September 25, 2009
Thanks to the readers who have commented and shown their support. I still feel kind of stupid for being this upset over a cat, but apparently it’s normal. Oddly, ever since he received a subcutaneous fluid injection and we put him on Prednisone, Old Cat is actually doing better than before his diagnosis. Thus, my emotional state is pretty confused right now. He has cancer, he’s going to die…aaand he’s eating again and moving around more? What the hell? Anyway, I am going to try and resume normal posting–if things worth writing about happen, that is.
My cold has cleared up, school has started, and I have finally scheduled my driving test (yes, I’m way behind the curve). Aside from the inevitable dead cat, things are hopefully going to get better soon. But with my luck, I’ll just end up with swine flu come October/November. Hooray for pessimism.
September 15, 2009
I have several half-finished posts, most of which are going to remain half-finished for awhile, due to some bad news I recieved today. Turns out my geriatric cat, who I’ve owned my whole life (at least, as long as I can remember), has cancer. At 18 years of age, he’s too old to handle chemo or surgery. As he is rallying right now, the vet will be giving us some medicine for pain and nausea, but once he starts declining again, he will have to be put down.
I realize how stupid and/or immature this probably sounds, but think back to your first pet, the first one that was really yours. For me, that is this cat. So, right now I don’t really feel like writing snarky and/or thoughtful posts about working carryout (had a real bitch and a real awesome person tonight though, I’ll have to jot something down so I remember to write about them later). With class starting next week, a head cold, and now this bullshit, all I really want to do is keep to myself for a bit.
September 9, 2009
Working at a restaurant that primarily serves the elderly can be extremely depressing at times. Solo diners sit at counters and tables, their posture and behavior belying the fact that eating alone is something they’re not quite used to doing. A few bring books, but the majority bring newspapers. With pens in their withered hands, they scan the obituaries, looking for friends and acquaintances who have joined the choir invisible. The resultant circles and x’s are reminiscent of a macabre lottery ticket. What strikes me is that none of these people seem at all fazed, and I can’t help but wonder, at what point in their lives did they gain this seeming indifference to death? At what point in my life will I behave the same way?
Many of these apparently grief-immune people are regulars. Many of them have been coming to The Restaurant for years. As a result, we often get to know them very well. When a regular stops coming in, the first thought that comes to mind isn’t of how I might have driven them away. Rather, I wonder if they’re all right. Sometimes they are–the elderly are prone to health issues. Sometimes, they never come back.
I had one, a sweet old man, who came in every Friday and ordered two swiss steak dinners with mashed potatoes and gravy and side salads. He always called them “two of ’em li’l lettuce salads,” which I found extremely endearing. He was always friendly, cheerful, and tipped well. He hasn’t been in in months. I hope he and his wife just got tired of swiss steak every week.
The Friday before last, a man came up to the register to pay. “How are you doing?” I asked him.
“I’m okay…” he mumbled. Then he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Don’t ever get old.”
“Don’t ever get old. It’s not worth it. I just got back from the doctor. I spend more time there than anywhere else.”
Once again, I felt like a jerk wishing him a nice weekend.
September 6, 2009
Do you ever have one of those days, where you go to work and it feels like your first day all over again? Not in the good “I’m starting a new job and I’m nervous but cautiously optimistic” way, I mean in the “Wow, I seem to be fucking up every single thing I do” way.
Friday was like that for me. I worked 11am-2pm and 3:30pm-close, and I was in retard mode about 90% of the time. Over-ring the register? Check. Forget how to deal with gift certificates? Check. Snap at a retarded cook? Jump at small noises? Fuck up a bunch of people’s orders, at least one of which was a pretty goddamn big mistake? Check, check, check.
Part of it was working the day shift, again. Yeah, I know I said I like it, and I do, but it’s very…different from the evening. It’s busier, for one, but the real difference is that we have a pretty regular day staff. Antediluvian (so named because she’s been at The Restaurant forever), Ex-Junkie, and Snitch work almost every day, and Antediluvian in particular is one of those people who has to have things a certain way. Furthermore, we have a ridiculous number of both carryout and in-store regulars, and they also like to have things just so. In short, there’s an established order, and I don’t have a place in it. I felt like an intruder the whole time, and it made me pretty gun-shy.
That uneasiness carried over into my second shift, and that combined with a brand-new and not very competent fry cook meant I was about ready to tear my hair out by the end of the night.
