Monday, December 31, 2007

Ringing in the New Year, Bitchy Style

I picked up a lunch shift yesterday (Sunday)--usually I have off--but Sundays are usually money-makers, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I made decent money but that's only due to a few generous patrons, everyone else...amateurs.

Table #1: Five-top at table 51 (a grown family: mom, dad, two grown daughters (mid-to-late twenties), and what seemed to be the weird son-in-law...little did I know, they were all weird). They were all so somber looking, but in their Sunday best, so they looked sharp...just kinda miserable. I hate when tables come out to eat when their pissy...Why torture yourself and those around you with your misery?...but I digress (as usual).
So, after I brought their drinks, I noticed that their chip baskets were pretty low. I asked the gentlemen if they wanted another basket, they responded, so I moved to the other end of the table to ask the women:
"Ladies, would you like a fresh basket of chips?"
"Yeah, but I'm not sure when," one daughter said blankly.
"Oh--" I started to reply, thinking, What a weird answer. But, then I realized that they weren't even acknowledging me; I had walked in on a conversation. The one daughter actually looked right at me, but remained silent. I just walked away. Yes, I brought them chips.
For lunch, all five ordered the same exact thing (give or take a side item)...weird. Before I set the last entree down, the father-man looked at me, and pointed around the table saying, "One...Two...Three of us are missing biscuits." Then, without missing a beat, the entire table began to pray. I didn't even have time to respond (or maybe I was just extra slow...who knows really), but still weird. Oh, I don't have a problem with folks who pray before their each their own...I must admit, however, it did take me by surprise.
After a while, I noticed that the one daughter (the same one who "eyed" me earlier) had pushed her plate forward, so I offered to take her plate (there was barely anything on it). She looked at me blankly, without saying a word. I know you can talk, bitch, just answer the question! Mom spoke up then and said, "No, she's not finished." What?? She is grown woman...I just don't get people sometimes. Bill: $51 Tip: $7.00. They loved me...

Table #2: Late 40s, early 50s couple. The were in around the same time as #1, so my patience was already kinda thin, ya know...
Woman: "I'll have the 'steak dish.' "
Man: "I'll have the same exact thing."
Me: "The 'steak dish' sir?"
Man: "Yeah, what she said."
Upon delivery the man tells me he ordered the chicken version of the same dish. "Oh, I thought you said you wanted the exact same dish, sir?" No, of course not. New dish (made promptly for once!), New beginning...I guess. Tip: 18% I'll take it.

Off tomorrow...double Wendesday.

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Amateur Weekend

This weekend we kindly refer to as "Amateur Weekend" because this is the time of year when people come out who don't usually come out...amateur.
That preface is exactly why tonight was not as lucrative as we all would have imagined. We were on a decent wait for a few hours, but I don't think we surpassed 40 minutes. Not bad for our restaurant. When I worked for a chain years ago, we would go on 3 hour waits sometimes--insane! Anywhoo...
People were not in friendly moods tonight...perhaps they received their credit card bill maxed-out with Christmas cheer...who knows.
My very dear friend, and co-worker, shared this story with me tonight:
She was sat a table that, at first-glance, would be pegged as a "non-tipping table." Regardless, she greeted them kindly, giving them the benefit of the doubt (hoping that they were the exception). They were rude to her the entire time, and were shocked upon receiving an $86 check (I was shocked that they were shocked because there were six of them, and $86 is NOT bad for six people to eat AND have some drinks). So, after they left, she finds that they had left a total of $93--not even 10%--what the fuck!!! It's just a shame because that table set her mood for the entire evening...After having a bad table, it seems like all the rest are bad tables. It just fucks up the whole ebb and flow of the evening. Those motherfuckers.

My personal gripe for the day stems from something we all are guilty of at one time or another: gluttony. Of course, working in the restaurant biz, I see gluttony every second of every shift, but sometimes it is completely out of control.
At one point tonight, I was triple sat (a 2-top, a 6-top, and a 4-top), so it was slow-goings at first, but I made sure everyone had munchies to tide them over while I got drinks together. As I was setting the chips/salsa down at the 4, one of them ordered a dip from our appetizers. I told them I would have it to them shortly, but I would be back momentarily with their drinks. I brought the drinks out (for all three tables) in two trips (a bar trip and a soda trip), and as I was setting the drinks down at the 4, the woman who ordered the appetizer says to me (as if I didn't know), "Uh, we ordered the dip..." as if I were supposed to pull it out of my ass that very minute and serve it to her..."Yes, you did," I said, and continued delivering the drinks. There is no reason she should have asked me for that dip. It had been maybe five or six minutes (three tables of drinks, come on). So, after all my tables had drinks, I sped off to get their precious dip so they would quit looking at me. (It also occurred to me that no on bothered to run the dip that sat in the app-window, but whatever). I returned quickly with the dip and two baskets of chips (since they had already inhaled the one I brought them)--that was me being the Passive Aggressive Waitress again. I was wrong when I thought THAT would keep them happy...Before their meal arrived, they had finished off both baskets of chips (plus the one I brought at the start of their experience), licked the dip-bowl clean, and cleared all the chips off the appetizer plates (our dips come with extra "fresh" chips). So, without asking, I returned with another basket of chips, to which I receive "Oh my god!" and giggles from the girls because of all the chips they consumed...that's what you get for being gluttons--gluttonous treatment.

