Monday, July 30, 2007

Don't Touch My Baby!

This day started out normal. I was in a good mood. Business was steady. Not too much chaos. Hell, a nice looking man even asked for my phone number today. Then I got this table I am about to speak of.

The guests sat down and I politely greeted them. I took their order and took care of their every need. There was three of them and they each needed no less then six refills a piece. Everything went smoothly. All smiles. They had a very adorable baby girl. The Father was having difficultly getting his daughter in her car seat carrier. And here is what happened.

"Are you having trouble sir?" I ask, as I reach towards the car seat to help him figure out how to fasten it up.

"Don't touch my baby!" is snarled by the mother who was trapped near the wall.

I literally flinch. A simple, don't touch the baby, in a moderate tone would have sufficed. But she changed from a nice smiling customer to a psycho before my eyes.

I quickly moved my hands away from the car seat. I look at her and say, "I'm sorry. I was just trying to help him fasten her in."

"I don't care what you were trying to do. Don't touch my baby!" her voice gets agitated even more.

"I truly am sorry. I wasn't trying to offend."

"I don't care what you were trying to do. You don't just go up to someones baby and try to touch them. Do you have any idea what is on your hands after carried all of that stuff in there?" she questions me, as her voice gets increasingly louder.

"I understand. I have three boys. If it makes you feel any better, I wash my hands every time I enter that door and I just washed them before I came back out here." I stated.

She gets even more angry with me. "Just bring us our change we want to go."

At this point I am baffled. I didn't think I had done anything wrong and I believed I had handled the confrontation appropriately. I quickly brought them their change and went in search of a manager. I found him and told him. "If you get a complaint call later, it will be about me. I was just trying to help and this woman went crazy on me over her baby."

He proceeded to ask me what happened and I told him. I told him I thought she was psycho. Apparently they had came to the door and were listening in on my conversation. All hell broke loose when he went out there to talk to them. They proceeded to lie and say I was a shitty server the whole time. They said I never tried to apologize and got confrontational with them. That of course almost got me in trouble. Thank goodness, my boss knows me much better then that. The only thing I got in trouble for was for not taking him to the office to tell him what happened. Still, I have never had a guest go crazy on me before. Shook me to the core. I hate that about my industry. The customer is not always right. I am sorry, but guest or not, I feel they don't have the right to go ape shit on a server. So basically, I am just down right personally offended. I gave my night shift away. I was so mad that this woman was allowed to treat me like I was disgusting, accuse me of harming her child and got free food out of it.

Naturally, I didn't get a tip. Imagine that!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Behind The Scenes

Ever really wondered what was going on while you were sitting and waiting patiently?

Every restaurant has rules. Rules of conduct. Rules to be followed. Rules to add order to chaos.

Sad to say, that when a server approaches your table, 90% of them have to say something specific. Usually our sales pitch. It is required of us to spiel you. We have to lure your attention to something more specific. It is a main part of my job and the only part I dislike. I think it makes us sound like a robot. As if I have a huge computer chip shoved up my ass. I can see it in the eyes of my patrons as I am speaking. Thank goodness for creativity. I endeavour to do my best to read my table. Judge and see if they mind if I toss in a joke. Humour lightens the mood. Thankfully, most of my guests tend to have a sense of humor.

The next step of the behind the scenes is timing. Most have a time limit on when everything has to be served. At my particular restaurant, drinks must arrive within two minutes, after we leave the table. Not an unreasonable goal. Except on weekends. Thirteen servers. One drink station. Utter catastrophe.

Then the appetizers must reach you in a certain amount of time. That one depends on the cooks. Trust me when I say don't piss them off. The better you are in with your cooks, the quicker you will get what you need.

Next, the salads. Here is the tricky part. After you have received your appetizer, we then have two minutes to make your salads and get them to the table. It is usually a toss up (no pun intended). If you bring the salads to quickly, you take the chance of angering your guests. If you bring them out too late, the meal could arrive to quickly. Again, offending your guests. One salad station, and 13 servers. Good Luck!

