Times Have Changed…

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?”

“What?”

“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.

The “Ultimate” Threat

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.

Sincerely,

K.

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.

Apparently one of former President Bush’s motivations for starting the war in Iraq was to prevent the apocalyptic machinations of some biblical demons. No, I’m not making this shit up. I wish I was.

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

Source 4 (this one only if you can speak French)

I Hate Our Tip System

August 7, 2009

In a previous post, I detailed the workings of our tip system. In particular, the fact that we have to add the tip before we run the credit card. For some reason, despite this, the machine still prints out an empty line where a customer could, hypothetically, add a tip after the fact. This line causes a lot of confusion, and today it cost me money.

Today, I got a really stupid order. It was 15 chicken fingers–not chicken finger dinners, mind you, just 15 chicken fingers–five orders of fries, two cups of honey french dressing, three milkshakes, a coke, and a cheeseburger (guess someone doesn’t like chicken). The total was $44.75. I almost never get orders this big or this dumb.

The rather distressed-looking lady drove up to the window to pay. With a credit card. Great, no tip, is what I’m thinking. I run the card and bring the reciept over for her to sign.

As she hands it back to me, she says “I put a $5 tip on there for you.” Oh you did, did you?

“Uh…I’m sorry,” I stammer. “I can’t add the tip after I run the card.”

“What do you mean, you can’t?” she snaps. “Then why’s the line there?” Good fucking question.

“I know, it’s just our machine, it’s really stupid. I appreciate the gesture, though…” I’d appreciate it more if I could actually get the money.

She rolls her eyes and drives off.

This is the third time I’ve missed out on a tip because of this stupid system. It’s the fourth if I count the time someone gave me some cash when they found out. I’m done with this. From now on, I’m asking if people want to add a tip if they use their credit card on a big or stupid order. If they’re offended, too bad. I ask for everyone else, and I’m tired of losing money.

In other pissy news, my brother took the memory card to our PS2 over to a friend’s house, so now I can’t even play Psychonauts to cheer myself up. Fuck!

Morning Shift

August 5, 2009

Ah, I’m tired. Had to get up at 6:30 AM so I could be at work by 7:30 to basically be Owner’s helper, i.e. a prep cook/cashier/carryout girl.

The morning staff is so different from the evening staff. Almost everyone is an adult well out of college. Everyone seems more tired, more burnt out. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s early or because they’ve been in foodservice so long that it’s worn them out.

Helping in the kitchen was surprisingly fun; maybe just because I was doing different things. Except dicing onions. That wasn’t fun, and having Owner laugh at me the whole time was also not so fun.

The rest of the shift was boring; I had a lot of regulars ask who the hell I was, and very little to do besides take people’s money.  A side note: saying things like “I guess I have to give you money now” is not original or particularly funny. Acting put out because you have to pay for your food just makes you seem like an asshole. Maybe I lack a sense of humor–or maybe I’m just tired of hearing it every goddamn shift–but if you make those kinds of jokes, you should stop. Before I start seriously considering creative uses for a chef knife.

By the way, Owner said I handled the Ring Pop lady situation correctly. Go figure.

A Delicate Situation

August 4, 2009

I may have fucked up tonight. A woman bought two Ring Pops in addition to her meal (we have a huge array of candy at the register). When I turned to run her credit card, out of the corner of my eye I saw her put what looked like another Ring Pop into her purse.

I couldn’t tell if it was indeed an unpaid-for third or the wrapper. “Excuse me,” I said in the nicest tone I could muster. “Is that the wrapper?”

“What? Yes, of course it is.” She seemed understandably annoyed, so I made sure to apologize and thanked her for coming in.

About five minutes later, we got a phone call. It was Ring Pop lady, pissed for a number of reasons–she thought she was overcharged (she was undercharged), she didn’t get her coleslaw (why didn’t she bring this up before?), but most of all, she was very upset that she had been accused of stealing.

What? I didn’t accuse her, at least not directly. I was as nice as possible about it. Still, I probably could have worded the question differently. My manager suggested, “Would you like me to throw that away for you?” Why didn’t I think of that!?

