Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Brain removed to make room for makeup skills.

The girl I'm stuck closing with on Sunday nights is about as smart as a tree branch. Don't get me wrong, she's nice. I want to like her, as she's a friend of my former roommate and I don't like being at odds with coworkers. But the next time I hear "Now what?" come out of her mouth, I just might scream.

See, she's not someone who can see things need to be done and do them. When we were closing on Sunday, we got killed at the end of the night. Right after cut, tables started flowing it. At first it was nothing I couldn't handle--even having two on the north side of the restaurant, two on the south size, and one on the patio plus no expo and a manager who's a bit slow to catch on when we need help. Even Brainless was doing fine and basically staying out of my way.

Then the lobby filled up with a team of softball players and their parents. Brainless couldn't handle it, so of course it fell to me--and I fucking hate big tables. But I dove in without complaint. They weren't even that difficult--they were surprisingly low-maintenance, and didn't even want a billion separate checks. But even the most low-maintenance table of 30 is going to monopolize your time, so Brainless had to take the other smaller tables that came in. One of them sat for five minutes before being greeted, so I greeted them; then it took another ten minutes for her to get them teas. She just doesn't understand how to prioritize, and won't ask for help (by then the manager had caught on!).

At 11:20 (we close at 11), I still had two tables. There were about twelve dirty tables in the place, five of them being mine. Brainless was sitting at the staff table eating. And I don't mean having a few bites then going back to work. She was sitting, and sitting, and sitting. When my tables finally left, she finally got up and started clearing dishes. After we got that done she just looked at me and said "now what?" I said the tables all needed to be wiped and reset and the floor needed to be free of big stuff so that the morning people could vacuum without having to pick up chunks of broccoli, etc.

So she wipes and resets the tables and then says "now what?" I repeat the floor thing. Right about then the manager wanders out, so she asks him how clean the floors need to be. I went in the back and left her to it, I was so annoyed.

Eventually she came back to the kitchen and asked .... "now what?" Now at this point, there was a tea urn draining, dressings still on ice on the counter, lemons to empty, coffee turning to sludge, stuff all over the counters, etc. So I tell her that everything needs to be away and wiped down, and she asks what I want her to do.

I told her to put away the rest of the dressings; then I get "Now what?" Empty the coffee. "Now what?" Wipe down the coffee and tea machines. "Now what?" Empty the straw wrapper trash bin. "Now what?" Dump out the lemons. "Now what?" Wipe down the counters. "Now what?" Take the spouts off the soda machine. "Now what? Now what? Now what?"

Then yesterday I got stuck with the salad cooler sidework with her. I still had a table, so she started making the list of what we needed to prep. When I glanced at the list, I could tell right away it was wrong. She didn't have French or southewestern dressing on the list, and there was none in the cooler or on the line. She didn't have enough salsas or ranch listed; she didn't have the right amounts of cheese. So I had to re-do that.

When she brought jugs out of the walk-in, they all had maybe an inch of dressing in the bottom. She spent ages shaking the containers trying to get the last little bits out in an attempt to not have to open another gallon--even though she needed, for example, two more French after that. After bringing out more jugs, she filled up a couple containers of ranch, french, and southwestern, and carried the gallon jugs back to the fridge, leaving several more containers empty. Same thing with one of the cheeses.

When pouring ranch, she spilled a bunch down the side of the container, and then slid the container across the counter, leaving a big smear of ranch. She didn't wipe the bigger jugs off before putting them in the fridge; she didn't wipe the outside of the small ones. She poured half a bag of salsa across the counter and tried to leave it there; after I told her to clean it up, she left salsa dripping down the edge of the counter. Instead of putting an empty ranch jug in the trash neatly, she tried to throw it, and it bounced and splattered ranch everywhere. When it was all said and done, she tried to leave a huge mess for the prep cooks to clean up.

I'm trying to be patient; but I'm dreading Sunday night.


