Sunday, March 22, 2015

No, I do not agree, and fuck you very much.

I can't even imagine the hate comments I'm going to get over this post, because somebody is bound to see it as me criticizing America or disrespecting troops or something else that I am clearly not doing. Whatever. I feel better anyway!

One of my family members posted this on Facebook:

I'll be honest, it hurt my feelings. I'm still pretty upset at the relative who posted it, and the one who "liked" it. I thought about posting a long rant on Facebook in response, but let's be honest - nobody would read it. And maybe nobody will read it here, but I'm going to go ahead anyway.

Dear Meme Creator,

I really hate this graphic you've made.  It's sarcastic, it's rude, it's denigrating, it's belittling. It's completely hateful, and I'd truly like to know why.

What did anyone in a "minimum skills" job ever do to you? There's such vitriol here, it's so scathing and nasty that it feels personal, and I don't understand. Did an entire McDonald's staff line up to give you wedgies? Did all the hot waiters reject you? Did the cute girl at The Gap (Gap is still a thing, right?) laugh at your hair? Seriously, what did an entire huge group of people do to deserve such scorn?

Why do you assume that I have only "minimum skills" because of my job? You don't know me. You don't know what I'm good at or bad at - you only know how I chose to make my money. I'm a hell of a writer when I put my mind to it, but I don't want to make a career out of it. I'm mere credits away from a history degree, but again, it's a passion, not something I want to make a career. Mistress J used to be a phlebotomist. Lap Dog cooked for a world-famous chef. One of our best servers was a former sheriff's deputy. We all have talents - you not seeing them does not negate them.

And even if someone does have only basic skills - why should that person suffer and be poor? Someone has to bring you iced tea, flip your burgers, give you change at the gas station, restock shelves, take your bank deposits, and do a myriad of other things that keep the world running. Why do you feel those people aren't entitled to a comfortable life? So "Sally McBurgerFlipper" didn't finish high school or "Baconator" didn't have a talent for sports or "Slightly Cranky Waitress" never found a career she could sink her teeth in to. Should we starve to death? Then who will make your venti no foam skim sugar free vegan iced latte?

And the crux of this post .... Why use the military to drive home these points? My grandfather struggled to provide for his family of seven on a military salary - did you see something like that too, and did it embitter you toward the military? I could understand that. However ... nowhere in this graphic did you suggest that military members be paid more. Nowhere did you say it's a travesty that they risk their lives and sacrifice for such low pay. Nowhere did you incite people to push for military raises. Instead, you used the idea of military members' sacrifices as a cheap ploy to vent your views about us "lesser" humans.

And you know what? In doing so, you didn't even do your homework. You see, military pay rates are available online for the world to see. I checked, because once I suppressed my personal feelings about your statements, I was horrified at the idea that I, a mere waitress as a low-end restaurant, might be making more than someone who serves the in the U.S. Military. That really would be a travesty.

And initially, I thought you were right. If you look at the 2014 base pay rates, an Army E1 did indeed make $18k a year. An E5 with 8 years did make $35k. I couldn't believe what I was reading. And then I looked at it again and remembered something that you either didn't know or chose to ignore, so let me educate you: military base pay differs from a civilian's gross pay. All our living expenses come out of our gross pay - but military members get BAH and BAS. Those are allowances for housing and food. Said allowances are tax free. So, let's run some numbers.

Let's pretend that there's a hypothetical world where the national minimum wage was $15/hour. "Johnny Burger Flipper" would indeed make $31,200 a year. Using 2015 tax brackets, that means Johnny would, after taxes, take home $26,982 a year or $2,248 a month.

Now let's look at an enlisted E1's pay - and we'll assume that in this hypothetical world, economics aren't insanely complicated and so a minimum wage increase would have no impact on anybody else's wages.

