New Girl

July 31, 2009

Owner recently hired a new carryout girl, despite having employees (not just me) willing to pick up extra shifts. Tomorrow I’m working a double shift (morning carryout and evening hostess), and I have deduced that I will be working with this new girl.

I fear I may make her cry.

Let me explain–new girl is a mousy little thing with odd fashion sense (why is she wearing tights in the middle of the summer?), faux-black hair that’s even messier than mine, the voice of a man trying to be a woman, and absolutely no work ethic. While I have interacted with this girl very little, I have seen her in action and I have heard some disquieting things:

1) When she came in to interview for the job, she was accompanied by her mother. Who upsold her.

2) She’s a pothead. Lots of people are potheads, I really don’t care. But she comes to work stoned, and that I do care about.

3) Despite having had four days of training (most people get two), she freaks out when she has two easy orders and has to have her hand held the whole time.

4) She spends more time flirting with the busboys and cooks than actually trying to do her job.

5) Did I mention she has zero work ethic?

I initially tried to give this girl the benefit of the doubt, considering she’s new. But I have a very low tolerance for incompetence and she’s already crossed it. I don’t know, am I being mean?

Sorry for the lack of posts lately; being this slow doesn’t provide me with much writing material, and last night I was so pissed off by our goddamn dream team staff that I couldn’t form coherent sentences.

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Something to Ponder

July 28, 2009

If a family comes in, sits down, and orders, but then decides at the last minute to change their entire meal into a carryout order, moving all the work from the waitress to me, who should get the tip? The only thing the waitress did was write the ticket and give them some water.

As I am not a jerk, and recognize that the waitresses make less per hour than I do, I didn’t make a big deal out of it. Nor do I mean to, now. I’m just curious as to what other people think. Also, it was really dead tonight, so I honestly have nothing else to write about.

More Hours!

July 27, 2009

Hooray! I have to go to work next Saturday! I’m not sure when the shift got moved from 11am-3pm to 10am-2pm, but I’ll make do. I used to work the Saturday lunch shift all the time, and it’s frequently much busier than dinner shifts. This means much more opportunity for stupid shit occurring. It also means next week’s paycheck will actually be over $100 for once. That extra digit is for some reason extremely motivating…and the extra hours make me feel a little less bad about the expensive bra I purchased yesterday, though the pay won’t cover its price. The pain I felt buying it makes me worry about the day I buy a car, though–I’m worried I may commit ritual suicide after shelling out a couple thousand dollars.

In other news, I have officially started running as I have decided that 21 is too young to be as flabby as I am. I’m not extremely fat, I’m just somewhat overweight and very out of shape. After having my first run (more like a forced march with intermittent bursts of jogging) this morning, I have confirmed my suspicion that running sucks. But it’s better exercise than DDR, so running it shall be. Wish me luck; I’m going to need it.

I’m Not a Bank!

July 25, 2009

So, good sir, why did you give me $7 in change? Initially I thought maybe it was all right because it was all silver, but I returned to my senses when I realized I now had enough quarters to win Pac-Man about 30 fucking times.

I also have something to say to our hearing-impaired friends in the audience–if you are half-deaf, do not get pissed when I’m forced to raise my voice so you can hear me. Furthermore, do not get pissy when I ask you to repeat yourself because you are whispering on the phone. Do not hang up on me before I can confirm your order and then bitch when it’s not exactly right. In fact, just go away and leave me alone.

Continuing with the stupid shit, tonight we had a solicitor. Has this happened to anyone else? Some guy came in and tried to sell us boxes of candy to ostensibly benefit a program for children. I was so stunned by the audacity of the situation that I stood there, slack-jawed. Sister A, however, was quick to throw him out on his ass.

It’s not that I mind donating to charity–that’s fine. But coming in and pulling a hard sell in a restaurant? Bothering employees and making customers uncomfortable? Why on earth would you think that that’s an okay thing to do? Due to his complete lack of professionalism or tact, I’m inclined to believe he was not actually gathering money for charity and instead was a con artist trying to scam a bunch of hard-working foodservice employees. I really can’t believe the organization he claimed to be working for, one I am well-acquainted with, would encourage its volunteers to behave in such a way. Then again, we have the Shriners, who create traffic hazards by standing in the street to guilt motorists into buying a newspaper they’re never going to read. So I could be wrong.

