Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend Wonders in Waiting

What a long weekend! It's over now, and I'm relaxing, happy to be blogging. Friday marked the last day the college was open until after the first of the year. I worked until 2 p.m., then headed to the restaurant for a 5 p.m. closing shift. After closing the restaurant, I came home, and woke yesterday to work a very long Saturday double. I haven't worked a Saturday double....ever. It was funny because I mentioned to the GM that I was the only scheduled double. He replied, "Well, that's because we don't schedule doubles on Saturday." Confused, I repeated myself, "I'm the only scheduled double." If we don't schedule doubles on Saturday, how did I end up getting scheduled a double. To that he replied, "You did just change your availability, maybe there was system error." This statement actually made my eyes pop out a little. He said it as though the schedule is computer generated! It's not like we have some little computer that spits out the schedule! There is a person creating it, who should have noticed that they scheduled a double on a weekend! Don't get me wrong, because I've never worked a Saturday double, I was looking forward to the monetary value it would bring to my pocket. It ended up being a $200 day, so it was definitely worth it!
I have some stories from the weekend, and beyond...
Friday night, I was in one of the better four-table sections, I was closing, and I was ready to make money! Immediately, I got sat with women who were waiting for two others to join them. The initial two are nice, and they order drinks from the bar--great. My section filled up pretty quick, so it didn't bother me that the others hadn't first. After settling my other tables, I noticed that their party still had not arrived. I asked them if they wanted to start with appetizers. They declined, but assured me that their friends were on their way and would be arriving shortly. That's fine. Minutes later, the others arrived. They were instantaneously engrossed in conversation. It was then that I realized what was about to happen. They were going to squat. Through their conversations, they were inadvertently pitching their tent, securing the stakes, and building a nice, large fire to last them through the evening. I was not going to let campers ruin my Friday night. It was then that I decided I would be efficiently persistent and encouraging of purchase. Like I have said before, I don't mind if you sit there if you are doing one of two things (1) continuing to order something, or (2) intending to compensate me for the time spent. If you don't tell me you intend to do the latter, I will insist on number one. From that moment forward, I visited their table frequently, but not enough to be super-annoying (only mildly annoying). At each visit, I made sure to remove as much as humanly possible and offer a round of drinks, appetizers, what-have-you, until finally, they ordered. I continued this practice throughout their experience. They did take a long time, but after I wrapped their food and brought the check, I stopped back frequently to see if they were ready to pay. Bottom line: I'm pretty sure they got the hint. They tipped reasonably, and their campfire petered out in a manageable amount of time. Nice.
Also, Friday evening, I was sat with a six-top: four adults in their early to mid 30s, a woman around 50, and a guy who was probably 19 or 20. The 30-somethings ordered mad drinks from the bar and so did the mom. Great start. They were friendly, but not obnoxious, and they were drinking; I was happy. Until one of the 30-something dudes started being kinda douchey. He interrupted me while I was delivering food for another table, he was extremely loud, demanding, and a blatant alcoholic. They all ordered a round of drinks to start, and had finished the drinks and the chips before I returned to take their order. Crazy. So, as they ordered their meals, Douchey Dude asks me if I can start a separate bar tab, from that moment forward. He wanted to buy a guy at the table (who ended up being someone I went to High School with) a beer, but separate from the main tab. Whatever. So fine, I start his new tab. When I returned with the newly ordered round, High School Dude decided he'd like to buy Douchey Dude a shot of tequila. Great. Douche asked for it with a lemon. Fine. They continue to be kinda douchey. Next, all four 30 somethings ordered a shot with lemon. While I was at the bar, preparing my tray, I started putting lemon slices on the rim of the shot glasses. It's a little dark by service bar, and at one point, the bartender giggled and said, "Ew, did they ask for an orange?" I looked down at the shot glasses, and the first one had an orange slice, instead of a lemon--that's embarrassing, but like I said, it's a little dark over there sometimes, and if things are mixed-up or out of place, it's easy to grab the wrong garnish. Regardless, I fixed my mistake and delivered the shots. After they took them, I returned to pre-buss the table, and Douchey grabbed my arm. I pulled back, but stayed to see what he needed. He said, "I think you put an orange on the rim last time...or the bartender." I liked that he caught himself from blaming me, but anyway. I did not reveal who the true culprit was, but I apologized and asked him if the second was better. He agreed that it was. I stopped by periodically, checking on them, and at one point, Douchey Dude asked for the checks, and he even made a point to tell me that there should be three, since he and High School Dude wanted separate bar tabs. I brought all three tabs. After a few minutes, I noticed one credit card sitting on top of all three checks. I approached the table, and the 50-year old woman was apparently paying all three. I had my manager put them together, she signed the slip, and they proceeded to sit there. Then, I noticed Douchey Dude at the bar getting beers. When he returned, I went up to the table and told them that I would be happy to open another tab if they'd like to hang out. Douchey Dude said, "Are you kicking us out?" I replied, "Of course not, sir, but I would be happy to order drinks for you and deliver them, if you'd like." Everyone at the table declined, and not very long later, I'm at service bar and Douchey Dude is beside me, ordering a beer. I'm sure I rolled my eyes, because he starts on this tirade about how he needs to be getting home but everyone wants to have "one more beer." His wife called and actually told him to stay out, but he needed to be getting home. He was sorry he didn't ask me for the beer, but he figured I was busy. I turned, looked at him, and said, "Sir, I would be happy to help you if you'd like to order more drinks. You are sitting at table in my section. Without helping you, I'm not very busy." I said it pleasantly. He didn't seem offended. I just walked away after that, secretly happy that I had inadvertently given him an orange instead of a lemon. Mwwwaaahhh
At least once a shift I have Mr. Unoriginal. He's the guy who uses the same lines wherever he goes, trying to get a laugh out of his waitress, but in actuality, he's the most unoriginal, unfunny creature on the planet. There are millions of them. In retrospect, I now feel a little guilty for not having humored the old man a little, but Good God, there are only so many serving jokes a girl can take in a week. It was he and his wife. She seemed sweet enough, and normal. When I greeted them, I saw they had a margarita from the bar, so I said what I commonly say, "Hi folks, I see that you got a head start at the bar...(that usually gets a chuckle)..." Sometimes when there is only one drink on the table, it's hard to tell who it belongs to (depending on glass and guest placement). The wife chuckled at my little ditty, but the husband took it to another level, "Oh, that's her drink, nobody loves me..." This was not funny to me, "Can I bring a drink for you, sir?" He proceeded to order a Tanqueray Martini, dry, with extra olives. Ew. They then started ordering a ridiculous amount of food. At a certain point, I started reminding them of what they were ordering, because it was a little silly. They didn't care; they were starving! They had soup, followed by salad, followed by appetizers, and minutes before their entrees were delivered, the wife summoned me to tell me that their eyes were bigger than their bellies, and they wanted to cancel one of the entrees. Really? Even though you were forewarned?? So fine. Canceled. They finish their meal, and when I see they started slowing down, I started clearing plates. The man says to me, "Why didn't you tell us we were ordering so much food?" He was trying to be funny, because clearly I tried to warn them! I didn't think this was funny for the same reason. I asked if I could bring anything else for him, and he gave me the typical, "Well, you got a wheelbarrow in the back?? Or better, yet, a cot for me to take a nab on?" He got a kick out of himself, but I mostly just wanted to kick him.
After everyone was cut, and the closers started taking tables, the stupid, dumb ass hostess triple sat me. This pissed me off because there was no reason for it, and I was tired, ready to start breaking the restaurant down, and try to get some food. She did not have anyone else pick them up, and no one else offered--oh, that gives me such faith in my fellow coworkers. I already had two tables: Mother/Daughter and Family of Four. She sat me with Shopping Buddies, Awkward Married Couple, and a (seemingly) Newly Dating Couple. Newly Dating decided that they didn't want to sit in the seat offered. They preferred to sit in a closed section, two stations away from mine. Whatever. Fucking assholes. Sit where you're sat! It's not arbitrary, like you think it is! There is a rotation! There is a method (or there should be a method) to our madness. Eat a dick. So fine. I greeted everybody, checked on the others, and started moving through this push as quickly as possible. At one point I had a tray of drinks....if you're a server, you know where this is going....two chocolate milks, two margaritas, two waters and a cup of salsa. As I was entering the dining room, from the bar, I realized I had not grabbed straws. I turned around, at which point, some sort of strange wind velocity tipped the tray and everything with it. I was right next to the server station: margaritas all over the sugar caddies, the computer, the spoons, and of course, me. The salsa was all down the front of me. Being so late in the evening, I was not about to change my shirt. I didn't have that much time left. Besides, I had to get out of the weeds. These tables weren't going to serve themselves. When I re-entered the dining room, I first went up to the Awkward Married Couple with their non-alcoholic drinks, at which point the Husband said to me, "You didn't have to throw the tray like that." Again, clearly trying to lighten the mood, but I was so beyond lightening at that point, that I said, "Sir, I clearly didn't intend to throw that tray," and just walked away. I was recovering pretty well, but the Newly Dating Couple were on my nerve. When I greeted them I said, "How are you tonight?" and the guy just looked at me and said, "How are you?" I looked down at my salsa/margarita stained uniform and just said, "It's been a long day." I wanted to say, "And you're actually making it longer by sitting in a closed section!" But of course, the need for tongue biting is actually in the servers' job description. I finally got caught up, and I was delivering drinks to the Newly Dating Couple. She ordered a Strawberry Margarita, but apparently, I ordered a Raspberry. I didn't say a word, and neither did they. It didn't go as planned, but it did end...eventually.