In happier news, I found out that I have been accepted by the university I applied to. This means I’ll be graduating from the community college this quarter and starting in the winter. For once in my life, my hard work actually paid off. Perhaps with the spectre of rejection no longer looming over me, I might become a little less on-edge. I wouldn’t count on it, though.
September 3, 2009
1) The customers are much friendlier. Sure, we’ve got the rushed lunch hour crowd, but everyone else is extremely laid back. Maybe it’s because they’re all regulars, maybe they’re just less tired and cranky, or maybe lunch is simply a less serious affair than dinner. Whatever the reason, they’ll all happily sit at the counter and chat with complete strangers. And carryout customers seem to have a greater tendency to tip!
2) I usually have something to do. Lately, nighttime carryout has been nonexistent. But during the day, more people are willing to take their food with them. Even if I don’t have a lot of carryout, in-house customers come up to the register at regular intervals, or the phone yields people inquiring as to the specials. A whole lot less staring into space (newspapers, books, and crossword puzzles have all been banned). An added bonus: if carryout dies, I get to go home early.
3) My boss’s slightly hilarious “conversations” in the kitchen. I don’t get involved, I just listen to him rant. Today the topics ranged from the evils of technology (“Kids only think they need this stuff because society forces them to use it; we got by just fine without it…”) to…a possible Jewish black market organ-harvesting conspiracy? Something about a rabbi being involved in selling kidneys and livers. And no, I do not support his bizarre Antisemitic viewpoints, nor does anyone else I work with. I just find it highly entertaining, the way he so often combines urban legends, conspiracy theories and his own prejudices into some of the most fantastical bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life.
Unfortunately, school will start again soon and I won’t be able to work during the day anymore.
September 1, 2009
I heard every single one of these questions tonight.
“Which is better, x or y?”
Real answer: I don’t fucking know, eat whatever the fuck you feel like eating. Ten to one you’re not going to order either anyway.
Answer I gave: They’re both good.
“No seriously, which is more popular tonight?
Real answer: Are you fucking kidding me?
Answer I gave: They’re about even.
(on the phone, taking an order) “So, how much is that going to be?”
Real answer: I just wrote this down, I’m not a calculator, and this isn’t Wendy’s. If it were, you wouldn’t be calling in anyway.
Answer I gave: Ahaha, I’m not sure, sorry, I have to do this by hand.
“Can I get (insert item we don’t carry)?”
Real answer: READ THE FUCKING MENU.
Answer I gave: Sorry, we don’t have that.
“How late do you take carryout orders?”
Real answer: Until we close, but that doesn’t mean you should order a bunch of steak dinners and milkshakes ten minutes before we close you dickless wonder.
Answer I gave: Until we close.
(when all the booths are clearly filled) “Do you have any booths?”
Real answer: You’re retarded.
Answer I gave: No, sorry, they’re all full.
(five minutes before close) “Are you guys closed?”
Real answer: Yes.
Answer I gave: No, come on in!
August 27, 2009
…and ya’ll need to get with them.
Yeah, I know it’s been awhile since I posted. I haven’t had much to write about/I’ve been stupidly busy getting ready for the upcoming quarter. It’s also my last quarter at the community college–hopefully I will be accepted into the university. Hooray, finally graduating!
Anyway, we had a group of seven tonight, including three older folks who came in before the rest. Since we were really dead tonight, Nosering and I stood in the back and chatted with them a bit. All was going well, they asked us where we went to school, what we were focusing on, etc. Normal stuff, until one of the men asked us this:
“So, which of you ladies are going to get married first?”
“After college, which one of you are going to get married first?”
Nosering and I just looked at each other and kind of laughed it off. But seriously, what the fuck? I know it used to be that women went to college to find a husband, but this is the 21st century. Also, how the hell are we supposed to know when we’re going to get married? That’s a touchy subject in my relationship; I don’t know about her. And finally, why the fuck would I be finishing college if I was planning to become a housewife? Bitch, I’m going to graduate school.
Note: I don’t mean to slight housewives, that’s a tough job and I’m sure it’s quite fulfilling for many women. It’s not for me, however–I hate kids, I can’t cook, and I don’t like to clean.
I’d laugh this off as a relic of a bygone era if there weren’t so many sexual double standards still prevalent in society today. Girls who have/enjoy sex are sluts while guys are studs, men can’t take care of the home, women still get shit if they don’t take their husband’s last name (skip to the comments).