Finally, your meal arrives. That is when servers go crazy. Not intentionally. But simple things, such as extra butter and A1 (which is made with raisins, and a true steak lover would NEVER use it) could have been asked for at time of order. The worst, is that someone will ask for one thing, you bring that, then they will ask for another. One item at a time. Stresses me out. Makes it difficult for any server to keep up with all tables then. I actually had one table asked me for ten different items, as I brought out each prior request. Personally wanted to scream.

Desserts. Believe it or not, it is 99% mandated that your server ask you about them. What sucks about this, we don't care if you have dessert or not. Your server, does not care if you order it.

In the alley, as we call the area we run around in, we have running side work. Things we must do, such as bake bread, stock ice, fill dressings and bring up plates. Good luck on that happening. Servers are divided up. Fifty percent lazy, Fifty percent hard working.

The slower the night, the less that gets done. Never understood that. Probably never will.

Tomorrow I will return to my regularly scheduled bitching and tell you about how lazy some servers can be. Maybe a list of 10 ways you can tell you have a bad co-worker. That sounds more fun to me. But I have such a huge list. I will need to narrow it down. So stay tuned.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pride and Prejudice

Not many people can actually say that they love their job. I can. I take pride in my work. I take pride in the fact that I can make someone at my table leave with a smile on their face. I crack jokes, bring refills, smile and chit chat. Sure that is not ALL that I do, but still I love my job. I love people. What I hate are assholes. Below are my qualifications for being an Asshole.

You might be an asshole if....

1.) pull a piece of your hair out after you have finished your meal and put it on your plate. Then you complain about it. (Yes this happened tonight.)

2.) are an Arabic person, who sneers at your server, run her ragged, spend $200 and leave $10. (This too happened tonight. If you don't like Americans, but you hate your country too. Don't fucking come to America dumb ass!)

3.) you try to convert me to your religion, thinking that I do not have any because I work at night. (Another incident. I believe in God. I believe in speaking of Him freely or any religion you believe. But when I am working, I do NOT have time for a 15 minute discussion on why I work Sundays.)

4.) let your children run rampant, nearly knocking down servers who are carrying food over 180 degrees. (Your children will get burnt, someones dinner will be ruined, a server could get injured and then there will be a pissed off cook. Children need to be taught proper public behavior.)

5.) your bill equals $74, you have a gift card for $40 and only tip on the $34 you spent of your "own" money. (The bill prior to gift cards is what you tip on you ignorant ass. Yes, this happens "all" the time.)

6.) you are set in the back, then shout at your server of the injustice of being sat there, saying it is because you are black. Then telling said server that you are personally offended. (I know that prejudice still reigns. I am NO fool. But, don't take it out on your server. She didn't seat you. Everyone has to sit in the back at some point. It is not a bus you have been assigned to seat at on a permanent basis. Grow up!)

What inspired this little rant was Asshole avoidance number 2. Prejudice. Prejudging. Things like this are common in the restaurant world. Servers will often prejudge their tables. I personally work with one man (and I use that term loosely) who does it to every table in his section. At the place I work at, servers are set up as teams. There are two servers for each section. If you are his partner, you know you are going to make money. He will judge a table before it sits down, and if he thinks they are cheap, he will pass it on to his partner. I think he is a judgmental Asshole. The worst kind.

I am probably the least racist person you will ever have the chance to meet. I think if there wasn't a purpose to all of us being different colors and races, then we would be the same. Hell we all come out of a woman the same way, as well as being made the same way. So when I have a table of someone who is a different race then myself, I tend to give them special treatment. My way of showing that just because you have had shitty service in the past from former servers. You're not going to get it from me. That is the way of things. Some servers will just go through the motions, barely a smile, if your lucky a refill in under three minutes and a friendly hello. That truly depends on how long a server has served. The older the server, the most likely for prejudgement.

