Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For the fourth shift in a row ...

the universe kicked my ass and took my name. $15 tonight. Blood fucking ridiculous. I was scheduled at 5:30, so I figured my section would be totally full. It wasn't; only one table was occupied, by two old people who sat there watching the goddamn baseball game until about 7:30.

After 45 goddamn minutes, I finally got a table ... who had an iced tea, a soda, and chips. And sat for an hour or more. Then I had a table of two old people who apparently didn't think my undivided attention was worth more than 12%. Then I had two tables of one elderly person each. After eight o'clock we finally had a first cut, and I got three tables after that. One was a young family that had desserts; one was a middle aged couple who seemed stoned; the other was two twenty-ish girls, one of whom had a kid. They were tables 1, 5, and 6, respectively.

A couple of minutes after table 1 ordered their desserts, 5 was ready to pay. I took their card back to the kitchen to run it, and saw Perpetua assembling my desserts. At first I just said thanks, but then someone else started by me carrying one dessert too many. I told him to stop, it only got one chocolate sundae, and Perpetua snips back "Well it said two!"

I knew it didn't, and as I was directing what the correct desserts were, I was running this credit card. One damn second too late, I realized I'd run 5's credit card for 6's total. Fuck me. There's no way to cancel it at that point, so I let it go, then I ran it for the correct total. I took it out to the table and explained it to the table. I told them one charge would drop off, because it was voided, but if they were to go home and look at it right away, their statement would show two charges.

When I'd finished, they looked at me. And looked at me. There was absolutely no flicker of comprehension on either of their faces. I tried again; they asked me a couple of out-of-left-field questions that didn't match what I'd said at all, and I explained it again. I asked if it made sense; they looked at each other and didn't answer, or ask anything else. I apologized for it, told them one more time that they would only be charged once, and when they still didn't respond, I told them to have a good night and left the table.

Then I went to get the manager to pull back and void the first transaction. I didn't do it before because I didn't want the customers to wait while Lapdog lectured me about it--because I knew he would. He voided it after sighing as if it were the worst thing ever, and being bitchy, and I went about my business.

Ten minutes later, I realized I'm a goddamn moron. I was so flustered about the situation I'd screwed up again, and had voided the correct charge instead of the incorrect one! Fuck me, again. Sonofabitch. This is what happens when anyone messes up while working with Lapdog: we all get so fucking rattled we screw up even more.

Table 6 wanted dessert, and their ticket was still closed. In the past, the managers have said that in these situations there's nothing they can do. So I rang in table 6's food again, nomake, and then added the dessert. Once they had their dessert, and their ticket, I went in search of Lapdog.

I started by apologizing; I told him I knew it was a big pain in the ass, but I thought I knew how to fix it. I figured if I put in the excess difference as a "tip", and then gave him the cash difference, then the restaurant would be square. I knew it would be a paperwork mess.

He said no, he'd go in the back and get the credit card number off the computer and fix it! You know, like they always say they can't do! So he goes in the back, and I just lost it and started crying. Not because of him, but because all sorts of stress just seemed to come crashing in on me--and as I've mentioned before, I cry when I'm angry. I vented to my coworkers for a few minutes, and was okay.

So Lapdog comes out a few minutes later, and we get it all fixed. He voided the payment on table 6, so their check was there. Then he voided the items I'd re-rung. Then we closed the correct table number with the number he'd procured. He started lecturing me some more; and as soon as he paused to take a breath I jumped in. "I know. I used to have to deal with it all the time at (place I was a manager), I'm sorry. I know it's a giant pain in the ass."

He shut up then, and I figured that was the end of it. He tends to back off if you stand up to him.

A few minutes later, the snotty little girls at table six flagged me over to say I'd charged them the wrong amount for the damn nachos. Which I had--we had a special going on where people get happy hour prices, but the happy hour button doesn't work, and I forgot. I did not want to go find Lapdog and tell him I needed yet another thing. So I rang it in with the right button, and asked the cooks not to make it yet; then I transferred the old item to a separate table number so I could have it half discounted for my dinner later. I didn't want nachos for dinner, but it was better than another lecture from him.

Unfortunately, I did have to ask him for something later, because I needed manager approval for a second checkout. When I first got there, I accidentally hit "checkout" instead of "change section". I told him that, and he said something like, "Wow, you're really on top of things tonight."

Then he proceeded to tell me that the people with the credit card had called and complained that I was rude! I was so freaking pissed that I just very flatly told him I was not. He said they claimed I was rude and seemed annoyed I had to explain that I'd screwed up.

"No, I was not rude. I was frustrated because I'd explained it three times because they didn't understand and wouldn't answer me."

"Well, they said you were rude."

"I wasn't," I repeated, "and I'm done now except for waiting for silverware." When he didn't answer, I left the kitchen. I was so goddamn angry. If they wanted to bitch about me messing up with the credit card, that's fine. But to claim I was rude? Fuck them! And if I was so rude, why'd they leave me a 20% tip?

The weird thing is this ... I don't recall hearing the phone ring. It hadn't been that long since they left, and I hadn't been outside or anything. Suspicious.

