Anxiety

December 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

I don’t know why I let things get to me sometimes, but I get these really strange dreams about work sometimes so I thought I’d share.

At one of my jobs, I worked as a barista at a coffee bar at a local hospital. Terrible experience, really, if not for the fun people behind the bar with me. Anyway, I am awful at mental math. So when I’d be working the register and I’d ring someone’s order up and the computer would calculate the change, some people would be like “oh, I have a quarter!” or “oh, I have 30 cents right here” and then I’d have to do the mental math and figure out what I owe them.

So I had this reoccuring dream where I’d be behind the counter by myself and there would be a line of people all wanting complicated drinks, and they’d all pay that way so I’d have to do the mental math. And then there is this fat lady – who I’ve never met before but it’s always the same fucking fat lady – gets pissed at me when I can’t figure out the change so she throws her scalding hot caramel latte with extra whip cream (like I said, she’s a fat ass) at my face.

And then I wake up.

What does that mean?

So then, since I’ve been waitressing, I’ve had this dream where I’m carrying a bunch of plates and glass in my hands and this little kid is running all over the restaurant. He runs in between my legs and trips me so I fall and try to catch myself with my hands, but I stick my hand in the broken glass and the glass pricks through that fleshy part of my hand (you know that gushy part between your thumb and your index finger?)

And then I wake up.

WTF?

I don’t know what that means…do I hate kids or something? I really don’t…only the whiny demonseeds that come in the restaurant and order like 15 Shirley Temples.

So now I’ve had this new dream where I think I’m late to work, but I go to clock in and then realize I’m not. But I already have a table, so I go take their order, but I forget to ring in something…it’s usually a chicken parm…and then the whole evening from there on out is just a disaster. Now this one may be kinda a Groundhog’s Day syndrome going on, because I did have this one crappy lunch shift where I forgot to ring in some chicken parm and it really did make the rest of the shift a disaster. But I’m not sure.

So yea. These jobs are basically ruining me haha. I haven’t slept much this semester. I started taking St. Johns Wort because it’s supposed to promote mental well-being and blah blah blah but so far it hasn’t done anything. When it comes to non-prescription remedies, I think I should just stick to my typical self-medicating regime of Mark West Pinot Noir and Sex and the City. With Christmas break coming up…maybe I’ll just have to up my dosage.

Cheap and good.

Cheap and good.

Guilty pleasure

Guilty pleasure

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86 Lazy coworkers – Sub Mark* name changed for “privacy”

November 24, 2008 - One Response

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 haven’t posted in FORRREVVERRR

November 23, 2008 - Leave a Response

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 - Leave a Response

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%?

The grinch who stole Thursday

October 31, 2008 - Leave a Response

That title refers to the stupid bitch at table 32 who had to question every little thing I did and tell me that we didn’t make our salad dressing right because we use cream and “I make salad dressing all the time and that’s not how I make it.”

Really?  Well then.  We have an opening for an Executive Chef.  Wanna apply?  Or are you too damn busy giving favors for jewelry in your Pittsford-ass cookie cutter sub-division to make something of your life?

I laugh at my own stupid jokes

October 21, 2008 - Leave a Response

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 - 2 Responses

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?

Women.

October 19, 2008 - Leave a Response

Grr….

So yesterday was an OK Saturday night. I came out with like $120 (after my $26.72 tip out, mind you. A blog-worthy topic in and of itself). But anyway, things were alright, except for my one table that completely stiffed me!

The bill was $81.18. They gave me $49 cash and told me to put $32 on this one lady’s card. So they didn’t give me enough cash, but I decided to absorb the $.18 difference to spare myself the embarrassment of having to explain to three drunk women that they owed me $.18. They told me to “keep the change” – which is ironic, because there wasn’t any!!

I gave them great service. In all likelihood, I could have been looking at a $12-$15 tip. But no. Because they suck.

I told one kid about this, and he told me (and he “swears to God” this story is true) that last week a customer mailed a tip to him. That he got an envelope labeled “To Adam” with 10 bucks in it and a note explaining how sorry they were, that they didn’t have enough money, that they felt terrible about not tipping him. I actually read a post from another blogger that had a similar situation happen.

I honestly don’t think these women intentionally left without tipping me. They were really nice and seemed happy with the service. And it seems like someone who didn’t tip would sneak out really quickly and avoid eye contact and such – but they didn’t. They stuck around to say goodbye.

I’m freaking compassionate. I suck at math when I’m sober – so I can imagine the numerical kerfluffle I’d be in after a few drinky drinks. Maybe it was the cosmos, or the lack of a calculator, but my belief in the good in people leads me to believe this wasn’t on purpose.

But at the same time, I’m not holding my breathe and waiting for a little envelope addressed to Janet.

Cosmos - Good for the mood, bad for the math skills

Cosmos - Good for the mood, bad for the math skills

Blush n Studder

October 17, 2008 - Leave a Response

So yesterday I had a terrible night, and after making $47 on the lamest closing shift ever, my friend reminds me with sunshiny optimism about why waitressing is so awesome: because of all the cool people you get to meet.

Really?  The down-talking verbal tippers??!  I know, I’m so blessed to have met them.

But today I walk in and immediately get thrown onto a party because some other server “can’t handle it.”  I look across the restaurant and gaze at my prospective table: A fifteen top of collectively, the most attractive group of men I’ve seen ever since I realized that boys didn’t have cooties (which coincidently was only two years ago!  Just kidding…sort of).

So I take them on.  It turns out they are a hockey team – for the farm team to the NY Rangers.  And this would mean something to me if I followed sports.  But I don’t.  So their J Crew shirts and charisma were plenty enough.

But what my friend said is true.  Last year, I met some actors who were in town to do a show called White Christmas at the Geva Theater.  They were really nice, and so interesting.  In all seriousness, it’s fun to meet people who live completely different lives than you.

Finally, a happy rant.  For once, a good surprise.

A future NY Ranger at my table.  Hmmm sigghhhhhhh

A future NY Ranger at my table. Hmmm sigghhhhhhh

OPRAH

October 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

I’m so excited. I’m sitting here watching Oprah, and she has this show about rudeness in America. She included this awesome segment about people who act rude in restaurants. THANK YOU Oprah for bringing light to an issue that is really important to the restaurant people affected by rude customers.

There was this RUDE girl named Jeni featured on the show, and she completely embodied the typical nightmare customer. Get this: she admitted to yelling at a server for refilling her iced tea because it ruined the “sweetener to tea ratio” of the remaining tea in the glass.  Really?

The show also featured Steve Dublanica, whose blog Waiter Rant is one of the reasons I chose to do this topic for my project.  I’m not gonna lie, there was only so much market research I could do at my PR internship this summer and his site helped me pass the time.

Steve Dublanica, author of Waiter Rant. Google his blog!!

Steve Dublanica, author of Waiter Rant. Google his blog!!

Jeni is the one on the left. At least her sister seems sweet.

Jeni is the one on the left. At least her sister seems sweet.

When I grow up, I’m not going to push my children to do any particular sport, activity, or college major. I will, however, insist that they spend at least a summer working in a restaurant. If people walked a day in our shoes they would learn to be more compassionate, respectful – LESS RIDICULOUS!!!

And as for Jeni: Good luck, girl. I can 100% guarentee there has been spit in your food if you seriously act like that in a restaurant.  Even better – how about spit in that freaking iced tea.  How’s that for a “sweetener to tea ratio?”

Here is a link to my favorite segment on the show: http://www.oprah.com/media/20080909_tows_waiter

Photo creds:

http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20080909_tows_rude/7

http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20080909_tows_rude/8