It was just like the man months ago who successfully drank three diets BEFORE his meal, so I brought him two WITH his meal (kinda bitchy, I know, but it was busy, and he was waisting my time). When he finished those mid-way through his meal, I brought another that he says, "Do you want me to float out of here?" No, sir, I want you to vomit your way out of here...I don't WANT to bring you extra drinks, but you ARE drinking them! If you're not thirsty, don't drink. Idiot.

Lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Week in Review

The holiday season brings out the best and the worst in people--from generosity to complete frugality, from utmost kindness to outright ignorance, I feel I have seen it all this year! The last week was full of ridiculousness when it came to waiting tables--people are so stressed, and they can't help but take it out on their waitress.
I have many notes...I'm just going to start with the first and work my way through as quickly as possible...although, I may get carried away...

Note #1: People who ask for stuff and don't use it!
It is amazing how many people ask for "extra" stuff right when I deliver the food. For example, I deliver a salad with Ranch dressing. Before the cup of Ranch in my hand has reached the table, this bitch is asking for extra. People really do consume a TON of Ranch dressing, I know, but at least start using your allotted portion before asking me for extra. It's annoying and sometimes ridiculous, especially when I see the "extra" portion unused at the end of the meal. Please.

Note #2: Ignored again.
I know servers tend to be invisible to patrons. Whether it's when the table doesn't stop talking to observe their server's presence, or at the end of their meal during the server's final salutation. Just acknowledge us, and we'll go away! Promise. This particular day annoyed me because I had this 14-top, whom I had had a decent rapport with, and as two of the gentlemen were leaving (I was about three feet away), I wished them "Happy Holidays" and they didn't even nod. They didn't even look up and smile, they just kept walking and talking, immersed so much in their own world to observe human presence and kindness. So, I (obnoxiously) say to a fellow server, "Am I invisible??" At which the two gentlemen turned around, but I scurried off.

Note #3: Table write-off.
One busy lunch last week, I was sat with a two ladies. I approached the table, all smiles, of course, to which the younger of the two (by younger I mean probably 35-40), shooed me from the table. They were talking, which is fine, but DON'T FUCKING SHOO ME! Are you kidding? If you are having such a private or intense conversation, don't get out of the fucking car. If you don't want to be bothered by a server, don't come out to a place like this in the middle of fucking lunch. Immediate write-off. When they were finally ready to converse with their server, the young one waved to me. At the time, I was rolling silverware. She saw me look at her, but I walked off in the other direction with a handful of silverware. I definitely took my time putzing before finally approaching them. I gave them bare-minimum service, and just didn't give a shit about them. Evil, maybe; deserved, absofuckinglutely.

Note #4: When walking through a restaurant, please be AWARE and ALERT!
If you are a patron in a restaurant, please try to be aware of your surroundings. There are people carrying things, running around trying to give above-adequate service. If you are in the way you are not only pissing us all off, but you may get hurt. Seriously.
As a side-note: Parents, we are NOT Romper Room and shouldn't be treated as such. Please be aware that small children are liable to get trampled.

Note #5: Flustered people.
When your waitress comes to your table, you don't have to be ready. Don't be scared that she won't come back--she wants you to get out of there faster than you want to be out of there. I had this table that the women were so flustered by my presence and the concept of a beverage that they ALL ordered waters. Then, when I returned, each of them ordered another soft drink! And it wasn't the "diet and a water" deal--they didn't even TOUCH the waters. Bitches. If you're not ready just say you are NOT ready. It's okay...really. We're a lot more understanding than you think.
We have a lot of regulars who don't even need the menus anymore. So, they sit down, and are immediately ready to order. So, sometimes when I approach a table with closed menus, I automatically ask if they are ready to order. This gets tables all riled up if they're NOT ready and they start flipping their menus open frantically, saying they haven't even looked, what's good here, I don't like spicy, apologizing for their lack of preparation. Don't be stupid. Just tell the waitress...she's a nice