So, that in mind .... There's the $18,278 in base pay, which is taxed, and so take home pay on that is $15,998 a year or $1333 a month.
Then there's BAS, which is $323.87 a month, tax free, so that's $1656.87 a month.
BAH is more complicated, because it's based on location and dependents. Let's use Mississippi, because it's the poorest state according to Google. No dependents. There's a military base in Biloxi, so we'll use a zip code from there to calculate a rate. That gives $897 a month (tax free), so total monthly pay is $2553.87.
That means this hypothetical E1's yearly, after-tax pay is $30,646.

An E1 is basic, entry-level ... the Army equivalent of "minimum skills." So the gap between unskilled "Johnny" and unskilled E1 is $3664 after taxes. Not huge. But "Johnny" in this scenario is unlikely to get a raise the following year, or if he did it would probably be a quarter or less ($34 a month). 2014's E1 becomes an E2 in 2015 and gets a pay bump of 172.55 a month after taxes.

(For the sake of completeness: using the same references, the E5 mentioned in the meme would have a take home pay of $44,861 yearly or $3738 a month.)

The point of me running all these numbers is NOT that I think military members are adequately paid for their time and sacrifice. 

The point is that a) I'm a big nerd and I enjoy this sort of thing, so it was actually kind of fun for me and b) your entire scathing, nasty meme is shored up by incomplete, and thus misleading, information.

Your attempt to use military pay rates to justify keeping other workers in dire economic straights is pathetic and insulting, because you're using the military and American pride as an emotional string - when your language makes it clear that you don't think military should be paid more. You just that "minimum skilled" people should be paid less. And guess what? They are. Drastically so. Even in hypothetical $15-an-hour-minimum-wage land, they would be paid less! So ... that pretty much takes the wind out of the sails of your argument, doesn't it?

Maybe, instead of spreading "info"graphics on the Internet to work out your rage and disgust with those of us are clearly so far below you .... you should think about what it is in you that makes you look down on the lower class, the working class, who are just trying to survive.
Maybe you should examine your attitude, and figure out why you think someone else deserves to live in constant economic stress and fear just because they're doing a job you think you're too good for.
Maybe you should analyze your life and your own achievements, before branding other people as failures because of how they pay their bills.

A Self-Sufficient, Hard-Working "Failure"

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Poor hiring decisions.

We've had a rash of really shitty newbies the last few months - I don't know if Fester is crazy or just that desperate, but here are some of the winners we've had:

Nitwit #1: Woman in her fifties who claimed to have been a server before, but after an extra week of training still couldn't get it together. On her first solo shift, the woman was throwing away her merchant copies of credit card slips! Her sidework took her hours, she forgot about tables all the time, and she had rules totally backward - she thought she got free food every shift, for example, and that she could eat said food before she had clocked out. After about two weeks on the floor, she quit, claiming she "got a job offer she couldn't refuse."

Nitwit #2: About twenty and dumb as the day of the summer equinox is long - but thought she was suuuuuper cunning. When she was first hired, she said she was going to have surgery for her endometriosis in a couple of weeks .... but after a bunch of missed shifts and inconsistent stories, we all suspect she had nothing wrong with her. Her first week, she was always "surprised" she had to do sidework - we have a training manager and she'd give him her checkout slip and then when one of us stopped her she'd be shocked she had to do anything. Her second week, when she was caught skating on sidework again, she claimed Work Wife "never trained" her to get her checkout slip signed. She was always late, she never helped anyone else, and she would never listen when anyone tried to tell her something. Finally, the other day she forgot to greet one table and then forgot to ring in another's order for half an hour - and those were her only two tables. Harley took her apron and told her to get the hell out. Several of us literally did happy dances.

Nitwit #3: Okay, this one wasn't really a nitwit, but that's the way I'm counting so I'm sticking with it. He was a nice guy and did his job really well ... for two weeks. He worked the oil fields and it was a slow patch, and he was very upfront about it. Why the fuck did we hire someone who we knew would, at any day, no longer be available?

Nitwit #4: Somehow took until four in the morning to get a Monday night's dishes done.

Nitwit #5: Asked me yesterday - after three weeks on the floor - "the kid's grilled chicken is grilled chicken, right?" 'Nuff said.