Final, happy note: I actually made about $9 in tips last night, which is damn good considering over the past month I’ve made about $3. Remember, this is carryout–tipping isn’t mandatory. It was like getting paid for an extra hour of work, which is great because we closed 15 minutes early.

That’s all for today, tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion!

Hosted tonight and nothing that entertaining happened. It was N’s last night but that mostly consisted of a couple random people making him a disgusting salad and a disgusting milkshake and he ate it anyway because it was the last night he was getting free food. There were no shenanigans, no fights, nothing. Meh.

As you may have inferred from a previous post, my family has been on vacation and I have been taking care of the house. People ask me “Why would you not go on vacation?” and I laugh at them because I am on vacation. Vacation from dealing with my family’s shit. Vacation from picking up the crap in a room and putting it away and it stays put away. Vacation from being asked where I’m going and when I’ll be back.

Despite the fact that I have done very little, I have greatly enjoyed my freedom. It would only have been improved if I could actually go somewhere, but frankly, I like just being able to loaf around and do what I want without being questioned. Yes, I spent most of today watching old Zero Punctuation videos, but fuck it, I had nothing better to do and I enjoyed myself.

I’ve also greatly enjoyed having my privacy. That includes Boyfriend staying over, though I’m not going into details about that. It also includes wandering around in my underwear, dancing around and singing along to Barenaked Ladies, scratching my ass, whatever. The point is, this has been a vacation for me, and one far more fulfilling then going up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my mother and two 15-year-old boys.

Long-winded exposition aside, here’s my actual point: you know that feeling, when you’re on vacation, and you know you’ve only got a couple days left and then it’s back to the boring drudgery of your daily life? That slow-onset, soul-crushing depression? Yeah, that’s where I am right now. And while this experience to some extent strengthens my resolve to move out, my shitty job and lack of transport are still major obstacles to overcome.

The only bright spot in my day is the fact that this blog’s views jumped from 8 yesterday to over 60 today, so thanks to whoever put my site on StumbleUpon. And thanks to you general 8-10 people who actually seem to check this site regularly. I apologize for the lack of entertaining things today, and for the general bitchery, but like I said, I have the blahs. Tomorrow is a proper carryout day, and you know what that means–bitches who want 20 milkshakes, rude people, and hair-tearing frustration. Should be a good time.

People are Jerks

July 22, 2009

Last night was refreshingly busy. Unfortunately, my side of the increased business included almost nothing but rude and impatient people. Most of my customers were merely brusque, but two stick out: Fry Lady and Condescending Father.

Fry Lady seemed all right to begin with. She came in about mid-shift and asked to look at a menu, made a smallish order, and proceeded to sit at the counter to wait. Unfortunately for her, the rest of the restaurant was busy, and we had most inept (least ept?) grill cook working tonight.

For some reason, Teenage Cook cannot handle more than two orders at a time. Or he can’t handle making carryout orders at the same time as in-house orders. I’m not sure what his problem is, really, except that he always does carryout orders last.

Teenage Cook was coupled with New Cook, who was working the fryer. New Cook is pretty fast, at least as a fry cook, so the fries the lady ordered were done well before the Signature Burgers. This meant they were sitting out, getting cold, while Teenage Cook was making every order but mine.

Now, from the counter area, customers are able to see into the kitchen. Fry Lady could see those fries sitting there and was understandably perturbed. She came to the register to speak to me.

“Are those fries still hot? They’ve been sitting there a long time.” More like three or four minutes, but at this point, I was still on her side. It does not take 15 minutes to make 2 burgers and an order of fries. I went to check and see if they were still hot—thankfully, they were, and I informed her as such.

“Are you sure? Because I don’t want them if they’re not hot.”

“I assure you ma’am, I just checked them, and they’re definitely still hot.”

