Sunday, September 28, 2008


Aside from having insane tables for the last few weeks, I've also been harboring this feeling like I'm being punished for something at ye ol' restaurant...
I only work 3 shifts a week now, because I have another part-time job, and I teach a writing course at the local community college. (My writing is much better when it's technical and not in ranting phase. I used to really edit my posts, but then I thought it took away from the artistic draw of the blog, which is a freestyle, get-it-out-before-I-explode, venting mechanism of sorts, which also has the potential of having a high entertainment value.)
Initially, when I brought this new availability to the schedule-writing manager, we discussed what shifts I'd like to work. I said, "If I ruled the world, I would love to work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights." I knew I would, and I did, get a huge NO. Immediately following she says that those are "money" shifts, and it would be unfair to give me only those shifts, as they are the most sought after. Fine. Whatever. Then, Schedule Writing Manager tells me that she's in desperate need of servers for Monday night (mind you, this was 6 months ago--we're fully staffed now). I begrudgingly agreed, only because I figured that I would just pick up Friday nights. I was picking up Friday nights pretty frequently anyway, until I started teaching this teaching gig.
The class started at the end of August, and I figured I had plenty of time to plan. As I started getting into the curriculum, I was getting overwhelmed (I've never taught before--let alone at a college level), and I started freaking out. I tried to work it out until about two weeks ago, when I went to Schedule Writing Manger and mentioned that I was considering taking Monday night off my availability. I felt like I had no time in the day; between day work, night work, planning for a college-level writing course, and spending time with my family--I was swamped. Not to mention even considering the possibility of a social life. Besides, Monday nights are poop. They are a waste of my life, and since my class is on Wednesday, it seemed like a primary planning time opportunity. Having off Friday night is a tease. I have been staying home because it's my only night to plan.
Well, when I mentioned this option of removing Monday night (considering all the above), Schedule Writing Manager told me that I would have to approve it with GM because company policy states that 3 shifts is the requirement for working there. What a crock of bullshit, in my opinion.
I dropped it. I haven't said one word to the GM or any other manager. Well, last week, I was only scheduled 2 shifts and this week I'm only scheduled 2. I haven't said a word.
I am grateful; however, for the last month I have been scheduled in a 3-table section.
Nearly every shift. Even closing shifts.
After my second consecutive 3-table night, I started looking at the team sheets--hard. If I bitched too early, which I'm known to do, they would throw a number of things in my face.
1. I'm not a trainer. Trainer's are guaranteed 4-table sections (and the one new 5-table section).
2. I have late availability. I have late availability during the week because of my day job (I can't come in until 5, or the new 5:30 in-time); therefore, I'm scheduled in the back sections, and I guess they think that that makes a person a weaker server. I don't fucking know, but I know they'll try to shove it at me. They take jabs where they can.
3. I have limited availability. There are people who work over 40 hours a week (not too much over because they are pretty strict on that), and they wouldn't want to push them in a 3-table section when they put in a lot of time.
I have accepted their laws, and I take these 3 specific things into consideration when I look at the team sheet. There are a lot of rookies right now, and they are being thrown into 4-table sections before they're ready, and it's costing the restaurant money. I am a strong server--let's face it, we know who we are--we get shit done, without a hitch...usually. (There are always exceptions.) Yet, I'm in 3-table sections.
After the 3rd shift in a 3-table section, I said something to my Fav Manager (haha Fav Man...), and he fed me some line about the confusion with the sections changing. Granted, they have been changing from week to week...sometimes from day to day, but should that mean that it should be looked at with a closer eye? I don't know.
The schedule is written by Schedule Writing Manager, but on a daily basis the Manager on Duty is required to write the team sheets, make any necessary schedule changes, etc. When he/she does this, would it be so difficult as to analyze the servers scheduled, and place them accordingly? I don't understand.
This is why I'm feeling punished.
Yes, I've bitched.
Yes, I've made it known that I'm not extraordinarily happy with the way the restaurant is run.
Yes, I've been written up.
Yes, I've written a mock letter to the owner of the company that my GM found a threw away.
Yes, I've gotten into arguments with management.
Yes, I've worked over 40 hours a week.
Yes, I've run front sections successfully with zero promos.
Yes, I've had compliments from guests.
Yes, we all know, I've had complaints, but only a few.
Yes, I've worked open to close.
Yes, I've cleaned out the drains.
Yes, I've worked four doubles in a row.
Yes, I've done all of these things, regardless of any of the previous bitching, and right now, I feel like I'm being punished. Maybe it's because of my mock letter to the owner. Maybe it's because of my previous arguments. Maybe it's because they're trying to faze me out. Maybe I'm paranoid.
Even though I've been on the edge, there is a new wind right now. I'm not entirely sure it's my time to leave. There are a lot of new people, bringing new energy, and there are a lot of people who are leaving. I don't think I want to leave, unless I really have to, and now that I've been scheduled in shitty sections for the last month, it's beginning to affect my finances, so I'm feeling pressured.
Trying to go down to 2 shifts was an attempt for me to have more time to figure out the time management for my life. Now that I'm in week 6 of the course, I'm getting things down a little better. I'm adapting to the things I should prepare. I was just freaking out. I'm glad that I didn't go to the GM with it. For money purposes, I NEED to work 3 shifts a week, especially because I've been in 3-table sections.
I set up a meeting with the GM tomorrow, and I'm still not sure how to say what I want to say. Should I just sit down and ask him if I'm being punished, or should I just tell him...what? Does he really care? Does he expect me to put my 2 weeks in tomorrow because that's what they want. Okay, yes, I'm being paranoid, and, yes, I've written yet another insanely long post.
Thanks for readin' the rant, and I hope I didn't nauseate you with all the circles...