If you are sitting in a crowded restaurant, on an obvious wait, and you have paid, Get The Fuck Up. It's fine if you want to sit and chat, but get up and go to the bar. Go get coffee at Dunkin Donuts all fucking night.
There are ALWAYS exceptions! If you want to sit in my section for hours upon hours eating chips and salsa and drinking water, I WILL allow it on the condition that I am monetarily compensated for the time spent. It's not difficult to understand. Servers make next-to-nothing per hour (for those non-servers out there). Servers make their money on the tables they turn or upselling, or whatever--either way it is your tips I rely on when my checks are VOID. Even when I do have a check, I don't think it's exceeded $40. Please people.

Note #7: Free Tee-shirts with service.
I always say that I don't wear my emotions on my sleeve, I print a fucking tee-shirt and spell it out for the world. It's not hard to tell when I'm completely annoyed. Especially with motherfuckers who try to do my job or who think they know more than I do. The customer is NOT always right.
Example: Older, dirty couple sits in my section, menus closed, hungry as hell. Harmless at first, until they stressed that they have forty-five thousand sides of Ranch dressing. They wanted a quart for their chips and three gallons with dinner. Whatever. So, I bring them their request (charging them accordingly), and bring them their meal. I check on them many times because I'm busy, so I'm constantly in my section. I would just peak over most of the time and occasionally ask them how they were doing. When I saw that the man was finished with his meal he tells me that the "wrap" he ordered usually came with a different tortilla. I told him that the wrap he ordered came with the tortilla he devoured. He insisted that every time he has come to our establishment this "wrap" was made with this other tortilla. "I've been here for the better part of a year, sir." "I've been coming here for 10 years," he says. "Sir, this establishment has only been here for six." That shut him up for a nano-second. Then, I sarcastically say, "Did you request a different tortilla?" Of course he did. "Oh, I'm sorry, sir, I must have missed that when I heard your request for Extra Ranch." Luckily they left cash, and the tip they left was surprisingly fair.
The other example, and I think it was from later that same day, I approached a 7-top with chips and asked for drink orders. Before my schpeal was out of my mouth, the old crotchety man at the head of the table interrupts me to ask for an extra cup of salsa. Annoyed that he couldn't wait three seconds for me to finish talking before he asked for his precious salsa. So, I immediately left the table and brought him back three large cups of salsa and placed them directly in front of him. Then, I took his drink order last. He and his family seemed unfazed by my behavior, but it felt kinda good somehow.
It's just like the other day, I had this table of grown men (30s/40s) order cherry cokes. We don't have it from the fountain, I have to add grenadine, so it's kinda annoying, and it doesn't really taste the same, in my opinion. Well, I was even more annoyed that I was making these kiddie drinks for grown men. So...I drowned their cokes with grenadine...I bet it was kinda gross. But, they drank them, promptly order waters. Really, though, these people just caught me on a bad day. There are other days when I'm very patient and accommodating.

Note #8: Closed Section = No Server = More Patience
A 12-top comes in (no reservation) and requests a table in a closed section. The host seats this table (with only 4 members present) and asks me to pick it up. I don't have a problem picking up the table, but I am pretty busy, running with six tables toward the end of a Friday mid-shift. So, I nod to the table (my way of acknowledging that I see them), but apparently they missed it. After about 4 minutes, one woman stands up craning her head, looking toward the kitchen, peering into other sections, obviously looking for a server. I go over, pretty annoyed, "Hi folks." The woman, still standing, says, "I was looking for our server." "Well, Miss, this section is closed, so I'll be taking care of you until the next shift comes on." If you seat yourself in a CLOSED SECTION you NEED to be patient when waiting for your server...