G.H. said...

Yikes. Is she new? Is she handicapped? If I were you I would mention something to management. Perhaps suggest that she should not be scheduled to close, as you end up re-doing all of her work anyways.

AK said...

I usually feel bad for struggling servers, since I definitely had a few AWKWARD weeks at each of the two restaurants I worked in... not knowing where everything is & all the protocol means no one likes you, and when they're stressed they like you less.

But laziness and dumbness is not allowed. Anywhere. I feel like people think serving is easy (since it is "entry level") and assume that they can just do it without any brains. That's what retail is for. Serving is hard!

thairade said...

Hey, thanks for adding me to your blogroll.

I have a coworker EXACTLY like this. You know--the type who has to be told what to do at all times, even if it's to wipe up a small mess on a table. It's frustrating and I feel your pain.

Anyway, thanks again. Great writing, by the way!
(Just in case you forgot!)

purplegirl said...

GH--she doesn't have the excuse of being handicapped, she just is a lazy idiot. She just doesn't care to learn how to do things correctly.

I was all ready to talk to management about her dumb ass, until I worked with the manager who does the schedule. We'd been sending Brainless home early on Sundays, because we rarely needed as many closers as were scheduled; and the high-strung little lap dog manager was pissed off because he wants her closing! I cannot imagine why--he's never let anyone's looks sway him before, so I don't think it's because she's attractive. I don't know what it is, though, because usually he ignores the existence of such idiots as best he can.

It's quite perplexing.

AK--If she were new, I would be totally fine with it. I'm not quite that big a bitch. :) But she claims to have served before, and she's been a hostess here for at least six months.

She's just one of those people who doesn't observe anything that isn't directly related to her, and that sort of attitude doesn't work in a restaurant--because eventually, you are going to need to know the ingredients of that pasta dish someone else was talking about!

btw, retail is hard too. :P At least, it's hard to do truly well. I did two years of retail management and was amazed at how few people could handle even the simple tasks!

Customer service anywhere is more difficult than most people can believe.

Thairade, you're welcome! I love the name, btw. :) Isn't it amazing how such obvious things can be invisible to people? Oy!

waiternotes said...

Two things:

1. Sounds like training is very poor at your restaurant. At the same time, maybe the money is not so great that it's motivating someone to be a good student? Or else she's just such a dolt, she shouldn't really be working for your restaurant in the first place.

2. Thank you so much. I work in an older-skewed establishment, i.e., all the waiters are old, any 'new' waiters are old, and all have been around the block more than a few times. A new-hire would only be doing "now whats" his/her first few weeks. I thank you because I forgot about this type of person you so beautifully capture! Well done.

LW said...

Those softball teams can be killer. I love how they don't call first but expect to be seated with a table of 30 immediately. Ugh.
I haven't run across a "Now what?" in a long time. After reading your post I remember why I am grateful for this!

the chiconomist ♥ celine said...

I LOVE this blog! I used to work in a restaurant too, and spent countless hours thinking murderous thoughts and thought it would be funny if all that went into a blog. Bravo to you! I no longer work there, but still believe to this day that working at a restaurant was the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. People have no idea how much patience and tolerance it takes to do it!

purplegirl said...

Waiternotes, she was actually trained quite well--by the best trainers we have. She just doesn't try to remember things--she acts like a spoiled princess. You're lucky you don't have to deal with those people any more. :)

Lone Waitress--it's is just charming how they roll in and stand there staring at you like you're stupid because you didn't have a table ready for them?

Chiconomist--welcome, glad you like it. :)

Samantha said...

Hey, I came across your blog last night, and I absolutely love it! I was thinking about some of the things that happen to you and how you handle them, "Wow...this sounds almost exactly like me." I never realized how much shit I have to put up with until I read over your posts. The things some people do never cease to amaze me.

purplegirl said...

Hi Samantha, welcome! Isn't it amazing what people think is appropriate public behavior??!