ingredients on that bottle of Prego. Right next to high fructose corn syrup you’ll notice “tomatoes” listed. Because Prego is marinara sauce. It’s made of tomatoes…and stuff.

Grarr. Time for me to go run that White Zin and get you some more bread.

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Real Customers of Genius
January 17, 2009

Janet Presents: Real Customers of Genius

Today, we salute you, Mr Verbal Tipper.

(Mr. Verbal Tippppppper)

We all know servers don’t work to make tips. We just want to know we did a great job.

(I just want your approval)

They say money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy a college student booze and books. And your empty compliments can’t buy anything.

(I’M BROKE!)

Oh, you maven of Stepford, you master of Yuppieville. I hope you feel fancy and look rich when you drink White Zinfandel in your polo shirt.

(Let’s just double the tax!)

With any luck, you’ll not only tell me how great I was, but you’ll leave a religious brochure next to that 10% tip.

(But I don’t wanna go to hell!)

So thank you, Mr. Verbal Tipper. Because when a recession hits, you keep my confidence up and my wallet empty.

Here’s to you Mr. Verbal Tippppperrrr


*Inspired, obviously, by Bud Light’s Real Men of Genius*


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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.

I laugh at my own stupid jokes
October 21, 2008

Well, I do. This one’s from the summer:

Ian rushes into the kitchen with his arms full of leftovers to be boxed up for his inpatient table.

“You know, people are always in a hurry these days. They never want to sit, relax, and enjoy their food. They just want to get in and get out,” he said.

“Yup,” I reply. “And they don’t even want to cuddle afterwards.”

Old enough to know better, too young to care
October 21, 2008

http://www.imeem.com/people/gjKyltJ/music/P_yZ4tf0/plain_white_ts_let_me_take_you_there/

Should you date people you work with? I’m a romantic. I know you’re not supposed to mix your personal life with work, but what if you meet your personal life at work?

Today I had to stop by my old job (I worked the coffee bar at a hospital) to drop off some calendars that I’m selling for my internship. I had to purposely schedule my trip so that I wouldn’t run into my “ex-boyfriend”, who works at the front desk in the lobby. Luckily, we didn’t really start dating until after I stopped working there, so I never had to deal with working within screaming distance. What if we had started dating earlier and I’d had to work with him?

Nevertheless, my old boss dated a fellow server for eight months before I found out about the romance. A manager dating a subordinate is the epitome of defying the company’s dating policy. But when (outside of work) you see those two together, it kinda makes you understand why someone would jeopardize his job for a girl.

It’s a leap of faith. And really, what has the restaurant ever done for you?

The best serving advice I ever got
September 22, 2008

http://www.chainleader.com/coffee-trends/articleXML/LN841608947.html

That’s a link to an article about how the recession means lower tips and fewer customers. Ditto.

So about that advice. I was talking to my manager Saturday afternoon and he started telling me about how tables with kids like to be really engaged. He said to be really chatty and learn the kids names and hang out with them – to even hover a little bit in case you need to hand them the check right away so they can leave if the kid gets a temper tantrum.

Alright. Let’s entertain the little demonseeds.

Demonseed.

Demonseed.

I gave this little baby a hug and told her parents how beautiful she was and what a good kid and blah blah blah. But I actually meant it. She was a really attractive baby, and compared to the screamers at the table next to her, she was such a happy little toddler. I didn’t even notice or mind that she spilled her little goldfish on the floor. She was just too damn cute! And then this other table had two little kids…around five or six. I learned their names (Aiden and Emily) and catered to them all night. I asked the little boy about his drawing (an alleged “computer” although his sketch more closely resembled Toucan Sam) and asked the little girl who braided her hair so pretty.

The table with the one kid left me 20% and the table with the two kids left me 25%. Who knew? I mean, usually I spend so much of my energy whining and getting annoyed by how much of a mess the kids are making to realize how sweet they are. I think I have a new outlook.

Likes and Dislikes
September 20, 2008

I had a horrible night last night. I walked out with like $28 on a Friday night. The idiot hostess sat a guy in my section 25 minutes before I got to work, so he was obviously pissed by the time I got to his table. That’s just setting me up for failure, folks.

So to boost my morale, get some stuff off my chest, and prepare myself for work tonight, I will share with you my favorite and least favorite things about my job.

NO ME GUSTA!!!!!!!!