Note #9: Paranoid Patron
A few days before Christmas, the modem for our credit card machines was running so insanely slow, that we had to bust out the manual credit card machines. There were some very angry patrons. Not only was our modem slow, but our manager didn't want to break out the manual machines until it was absolutely necessary. Servers were running credit cards and waiting 15, sometimes 20 minutes for a tiny slip to print saying that that particular card has been "Timed Out," so they have to swipe it again. I was unaffected by this little snafu for the better part of the day, which was lucky. During the middle of the dinner shift, I get sat with a one-top (boo). This man told me from the beginning that he was in a hurry, so after I delivered his dinner, I also delivered the check. He and I had had a delightful rapport up to this point. So, I go to run the credit card, and it turns into 20 minutes of waiting for something to print--I got nothin.
So I approach the man, state our problem, then tell him that the next step would be to run it through the manual credit card machine.
"What do you mean by manual?" he says suspiciously. I explain how our manuals work, to which he replies, "Oh, so it will open me up for credit card fraud." What do you say to something like that? "Oh, sir, there's nothing to worry about, we've had to do it all day, I assure you nothing like that will happen here." (I was totally talking out my ass, but I wanted this man to pay--he was a one-top taking up my four-top at my window seat! Get out!) He then tells me that there is NO reason for our modems to be running slower than any other day. I reply, "It's Christmas, sir." "That has nothing to do with it," he tells me. "People are using their VISAs like crazy right now, we had this same problem on Black Friday." He rolls his eyes at me and finally agrees to let me run his card manually, when his original slips printed. I went back up to him, waving the credit card slips, "It's your lucky day, sir." I said sweetly, then walked away. Then, it occurred to me that he probably really thought I was trying to steal his credit card, especially after I gave him his slip coincidentally after I had asked him permission to run it manually...I don't know. He'll probably never come back.

Note #10: Are you Fucking Serious??
This bitch had me so angry. Actually, this whole table pissed me off, which is why they made me angry. Very trashy 5-top (four adults and a child; four adults = three women and a man). They know exactly what they want--they modify it to be whatever their hearts desire. Annoying. The father is bathing in his diet coke (which means I had to bring him THREE refills before the meal arrived--and we have gi-normous glasses), the small child is making an unbelievable mess while she is dissecting all of the complimentary crayons we provided for her entertainment (guess we never specify how to use them), and the big girl is getting annoyed that servers are walking behind her chair (she did get bumped twice), but rather than do something classy (or even more subtle), she (and diet coke man) stand up and shove the table over--now the table is totally infiltrating on another table, but I don't say a word because they're trash, and I'm pretty sure they know they are trash. Well, the other girl doesn't order a beverage the entire time she is sitting at my table--not even water. Nothing. But after I dropped the change from their bill, she asks me for a small to-go iced tea. I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes, but I got her the iced tea and went on my way. I come back probably five minutes later, and the table is just leaving. The woman with the to-go iced tea is standing right in front of the wait-station, so I approach her, "Is there anything I can get for you?" "Oh, no, she's taking care of me, it's not a big deal." So, I look at who she's referring to--the other server is getting her ANOTHER to-go iced tea. I don't mind giving people a to-go cup, but this bitch didn't even PAY for a drink, so in my mind she didn't deserve ANY iced tea. (Even if she had asked for water, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.)

It's good to be back.

Dinner shift tonight.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Wow. It feels so good to be back on the computer has been in a coma for the last week...ugh. Now, I have A LOT to catch up on! The holidays definitely bring out the weirdos!!! I made so many notes this week! It's kinda funny. Well, I might post tonight, but in the event that I don't, I will SOON! YAY!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Gripe of the Day

People who say they are "Ready to Order" when they, clearly, are nowhere NEAR "Ready to Order."

Because I'm such a geek and addicted to blogging, I make notes throughout my shift to remind me of what I'm supposed to blog about. So, this afternoon, two older women came in with a toddler. He was cute as hell, and the ladies were sweet, but you could tell they were ready for quick, and not patient enough with me or themselves for that matter. After I delivered their drinks, she tried to tell me that she was ready to order as she was opening her menu. (We have a ton of regulars, so this isn't unusual), then she proceeds, to search the menu, "Oh, now what was it that I wanted...Do you have something like this, but it tastes likes this?" What?! "If you'd like I can give you another minute?" "Oh, no, honey," the other chimes in, "we're ready..." she's saying this as she's trying to speed read faster than superman to read ALL the options on the menu...As I'm standing there, I start to scribble in my notepad because this is RIDICULOUS! I just jotted down: Ready to order--sike! Stupid bitches have NO IDEA!
I have to try to rationalize this type of behavior. I personally think that people behave this way because they have a fear of abandonment. They think their server will go away for a couple minutes and never return. I know this happens, but having your server stand there until you're ready makes him or her neglect other tables. One day, bitches, you will be the "other table" and you will have no right getting impatient when you, too, are culprits!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Illiteracy in the Restaurant Business