Nitwit #6: After almost two months, still can't handle more than three tables without utterly panicking. Also apparently doesn't brush his teeth, judging by the rank stench every time he opens his mouth.

And then there are the promotions that make no fucking sense to me.

One guy who was a whiny little bitch on GU and expo got promoted (so to speak) to serving .... where he continues to be a whiny little bitch and throw tantrums when frustrated. Seriously - the other day he wanted me to sign him out and I told him he still had to do silverware, and he threw his book against a wall and smacked a package of napkins across the kitchen.

There was also a host who thought he was hot shit and badgered his way in to serving when we were severely short-staffed. He still thinks he's got the world by the balls, despite fucking up repeatedly - once to the point where his serving shifts got taken away for a week. He also called in one day claiming he'd broken his leg. Guess who showed up two days later without a cast or crutches?

And then ... then. Then there's the newest trainer. I have no idea why they chose her. Sure, she's a strong server. She knows the computer system inside and out, knows the menu really well, and can juggle a lot of customers.

But ... she's quit and come back three times now. She rolls in 2-5 minutes late nearly every shift, her uniform adherence sometimes leaves something to be desired, and there are some policies that she just refuses to follow unless someone important is watching. She's somewhat terrifying to new people because she tends to just vomit information at them. Her attitude isn't always so hot, and she can be heard to say "I hate people" nearly every day. She makes a lot of snarky comments about guests while in the kitchen - in fact, she keeps a secret blog where she rants about them.

That's right. I'm going to be a trainer. God help the fresh meat.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Uhhh ... hi guys.

I didn't really realize how long it had been since I'd posted. Sorry. There's no shortage of stories, but I've just been having some problems lately. My anti-depressant didn't seem to be cutting it, so I talked to my doctor and changed it and ... it didn't work out, so it's been a sort of rough month. Nothing major, just low energy, low motivation, general depression stuff. Going back to the old medication - at a different dose - so let's see how that goes!

Hopefully things will smooth out soon and I'll feel less like a lump of sad and more able to write up some of the shit that's been going on at the restaurant.

In the meantime, here's something that gives me chills every time I watch/listen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Definitions, part two.

noun \ˌi-nə-ˈten(t)-shən\: failure to carefully think about, listen to, or watch someone or something : lack of attention

Not included in this definition: "server who was set up to look inattentive."

I recognized these bitches when they sat down, but I wasn't sure why. One was a white-trash looking blonde with smeared eye makeup, and then other was a pretty black women with get hair up in a painfully tight looking bun. Getting their drink order required four trips to the bar to confer with the bartender over cheapest options, pitcher vs. glass, etc. They seemed irritated by me trying to get get them the best deal, even though they asked what was cheaper. I don't know what was up with that.

It was shortly before the switch to dinner crew, and we got hit hard. I had seven small tables and an eight top, and during the rush to get them all greeted and get their orders in, I did forget one thing - white trash chick wanted a straw for her beer. I noticed she had one and I immediately apologized and said, "I was going crazy for a minute there, I'm sorry I forgot that!"* She just said it was okay ... but from that point on, they pulled a total passive-aggressive bitch move.

*Important later.

I checked their beer levels and made eye contact with both of them before I started taking an order at the table next to them. I had just begun speaking to my new table when bun chick reached out and grabbed the arm of a passing server; when I chased her down, I was told the woman's glass was dirty. I took her a fresh beer and asked if they wanted to order appetizers or anything; White Trash was picking at her bowl of soup and Bun was playing on her phone. Without making eye contact, they both said no.

I started taking an order at my eight top - and again saw them flag down another server out of the corner of my eye! When I chased him down, I found they'd ordered appetizers.

It went on and on like that for the next hour. No matter how close an eye I kept on them, how many times I checked on them, they would wait until my back was turned and then grab the nearest other server - or go to the bar and bug the bartender! I was getting really fucking fed up with it .. and then Harley rushed in to the kitchen yelling, "Who has table 70? Why do they want to talk to me?"

