Monday, December 10, 2007

A Typical Day in Hell

Anybody who knows me will tell you that I'm not a people person. My friends were surprised that I took a job as a waiter. I'm known for not taking crap from anybody. I took the job because I'm in college and I knew it was a way to make money, and I had connections at this restaurant. For the most part I can deal with it, but there are some customers who nearly drive me to the point of getting fired for cussing them out. They're the ones who make the job degrading. They cause the most problems and leave the worst tips. Despite the bad tipping they seem to think that you're their own personal butler. These types of people shouldn't be allowed in restaurants. Ironically, restaurant owners/managers would rather keep these customers and lose money on them than a good server who could be fired over complaints from these people.

I showed up to work 30 minutes early which I knew immediately was a mistake. As a rule of thumb, I try to avoid doing that since one of the hostesses loves to seat me before I'm on the clock. My predecessor used to arrive at work early and then promptly leave when they sat him. The table could sit for 30 minutes with no server and he couldn't be to blame if he wasn't there.

So on this particular day when the hostess asked me to do her a favor and pickup lunch for her I told her "no". I knew that this would come back to bite me in the ass but somebody was currently in my upcoming section so I couldn't be forced into clocking in early.

I went to the back to smoke a cigarette and clocked in 5 minutes early. "Pete", who was in my section asked if I wanted to go ahead and take the table that was sat. Me, being an idiot, agreed to it.

The table consisted of a mother, a father, and a little kid. The father was in the bathroom, but the mother wanted 2 glasses of ice. They didn't need drinks, just glasses with ice in them. They'd brought cans of soda. She started in with questions I didn't know about the flounder, so I told her I'd ask the kitchen. Most people who want to play 20 questions with the menu end up being trouble, but we can't pick and choose our tables so I went with it.

I returned with the ice and the hostess (we'll call her Melany) was seating me again. "Pick up the pace." There was nothing slow about my routine. Instead of rotating servers like she was supposed to, she simply sat me again because she could get away with it. Luckily, Pete noticed what was going on and took my drink order for me.

I went to the kitchen to find out the answers to her questions and when I came back she was in the bathroom and the father was there. I told him the answers to her questions and we agreed that we should wait for her to get back to decide if that was what she wanted.

I moved onto my next table, who was ready to order. I took their order and went into the kitchen to ring it in. While I was passing the salads out the mother returned and I regurgitated the flounder info to her and she decided what she wanted. She also asked for a kid's cup with ice. I rang in their order and brought out their salads and the ice. The mother now wanted another glass of ice, which I brought her. They now wanted more biscuits. The other table's food came up so I brought the biscuits out at the same time. The mother now wants napkins. Sometime during this circus show I get sat again. I return with their drinks and they order.
I bring the food out to the family and their entrees got sent out without fried shrimp on them. I get the fried shrimp from the kitchen and mother wants to argue with me. "Are you sure there's only supposed to be 4 fried scrimps or is that what the kitchen told you? Why's there so many scampi then?" I don't make the menu. "That's what it comes with, ma'am." Father now wants some butter.

Needy tables gradually drop in my priority queue. It isn't a problem if you want a lot of stuff, as long as you want it all at once. I can either have 1 table that is going to be pissed off anyway or 2 additional tables pissed off as well because it took me so long to serve them. I started on the salads for my new table and my GM comes back asking me about that table's butter and the new table's salads and why it's taking so long to get them. I hand him the butter and he walks it to the table while I finish making my salads.

To my dismay, my second table leaves shortly after this. I purposely leave the table dirty. The hostess can't seat a dirty table, and having to clean it slows her down a good deal. On a good day I pre-bus my tables to the point that the only dishes remaining are glasses. This didn't stop her from seating tables with no silverware all night, which I was having to roll myself.

My 4th table is sat and the family is still there although their meal is much smaller than that of any of my other tables. Relief comes when they ask for the bill. I pull the book out of my apron and they inform me that my manager had given them a discount. I printed their ticket and was glad to be near finishing with them. Apparently my boss had comped one of their meals for the "slow service".

After paying, they took another 2o minutes to leave. Despite having the meal comped, they left a $2 tip. I thought the worst of the night was over. Apparently table 13 is unlucky. The next table was 3 older women. They wanted to play 20 questions with the menu. Here we go again. One of them wanted decaf coffee. Not a problem. I went to the back and the expo was brewing tea. I inform him that I need a pot of decaf. It wasn't until 5 or 6 trips later that he actually started it. I brought out the remaining decaf which the woman complained was cold. It was steaming.

After taking their order I went back to ring it in and make their salads. "Jenny", the good hostess walks up to me while I'm making their salads and tells me one of them changed their mind. I went back to the table and one wanted to cancel her order while another wanted to change her salad from a tossed to a ceasar. I go tell the cooks not to make her order and have to get my manager to remove it from their bill. I ended up not charging the woman for the coffee since it took me so long to get it.

I hate stupid people.

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