My double today would have been relatively painless if more customers knew how to read! That's really my ONLY gripe for the day (other than the usual)!
First, I had the man who asks if we have draft beer, and when I say no, he continues to order a Miller Lt. Draft. I run off all the beers to him (none of which include Miller or Bud products of ANY kind), and he proceeds to ask for Coors Lt. Are you kidding?! READ THE FUCKING MENU!
Next, I have the table of "waters no ice" who order off of the vegetarian menu (which only has about six or seven items). When I deliver the food, they tell me that they didn't order what I put in front of them, "What did you order?" I say sweetly (knowing full well and good that they got what they asked for), they tell me, and I say, "Well, that's it! Enjoy!" I sent a manager over just to do a table visit, and he proceeded to tell them they got exactly what they ordered, but I still saw them fumbling through the menu looking for what they thought they had ordered. One of the women ordered a vegetarian item that is mostly a cheese dish (and is explained as such in the MOTHERFUCKING menu) and she tells me (after I've been to the table to check on them NUMEROUS times) that her dish has "too much cheese." That's what it IS you lunatic! That's what it says in the MENU! You know, that book you've been scrutinizing for an hour before ordering--you know, that thing will all the writing! Sorry about the lack of pictures! Stupid fucking bitches.
Finally, I have the skinny bitches who are sooo fucking starving that they have to order appetizers, salads, and an entree. All of our portions are huge, and we don't have such a thing as a side salad, so when I bring the salads, the women were adamant that the salads are NOT what they ordered. I tell them that they all of our salads are entree size (and it's listed with entree salads, so take the hint). The women looked at these salads like they were eating some sort of weird foreign delicacy. They were stupid. But, I blew them off, "Well, ladies, that's the beauty in boxes--anything you can't finish, I'd be happy to wrap for you. Hey, and lucky you--the dressing comes on the side!" I set their dressings down and walked away, leaving them with their gargantuan salads. Bitches.

I just don't understand WHY people's literacy rate drops the second they walk through the doors of ANY restaurant. No one can find the bathrooms, no one can read the menu, no one can read the drink specials--yet, any of the bric-a-brac (a nice word for "crap") we have on the wall, everyone reads and comments on ALL the time! I don't get it! They open up the menu to the drink page, and THEN ask what kind of margaritas we have! They are all listed and described in the FUCKING MENU! One day, I'm sure I'll snap! Someone will ask me to describe every motherfucking thing on the menu, and I will have to tell them to find a fucking translator because my job is NOT to read the menu to you--my job is to bring you the things YOU WANT off the menu! Fucking people.

Ahh...I actually have off tomorrow, which may hurt the wallet, but I have a VERY important Poppop to visit, so I'll take the cut...Double Friday though (open/close...I'm screaming already!).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Where am I?

Today was rough. Long. Annoying. (Oh yeah, did I say before that I hate waiting tables?? If I didn't, I'm saying it now...) I picked up this morning, and I've decided after today (and last week) that I do NOT like Saturday doubles. Yes, I made decent money, but I really worked hard...unlike some. The thing with Saturday doubles is that cuts never go up. The MOD lets two people (depending on business) go on break at a time (if they are doubles), but we come on 20 - 30 min later and jump back into the steady day--it's almost like the food I inhaled during that time didn't even make it to my stomach before I was running outside to smoke.
Even though tonight wasn't CRAZY busy, it was steady, so cuts didn't go up until 9:45/10:00 (the dining room closes at 10:30). I still had two tables at that time, and then I saw that we had 110 roll-ups! I was there until 11, I think--so officially a thirteen hour day. (I debated about picking up a shift tomorrow morning, and after typing that, I think I'll take the day off.)
Today started off smoothly, then around 2 or so, I started getting cranky and antsy, hungry and annoyed (just being pissy), but tables were alright.
Oh, I had this one table at lunch who looked like trouble from the start, but whatever...the benefit of the doubt, right?? So, I greet them and find out that they live about an hour or so away and come up to the "city"periodically, so they've never been to our restaurant...great. So, I schmooze and try to sell some stuff. I give them time, and at this point, I have a good rapport with them and I think they're okay...they're just a little weird. So, fine. I bring out their food and when I do the check back, the man suddenly turns into the Funny Man with All the Jokes (please sense the sarcasm!)--"Oh, this is awful!" he says. I ask his wife how she's enjoying her meal; she seems sweet, and probably gets overshadowed by her Hilarious Husband. So, as I'm bussing the table behind his, he's asking me questions about the restaurant, all the while reminding me how terrible the food is (me, I'm trying to find funny comments to use, but it gets to the point when I realize that this man is only funny to himself, and I don't really need to humor him because he's doing a fine job on his own). When I drop the check, I always say (which I'm trying to change), "I'll take care of the bill for you whenever you're ready." or something to that affect. And of course this man says, "Oh, honey, she says she'll take care of the check! This is great! Makes up for that awful meal." I wanted to kick him in the face. I smile and say, "Oh, you'll be back!" His wife smiles and winks, but says nothing. I think at one point she gave her hubby a flirty smack--as if that could stop his hilarity.
So, as they are getting up from the table, I am standing there saying "Goodbye" and "I'll see you soon!" Shit like that, and this man, this un-funny, fucking weird, John Deere hat-wearing, old joke-using, down-state man tries to HUG me! You don't touch me!
Granted, there are times when I tap a guest or place my hand on their shoulder to guide them out of the way for the steaming hot plate coming right for their face, but YOU DON'T HUG YOUR WAITRESS!!!!!! (loved regulars excluded!) I gracefully turned, nearly with my back to him (as if I were letting him by), so he could only put his hands on my shoulders, but he definitely tried for the all-on HUG! What the fuck? Where am I?