Although I do have server stories from beyond, I have to end for today. I'll post at some point this week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Little Funny Story

I have a little bit of a funny story...
Preface: At the office, it really annoys me when students come in and just assume that I know why they're there, or who they've come to see. It's part of professional development to properly identify yourself. If, in the course of your identification, you are recognized, then you may proceed accordingly, but up until that point...I mean, come on!

Funny Story: First thing this morning, a young, female student came into the department. She was a bit quiet and had a Gothic flare, but not full-on Goth (Goth-esque). When she came in, I was walking to the printer, so I stopped short to greet her. She walked right up to my bubble. I took a step back and said, "Can I help you?" She looked around and down the hall and asked for her instructor, Mr. J. I asked her if she had an appointment, and she said that she did not--she just wanted to ask him why she couldn't see grades for her last few assignments (on the virtual grade book).
"Well," I replied, "grades were due on Monday--"
She cut me off, "I have an Incomplete for the course."
Miss: "Then you will not see a grade until you have completed the coursework."
Goth-esque: "I have the work right here." She showed me the pile of paperwork in her hand. This actually made my head spin a little bit. Luckily, Eileen was walking up the hall, and saw that I looked troubled. She took it over from there, and I quickly escaped to the file room.
Eileen was able to help the young girl, or so I thought. Nearly three hours later, the door opened, and in entered Goth-esque.
Miss: "Hello."
Goth-esque: "I'm back." (This made me chuckle a little bit.)
Miss: "Okay. May I help you?"
Goth-esque: (annoyed that I didn't know exactly who she was...even though I did...teehee) Uh, I was here earlier for Mr. J., and now I have to turn these in."
I promptly went back to Mr. J. to see if he wanted to speak with the student. He did not. When I returned to the front office, I explained that Mr. J. was busy and asked if she could leave her assignments with me. She complied. Our general practice is to have students sign their assignments "in" so we have a record. She immediately begins complaining about the fact that she is not left handed. With visions of the classic Princess Bride scene, I envisioned her tossing the pen into her right hand and continuing to fill out the sign-in sheet. No such luck. Laboriously, she filled out the paperwork.
Finally, after she left, I inquired with Mr. J. as to why she received an Incomplete. Apparently, she suffered from a sparring accident. Interesting. And a little bit funny. (I know that sparring and fencing are different, it just struck my funny bone a little bit.)