3-table section tomorrow night.

Part II (a million years later...)

I have no excuse.

Part II

The saga continues...(yes I still remember every detail of this table)...

I forgot to mention that when I brought the water and beer to the table, Jerk Monkey had two empties sitting on the edge. I still had impatient, Veggie Woman's water in my left hand, so I put the beer down and quickly grabbed the two beers with one hand--a kind of swoop. Then, I set the woman's water down and walked away in a server huff. So, I walked completely out of range from the table for a few minutes--they'd be fine, but I wanted to avoid them. They had water, and food, but I knew Jerk Monkey would need another beer, pronto, so I didn't stray too far.
I decided to go check on them, and I saw my two managers talking near the kitchen, and when I walked passed, one said, "What's up with the lady and the peppers?"
I had no idea what they were talking about, since my table doesn't like to tell me stuff. Then, the other manager chimes in, "Were you rude to them?"
I look at them, shocked that we're having this conversation. I said, "I may not like them, but I'm always polite. You know that! I don't get complaints..." (Well, there was that one, but we'll call that...a mulligan, of sorts).
Manager Two says, "Well, they said that you slammed a beer down, and you've been short with them."
What does that mean? They asked questions about the menu, I answered. They ran me for beers, I ran--I may not have been smiling, but I always brought it in a timely fashion. I was asked to bring a water, and I did, only I guess I took too long. I just didn't understand why they would complain. And the woman with the peppers? What did that mean?
I manager said that he would visit the table, and I should steer clear for a minute. Fine. When I caught up with him, he said that she didn't like the peppers in the veggie mix. Okay. They said that I seemed annoyed with them...ugh...I guess it did show...and even though I was, I SWEAR I never slam shit. I was trying to be efficient. But I guess if they sense that I'm already mad, then I guess it could be portrayed as a 'slam'. Whatever. He said the table said that the service has been excellent--that doesn't make sense. So, I basically got a complaint about my attitude, not my ability as a server.

Post Complaint
I'm pissed. And, I hate them...all.

After the talk with my manager, I go to the table to wrap any leftovers. When I approach the table, Veggie Woman says, "You should warn people about the pepper." I reply, "I don't typically warn people about the peppers because they're red and green bell peppers--they're mild." She looks at me and says, "Noooo, the black pepper." I reply, "In the description it states that it's sauteed in butter with black pepper, I apologize for the confusion, next time, you're more than welcome to request it without the pepper." With that, I prebussed the table, got the men another round of beers, and when I was returning to the table, the bartender approached me and told me that a woman from my table just asked him for a birthday cake. Fuck.
Now she's asking an entirely different employee for something! She must've been afraid of me--secretly, I love that.
Well, that just pissed me off. Part of me didn't want to do it at all, considering that she didn't even ask me. What if the bartender never told me? What then? They probably would've thought that I was(n't) doing it out of spite.
I did it. I couldn't not do it. Not after I gave them great service with a bad attitude.
They lingered.
I sneered.
They left me 20%.
I was pleasantly surprised.

Sorry for the delayed (and somewhat less dramatic) ending...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Karma? (The Long Version) Part I

Well, considering how my previous post was Satanic, I guess it is fitting that last night I had to wait on the Table from Hell.
A middle-aged couple sits down (probably mid-50s, early 60s), and they are waiting for another couple to arrive. The woman immediately goes to the restroom, while I greet her husband, eagerly waiting my arrival at his table. He proceeds to request a very bizarre margarita (tequila, triple-sec, Gran Marnier, and razzmatazz) for his wife, and a beer for himself. He didn't even really know what he was saying--he said his wife wanted something "different." So he took ingredients from every drink on the menu. When he ordered the margarita, I told him that I would have to check with the bartender to make sure that that was something we could (a) do, and (2) would it taste good. (Before I walked away he made sure to tell me that he needed more salsa. And he really wasn't letting me do any explaining...he was just talking.)
A manager actually visited the table to make sure they knew what they were getting themselves into price-wise.
Out of the gate: High maintenance drink order and greedy with the salsa.