So the rest of lunch was fine, and I went on break around 3, and when I came back on, my head was really somewhere else. There was a good three hours of the night shift that I felt like I was walking around in a fog...I wasn't in the weeds, but I just I was forgetting shit, fucking shit up, and just not being the great waitress I know I can be.
It happens...we all do matter how long we've waited tables. Sometimes your groove just isn't there and you fuck shit up. Well, I made two of the dumbest mistakes EVER tonight. I'm sure I'll hear shit for it next week...I'm such an idiot.

So, these two things happened within 20 minutes of each other...the tables were there at the same time.
So, 104 orders a melon the same time, one of my most favorite co-workers walks out (fired/quit)! So, needless to say, I'm distracted. I walk to the bar, pick up the margarita and take it to the table. I guess five or so minutes after I drop that margarita, I'm taking 101's drink order, and I head for the computer. Before I reach the computer, a co-worker asks me if the melon marg sitting at the bar is mine--I immediately look at my table and slap my head--I took the wrong fucking margarita to my table! Doh! I CAN'T believe I did that! Who am I? Oh, I'm your waitress?? I should know what the fuck I'm doing, right? Nope, not tonight, folks. Well, because I had to deal with the margarita situation, I totally forgot what 101 ordered (for some reason only wrote down two of the four drinks), so I had to guess what the other two guests ordered: I guessed diet and iced tea...yeah, let's try diet and a fucking beer! "Hello, my name is Stupid Fucking Idiot, I'll be fucking up your order this evening and trying to joke about it so you still tip me! What can I fuck up for you tonight??"

Where am I???

Finally home...almost comfortable...and totally exhausted.

Off tomorrow...Lunch Monday.

Friday, December 7, 2007

"Captain" Chaos

Butters-inspired and feeling silly, sometimes I enjoy playing little pranks during my shift..."accidentally" dropping menus as I return them to the bin next to the host stand, stealthily stealing pens from co-workers as we pass in the hall, removing straws from drinks as they are being made...all in good fun, of course. I know when to say when...usually. That's how today was.
Lunch was great! Lucrative and overall pretty pleasant (there are ALWAYS exceptions though). Busy. Busy. Although, I didn't think it would end up that way...this story is rated E for Everyone...

Before shift meeting ended I had been double sat (the guests took a special liking to the tables in my section). I wasn't upset about being double sat, but when I walked in the dining room, I saw that my six-top was sat, there were three women at my window-seat (a four-top), and one, single man sitting at my other four-top, but I could tell he was with the three women.

I was confused and hoped this wasn't going to be one of those tables. I did NOT want to start the day off like this. Whatever. I went over to greet the six (I told them I'd be right with them), and immediately went over to the three women and the man to get the scoop on their territorial table-stealing.

The women informed me they were expecting more people. I asked them if they wanted a larger table, and they said they were fine where they were. Annoying. I had one more empty table left in my section, and I had to claim it, "If the rest of your party doesn't show, I will not be able to hold that table for you." (It's Friday lunch for Jiminy's sake! You cannot have all my tables!)
They were kind of snooty and seemingly annoyed with my interrupting their gossip gabble, and I know there were a couple times in the very beginning when they could sense my annoyance. Like when I dropped off two iced teas, and before the cups even left my hand, the woman was asking for the sweetener before I had the opportunity to pull it from my pocket (this being the same woman who asked for Lemonade, Sweet Tea, Mountain Dew, Cappuccino, and every other beverage we don't have because of the overwhelming illiteracy rate that infects the general public when they go out to eat). So, I pull the sugar caddy from my pocket and dangle it to the side, teasingly. Of course I was "all smiles," and she managed to give me something of a smile in return before she was sucked back into the vortex of chatter and squawking from the other women at the table.