I tried to explain to her what they'd been doing, but when Harley gets in a rush she'll just take off in the middle of your sentence. So she goes and talks to these bitches, who tell her I was inattentive and rude and that I told them I was crazy. When she finally listened to me, Harley seemed to believe they were just trying to get something free - but demanded "why would you tell your tables you're crazy?!" and was all upset with me about that. She also reduced their $24 bill - already a fucking steal - to seven goddamn dollars and made me go deliver it.

She told me to apologize to them, and that I could absolutely not do with sincerity. So I told them "I'm sorry you weren't happy today" and that I'd be their cashier, and I took their last plates to the kitchen. I had no even finished dropping off those plates at dish with Mr. Rumple Minze came in to the kitchen .... with their ticket. So I took it, cashed them out, took their gift card back to them, and went to get a drink refill ... and before I'd even finished pouring that Pepsi, they had asked Wife for something. It was fucking ridiculous.

Naturally, they left me a two cent tip, but they can go fuck themselves. I wrote down a description of them and stuck it in my book, and if I ever see them again I'll refuse to wait on them.

Here's the real kicker, though, and this relates back to my last "definitions" entry: Both these tables bitched to the manager and had already gotten something free for it. A week later, I discovered that they really went the extra mile to get more free shit, or to just plain fuck me: they both did their corporate surveys and wrote paragraphs about how awful I was. So guess who got a fucking writeup and a lecture from Lapdog? Yeah.

I just don't understand these people. Who do they lie? Do they really not think they're hurting anyone, do they not realize they could be jeopardizing my job? If I had fucked up, then sure - rake me across the coals. In fact, the day I was so "inattentive" to those two bitches, there was another table that I truly was inattentive to - they were tucked in a corner and my eight top was being demanding, and I just plain fucked up and forgot about them a couple of times. If they had complained, I would not protest it in the least.

But these other people, who just want something free? They can go die in a hole.

Definitions, part one.

Well, I left the top post as something positive for as long as could. But it's time to resume my regular scheduled crankiness.

rude[rood]adjective, ruder, rudest. 1.discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way:a rude reply.

Notice how, nowhere in there, does it say "not giving your entitled ass free dessert because you thought you should have it"?

At first, it seemed like an ordinary afternoon table: two couples in their sixties, meeting for lunch. Because I'm not feeling very creative today, we'll call couple #1 Ed and Edna and couple #2 George and Georgina. They ordered their waters with lemon and their lunch specials, reminded me to give them their precious senior discount and split their tickets, and began talking about their grandchildren or whatever. 

When I went to plate up their lunch, I discovered that we had just run out of clam chowder, which Edna had ordered. I apologized to her and she chose something else, and everything seemed fine. Then finished their lunch, declined desserts, and I brought them their tickets.

As I finished my usual ticket drop spiel, Georgina suddenly piped up. "I think she gets free dessert, doesn't she?" She pointed at Edna, who just looked at her.

Thinking maybe it was Edna's birthday, I laughed and said, "Oh? Why's that?" 

"Well!" Georgina huffed. "Because you were out of the soup she wanted! And it says it right there on your specials board! It still says it! You should erase it!"

This just irritated me. Had Edna asked, I probably would have gone to Uncle Fester and relayed the request. But Edna was not contributing to this at all, and in fact was looking at Georgina like she was crazy. So I apologized again, gently explained that sometimes we run out of things and we'll have more ready soon so we wouldn't be changing the board. Georgina seemed mollified. Edna still didn't seem interested.

Ed and George both gave me credit cards, which I scanned and returned. At that point, Ed pointed at a little blurb on the table tent and said "we get free dessert, right?"

Ugh. Fucking corporate and their genius ideas. In this case, it was printing "FREE DESSERT! If we don't offer a Sam Adams!" on one of the ubiquitous table decorations. Figuring Ed's eyesight might just be not so good, I said politely, "Oh, that's if I don't offer a Sam Adams like I did when I first came to the table." Ed just said "oh" and thanked me when I handed him his black book.