Over-active Tear Ducts and Holiday Cheer

This post is not what I had intended for today, but alas, blogging provides the freedom to post whatever, whenever.
Today, some things really hit home for me. I tell people that I have over-active tear ducts, because I'm an easy crier. Being an easy crier has not always been that easy. For example, I clearly remember my mother telling me to "turn off my tears" when we were fighting, or if I got in trouble. She thought I was faking. Little did she know that I have a condition that has traveled with me throughout my adolescence and now, my adulthood. I'm an emotional creature. Even when I'm watching a movie (or commercial) during which someone's emotions are brought to the forefront, I generally cry. I don't sob uncontrollably, my eyes tear, I feel the emotion presented, and that's usually that. Usually.
Today, something interesting happened. I am secretary-ing today, and early this morning, FFL sent around an email requesting a quick meeting of the secretaries and the coordinators. This meeting only consisted of two secretaries, two coordinators, and the FFL himself. He began the meeting by sharing with the group that he has experienced a lot of loss in his life. Initially, I think everyone at the table thought he was either sick or he had lost someone. He gently segued from this point to share with us how he dealt with these losses. It wasn't until some of his coworkers confronted him that he realized he was closing himself off to the world. His coworkers wanted to help him through his rough time, but FFL had been raised under the "Rock" mantra: he was supposed to be hard, cold, and emotionless. It wasn't until this time that he realized he should welcome help from close friends and family (or in this case, coworkers). He then took the time to personally thank each of us, by telling us how much we mean to him. Although he has a rough exterior, he does have a soft interior.
I was touched that he took the time to tell us these things. Because of those he had lost, he learned that he should thank those around him in the moment, because tomorrow is not a guarantee. He then continued by reading a passage he received:

Everyone Can't Be In Your Front Row
Life is a theater -- invite your audience carefully.
Not everyone is spiritually healthy and mature enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance.
It's amazing what you can accomplish when you LET GO, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships/friendships/fellowships!Observe the relationships around you.
Pay attention to:
Which ones lift and which ones lean?
Which ones encourage and which ones discourage?
Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill?
When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse?
Which ones always have DRAMA or don't really understand, know and appreciate you and the gift that lies within you?
When you seek growth, peace of mind, love and truth, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT ROW and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.
You cannot change the people around you...but you can change the people you are around! [Choose] wisely the people who sit int he front row of your life. Just because no one has shown up who can love you on your level, doesn't mean you sink to theirs!"

This passage hit home for me for several reasons. The first being that I have always said that I am very selective about who I spend my time with and the people I choose to be around. I don't have many friends, and I don't mind it because the friends I do have were chosen carefully. So, for me, this passage had a personal effect. In addition, with my "plans" for improvement around here, this passage also made me realize that FFL is human. Although he has some interesting idiosyncrasies, and he sometimes approaches things differently, he is, as we all are, human. This helped me to see that the "plan" I have created for my improvement around here, involves my accepting FFL for the leader he is. Even though I am making great strides to separate my personal feelings from my professional position, seeing FFL in this light is helping to move my plan into action. This has helped me to take a step back and look at the way I treat people.

Although this is a somewhat somber post, it is all part of the process. This process is essential for me to move forward and to make necessary changes that will ultimately help me to carry out my other "plans" of action.

With that said, today marks the second-to-last day before the Holiday break. The college will be closed for two weeks, so that's exciting. The only problem is the restaurant is still open, so I suppose I'll have to work at some point.

Who knows, I may post later.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Update, Weekly Forecast, and Christmas Cheer

I will be posting. Just not today. I did work this weekend, and although I did take a couple notes, I don't have them in front of me to jog my memory. I was scheduled four shifts -- as promised! :) Then, I was able to pick up two shifts, so I think everything's going to be okay....hopefully.
In other news: I'm trying desperately not to hate Christmas. I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say, but for me, it's full of stress over money, time, money, and time. There's never any time. There's never enough money. It's a shame, really. I want to go back to the time when Christmas was an honest-to-goodness magical miracle that came to life once a year. It was a time to get together with family and tell the tales of the day's magic. I know that's not what Christmas is really about, but let's be honest here: Christmas has become more so about the tradition that it has forgotten about the purpose itself. At the risk of blaspheming, even the purpose itself is a little skewed. Regardless, it has become a commercialized, Americanized, stressful, and something I've come to dread. Albeit, when the day arrives, and the stresses are forgotten, the memory of the day is what's remembered. I know that. In the moment, in this moment of blogging freedom, I think it's okay for me to voice these holiday grievances. In addition to the traditional dread and stress, my mother has decided to change traditions this year. I'm really okay with it because of the logic and thought that went behind the decision, but I have to admit, it will be weird to not do things the way they've always been done. Even though I'm okay with it, there is a nostalgic emotion that pulls at my heart strings. I know it will be fine, and new traditions will be formed; it'll just take some getting used to.