In addition, they went through a record-breaking amount of chips! I thought they were going to start spewing chip corners across the restaurant, and I seriously considered asking them if they wanted a straw for their salsa--yuck!

So fine, four more people joined them soon after and filled up three out of the four tables just as we were beginning to get busy.

Getting triple-sat is not always a bad thing. Even though my restaurant is fast-paced, I still set the pace for my tables--it's the only way to stay sane sometimes. People don't always have to have instant service. Most are patient if you are honest and keep them "in the know." The three tables ordered, I put it in quickly, but kind of staggered them so I wouldn't get slammed delivering three tables' food (unfortunately, I still cannot seem to wrap my head around pivot point...ugh...I want to be there to deliver my food).

So, as I'm waiting for their food, I bring extra plates, napkins, and a few refills I deem necessary. Every time I brought something to the table without being asked, this one lady would make a comment, "Wow! Did you read her mind??" At first, I thought she was being condescending, but then I decided to relax.

She kept commenting, and I would say things like, "Well, I've been doing this a long time..." "Oh, you can tell!" she says. "Well, thank you!" I smile. At one point she said to me, "Can we just take you home, so you can..." and I finished her comment for her, " anticipate your every need?" She smiled and agreed, because that's really what I do. Anticipate that you are going to be a slob and need extra napkins, anticipate that the dish will be spicy as hell, and you will need a refill, anticipate that you are ready to leave--the check is in my pocket...
When they were finishing up, she said, "We come here all the time, and you are the best waitress we've ever had!" "Well thank you!" I don't really take compliments well, but it feels sooooo great when you finally get some! (Even though I feel like this lady laid it on pretty thick.) It's especially nice to hear it from a table that was once so annoying. But I did work hard for them. All three tables left me over 20%! It was a great way to start the day! It's amazing how quickly things can turn around.

Cuts weren't made until about 2:30, but that didn't hurt the day...for me. That makes me think of one other rant I wanted to rave about...
Like I have said in other posts, we are fully staffed...people are fighting for shifts! It's really insane! Everyone wants to work la, la, la. So yesterday, I, and several other servers were doubles, and there were seven singles on. Toward the end of the dinner shift, the MOD is going around asking people to close--I'm NOT closing...I opened. Besides, there were plenty of people working a single shift that should have stepped up and taken one for the team. It's kinda fucked up. I mean, with all the fighting for shifts, you'd think that ONE person would be willing to stay. I've done it. We all have to do it at one point or another, but geeze! Eventually, they were forced to draw straws because no one would volunteer. At one point, my manager even said that he was considering having all the singles close just to prove a point, but the straw thing went over soooo much better. I just think it's amazing that all seven people declined to help the other two closers and make a couple extra bucks in the process...I don't know. I guess if I'm talking all this smack, I should have closed! Blah!

Double Tomorrow!

P.S. Butters is Professor Chaos, and I am his evil apprentice, learning all of the Professor's deceitful ways...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Go Blow, Snow!

Well, the first snow of the season kept hungry patrons at their desks this afternoon--lunch was poop. (I think I'm sensing a trend.) I'm not yet 100%; this cold has my head in more of a fog than usual...
So, at work, since it was empty, we were all messing around--I was torturing the hostess (because I love her; she's not one of the morons), and the MOD got pissed telling us that we were all douche bags...whatever.
Didn't make any money, but the shift was fun, and it went quickly.

Double tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Lesson in De-Greenifying

I don't know about all of you, but I am a HUGE fan of befriending the rookies and making sure they are properly taken care of. I know some of the jokes--emptying all the water from the coffee maker (it's hooked directly to the water lines, so it will not empty); putting ice cubes or crushed chips on their clean tables; sending them to find something that we no longer have, etc., all of these little jokes are harmless (and a little fun), but on a whole rookies need to be taught the RIGHT way. I'm not talking new people that have come from another restaurant here; I'm talking rookies to the restaurant biz on a whole. New people that come from other restaurants already know the rules--they know what they are getting themselves into.
Rookies are walking in completely blind.
Now, I have a full understanding that the word "hostess" tends to attract those in the "I'm a fucking moron" class of teenagers; but there are ALWAYS exceptions.
You know who they are (I'm talking about hosts, servers, bussers, etc. now)--enthusiastic, aced their tests (menu, floor chart, drinks, etc.), half-hour early for see where I'm going with this. These individuals are still green to the restaurant industry, and may not even know how to brew a cup of coffee or carry a tray--things that we can do in our sleep. They definitely don't know the politics and the sometimes dirty stuff that goes on behind the scenes (if your restaurant doesn't have any, then you've either found the exception or you're the green one).