So tonight, with the guests from #2, I went above and beyond. I even held their adorable little baby boy for awhile, so the mother could eat. He was fussy, yet too cute and for some unexplainable reason, babies love me. He giggled and smiled and the mother was able to finish her meal. The above mentioned was my thanks. Maybe I should be grateful there was a tip at all. The man who paid sneered at me the whole time. Oh well, too bad for him. He got great service, his wife got to enjoy at least part of her meal and the baby giggled. He just needs to go back to his country if he dislikes Americans so much. Better yet, he needs to go through a drive thru and order his food, take it home and sneer at the television in private.

See I dislike reverse racists, as I call them, just as much as I dislike whites being judgmental.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Welcome to the Candy Shop! No, not really, but that is what it feels like sometimes in the restaurant industry. Personally, if you need it for medicinal purposes, go for it. If you are using it to get high, well like the title says "Stupid is as stupid does."

You can divide up the employees in percentages. 60% do drugs, 20% sell and do drugs and the other 20% are actually people who love the restaurant industry. It is nothing to come into work and see co-workers strung out. Alas, not everyone can tell. Some people are so adept at hiding it, you as a guest would never be able to tell.

Example: There is one girl at my work in particular. When you see her at your table, she is kind, friendly, bubbly and very adept. But when she comes in the in door, look out. She is so wound up so tight, I do believe her head will pop off one day. I am serious. At first glance, she is sweet and considerate, but after you work with her for a week, you want to strangle her. Literally. God forbid you tick her off. Once she is pissed, she doesn't shut up. I had to work with her one night that someone, early in the shift, made her mad. She in turn, drove the rest of us crazy. She ranted and raved to everyone that would listen in earshot. If there wasn't anyone, she would constantly talk to herself. She reminds me of one those old fashioned wind up toys. (See picture above) Except all you have to do to wind her up, is push her buttons the wrong way. She is a prime example of someone who needs to lay off the uppers.
Personally, if I am going to be stuck with someone doing drugs, I would rather work with the potheads. All they do is loaf off and nibble on every single thing they can get their hands on. They only make me want to choke them on the weekends. Those are the days when doing side work is most important. They will take the last knife and instead of getting more, they will stand around and talk. Standing pretty much everyplace you need to walk in.
Just to let you know, not all of them do illegal drugs. Some of them drink. Life is always interesting in a restaurant. Basically, I work in a three ring circus. I can only thank the stars that I am not the Ringmaster.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

My Brain Ran Away!

So I have been having a bit of a writer's block. I was talking to a friend of mine online and my brain decided to go drinking with hers. The brain's got drunk and had some fun, while I have been wandering around trying to locate where they were drinking. The brains returned home totally intoxicated. Mine is officially sobered up.

I worked on tonight. I really thought we would be dead. As in, no business. I was surprised to see so many dining out on a family holiday. Most servers dread working a holiday. It really is a toss up. Either you are busy as hell and short staffed to boot or dead and bored out of your mind. Working a holiday usually sucks no matter what you do. I personally dread working them. Don't get me wrong. I tend to make better money on a holiday. I just for one time would like to spend it with my children. The youngest doesn't understand. The middle one says he does, but I can tell I disappoint him. The oldest is resigned to it.

Tonight was basically couples night. Maybe they don't have family in the area. I seen a few families, but not many. Maybe it is me, but when I was growing up. The 4th of July was cookout central and firework frenzy day. Every kid in the family was excited to be a part of it.

Not dogging the staying open on a holiday. It comes with the territory of working in a restaurant. Just wondering why we are such a fast paced society anymore that we HAVE to stay open. Somethings were just better the old way. Family days and holidays go hand in hand. Probably wouldn't complain so much if I wasn't a single mother, never mind. I complain a bunch so probably would anyway.

Hope everyone had a Happy Holiday! I promise to write more often.