So, fine. When I delivered the drinks, the woman was at the table. I set the drink down and she said she had a question about the menu. She asks her question about an item that included a shrimp based sauce over steak. She wasn't sure if she was going to like the sauce, so I assured her we would be happy to put it on the side (I do say shit like that--I have a schpeal for everything). I described the sauce pretty well (if I do say so myself) and thought that we were in a clear understanding about the dish. After I was speaking to the wife, Jerk Monkey was tapping his half-full beer bottle, nodding his head with a mouthful of the first half.
"I'll bring another beer and more salsa right out."

Drink order/Menu Questions: Pretty slow on the uptake. The wife seemed pretty ditsy when I was talking to her about the menu. Jerk Monkey (husband) = a drunk
Still high maintenance.

When I brought back Jerk Monkey's 2nd beer, he was holding a nearly-empty salsa cup up. I didn't say anything--I set down his beer and the other thing of salsa. He says, "Can you bring me another cup of water?" In the bottom of the cup was a little bit of salsa juice, that did look watered down--whatthefuckever. "I'll bring more salsa over for you." I say dryly. Jerk Monkey then says, "and bring me another beer." "Sure," I say.
The other couple still has yet to arrive.

Preliminary: He is already on my nerve. He's a greedy, sloppy drunk, and his wife is an idiot.

I took a little bit of time going back to the table because I wanted to space out the beers a little bit--if this guy was planning on ordering a beer every time I was at the table, he would be hammered by the time he left. And I knew he would eat the other cup of salsa, while he was waiting for his cup of "water." I made sure to strain every little tiny bit of juice out of that salsa. And he ate every morsel.

I returned with his 3rd beer and the other couple had arrived. They both ordered beers (Jerk Monkey ordered his 4th), and seemed relatively normal. The one woman had never been here before, so she was asking some questions. One question in particular was about the side of sauteed vegetables. I told her every single veggie (zucchini, squash, onions, peppers (red/green bell--mild, not spicy), mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, sauteed in butter and seasoned with black pepper). That's the schpeal. I gave them some time, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After dinner order: Still cringe at Jerk Monkey, but the rest of the table is pleasant. (I have a trunk-full of server characters that I dress up as from day to day, and last night, with this table, I was the dry, soft-spoken, yet polite server.) I'm not really trying to be overly-friendly at all, but I'm getting them the things they need.

A few minutes after they order, I swing passed the table, and see they need chips. Jerk Monkey taps his bottle, asking for his 5th. He orders one for his friend as well.

When the food arrived, I delivered everything neatly, telling them what everything was as I set it down (the usual treatment). My man orders his 6th, and when I set down his entree he says, "Is this the entree portion?" Well, it would be an awfully large appetizer (I think to myself). My actual response was, "It is a very filling dish, sir, but if you'd like something else, I'd be happy to get it for you." I ordered his beer immediately and as I was coming back with it, Jerk Monkey is standing by the kitchen doors. I go up to him, and he frantically tells me that there's something wrong with his wife's meal. I figured it wasn't well-done as she requested. And, as I was approaching the table, Jerk Monkey grabbed A-1 off another table and set it down in front of his wife (side note: I hate when tables grab stuff from other tables, and I'm at the table--pet peeve).
She looks at me with shrugged shoulders and says, "Where's the shrimp?" I say, "It's in the sauce that's on the side," and I point to the saucer. Maybe it was snotty, I don't know. But at that time I asked everyone how everything was, and they all said it was delicious.

When I came back a few minutes later, Veggie Woman (not to be confused with Shrimp woman), asked me for water. Jerk Monkey orders his 7th. As I'm returning, minutes later with their requests, the woman is talking to another server about water. I set her water down on the table and I delivered his beer.

Dinner: They are pissing me off. Every time I go to the table they need something, they've been helping themselves, and asking other servers for things when I'm being attentive. How much more attention do you people need??

I know I was kinda bitchy then--as I brushed passed her I said, "Your water is on the table."

To be continued...(we're just getting to the good part, too...)

As I write this, it occurs to me that they aren't actually the table from hell, but I did feel like some kind of bad karma had come my way, so my radical, bitchy self somehow transformed this table into Satan's children. Oy. Don't fret, there's more to come...I just took too long to write this, and now I'm out of time...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Maybe I Am Satan

Last night I worked the patio--I have never seen so many out of control children. Parents were just letting there children run all over the place! At one point, when I was at the wait station I said, "I hate children." To this comment, a co-worker turned to me and said, "That's just evil. Only the devil hates kids." Well, maybe I am Satan, but children should be taught to behave, and shouldn't be left to run wild through a patio that is a accident waiting to happen. And, as an amendment to my comment about hating children, I say, "I hate inattentive parents." Every last one of the parents on the patio last night were more concerned with their adult conversation then their children getting a plate in the face.
At one point, I was taking an order at a table, and when I backed up to walk away, I knocked this little boy who was standing behind me. He smacked his face on the chair, and I immediately apologized, but inside I was strangling the parents. What are you doing??
Parents, teach children that sitting while eating is customary. If you choose to eat while running around, wrestling with your brother, or racing in between tables, then you may not be in the right establishment--that's called Chucky *fucking* Cheese.
Thank you.