I know I screwed up, really. I do. I was pissed at myself. But what pisses me off more is this: I should not have been afraid to go to the manager was this. That's what they're fucking there for! And if he hadn't been glowering at me, maybe I wouldn't have screwed up on which ticket was being voided. It's just ridiculous that every employees there is afraid to go to this guy with any issues. I've been a manager, in food service and in retail, and being a whiny bitch about things is no way to run the show.
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    Steven Nicolle said...

    Your manager is pathetic! We as waiters only expect perfection from ourselves so when we do make a mistake we feel bad enough as it is without having a manager who just adds salt to the wound. You shouldn't have to feel like you are going to get royal shit after a mistake.

    teleburst said...

    If table 6 had paid with a credit card, and table 5s credit card wasn't a debit card, you would have probably been fine. I don't know what system you use, but on our system, you simply make sure that you don't do anything with the wrong transaction. Just keep it up until table 6 pays. If they pay cash, then yes, you have to get it voided out, but if they pay by credit card, most systems will let you swipe a new credit card. It will show a screen that shows the first credit card and a place where you can choose "new credit card". When you hit that, it will make the first one drop off as soon as you close out the ticket.

    If it's a debit card, the bank will still probably hold that amount for at least a day. If it's not, the transaction usually disappears almost instantly (although different banks might hve different procedures).

    It's a gamble though, especially if the second table stays a while. You can really sweat hoping that they pay with a credit card. There's a slight chance too that they might be close to their credit limit and try to fill up their car on the way home before the transaction gets the chance to drop off, or they're freaks who go online to check their credit car balances after going out.

    If it's a debit card, then all bets are off, of course. The problem with voiding is that it can take a while for the credit to show up, plus, I don't think it even takes until you batch out at the end of the night.

    Restaurants get more calls about "phantom charges" then just about anything. And it's usually due to voids where the credit hasn't shown up yet.

    We had a couple who were on their honeymoon and the server entered something like $800 instead of $80 for the tip and closed it out. It locked their debit card because it hit their credit limit and it was the only card they had (and they were a thousand miles from home). It was a real mess.

    BB said...

    I hate dealing with credit cards too! If you're in a hurry and go fast you can accidentally hit a 5 instead of a 2 and then you have to go get a manager's help.

    And seriously, it's really lame that your manager gives you grief when he has to do his job. I bet he wishes every shift he could just float by without anyone needing him.. but guess what.. he gets paid to deal with dilemmas.

    We have managers that are like that.. they will complain about not getting paid enough to do this.. because usually the bartenders do walk out with more money. But, they signed up for it knowing full well what their duties would be.. so I get your dilemma.

    If you want to check out a blog that has similar stories.. only from the bartender side of things, click on my link. And let me know what you think.. I just started so I only have a handful of posts.

    Hope your next shift is better!

    supernovanator said...

    Sounds like some of the times I have been this close(fingers almost touching) to walking out! Knowing habits, after this you will have an awesome week then a content week, then normal.

    Stuck Serving said...

    I feel your pain, I mess that shit up when I am busy or my mind is preoccupied too! We have two computers right next to each other, with two slides for credit cards. One night we were slammed and I was at one comp and another server was at another. He grabbed the slider to my computer and ran his tables card for my tables check. It was funny but a pain in the ass. I dont have an asshole manager like Lapdog though. Fuck him!

    IrasciblePlatypus said...

    Wow. Lapdog needs a serious kick to the face, along with a new attitude. I have a spare Clue-By-Four; would you like to borrow it and try to beat some sense into it?

    haha said...

    You're such a fucking screwup.
    You're ONLY a fucking WAITRESS, and you can't even do THAT right.

    purplegirl said...

    @Waiter E--you're absolute right about feeling bad enough as it is! Every time I make a mistake, I'm incredibly embarrassed. A good manager recognizes that fact and doesn't lecture unnecessarily!

    @Teleburst - I wish our system were that simple! With ours, once the card is swiped, there's nothing you can do without the manager's card. One of the reasons the managers do get irritated about voids is for the reason you mentioned--the "phantom" charges. I can understand that, which is why I was sure to tell him I'd already explained it to them. Of course, they apparently called anyway! We've had messes with it, though nothing as extreme as your honeymoon couple!

    @the bartender - welcome! I'll be adding your site to my blogroll after I'm gone commenting. :) It chaps my ass too when the managers complain about their salaries--if I weren't still in school, I'd glad take the lower income in exchange for the stability!

    @supernovanator - I hope you're right! I know it all evens out in the end, but it's so frustrating while you're going through the bad patches!

    @Stuck Serving - That's hilarious. :)

    @IrasciblePlatypus - that clue-by-four would be welcome; perhaps you could send it by courier, along with a revised choreography for our flaildancing routine. :)

    And now we come to you, anonymous coward. Luckily for me, my sense of self isn't based on the inaccurate opinion of an asshole I don't know. As usual, your comment casts more aspersions on your character than mine. In conclusion, fuck right off.