1. Cheap tippers! YOU IDIOTS! 15% is passe. Inflation, people! Inflation! (Sub-complaint: Canadians and Europeans who don’t understand that you TIP IN AMERICA because servers make normal hourly wages where they live.  This is AMERICA.  Fact: I make $4.60 an hour. My friend worked at Chili’s in Dallas, TX and she made $2.18 an hour. Tips are where the money comes from.)

2. Serving women, especially, ladies who lunch. They are demanding, condescending, nasty, and cheap cheap cheap. They expect the most and tip the least. They act like they are better than me. There is nothing like getting bossed around by someone who has never had to work for anything in her life. It twinges.

3. Messy children. Keep your kids in their seats with the food on the table. Are you gonna sweep that mac n’ cheese up?  No.  I am.  I once had this woman let her demonseed run all over my restaurant like it was a private playground. It is RUDE. From what my mom tells me, I am a former demonseed myself and you know what? They got a sitter. I couldn’t behave myself so I wasn’t allowed out until I could handle it.

Which brings me to my next point: Messy adults. #%&@*!!!!!!  Didn’t your mother teach you how to eat?  I can’t tell you how many thirty-something customers I’ve had that leave the table looking like someone dumped a bucket of pasta and breadcrumbs on the floor. Yucky.

4. Co-workers who don’t do sidework.

5. Co-workers who go on smoke breaks and expect you to watch their tables.

6. When people call me “miss.” GRRRR!!!!! My name is JANET.

7. When the kitchen screws up my food. Very very very rare. But when it happens, man, I’ll tell you that’s annoying.

8. Creepy co-workers.

9. People who come into the restaurant and modify every single thing that they order. Respect the menu, jerk.

10. Typical customers. Like the ladies who lunch: there will always be a caesar salad and a white zinfandel. And water, WITH LEMON PLEASE!! Phhff.

11. When I spill things on my white shirt and have to wear it the rest of the shift.

12. Sharing the employee bathroom with everyone else.

13. When I spill and/or break things.

14. Ditzy hostesses who can’t do their job. Follow the chart! My God!

15. Horrible bartenders that know less about alcohol than me or make you wait ten minutes for a freaking glass of wine.

16. Messing up on a wine presentation. It’s embarrassing.

17. CAMPERS! People who have already eaten, are on their third cup of coffee, and already cashed out.  But they sit at the table, chatting.  For seriously up to four or five hours.  It is so rude.  This is not your living room, it is a public space and you are taking up my section.  GO HOME. (Reference “Ladies who Lunch” comment.)

18.  Cheap, white trash customers who come into the restaurant and try to get their meals comp’d by making the most ridiculous allegations, including but not limited to: “The ravioli was too cheesy,” “The water was too cold,” “My well-done filet mignon took 20 minutes and that’s too long.” If you order something at a restaurant and they legitimately screw it up, tell the server and then tell the manager.  (Like if your salmon is hot pink on the inside, or if your soup is colder than your Diet Coke.) But if you just don’t like something then it’s not the kitchen’s fault – you just don’t like it.  I don’t like steak or chicken marsala.  So you know what?  I don’t order steak and I don’t order chicken marsala.

Me Gusta:

1. Good tippers! 20% or more.

2. Hanging out with fun co-workers and having them become some of my best friends.

3. When it’s really really busy and you’re running around doing a million different things – it’s a total rush.

4. Co-workers who help you out when you need it. I love teamwork.

5. Employee discounts on delicious food.

6. Meeting cool and interesting people that come into my restaurant.

7. The type of customer that tries to get to know you and seems to genuinely see you as a person, not their servent.

8. Serving boys, guys, and men. They tip better, demand less, are generally more easy-going than women.

9. All things considered, it actually is decent money. I make around $14 an hour on even a very modest (like $50 in tips) night. Other than engineering co-ops, what other job can a college student do to make that kind of money?

10. Getting dressed up in the uniform – I think it’s kinda cute in an Annie Hall/Diane Keaton way.

11. Flirting with cute chefs. A hot guy that can cook? Sign me up ; )

12. Actually…flirting with everyone I work with.

13. Having other bartenders and servers as customers. They are by far the best tippers because they know how it is.

14. People who say “please” and “thank you.” It goes a long way.

15. People who teach their children to say “please” and “thank you.” Thank you for leading a new generation of polite people. Other parents, please follow suit.

16. Good hostesses: the ones who ask you if you are ready to be sat, don’t skip you in the rotation, and are generally pleasant to be around.