The wind is howling,
blowing the brittle tree branches.
Tapping and knocking
on my windows and doors,
Mother Nature is bringing
with her flurries
and winds,
brittle, like the trees.

Tuesday: Secretary a.m. / Server p.m.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's YOUR Plan??

I'm outspoken.
Who knew?
I did.
I thought everybody did.
Apparently, I offend.
Truthfully, I know that I can offend; I just generally don't care.
Evidently, I've offended my boss. Well, that's never my intent, but it does happen from time to time. To clarify, this is the boss from my secretarial job (FFL: Flatulent Fearless Leader). He called me into his office yesterday to discuss "the happenings" from Friday.
Preface: Friday afternoon, we had a department lunch meeting. Everyone in the department brings some food, we all eat, and meet. It's great (*sarcasm*). Because I am one of two secretaries, we generally organize the meeting, and sometimes we are there to clarify certain issues that may come up. Generally, we are well-respected by the staff, but on Friday, things were different. Everyone was a bit punchy. This may have something to do with the fact that the semester is over in just a couple weeks, coupled with the fact that it was Friday, attention spans were running short, and so was my temper.
I'm beginning to think that FFL and I speak different languages. We consistently have communication problems. During the meeting, FFL was giving instructions regarding a specific "hiccup" we've been having this semester. When he finished, I raised my hand, then clarified a point that he did not mention. When I said my piece, he promptly asked me if he was unclear. I guess I had reiterated some of what he already said. Obviously, he wasn't clear if I felt the need to clarify. Ugh. This incident was not the first of the day, nor was it the first ever, so by this point, I was annoyed. At that, my passive aggressive tendencies began to shine through, and I, under my breath, said something to the effect of, "I'm just going to stop talking." Well, he heard this, and scolded me by just saying my name, and then proceeded with the remainder of the meeting. I did not say another word the entire meeting, and I left promptly when adjourned. Fired up after feeling like I was shit on, I just wanted to start my weekend, and forget about the office.
Well, dontcha know, Monday morning (yesterday), he called me into his office for a meeting. Joining us in this meeting was the person just underneath of the FFL, Even-keeled Eileen. Eileen is great! I wish she were our Fearless Leader, but no such luck! I was happy she was joining us, but I was nervous about what was to come...
Bottom line: I need to check myself before I wreck myself. FFL needs to know what my PLAN is to fix this attitude problem I have. Immediately, and a bit facetiously, I stated, "I'll try better." He didn't like that. The conversation ended with me becoming frustrated to tears, and consequently, making everyone in the room more uncomfortable than they were at the start. I don't mean to cry, but I'm emotional, passionate, and I hate confrontation, so sometimes, my frustration (emotions) get the better of me. The meeting was concluded on the grounds that I would come up with a "plan" to discuss with FFL at the end of this week or the beginning of next. Whatever that means....
Shortly after this meeting, I went in to Eileen's office and asked if she and I could meet today (Tuesday). As it turns out, FFL monopolized all of Eileen's time today, so I was unable to meet with her. I had time to think about the conversation, and about my plans. I have come up with three plans of action.
(1) This plan stems from the fact that I really don't respect my FFL. In fact, I think his own vision of his position is delusional and fabricated to enhance his political standing with the higher-ups. Because of my personal feeling about FFL, I find myself unable to work with him (or look him in the eye) on a daily basis. I have issues with him as a person, but especially as a boss. My first plan of action is to find something, anything about this man that is redeemable in my eyes, or respectable, as it were. Once I find something to latch onto, I think it will be smoother sailing. This plan is NOT the plan I will be voicing to FFL.
(2) The second plan of action was inspired by the first, and it does have some bearing on the problem at hand. My work ethic is actually a part of my personality, which I guess it is for everyone. I take great pride in the work I do, whether it be in the office or at the restaurant. Even though I'm not thrilled with the positions I hold, I take great pride in the work that I do for both. It's a personal thing for me. It is part of who I am to be the best at whatever I'm doing. I take both of my jobs seriously and personally. Therefore, when I get "hollered" at or scolded, I take it very personally. This plan consists of my taking the necessary steps to separate my personal feelings from my professional position. This will take a lot of will-power, and a lot of (passive aggressive) prowess, but I think it can be done. This is the PLAN that I will voice to the FFL in a week's time.
The third (3) and final PLAN is NOT one I will tell many people, but it is one that is necessary for me to feel fulfilled with life. I need to get out of here. My PERSONAL PLAN is to get certified to teach and apply to schools. I'd potentially like to get out of here by August of 2011. I think that's doable. I'm in positions right now that are cesspools. In an office, shit rolls downhill; it rolls downhill, then it lands right on my desk. Every now and then, it overflows, that's when the problems arise. I was not meant to be in this position. I was not meant to take orders from people; I was meant to be heard. In the positions where I sit now, I don't get paid to be heard. I get paid to be shit on. I hate it.

Those are my plans, and I'm sticking to them! I'm not sure how well they will work out, but I think it's something. Clearly, I'm the one who needs a plan, because HE'S doing everything right! Whatever.

This post was originally named: Plans, Presents, and Antibiotics, but the Presents and Antibiotics will have to wait for another time. I spent too much time talking about PLANS!!!!