“If you’re sure…I don’t want them if they’re not hot!” Yes, you just told me that.

About a minute or two later, my food finally came out. I boxed it up as quickly as possible and rushed it out to her. Despite apologizing for the wait, needless to say, I was met with more bitchery about the fries. She snapped at me, practically threw her money at me, and stormed out.

Worse than Fry Lady, however, was Condescending Father. This “gentleman” is one of my least favorite regulars. He always pulls up to the window in his black SUV with his four bratty children in tow. Said children like to hang their heads out the windows like dogs and scream at me.

Despite having ordered from us repeatedly, CF doesn’t know our menu (though he thinks he does), apparently thinks we’re McDonald’s, and always speaks to me in the most condescending tone imaginable. Imagine a typical Midwestern upper-middle class WASP speaking to a mentally challenged five-year-old and you’ve got his inflection.

“I want four kids chicken nuggets…” Chicken fingers. “All with fries, and those come with drinks, right?” Wrong. “Fine, I want four…no, five vanilla cokes…”

“LARGE vanilla cokes!” one of his children screams from the back window.

“Yeah, LARGE! We want LARGE vanilla cokes!” the others begin chanting, as I’m trying to take this order. CF does nothing to quiet them. “And then I want a kids cheeseburger meal…”

“I’m sorry, we don’t have a kids cheeseburger meal.”

“Fine, then just give me a cheeseburger and another two fries. And put my ketchup in a container instead of packets, will you? Thanks.” His “thanks” is as condescending as the rest of his speech. But the condescension isn’t the worst part. The worst part about this guy is he’s a Starer.

Starers are a subspecies of Campers who, as the name suggests, sit and stare at me the whole time they’re there. This is understandably annoying and unnerving at times, and is the biggest contributor to my anxiety at work. I’m not sure why they do it, other than the ones whose stares turn to glares whenever I stop moving or go to help another customer. Weren’t these people ever taught it’s rude to stare?

While these two were the worst, almost all of my customers today were rude, as I said. I don’t understand it at all. As long as you’re polite, I am 100% on your side. I will see to it that your order is perfect. I will yell at the cooks for taking too long. I will do all sorts of stupid things, like I did last night for the guy who wanted a single milkshake split into 3 small cups ten minutes before close. It was annoying, but he was friendly—almost apologetic—and he tipped me for it. Condescending Father? I hope his kids enjoyed their butter-less rolls.

The only good part of last night came at closing time. A couple guys pulled up right after we locked the doors. I opened the window and told them we were closed.

“Awwwwww…really?”

“Yes, I’m sorry.”

“We just wanted two milkshakes.” HA! No, sorry, Sister A (one of three sisters who waitress at The Restaurant) had already cleaned the milkshake machine three times because I kept getting milkshake orders. Still, they persisted.

“You close at 8:00, right?”

“That’s right.”

“It’s not 8:00 yet! We want milkshakes!” Oh no, don’t try to pull that one on me.

“I’m sorry, it’s 8:00 in here. Come back tomorrow.” And I closed the window. I love saying “no” to people like that.

Sorry for the long post. I’m sure Thursday’s will be shorter, though it’s N’s last day, so there may be some shenanigans. Be sure to check and see!

This Upcoming Week…

July 18, 2009

I’m taking care of the house this week (not by myself, non-existent stalkers, so don’t get any ideas). This means while I’ll try to stay regular with my posts, they may get behind.

In happier news, I may be working the kitchen as specials “cook” next Saturday–if so, be prepared for a highly bitchy and hopefully highly entertaining post. I have worked the kitchen once, months ago, and I am in no way competent at it. I think my boss is insane.

I believe I’ve mentioned several times that The Restaurant is in a slump. When I first started working there about a year and a half ago, slow nights were the exception rather than the rule, and there was no such thing as a dead night. Waitresses made money, carryout girls could regularly expect to make anywhere from $3-$10 on top of their normal salary from keeping the change, and the back dining room was always open.