At that point, these folks were my only table and my bladder was about to revolt. I dashed in to the bathroom and when I came out .... Ed and George were gone, but Edna and Georgina were talking to Uncle Fester, who stomped back in to the kitchen looking pissed and then took them something.

Turns out that the lovely ladies told Uncle Fester that they had a "horrible experience" because I was "incredibly rude" and that I "argued" with them when they said I didn't offer them a Sam Adams. Fester was pretty annoyed at me and told me to never argue with guests, and said he'd given them dessert coupons. I relayed the conversation to him - specifically the complete lack of arguing - and showed him my credit card slips where both Ed and George had tipped me more than 20% and he calmed down.

Sadly, the story doesn't quite end there. To be continued.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The customers who made me cry.

The other day I waited on a couple that honestly, I expected very little from. She ordered hot water with lemon, and he ordered water with no ice. When I brought the waters he remarked, "Oh! She remembered!" in an undertone to his wife. They then ordered an appetizer and a house salad to share. With a small bill, I expected a corresponding tip - not because they were rude or anything, but just because 15% of $10 is $1.50, you know?

When I gave them their ticket, the husband handed it back to me with a twenty, and then asked if I had to share my tips with everyone in the restaurant. (This is a surprisingly common question.) I told him no, and then said with a smile that I'd be right back with his change. He stopped me by handing out a crisp one hundred dollar bill.

I froze. I didn't know what to do. My brain had made the connection between his question and the money, but I didn't believe it and didn't want to assume. I think I stared at him for a good twenty seconds before asking in what must I think was a confused croak if he needed more change.

"No, that's all for you." he said with a smile. His wife beamed at me ... and me?

I cried. I'd been so fucking stressed out about money for days - I felt like I was hallucinating. A hundred bucks isn't a fuckton of money, but it was exactly what I needed that day. I cried, and I thanked them so many times they must have thought I had some thankful version of Tourette's, and I hugged them both.

And after the shock wore off, I soaked up the jealousy of my coworkers with great enjoyment, because in eleven years I had never before gotten the "holiday" tip.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just like Henry Rollins, I'm a liar.

"Do you do anything with AARP?" a woman asked me yesterday, as she handed me the cash for her bill.

I know damn well what AARP is. I knew she was asking if we had a senior discount (sadly, we do). I looked at the $2 (five percent) tip she had already spread out on the table. I thought about all the raspberry lemonade and cherry Pepsi her adult grandchildren had slammed down. I thought about how every time I tried to ask her a question she refused to make eye contact or speak directly to me - until now, when she wanted money off her bill.

I thought about these things and then I smiled right to her face and said, "No, no we don't."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Restaurant karma.

For the last week, my tables have been surprisingly low-maintenance. Nobody has really been annoying or rude, no crazy requests, basically it's been smooth sailing.

So naturally, I paid for that today. It started with a speeding ticket on my way to work. I was doing my best to regain my equilibrium but it seemed like the restaurant gods wanted to throw every annoying thing possible at me. 

I had the "I'll just have HOT water with lemon" bitches who had their own tea bags. 

I had the "my friend will be here in just a minute" people taking up three of my tables for two hours.

I had every single person at my first five tables just flat out interrupt me in the middle of a sentence - I guess they just couldn't stand those annoying little sentences like "how do you want you steak cooked."

I had screaming children who mashed their cereal in to the carpet and squished applesauce on the walls. 

I had a woman who let the other two order and then just started a conversation, completely ignoring me as I stood there, having given me no indication what she wanted. Her friends were as confused as I was. 

I had "don't you have any VEGAN options?" (to which I wanted to reply "Bitch, you're at SHENANIGANS.") followed by a house salad with eight mods. 
(You thought for a second that I was going to give me the real name of where I work, didn't you?) 

I had a woman, when I offered her raspberry tea, respond with "No, I don't like raspberry tea." She then perused her menu until I finally said "then what WOULD you like to drink?" She ordered water, of course. Then her husband informed me he can't drink our water so he brought his own "and that's just how it is." He later ordered coffee. Okay. 