17. Managers who aren’t too good to run your food or get behind the bar and make you a drink.

18. Good bartenders that are able to handle service bar as well as their own customers. Like my girl Cheryl. ❤

19. The fact that serving has helped me grow. I’m a more confident and assertive person – and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Except for the lottery, haha. After college, I will miss this.

Hi kids!
September 16, 2008

Let’s get this blog started! So I chose to write about my job as a waitress because although it may not be the most important thing I do in my life, my experiences as a server are some of the funniest and most character-building.

I began serving when I was sixteen. I worked for a banquet hall owned by a Polish family and did weddings on the weekends. I earned $30 for each three hour shift. I thought I was awesome. I always got yelled at because I talked too much and the angry owner’s wife was a freaking 75-year-old drill sargent. She could intimidate the Taliban.

From there I went on to a country club for two summers. I did mostly weddings, but also lots of showers and preppy golf parties. I’ve had an offensive amount of wedding cake in my life. My favorite memory of this job is from my first summer during the July 4th party when I got to sit on my roof with my first boyfriend and watch the fireworks. It was kind of magical.

My friends from the country club.  God, I miss this.

My friends from the country club. God, I miss this.

When I came to Rochester I worked at a pub for a month before I quit (before they could fire me first.) It was my first a la carte job, and the most difficult. I knew nothing about alcohol. I had no clue what a black and tan or a Manhattan was or hat martinis couldn’t be on the rocks and up. It was pretty tough. I was also young so I had a hard time standing up for myself when everyone else went on smoking breaks and left me to take care of the whole restaurant. The management was TERRIBLE. After two days of training (which consisted of me following around a reluctant server and getting my questions brushed off) I was thrown to the sharks of the Saturday night rush. Completely un-corporate (a very good thing) yet completely disorganized (a downside of some privately owned establishments).

From there, I went to work at a diner. I got fired after two days. I don’t know why. The place recently closed. Serves them right, huh? Pun intended.

I gave up on serving for a while and worked in a coffee bar. Although the job was fun, it wasn’t much money – at least not what I was used to. After ten months I was ready to head back to the restaurant, and got a job at an Italian place.

I was an absolute disaster. I couldn’t keep up, couldn’t answer people’s questions, spilled drinks, dropped glasses, and got upset every single time someone disrespected me. I would’ve been fired if it weren’t for an amazing manager who looked out for me, covered up my mistakes, and always sided on my behalf. Every day you meet people that you will soon forget. But some days, you meet people who make a lasting impression. People who show you sincere kindness and concern. When he quit in June, I wanted to give him a “congrats on leaving the restaurant and good luck” gift. But I soon realized that nothing could compare to the kindness he showed me. I wrote him a thank you note and cried.

All summer I wanted to leave this restaurant. Business there steadily declined. There were several lunch shifts where I got no tables at all – leaving after two hours having only made the $4.60 hourly wage. There were many weekend dinner shifts when I was cut at 6:30 and walked out with maybe $20 if I were lucky. Enough was enough – so I’ve moved on.

Ironically and arguably selfishly, I now work for the Italian restaurant across the street – their number one competitor in the region. I work with one of my best friends, and I’m just about done with all of the training. (A process, which may I add, has taken almost three weeks. Way more corporate than they claim to be, I think the training is a little excessive for someone coming in with previous training experience. But at the same time, I am completely confident now that I started slow. Upside: confidence. Downside: poverty; you don’t make tips during training.)

I’m happy to report that this is my easiest job yet. I’m actually a good server now. It really took me a long time to get the hang of this, to be comfortable at tables, to stay calm when it gets busy.  I have competitive cover averages, decent tips, and for the most part, happy customers. Most importantly, if someone is mean to me, I don’t let it ruin my night. The jerks will be out of my restaurant and out of my life in 40 minutes, afterall, so what do I care?

You can treat me like crap, like you’re better than me, like I owe you something, like I’m your servent. It doesn’t matter: I’m still me and I still know I’m great.

Which leads me to the underlying message and theme behind this blog. I will share a lot of bad customer stories and probably do a lot of whining. But my goal is to show you that I’m not just a waitress like the customers who sit at my tables see me as.

Behind every waitress (and bartender, and barista, and cashier) is a person who has experienced things that changed them for good. We are all people, and if you take the time to get to know people you will find how you can relate to everyone you meet, and you will really appreciate them. We should all treat each other with kindness, respect, and gratuity.