Oh, Happy Day!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Salutations, Schedule Conflicts, and Squatters

I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday! Christmas is right around the corner, and I'm trying to deny it...
The last two weeks have been a bit busy, although my shifts at the restaurant have become fewer and farther between. Ugh. Currently, I am available to work Wednesday through Saturday nights, but we're overstaffed, so I've been getting two or three shifts a week for the last month or so. It's beginning to fuck with my money. For the first time in three years, I actually paid my rent two days late. I know it's not that big of a deal, but I like to keep things consistent. This week, I was only scheduled Wednesday and Friday. Big Deal. Great. Last night, when I arrived at work, I saw that next week, I'm only scheduled two days! I was furious. I've been thinking about my schedule, and the fact that I even talked to the Manager in charge of writing the schedule. I thought I made it clear that I rely on these shifts for my livelihood. Regardless, the shifts that I'm available are probably the same shifts that everybody is available, which makes it a difficult task when it comes to evenly distributing the "money" shifts. So, I took it upon myself to change my availability. I didn't intend to show the Manager in charge of the schedule at first, but he saw me filling out a new availability sheet, so he inquired. We went into the office, and I told him my ish. I then told him that I was opening up my availability (to 7 avail shifts, as opposed to only four) in the hopes of obtaining at least four shifts a week. He said he could work with that. I opened up Tuesday night, Saturday lunch, and Sunday lunch. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be scheduled for these shifts on a consistent basis from now on, which will fuck me up too. I'm trying here, but somehow shit always ends up biting me in the ass at this place. I've thought about leaving so many times, but I just can't risk it. I have to make this work until I've found something to replace the industry entirely.
Moving on...
Wednesday night, my family came into the restaurant for dinner. It was a great surprise! My niece was there without her sister, which is a rarity. I was able to spoil her, as she was the center of my attention for the two hours they were in my section. When nieces arrive, the bitchiness promptly dissipates.
Last night, I was scheduled to close, and I was in a decent section, so I was excited at the possibility of money in my pocket. I started off great! Tables were flipping quickly, people were only mildly stupid, and my tip percentage was looking good. Around 6:00, two women were sat, with drinks from the bar and a basket of chips, at a 4-top in my section. They were clearly waiting for two other people. I brought a fresh basket of chips, and they informed me that the rest of their party was in the parking lot. By 6:30, I had delivered the two women another round of Sangria, and the rest of their party still had not arrived...from the parking lot. Finally, around 6:45, two more women show up. The order drinks, they're pleasant, whatever. Around 7:30, they finished their meal, I delivered the check ($69.00), and they paid. They, then proceeded to sit until approximately 9:00. Are you kidding me?? Granted, they left me 20%, with the time it took for their party to be complete, and the time they sat after their meal, I could have had up to three more tables there. I just think it's ignorant of people to not think that they are taking away a person's income because they need to catch up on the family gossip. Don't get me wrong, I can definitely sit places, but I'm either going to continue ordering things, or I'm going to compensate my server for the time I've sat at his/her table without ordering. I also know that I'm only conscious of this fact because I'm in the industry. I'm trying to spread the word.
I have some interesting secretary stories that I really should share, but I'm running out of time today. If I'll remember, I'll post later or possibly tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Entitled: Appalled

This semester the students have been crazy. This is actually an understatement. I've never before experienced people who are so utterly incompetent, and it scares me for the future and well-being of our nation.
On a daily basis, and especially during registration, students have appointments to meet with their academic advisors. In my office, there are two different departments, and, therefore, nearly 13 instructors (a.k.a. academic advisors). Multiple times daily I have conversations that sound like the following:

Miss: Hello.
Student: I have an appointment with my advisor? (Yup, they ask it like a question.)
Miss: O.K. Who is your appointment with?
Student: Ummm....[looks at the displayed business cards]...I can't remember his name...
Miss: [annoyed, but trying to stay patient] O.K. What's your major?
Student: Ummm...I'm not sure.
Miss: Well, do you want to do This or That?
Student: That.
Miss: What's your last name?
Student: Doe.
Miss: So your appointment must be with Mrs. B. I'll let her know your here.

Are you fucking kidding me? Sometimes they know their major, but not their concentration, which makes a difference in my world. Regardless, they generally walk in with the idea that they are the only student, seeing the only instructor. Personally, I love when they show up a half hour or an hour late for an appointment, then just ask for another advisor. We divide the students by last name and distribute a certain portion of the alphabet to each instructor. Although we are sometimes forced to redistribute the alphabet, we like students to see the same advisor. Students who have been around for the shuffle don't see any point in the organization and want to be seen by whomever. In the front office, we try to hold the line, and unless a student is exceptionally unruly, they generally reschedule, begrudgingly.

There are a few students who are exceptionally entitled, and they are nearing a secretarial confrontation. The new Department Chair (the Flatulent Fearless Leader) was once a full-time instructor, so there are students who are nearing completion of the program who have seen his promotion. There are two in particular who walk in the office, point to FFL's office door, then proceed to walk right in. The problem with this is they have no boundaries, and if there are other students in the office, it sets a poor example. The even bigger problem with this is that FFL allows the behavior to continue. If they were held to the same boundary across the board, they would eventually learn that people don't just stop for them.

I was convinced that this had something to do with generation, but I've seen this behavior in grown adults. I'm not sure what it is. Society. Societal norms. Overall need for instant gratification. Something like that.