Who knows, maybe I’m taking this too seriously. But when I have to deal with horny old men blatantly leering down my shirt every goddamn day, when I see the waitresses constantly blamed for things specifically because they’re female, and then this shit happens, the feminist part of my brain starts to get fired up.
August 14, 2009
Dear Petulant Customers,
“I’m never coming back.”
“Well, you just lost my business forever.”
“We won’t be visiting here again.”
In your minds, this is the ultimate threat. It supposedly means loss of revenue to the restaurant, loss of a tip to the server, and, hopefully, loss of employment to the offending employee. However, I thought you should know that, at best, this threat is an ineffectual scare tactic that only gets under the skin of the uninitiated. To the more experienced, your threats mean absolutely nothing.
Would you like to know why?
First: we only ever hear “I’m not coming back” or one of its variations during a temper tantrum. You want something comped, or you weren’t seated where you wanted to sit, or the server forgot something, or you’re just having a bad day and you want to take it out on someone. In other words, you’re an entitlement junkie or just a bitch, you act like a child, and therefore nobody in possession of a spine is ever going to take you seriously.
Second: people who are truly upset almost never make a scene the way you do. If they say anything, it will be quietly to a manager. Most simply finish their meals and leave, the poor or absent tip the only clue to their displeasure.
Third: the people who leave quietly, they truly never come back. You, on the other hand, almost always do. And you almost always find something new to bitch about the next time you’re in. In a pinch, you’ll bitch about what happened the last time you were here. We’re not going to take an empty threat seriously.
We had one of you lovely people come into The Restaurant last night. A beady-eyed woman carrying some shitty hardback novel, who ignored my friendly greeting and instead immediately asked “Do you have any booths?”
We have four booths. We only have four booths. They are immediately visible from the door. All were quite clearly full. No, we don’t have any fucking booths.
“I’m sorry, no, they’re all full. Would you like a table?” I asked her, gesturing at the completely empty table section.
“Ugh, I hate those tables. I really want a booth.” She looked at me as if she expected me to perhaps draw back an invisible curtain revealing the fifth booth that we maliciously hide from customers. Or perhaps she wanted me to tell one of the groups to leave so she could plop her solo ass down for an hour or two at a table that seats four.
“Well, I’m sorry,” I was desperately hiding my exasperation by now. “I don’t have any booths. I could give you the table in the far corner, it’s like a booth.” It also seats three people, but never mind.
“I hate having random strangers sit next to me,” she snapped, and then sat herself at the counter. With her back to me, I just rolled my eyes, got her a water, and went to find the counter waitress so I could warn her of the incoming blowhard.
Shortly after I had seated this bitch, one of the booths left. As our busboy for the evening–a fellow I’ll call The Comedian–passed by her to clean it off, she stopped him and declared, “I’m going to sit there.”
Now, as the name implies, The Comedian is quite the jokester, and he’s also probably my favorite of all our new staff. He’s fun to work with and he does his job well. But like most comedians, sometimes he doesn’t know where to draw the line. His reply to Crazy Lady’s declaration? “They’d rather you didn’t,” said with a big, stupid grin.
Unsurprisingly, she didn’t quite get the joke. And the first words that came out of her mouth were, of course, “Fine, then I’m never coming back here again.”
Astonished, The Comedian tried to placate her, telling her that it was only a joke and of course she could move to the booth. Alas, a joke is never funny if you have to explain it. He walked back into the kitchen, eyes wide and much of the color drained from his face. “I am so fired,” he moaned. I bet that’s what Crazy Lady thought, too, especially after she bitched to the manager for about ten minutes. A victory for the Petulant Customer, right?
No, wrong. One, while the joke was inappropriate (we sure thought it was funny, though), Crazy Lady blew it way out of proportion and was therefore not taken seriously. Two, this woman has threatened never to come back multiple times, and yet she always does. Three, The Comedian is one of our best bussers and The Restaurant’s resident clown. In other words, a valuable employee.
What happened to him? Oh, he was taken aside and told not to joke with the customers anymore. He might lose some hours for a little while; we’ll see what happens. But he’s not going to be fired. You see, we like him. And we don’t like you, Petulant Customers. We would all be much happier if you actually made good on your threats and never graced us with your presence again.
August 13, 2009
I am dealing with graduating from my current college and applying to a new one, and all the bureaucratic red tape is sapping my will to write (and live). Things should be on track again in a few days. I also have a guest post for The Only-Slightly-Cranky-Waitress cooking, so be on the lookout for that.