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.

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