Monday, December 10, 2007

The Next Day in Hell

So today I had to work a double. This wouldn't have been too bad except that it was my brother's birthday. I tried desperately all day to get somebody to take my night shift. Nobody wanted it. During my lunch shift I made a whole $10. At least everything ran smoothly.

I walked to the mall to get some food and cigarettes and then returned. With nothing better to do, I started rolling silverware. I was only asked to roll 25 but I just kept doing it out of boredom.

The night started off normal enough. After a few tables, a couple took 2 seats at a table and waited on their friends. They were very nice people. They liked to talk which I was okay with since my other tables left soon after they arrived. I got a 1-top while the rest of their party arrived. A friendly gentlemen who frequents our restaurant every Monday night. No big deal, I'd just treat it like a 5-top. I got the new guests' drink orders and greeted the man. I asked his drink order, which he gave. He also knew what he wanted for his en tree so I gladly took the entire order at once.

I returned with the drinks and then ran to the back to punch in the orders and make salads. On my return another 2-top was sat. I asked Jenny to take a drink order so I could make sure nobody else needed anything and grab some biscuits for the single man.

My manager, we'll call him "Bill" overheard this and told Jenny if I couldn't handle a 2-top I should go work at McDonalds. I didn't find out about this until after I'd gotten off. It pissed me off even more because of the way Bill acted later on.

The 2-top was 2 ladies who were nice enough up front, but thought they were sneaky. Jenny said they both wanted frozen margaritas, but the bartender was busy and she being a hostess couldn't ring it in. I brought the ladies water and biscuits and greeted them. I confirmed their drinks which they insisted were margaritas but not frozen. This wouldn't be the first time they changed their mind tonight. The first lady asked what a "half grouper" was. I explained that the full portion was 10 oz and the half was 5. I took their order. A half grouper blackened for the first lady, and a half salmon grilled with sweet and spicy glaze for the other.

I rang in their order and made their salads. The margaritas still hadn't been made. I didn't blame the bartender. He's a hard worker, but the bar was slammed and nobody was helping him. I started running other peoples food for them and one waitress started helping out the bartender.

When the drinks were made I brought them to the ladies. Near the end of the meal the first lady wanted to send her drink back and get a Michelobe Ultra. No big deal, I took it back to the bar and got her drink. I went to the kitchen and saw Bill doing nothing. I asked him to take the margarita off the woman's bill. He told me to go ask Nancy, the only other manager who was on duty. She was making salads and said she'd take it off. 5 minutes later, my guests were near finishing their meal and the drink was still on the ticket. I was standing by a computer, so when Bill passed by I again asked him to take the drink off. He yelled at me for not getting another manager to do it.

When the time for the bill arrived I brought it out to the women and took their dishes. I returned a few minutes later and the first woman had a problem. She said she didn't have the half grouper, she had the half tilapia (which was about half the price). I told her I'd take care of it and went back to the kitchen. Had I rang in the wrong order? I opened my book to look at my notes. I had thrown that order away, but it was on the top of the trash. I looked at it and sure enough it said "half grouper". Had I written the wrong thing down? No. After the first time somebody tried pulling this on me I started confirming orders. Somebody says an order, I write it down and repeat what's written. Since Bill was being a dick, I explained the situation to Nancy. She changed the ticket price to that of the half tilapia. That apparently made the woman happy. She left a $2.84 tip.

Now, what went wrong tonight?
A) I could have greeted the table without asking Jenny to take the drink order, but I wanted to make sure my tables were taken care of before taking on a new one. Apparently this makes me a bad waiter.

B) Asking both managers to take the drink off apparently wasn't enough for Bill. He said I should have "utilized all of the managers that were there." Considering there were only 2 managers there, wasn't that what I did?

C) Management wants to complain about losing money, but they'll simply let people push them around and insist that they ordered something else after they'd already eaten it. On another night, a couple had eaten their entire lobster tail before complaining that it tasted funny and wanting to speak to a manager. If it tasted funny, why eat the entire thing? Especially after I'd asked them how everything was.

After working in the fast-food industry for years I've built up a tolerance to stupid people, but customers can be ten times the asshole that my bosses ever were. I'm glad I have another career lined up so I won't have to do this forever. But for how long?

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