Tomorrow: NO SCHOOL! / Server p.m.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This weekend was uneventful, because I only worked one shift. Friday night. It was busy, but not crazy-busy. My night was pleasant, but mostly because of servers on shift. It's so nice to work with people who are pleasant and helpful! :)
The night was relatively busy, but died hard and fast. At one point my big-top hadn't been sat for about 20 minutes when finally the hostesses sat an incomplete party of five. When I walked over it was two teenage girls, who immediately asked me what Virgin drinks we offered. Immediately after they ordered their choice of virgin beverage, a third member arrived. She was sitting at the head of the table and will now be referred to as Head Teenager. Head Teenager also orders a Virgin beverage. Before I bring hers, the final to members of the party have arrived, and they are Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber (a teenage couple: male/female). The Male (Tweedle Dumber) immediately inhales the two baskets of chips that were on the table. He orders another virgin drink and his girlfriend orders a sprite. They order, and things are seemingly fine, but I've hated them since the beginning. They were loud, messy, and all around disrespectful. When the time came for me to drop the food, the couple was paying absolutely no attention to me or to what I was doing. I was standing behind them with a hot fajita skillet, trying to announce my presence, to no avail. Even Head Teenager didn't help a sister out. Whatever. So, I just put the skillet between the two of them, and continue dropping the food. The girlfriend was startled by my presence, "Damn!" She says, as if I'm going to slap her in the face with the much as I would've liked, I am not that kind of server (or person, for that matter). I dropped the remaining food, and as I was walking away, Head Teenager asked me for another Virgin beverage. I complied, but had to return the empty tray to the kitchen. On my return from the kitchen, Head Teenager screams across two rows of tables, "I CHANGE MY MIND! I'LL JUST HAVE A SPRITE!" Are you serious? Well, me being the passive aggressive little bitch I am, walked over to the table and said sweetly, "I'm sorry, Miss, I didn't hear you. What did you need?" She didn't like that very much. I was efficient, I brought them everything they needed, but this bitch was looking for any excuse to stiff me. When I finally dropped the check, I heard Head Teenager say, "AN' YOU AIN'T GETTIN' NO TIP!" I promptly turned to her, smiled and said, "Oh, that's okay, I didn't expect one." It didn't really matter, in the grand scheme of things, but it was a $70 check. Ugh.

Monday: Secretary A.M. / Off P.M.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update and Delay

This week has been crazy, even though I haven't worked at the restaurant much. Tonight was horrible! But tomorrow will hopefully be better! I'm making a list and hoping to post this weekend!
~Sorry for the delay!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rough Friday: Part II / Weekend Follow-Up