I had a dumbass who waited for her friend for twenty minutes and during that time she studied our gluten free menu. After her friend showed up, she proudly informed me that "I'm dairy free too, do you have a menu for that?" It took her another twenty minutes to figure out what she could eat. Hmm, if only there had been a time during which she could have looked at that menu too ....

I had two tables who laughed at me when I offered beverages, laughed heartily as if it was the funniest fucking thing they'd ever heard, and then ordered "a happy hour water! Hahaha!"

I had a couple of women who special modified the fuck out of their order and followed it up with "we need separate tickets and don't you forget our senior discounts!" and a glare. 

I had 90% of my tables want separate tickets. 

I had three tables order water and split a salad. With special modifications. And separate checks. 

I had a woman get up and walk a few steps across the restaurant and yell, while waving her arms, "WAITRESS! I said a minute! It's been a LOT longer! Did you forget us or something?" I calmly told her I was helping other guests and she huffed, "well! It took quite a while!" Her husband, who had not even cracked his menu when she first shooed me away from the table, seemed mortified. 

I had the idiots who made eye contact while I said "I'll be your cashier" and immediately said "okay, do we pay up front?" and then after I repeated no, no you don't, they went and stood in the lobby looking like lost puppies. 

I had the people who tried to trick me in to forgetting to suggest a certain thing - because every table has a card saying they get free dessert if I don't offer it - and then fucking pout like children when it didn't work.

And, as if that weren't enough little annoying shit, I had a table of fucking bitches from hell. They were pissed off that they couldn't order happy hour drinks fifteen minutes before happy hour, so they said they'd wait. I brought them water and they asked me "what are spirits?" and "what's a house margarita?" If you don't know the answers to those questions, you shouldn't be drinking in public. 
I returned to their table after the clock struck Cheap Bitch O'Clock, I mean happy hour. One of them was sitting at the empty bar looking like she was sucking on a lemon, while the other two stared at her. She came over and informed me "there's no bartender and we have QUESTIONS." I politely examined the bartender was doing something in back and I could answer their questions - which were just as fucking stupid as before - and they finally ordered two Long Islands and a margarita. No food. 
A while later they asked for three tequila shots and one wanted another beer. A while after that, while I was delivering food to another table, I saw that once again one was at the bar. "We asked her for a drink and now she's nowhere to be found!" 
Well, that was because Bug was in the back looking for more nasty Michelob Ultra. We were out so of course the woman was pissed but settled for a Coors Light with Bloody Mary mix.  They also ordered a basket of fries. 
A bit later, one asked for her ticket. I brought the tab for all of them, split up, just in case. After rolling her card around in her hands for ten minutes, she finally gave it to me. Meanwhile the Coors Light woman kept staring at the bill and frowning. I'm sure she was wondering why she was charged fifty cents for her Bloody Mary mix but she didn't ask. 
The one who paid left - and left a whole dollar - and then another woman replaced her. She asked for water and when I brought it they all ignored me like I was a slug. I asked if they were ready for my to take their checks because both had credit cards out and they snarled no. 
Fifteen minutes later, my shift had been over for an hour, so I asked someone to take over. She agreed so I approached the table and smilingly asked if they wanted anything else right now. They said now, so I politely said Angie would take care of them as I had to leave. 
The new chick huffed and said "Fine! But can we get some of this off the table because I'm feeling claustrophobic!" I just said of course and picked up a beer glass and a water glass while they all scraped up and angrily threw their silverware in to the not-empty fry basket. They then went back to talking as if I weren't there. 

Imagine my surprise when they flagged down the manager a bitched to her for ten minutes about how they were very angry and they had a very bad experience because they claimed I was rude, didn't clear their plates (WHAT FUCKING PLATES YOU FUCKING TWATS), and sighed and rolled my eyes when they asked me to do so. Yeah. Okay. Sadly, said manager (a fill-in) bought in to their crap and gave them half their drinks free.