This rant stems from my lunch shift yesterday (Monday). It was SLOW...slower than usual, slow. We had 12 servers on (ridiculous, I know, but for some reason the pars are really high for Mondays in December, which is also why they put a busser on), ugh. Well, a server was getting all fired up because he had only had three tables, la la la, and he thinks the hostess is an idiot, when he doesn't realize that when guests see a nearly empty restaurant, they will generally choose the table they want, "Oh, can we have that table by the window??" or "Can we stay near the front of the restaurant please?" or my fav, "I'll take THAT one." Guests always find something to make a special request for. But, I digress.

The server was kind of screaming at the hostess! I immediately went over to him because I saw he had upset her, "Hey, man, don't make her cry. She's a good one..." The server I'm talking to has worked in the biz for quite some time (although he is young...I think he's 24), but he's lazy, and thinks he has the power to get away with shit. And, he's trying to act like he has some kind of power to be sat incessantly during a slow shift. He says to me, and I quote, " 'Nice' doesn't pay the bills." Well, not only did I laugh at him a little bit, but I just said, "Alright, dude, but karma's the bitch." and walked away.
I'm not saying I DON'T flip out on hosts, because there are definitely situations when I want to beat the shit of them all, but you've got to look at the whole picture first. We were dead! There were no tables to be sat! I think I had six by the time cuts went up. I never asked him how many he had. I wanted to ask him why he didn't want to close lunch, but I decided that would just add fuel, and I didn't really feel like talking to him.

Bottom Line: Teach the rooks the RIGHT way. Be honest. Don't yell. Remember how you felt your very first day (or month) waiting tables. It's nerve-racking for some and easy-as-pie-for others. Help the new guy at the computer. Show him the shortcuts. You can teach them the right way (your way), and before you know it, you've built yourself a little army....(teehee).

Lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Longest, Most Annoying Day Ever

Going in at 12 was cool--I took my time getting ready, and went in ready to work (trying to ignore the fact that I really didn't feel well--scratchy throat, slight congestion, a little foggy).

I picked up lunch, and I was scheduled to close dinner. I didn't even think about getting someone to pick it up for me--I figured I picked up the shift, and I have off tomorrow, so I can sleep it off.

One of my first tables was my family, so that started my day off happy (even though my niece was a bit grumpy).

Then, the day went to shit.

It was steady, and that was good, but tables were just annoying! Lunch was quick. I was given a break around 3, only to be called back early to take a nine top of "waters with no ice" or "waters with 'lite' ice"--ugh. They were extremely high-maintenance, and just a pain in my ass--the one tween kept calling me while I was taking care of other tables! I wanted to ring his neck! They left leaving nothing more than expected (and they even had the nerve to ask me for the treat that comes with the kids meal, and the child didn't GET a kids' meal!!). That nine-top took up my three four-tops and I had another six-top in my section, so once they left, I had three open tables. Ironically, the six-top I had also left, so my section was completely empty for approximately 8 nano-seconds.
We had a steady stream of people coming in and the first million went into my section at once--for a second, I thought I was having one of my famous work nightmares--then I realized, it was real, and I was living my own personal hell.
After that literal quadruple-seat, my ass was on the floor. I could barely talk because of my stupid scratchy throat, and I just started to feel exhausted. Some friends of mine came in, and I barely had time to stop by and chat. :(
I was getting even more annoyed (if that's possible) because there was a football game on. I don't understand football--and even if I could, I don't think I have the patience for it. But, I don't really care about it--if it's on, it's whatever. As long as it doesn't directly affect me, I'm good. Well I had tables for about a three hour span, asking me to check scores and shit--Get up your fucking self! "Sorry, sir, I don't speak football." I said cheerfully to the retired man with the college sweatshirt on (you can say anything you want with a smile on your face!). I just don't care about football! I want to bring you your fucking beer, so you can eat and be happy, but take the ten-foot walk to the bar and find out for yourself--who knows it could be fun! Apparently, asking their waitress is more fun! Yippie!
Randomly, this dude I work with asked me if I wanted him to close for me--the question was answered before it was asked! But the night just droned on! Cuts didn't go up until almost 9:30, and the dining room closes at 10:30 (the bar stays open until 11:30). I didn't get home until 11:30--I should've closed, I guess, but it's whatever.
Sales = $1,075
Tip-out = $38!!! (Bussers = $13; Food Runners = $15; Bar = $10)
In-Pocket = $150
I'm home. I'm clean. I'm aching. I'm getting sick. I'm getting tired. I'm getting into bed.

Off tomorrow...Open Monday.