This weekend was busy and profitable, so I really can't complain; however, I wouldn't be a Bitchy Waitress if I didn't. I made sure to keep some notes, so I wouldn't forget some of the more outrageous incidents.
Friday, I was scheduled in at 5:30, but I knew we'd start getting busy beforehand, so I came on closer to 5:00. My section was four tables, at the very back of the restaurant: fondly referred to as the Dungeon. I had three small-tops (4 person max) and a big-top (8/9 max). The dining room begins to fill up more we go.
Table 11 (4-top): Young mother and toddling son, sit down and it's clear she's waiting for two other people. I approach without realizing she was on the phone. She acknowledged me, but I refuse to talk to people with a cell phone on their ear: it's not only annoying for me, but also for the person on the other end. I wave and tell her I'll check back. When I do, she's still on the phone--I could've sworn she hung up, but whatever. She told whomever to "hold on" and ordered a water and an apple juice for the boy. Eventually, another girl showed up. She ordered a margarita. When I returned with her drink, I noticed she was blotting the toddler with a linen. I then noticed that Young Mother was fiddling with the kid's cup, which appeared to be empty. That child spilled his juice. Neither woman said anything to me. They were still waiting for one more, but decided to order the child's meal. Finally, a guy showed up. Now that everyone had arrived, they were completely engrossed in conversation. I somehow managed to take the Guy's drink order, and they finally ordered dinner. Young Mother tried to be funny when I asked if they were ready by replying that she hadn't had a chance to look. I wasn't sure if she was kidding because she had either been on the phone or engrossed in conversation with Other Girl, so I started to tell them I'd come back. She giggled and said she was joking, which annoyed me for some reason. Oh, I know why, because you've been at my table for an hour and a half, and you're just now ordering! The circumstance of their ordering was a bit precarious, and the inconsiderate table did not make it any easier. At the time they were ready to order, I had been double-sat, so I came out with drink orders for my other two tables, and took a margarita to table 11 last, so I could take their order. Of course, Other Girl gives me her empty margarita glass, so now I have to balance the margarita glass on the tray, with my book, so I can write down the order. (I write down EVERY order.) I have the tray balancing in my left hand, so I can take the order and write with my right hand, balancing empty margarita glass all the way. I have a necklace around my neck with a blinking beer bottle. Guy loves this, and asks me where he can get him one of them. I tell him I'm not sure, my manager just gave everyone one. I tell him he can have mine. I'm thinking he's going to order first, then play with the necklace. Nope. He holds his hand out awaiting his new toy. I don't have anywhere to put this tray, so I continue to balance and remove the necklace. Guy's intent is to give it to the toddler. As soon as Guy gets it, he tosses it near Toddler Boy, who immediately begins whining like a little sissy lala. Guy looks back at me sheepishly and says, "Well, I guess he doesn't like it." Still balancing, I take the necklace back and shove it in my pocket. The order is finally given. Thank the Lord. Anyway, their food comes out, they take a ridiculously long time eating. Finally, I decide to try to take something off the table, when I see Young Mother covering something up with her hand. She's reaching in front of toddler-boy, trying to hide something from me. I offer to clear some dishes, and she gives me her plates with one hand, attempting to slyly cover up the heinous mess her son had made! There was rice EVERYWHERE. Toddler-boy didn't even have rice! They gave him rice! Oh, you people! I tried to laugh it off with them, but I'm sure it came out snotty. Eventually, after a really long time, they leave. The busser approaches the table, turns to me, and says, "They left an awful mess!" I go over to find that that child had spilled the ENTIRE cup of juice and nearly ALL the rice, his kids' menu, garbage, candy, cheerios, you NAME it! All over the floor. The parents didn't even attempt to clean it up, yet Young Mother was embarrassed about the rice on the table! Get real people! $8 on $47. Thanks.
Table 12 (3-top):
After seating an incomplete party at my table, the Host Monkey comes up to me to tell me the woman's order. She wanted 3 Virgin Pina Coladas, Guacamole, Sour Cream, etc., and so on. I approach the table and say, "Hello, how are you? My name is Darby, and I'll be your server this evening. I hear you've given the host your order? I'll have it right out for you." I didn't really give her the chance to respond because I found her so idiotic. Then I felt really bad because it turns out, she was a foreigner. My bad. I made it up to them though, with good, pleasant, efficient service, and they left me $5 on $37. Whatev...
Table 21 (7-top):
Weird family sits down: Grandmother, Grandfather, Father, Mother, and three small children. Their weird because they don't really seem to have much couth, and their just awkward with socializing with me. I don't know. When I approached the table and starting taking drink orders, the Father was desperately searching through the menu. Eventually he looked up, after having exasperated himself by trying to read, and saw that the wait station was within sight. There were several servers and one manager standing at the wait station, so Father couldn't quite see all we had to offer. He was craning his neck, so I started to rattle off the soft drinks. This didn't do either, so he stood up. I'm still listing the options, finally he sees his choosing and announces it. Only now he hears me say gingerale (because I'm trying to do my job), and he says, "I didn't want a gingerale, I said Sprite." "Pardon me, sir," I reply, "I was just listing the options for you." He didn't really get it. I ordered their meal, which consisted of eight items total. In our restaurant we are not allowed to have more than five items on a check; therefore, we have a Multi-ticket system in which we order the first five items, hit "multi-ticket" and send it through to the kitchen. At the start of the second half of the order, we begin with hitting "multi-ticket," then continuing the order. In addition, when we are delivering food, we are not allowed to "auction off" the food. For example, picking up a plate, screaming "Tacos?" while waiting for the patrons to figure out whose tacos were whose. We have a pivot system where servers order the table according to the seat of the guest. This is done so servers know which seat gets which entree. All servers know pivot for each table. Sometimes....well, a lot of the time, the kitchen will send out the multi-tickets out of order. It may take a minute to get your bearings if you are not the server of the table; however, it is something that can be figured out. In this instance, the second half of the check came out before the first. I was getting drinks from the bar when the tray was dropped, so another server was delivering the food. I was walking back and saw that she was not making eye contact with the table, she was flailing the plates in front of them with no explanation, not really making a good impression at all. I was appalled. This server is also a trainer. I said something to her. I'm a little bit proud of myself for doing so, too. :) Even though we don't auction off food, I think it's important to introduce the dish. People who have never been to our restaurant may have a different idea of what the entree may look like, so when it's presented, it's nice to have reassurance. In addition, I feel strongly that saying "hello," and making the guests aware that although you are not their server, you will be serving them their meals, is appropriate. Not making eye contact and not ensuring that you (or the server) didn't misread the pivot is disrespectful to the guest. Once I finished giving my complaint, the server apologized, she didn't realize it was the second portion of the check or whatever, but she was a bit defensive.
Saturday night I was forced to pick up, and it was a three-table station. I wasn't too upset because it's a nice time to have 3 smalls. It's relaxing and easy, breezy. I didn't make a TON of money, but I made enough to be ahead of the game, for once. :)
I had off today, which has been really nice. I've done all my chores, now I've blogged, so I'll be enjoying some solitude for the rest of the evening. I am not scheduled at the restaurant until Thursday, so this week should be relatively painless....
Except for the fact that Early Registration begins at the college tomorrow. It shouldn't be too bad, but it's always pretty hectic.
Monday: Secretary

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rough Friday: Part I

I really should be going to bed, but there are a few things I'd like to get off my chest. I plan to vent this out into two sessions, but it could end up being more...who knows.

Preface: The beginning of the story begins on Thursday (yesterday) in the office where I work as a secretary. I work side-by-side with another girl, who is just a few years older than I (we'll call her Office Mate. She has her issues; she has her drama, but I have a soft spot for her. Someone once described her as a lost soul, and that is still how I see her today. She is 35, and she has two kids. Her baby-daddy was abusive, and he still continues to harass her on a weekly basis (they are currently not together). Her experiences have made her extremely anxious and almost awkward. Sometimes, her social anxieties show when she is dealing with students in the office. For example, when the office door opens, I immediately look up to greet the person walking through the door. I think my serving experience ingrained a certain etiquette into my head. Sometimes Office Mate doesn't even look at them. From time to time, I have found that I have a tendency to talk over her, or cut her off. I don't do this intentionally; it's part of who I am to share knowledge and ideas. If I know something, I want to tell you. It's not that she doesn't have the correct information, it's just that sometimes she takes really long pauses, as if she's thinking about the answer, so I chime in. I really do have to learn to back off. If she's ever going to get any better with her anxieties, then I have to let her gain some more confidence. I think subconsciously, I think I'm helping her, but I think yesterday, I got on her last nerve. It was exactly what I described above; I talked over her when she was trying to deal with a student. I was just trying to help. When the student left the office, I knew what I had done, and I saw it written all over her face I immediately apologized, and she said everything was fine. I don't know my Office Mate extremely well, but I have worked with her for the last three years, so I have a pretty good idea on how to read her. She's also an emotional wreck, so she's fragile and delicate. She looks like she could crumble at any second nearly every day of the week. Well after yesterday's debacle I knew she was peeved. I knew she was peeved and chose to not tell me why. I had a premonition in my head that because of this incident, she wouldn't come to work today (Friday). Boy, was I spot on! Rather than deal with me face-to-face, she chose to hide a home. Around NOON, I got an email from her, explaining how she feels when I talk over her. I was happy she wrote me, but I was (and still am) appalled that she took a personal day because she couldn't turn to me and tell me to back off!