Now most of this list is small things. But it kept my irritation level slightly elevated all day. And then all the special requests and stuff took up so much time that I constantly felt like I was behind and like I could do no right. Then there were the lying bitches. So when I counted my money and it was a measly fifty bucks for the day, I nearly cried out of sheer frustration. Here's hoping tomorrow is better. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Shit List

Much like everybody in a restaurant will recognize the pain in the ass or cheap table, there are certain addresses that every delivery person at a pizza place will recognize. Oh, we know people think we don't remember them. How could we possibly do so, when we deliver to an area with thousands of houses? Oh, foolish customers, how they underestimate us.

Some addresses, we all just know right off the bat because the order so frequently. There's one address that I have occasionally manipulated the driver assignments to get, because if the husband pays he tips five bucks - but if the wife pays, it's anywhere from ten to twenty-five dollars. And then there are a couple of addresses that we all know immediately will be a big fat zero tip, and so we try to take another order at the same time as that one so it's not a total loss.

Of course, some don't order often enough to just be a known quantity. For the first year I was delivering, I didn't keep track of those houses in any way. But a few months ago, there was an infuriating upsurge in the number of times I was stiffed. It went from one or twice a week to ten times in three days, and I got pissed. So now, at the back of the notebook where I keep my delivery tags, there resides The Shit List. It's not like a fuck up their food or anything, but I like to know what to expect.

And, okay, there are a couple of seriously repeat offenders who I will take my sweet ass time delivering to. If they haven't tipped the last five weeks, they can wait while I stop at 7-11 for a refill. And okay, maybe a time or two I've "accidentally" left the warming bag open so their food isn't as hot as it could be. What can I say. I'd rather those people stop ordering from us.

Anyway. Most drivers have such a list, but most are also more liberal about adding people. All the coworkers I've talked to note anybody who tips less that two or three dollars - I normally only note those who do less than a dollar or zero (unless they're incredibly assholish in another way).

However, this week, I decided that there are certain times when the threshold will be raised. Yesterday night, it was fucking -4 degrees Farenheit here. And we are not allowed to wear our own coats - only company jackets, which are of course $50, and are really just shells that provide so warmth. So when it's that fucking cold, and I'm saving someone from having to go out in that shit? They'd better be fucking appreciating my frozen nipples and numb toes with more than two bucks. Otherwise I will remember. Oh yes. I will.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thoughts on Veteran's Day.