Then gas prices jumped to over $4 a gallon, and people started freaking out. Food costs and minimum wage went up and by winter, so did our menu prices. Only by 5 to 20 cents per item, but the Social Security Brigade still bitched endlessly about it. Once the Powers That Were finally decided to inform the American public that we were, in fact, in a recession, things got even worse. People stopped tipping carryout, and even worse than that, people stopped tipping waitresses. Worst of all was that fewer and fewer people come in.

Now slow nights and dead nights are the rule. All the good, experienced people are leaving and being replaced by teenagers who don’t care about their job. Morale is down. I started bringing a book or doing a crossword puzzle simply because I had so little to do most nights (I’ve since stopped as carryout at least has picked up a bit). The back room stays closed most nights I host, except for the occasional annoying group of two who want me to open it just for them and then sit at a table for six, or the occasional teenybopper cheerleader convention.

Owner, in a cost-cutting measure, frequently short-staffs the kitchen, leaving the night manager to fill in wherever. Service suffers overall because of this, as the normal job of the night manager is to fill in where people need help. The top two places this occurs are either helping the counter/back room waitress fill orders when she gets slammed, or grabbing the register so the carryout girl actually gets a chance to get her orders put together and her milkshakes made.

I’ve been doing this long enough, and worked enough Saturday afternoons alone (we’re near a park, so think 12 orders of chicken strips and fries and 12 milkshakes to go with that for a Little League team), that I’m generally okay without managerial assistance. Sometimes people have to wait a bit at the window or the register, but I’m pretty good at multitasking. But I watch these new carryout girls struggle and drown when they can’t get help, even though busy for carryout these days is nothing like what it used to be. None were trained during a time when it really was busy, and most of them freak out if they have more than two orders and one person is at the register.

I hope things get better, I really do. I fear if business doesn’t pick up soon, Owner may sell The Restaurant. And as much as I bitch about it, The Restaurant is a piece of history. It’s older than my parents and largely unchanged. It’s probably the only truly “authentic” ‘50s dining experience you can get in this area—Johnny Rockets doesn’t count, and their service is terrible anyway.

Are other people feeling the strain of the economy? Any of you servers seeing fewer customers and lower tips? Managers having to find a way to cut costs? Hell, have any of you customers noticed restaurants being less and less crowded? Please share if you are!

Remember how I scoffed in my previous post at the notion of us being dead and/or nothing happening tonight?

Ahahahaha. That’s what we were. Dead. Not completely, but I couldn’t have sat more than 10-15 groups tonight. Nothing but standing around talking to N about his horrible new job and waitresses bitching about how they didn’t make any money.

Things should get more…interesting, though, because of the mass exodus of experienced people and the resultant influx of new folks at The Restaurant. Especially since most of these people are high schoolers. Oh joy! Of the new folks, about 2 of them are any good. The rest are either not cut out for the job or just don’t take it seriously, as teenagers are wont to do.

I’m not sure why teenagers so often make such shitty employees. Because they have other focuses in their life? So do I. I’ve got a social life, a relationship, and college to balance with work. Is it because they aren’t working to pay the bills? Neither am I. I live at home–I’m just earning money for a car and for spending cash. I still take my job seriously. Perhaps it’s just something about the middle-adolescent psyche, some responsibility switch that’s stuck in the “off” position until they decide to get serious about things. But based on the way most college kids I know treat school and life in general, I’m not sure if that’s it either.

Oh well. Hopefully more interesting stuff tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll actually get some customers tomorrow!

Pardon the Dust

July 16, 2009

This blog may look weird from time to time as I try to figure out WordPress. So far, I can’t figure out how to separate links into different categories without having them disappear and I can’t figure out how to get the About page to show up. I’ll get it eventually–10:1 it requires learning CSS and purchasing an upgrade for the blog. If anyone knows for sure, do please share!

I’m surprised and glad to see some people are reading. Hopefully there will be a hosting post tonight (oh joy), barring a completely dead night or a night where nothing interesting/shitty happens (HA!). I’m not nearly as good of a hostess as I am a carryout girl, probably because it’s a far shittier job and one in which I don’t actually feel like I’m doing anything useful. Especially now that we’re going through a slow period.

More later…