Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fuck being a waitress.

Seriously. Fuck it.

Actually, tonight was just fine right up until the end. Other than painfully fucking slow. $33 on a close. Thank you very much, NFL. But I was talking to my coworkers and having fun, and I was getting good tips percentage-wise.

But the end of the night just ruined it all. At an hour and a half till close, I had no tables, except one couple who'd paid an hour before. There was about twenty minutes of stuff to do before we'd be done--and half of that I couldn't do that early for various reasons. There was literally nothing to do. So I was slowly eating my dinner and doing the crossword. Lapdog suddenly decides to grace up with his presence after being in the back for an hour, and promptly starts telling me to get moving, get going, there are things to do, roll some silverware or something.

Luckily about that time my stupid table finally left, so I was able to do the front of house closing stuff on that half of the restaurant. Fifteen minutes later I asked Lapdog if he wanted both of the closers to stay on, since there was nothing to do. He said no, and since Perpetua had two tables still camping out, I was elected to leave early. Which was fine with me, I had homework to do. With fifty minutes before close, everything was done--the soda machine dismantled, the floors done, etc. It was that freaking slow.

I expected a bit of a lecture when I took my checkout to the back. What I didn't expect was to be shut in the office with Lapdog for the next thirty minutes. The people from yesterday who I thought would complain did in fact complain. They sent an entire paragraph to corporate about me being inattentive. I didn't try to deny it; I flat-out told Lapdog that it was at the height of everything crashing around us and I dropped the ball on that table. I told him they didn't seem angry when they left, that Pot Smoking Manager could not even leave the kitchen at that point, and that's how things ended, but I acknowledged it was a low point of the evening.

I hoped that would be the end of it, that if I accepted responsibility for it without shirking that I could head off the lecture. And I think, had it been up to Lapdog, it might have been. Unfortunately for me, Chicken Little (see new "cast of characters" sidebar!) was there this afternoon and dealt with the first wave of complaints about the previous night's shift ... and she decided to issue me a formal written warning.

Knowing exactly what happened the night before, what a disaster it had been and how the entire night was a total clusterfuck for everyone involved .... she still wrote me up. I think there are two reasons for this. The more charitable reason is a simple ass-covering mechanism. The district manager will probably see the complaint from these people, and will probably ask what she's doing about it. So now she has a piece of paper to wave in his face as proof of "action".

The second reason, I think, is part of her Chicken Little mentality: when the sky is falling, focus on minutia. Not that pissed off customers are minutia, exactly, but the paper work is. The impression I got from the tone of the write-up was that this was the primary motivation: the wording was way too personal. For one thing, she brought up the people who called a few days ago accusing me of being rude after giving me a 20% tip. There was no real reason for that, since there was no documentation, she wasn't even there that night, and they were nutjobs anyway.

She also threw in a sentence about how I was obviously working too many hours to provide "excellent customer experiences". I interrupted Lapdog and told him that offends me--people make mistakes, it happens, and it's got nothing to do with me working too many hours. This is still a fairly light schedule for me compared to what I used to work, after all.

And then there was a passing reference to improving my "teamwork" and "closing duties"--apparently somebody complained to one of the managers and said I wasn't doing my part of the closing sidework! Whoever it was can shove that shit right back up their ass, because that is totally false. We divide it in half, and my half is always done, and if it takes me longer to do my portion than their I never ask them to stay. I think Perpetua is probably the complainer; she never takes a break to eat or even sit down, but instead rushes around non-stop and takes it upon herself to do more work than necessary. Since I tell her every damn time to leave it alone and I'm working on it, I'd say that falls under the heading of not my damn fault.

Anyway, the entire tone of this write-up was more personal than it should've been. CL always wants to blame someone for everything, and takes everything as a personal slight. I had to do write-ups when I was a manager, so I know how they're supposed to be done; so this just really irked me. I wondered if everybody who got a complaint about last night got a write up. I wondered if they, too, were threatened with shift loss and/or suspension.

I will say, it was one of those rare encounters when I remembered why Lapdog used to be my favorite manager way way back in the day. I really think if it'd been up to him, there would've been no write up. He was very understanding, and talked about other instances of people stewing over things and calling later, or saying everything was fine when they left and then calling trying to get something for free. He said those sort of things frustrate him too.

So when I left and burst into tears as soon as I stepped outside, it wasn't because I was angry at him (for once!). I was angry at CL for writing me up under the crazy circumstances of that shift; I was angry at her personal tone; I was angry she asked Lapdog to do it instead of waiting until she next worked with me; I was angry that I've been busting my ass trying to make enough money to pay my bills and this is the result.


Banquet Manager said...

We all love the NFL but it's not good for business. The guys just want to park their butts in front of the TV all night and only have a few beers. Not good for the tips.

Anonymous said...

I always knew you sucked. Now there's proof. Fuckin' loser.

Anonymous said...

I really really enjoy reading your blog!

Ignore the other anonymous douche.

He obviously has no clue as to how hard this job can be.


Steven Nicolle said...

Can't people let it go , really. To go and complain writing a letter. People don't realize the pain that causes. The stress.

purplegirl said...

You all said it! Except the first anonymous, of course, who never contributes anything but stale insults.

I'm feeling better this morning, although some of that is probably the prospect of two days off after tonight's shift!

BB said...

I'm sorry, that sounds like a really bad night. We have waitresses that mess up and unless they do something against the rules like show up late, or actually sit down instead of working.. they don't get written up. I think it's pretty lame that you were swamped and the manager wasn't there to help you out.. like by filling refills or taking payments.

SkippyMom said...

I hope within the write up was everything that went wrong that you had absolutely NO CONTROL over - the one expo leaving, the computer crashing, the credit card machine crashing, the bug? - I mean, honestly how do they expect you to work well in that environment?

I am sorry you were written up. I wish guests would understand that sometimes things are beyond our control.

Take care.

Sanity of a Server said...

does you restaurant use ethicspoint.com? I've read all your posts and so much of the stuff that goes on with your managers seems really wrong. I'm assuming this is a corporate restaurant also by what you have written so you really should talk to someone in human resources about some of it. that's why ethicspoint.com is great, because it can be done anonymously so you don't have to worry about repercussions

purplegirl said...

I forgot to mention that there was a line in the write-up about "extenuating circumstances" that shift, and if it'd been left at that I'd've figured it was just ass-covering paperwork. But there was so much other stuff that it just pissed me off that it'd be thrown in with all the other things going on.

I've never heard of ethicspoint.com. I have thought of going to human resources, but every time I get to that point shit settles down for a while.