Today was actually not bad at all. I went in to it somewhat anxious and stressed out - bad juju from the last V Day I worked. Which I realized today that I never actually wrote up, and that was a big part of why I left the restaurant last time, so let's go back in time to 11/11/11 .....
These were the dark days, when Chicken Little was still in charge. Lapdog was constantly on the verge of a mental breakdown. Bitter Divorced Man had left a couple of months before; his replacement had died in a car crash soon after; his replacement was Junior. Pot Smoking Manager had left just weeks before and been replaced by HotPants.
At that point, I think we were still one of only a couple of restaurants doing the free food for military thing, so it was an insane day. We opened an hour early and were full for the next twelve hours.
CL was psychotically in to Veteran's Day. If there were a base around here, she'd be a total barracks rat. Instead of doing useful, managerial things on V Day, she would wander the restaurant, talking to military people and literally fucking crying over their stories. Now, it's not like she lost her father in Vietnam or anything like that - there was no military connection in her life. She was just in to it in a creepy fucking way. So she'd spend her time talking to customers and then go in the back and have one of her spectacular fucking meltdowns when she found out the kitchen had high ticket times or whatever.
I wasn't having a very good day. I'd had some really rude customers - and I don't mean veterans, I mean people coming in demanding they get a free meal because their son was in Iraq, or their husband died in Korea, or whatever. I'd gotten some really shitty tips. Half my section had been taken up by a big top - one of whom showed up at 11 and the rest of them didn't wander in until almost 1. At two in the afternoon, four hours after we opened, I had made fifteen dollars.
As that big top was finishing up, I was cleaning a table next to them. Junior was helping me bus it, and asked why I was so quiet. Now, at this point, Junior was still a sleeper agent - none of us realized she was in CL's pocket. So I very simply and quietly said "I don't want to work this day next year, it's not worth it." That's it. I wasn't scowling, I wasn't bitching, I answered her question.
Her response was "It's not about you today. It's about honoring veterans."
(More on that later.)I said she was right, I was just stressed about money, smiled at her, and went back to the kitchen.
A bit later, Chrissy came storming up and slapped a receipt down next to me and went on a rampage about the two dollars she'd gotten off a four top who all had free meals. She went on about how they were cheap bastards and they could at least tip when all their food was free. I remember my exact response: "Yeah, that sucks." I knew better than to say anything else.
Well, after that, my day got better. People were nicer, they started tipping, the big top left, and my smile was no longer fake. Right up until CL gathered us in the back with the evening floor chart. She told this person they were staying where they were, told this other person they were moving, told this person they were cut ... and then pointed at me and said "And you are going home."
I thought it was a mistake; I was clearly scheduled for a double and politely told her that. She told me I was cut and I told her I'd really like to stay if I could.
"You're leaving and we'll talk about it later."
Everyone was looking pointedly away from me; I was completely confused. My confusion didn't lessen when I was taken in to the office and told I was being sent home because of my bad attitude. Apparently I was saying "disrespectful" things about veterans, and I wasn't welcome there any more today. I was told that my statement the day wasn't financially worth it was inappropriate. CL also said she "didn't like" how I treated my big top - I never did figure out what the fuck she was talking about there, those Korea/WWII vets loved me and tipped me excellently.
Obviously I knew Junior had to CL what I said about money, but she wouldn't explain what she was talking about with the "disrespectful" stuff. About a week later I found out that Chrissy had gone to CL and told her that I was the one ranting about the bad tip and calling people cheap bastards! And of course, because Chrissy was so far up CL's ass, she believed her.
And that was the beginning of the end of my job. After that, CL started cutting my shifts, giving me shitty sections, sending me home early, refusing my attempts to pick up shifts ..... and very soon I didn't work there anymore.

I practically feel like I'm breaking out on hives just from writing about how the place used to be. Anyway, fast forward to today .... and it was awesome. The kitchen was in absolute top fucking form. Lapdog and Harley were working their butts off right along with us. Our new (and so far awesome) district manager stopped in to help ... and then left after half an hour because we didn't need him. It was great.

Oh, except for the dishwasher freaking the fuck out because someone asked him to wash silverware. He walked out. And then came back later with a baseball bat. I'm not sure what scared him off. It was an interesting interlude.

Anyway - super smooth day otherwise, smiles all the way around. The only thing that kind of sucked .... was I only made $63. There were three reasons: We slowed down in the afternoon and I was cut, I had two tables (half of my section) that thought it was totally fucking cool to camp for an hour when the lobby was jam-packed and they were sitting right next to it, and then probably 75% of my tables tipped a really crappy amount. If you go by what my final sales were, my tips were 25% - but if you go by what they were before the comping off veteran meals, it drops down to just ten percent. I was pretty disappointed by that, I'll be honest. 

Because here's the thing about Junior's statement from 2011, which I heard repeated several times - yeah, the day is about honoring veterans. That's awesome. If it were a volunteer to work day, I would have no problem with all the managers and corporate people repeating that over and over. 

However .... it's now a mandatory work day. So they're telling us "you HAVE to come in, and don't expect to make money because it's not about you." And I'm sorry, I have to call a little bit of bullshit on that. I can't tell my credit card company "I can't pay my bill, but I honored a lot of veterans!" And not only because that sounds kind of dirty, but because it just wouldn't fly. This is my job, not community service, and I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to make some cash. I would never say a word against a military member because of their tip today - but I don't see what's so wrong with being disappointed that, on the busiest day of the year, I made about what I make on an average Tuesday lunch shift. 

When I handed in my checkout, Harley asked what I made. I was immediately nervous, afraid when I answered I'd sound pissy or something and I'd get in trouble (the trauma from CL hasn't completely healed!). I told her and her jaw dropped. "Are you serious? I'm so sorry!"

I love her.