I'm totally falling asleep, I'll finish the rest of my epic post tomorrow or Sunday :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salutations Ring New Pet Peeve

So, something has begun to annoy me, and it needs to be voiced! During the course of my day, whether in the office or at the restaurant, I extend salutations, such as "Have a nice day," or "Have a good night!" Interestingly, when I say these things, if the person to whom I've directed said salutaion is not leaving at that time, they feel the need to tell me, "Oh, I'm not leaving yet," or "I'm coming back!" Well, here's my thing: Accept my salutation! Regardless if you are coming, going, staying, or leaving, I will send a salutation your way. I don't need to know your whereabouts, the status of your meal, or the fact that you are just leaving the office to make a phone call; just take the salutation! Accept it, without the nonsense!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Out of Retirement

I've recently been feeling pangs of guilt towards my lack of blogging. I'm still waiting tables, after all that talk, and I'm still experiencing stupidity on a daily basis. I'm also a part-time secretary at a local college, which, after a moment's thought, absolutely falls under the title and meaning behind this blog.
Today I secretary-ed during the day, and it was the most unproductive day of my life. Aside from a few dramatic phone calls, I accomplished very little. This annoys me because I'm a part-timer in a full-time position. of my dramatic phone calls consisted of a woman calling to inquire about programs. When I answered the phone, she immediately began telling me about the operator and how she apparently does not like her job. I apologized to the woman, and she proceeded to lecture me on how I should never apologize for anyone else, etc., and so forth. Wow, lady.
The other call was from a dramatic mother who was calling to place a concern regarding her daughter's math class. "Would you like the number for the Math department?" I ask sweetly. "Well, which department did I call??" Are you telling me that you are calling me with a concern about your daughter, and you don't even know who you're calling?? Some people are stupidly amazing.
Luckily, I did not have to work at the restaurant tonight. My usual shifts are Wednesday through Saturday. Nowadays we are so overstaffed that I'm lucky if I get all four of those shifts. For the last two weeks I haven't been scheduled on Saturday, which is beginning to prove problematic. I'm also having difficulty, as of late, getting along with some of my co-workers. I don't really care if people like me, but I sure do hope that in a work environment, personal feelings can be put aside in an effort to achieve the same goal. Not where I work. For me, I am surrounded by people who thrive on making other people miserable. This particular group of people has disdain for the likes of me: Miss Haters. I don't really care for them much either, but in the restaurant, I treat them fairly, help them when needed, etc. With them, they make my life harder deliberately, just to get a rise out of me and an inevitable confrontation.
For example, we close the restaurant with four servers; three of which are responsible for "checking out" the other servers, and once their sidework, section, and silverware is completed, the appropriate closer will sign off on that server. On occasion when one of these Miss Haters is closing (usually there is more than one), they are ridiculous when "checking me out." If there is one chair pulled out in my section, they will not sign me. If there is one half sleeve of cup lids, they will not sign me. They will deliberately nitpick my section because they think that's what gives them power. They are wrong.
Friday night, I was scheduled to close, a Miss Hater approached me as soon as I walked in the door, and asked me for my close. I told her I had intended on keeping it, but I'd let her know. She then admitted that she was asking for another Miss Hater. I shrugged my shoulders because I had yet to commit anyway. Within minutes the latter-mentioned Miss Hater asked me for my close. I gave him the same response. Finally, this young girl, Dee asked me for my close. I gave her the same response, but was still thinking about keeping it. This crazy chick who loves me came over just after the shift began and informed me that the Miss Haters were conspiring to get me off the close because one of them was closing and didn't want to close with me. This pissed me off, but honestly, it hurt my feelings a little bit. Like I said, you don't have to like me, but when it comes to the fact that you don't want to work me, I wouldn't be human if it didn't sting a little. Well, knowing that even one of the Miss Haters was closing totally turned me off to the entire idea. I couldn't give it to the other Miss Hater though. If I did, he would probably be an ass when he checked me out. Why should I give it to him? Crazy Chick told me I should keep the close them burn him when I checked him out, but that's not the game I play. I really try to be fair, and ordinarily, giving my close to the first person who asked is how I would play. Given the fact that they were playing their own game gave me justification to play my own. I decided to secretly give my close to Dee. She's sweet and nice and everybody loves her. I secretly asked a manager's approval, then I went about my night. At one point in the night, I was at a server station with a guy named Matty (the fourth and impartial closer), and the Miss Hater who was also scheduled to close. Matty was talking about how it was the three of us closing. I was putting in an order, so I did not respond. Then Matty saw the manager: A. Man, and asked if he was closing as well. When A. Man responded that, indeed, he was, Matty clapped his hands and said something like, "Great! The four of us, and Crazy Chick." With that, A. Man says, "Miss isn't closing, Dee's closing." Miss Hater shot me a look and said, "What?" I replied slyly, "Oh, Dee said something about wanting the close." With that, Miss Hater stormed off in a huff. Crazy Chick approached me a few minutes later to tell me that Miss Hater was pissed. Great. Why should I do anything to help you, when all you do is make everyone around you miserable. I'm tired of people walking on me. I'm tired of people disrespecting me. Although I am non-confrontational, I will tell you how it is, if you really want to know.
It feels good to be back. I hope I still have some readers out there!!!
Tuesday: Secretary A.M. / Off P.M. :)