Surprisingly, I very rarely have to deal with situations involving potential theft, so I really didn’t know what to do in this one. If anyone has any other suggestions on how to deal with such a delicate situation, I would greatly appreciate the advice.

In lighter news, a UPS guy walked up to the register to pay his bill. Completely straight-faced, he asked, “Do you guys accept cash?” No, we just have this cash register for show. We actually only accept travelers cheques.

7:30 AM shift tomorrow, wooooooooooooo going to bed at 10:00 PM.

So here’s what I think happened:

At The Restaurant, our clientele is largely made up of old people. The elderly are notoriously bad tippers, thus why Sister B only received $2 on a $30 check. When Sister B is stiffed or receives a bad tip, she tends not to accept it. After all, she’s such a fantastic waitress that no one would ever dream of leaving her less than 20%. And never mind that she often reads Us Weekly instead of getting her customers refills.

As for Sister C, I’m not entirely sure what happened. I am leaning towards the idea that Hipster either was mixing up tips or had simply not given them out yet. I do know, however, that after her shift, Sister C was still complaining that she hadn’t gotten her money.

Fortunately for me, that isn’t true. When I called for my schedule yesterday morning, Owner informed me that the register came out even and no one owed or was owed any money. At the very least, if Sisters B or C decide to get in my face about this shit again, I’ll have that little nugget to share. In short, the waitresses felt they weren’t making enough money, and instead of accepting the blame, they attempted to point the finger at the carryout girls. Sisters B and C are usually pretty good at intimidating everyone, including me, so they may hate me forever for actually standing up to them for once. And being right.

Additionally, I seem to have been rewarded for my instincts being correct, as Owner gave me five shifts this week instead of three. Granted, one of them is tomorrow at 7:30 AM, so that one might be punishment for losing my temper.

As for Hipster, she’s incompetent, and I mean that in the nicest way. I just feel like she might be better off out of the foodservice industry altogether. She’s laid back enough for it, but she freezes under pressure and she can’t seem to get organized. I have no desire to work with her anymore, as I don’t like playing babysitter to someone who just doesn’t get it.

I apologize that this story wasn’t especially funny–just frustrating, really. Hopefully over the next five days I’ll encounter some stupid people to write about.

What the hell?

August 3, 2009

I’m wondering why one of my top searches is “girl-girl- action.” Seriously, what were you guys expecting to find here? Videos of me and a septuagenarian lady customer getting it on atop the candy counter? Because I promise you, that’s something you wouldn’t want to see.

Incidentally, I get it on by old men all the time. This further cements my notion that I would have been a hottie in the ’30s.

Here, as promised, is the story of the incident. Sorry it took a little while—I needed some time to get the order of events straight. There will actually be a third part, as I just found out how everything turned out this morning.

When I attempted to walk into the main kitchen, I found Sisters B and C blocking my path, red-faced and looking highly perturbed, to say the least. Sister C held a few tickets with credit card slips in her hand. Before I even had the chance to ask what was wrong, Sister C enlightened me.

“Hipster’s been mixing up the tips again,” she said, shoving the tickets into my hand. “We haven’t been getting our money.”

“Ok, I’ll talk to her.”

“I don’t care. Go get the tips.” Sister C demanded, in a tone that implied this was somehow my fault. Irritated, I gave the checks a cursory glance and saw Sister C was owed $7 and Sister B, $2. I stomped over to the register, and retrieved the cash for the waitresses.

“I had more than this.” Sister B whined.

“That’s all that was on the tickets your sister handed me.”

“Well, go back and check, because I know I should have more.” Not wanting to escalate this further, I shrugged in resignation and went back to the register. By now, Hipster looked like she wanted to disappear into the candy shelves.

“Why didn’t you separate the tips like I showed you?” I snapped as I started digging through the credit card slips.

“But—but, I did, I thought.”

I froze. Almost comically slowly, I turned my head to look at her.

“What?”

“I put them up on the shelf, like you told me to.” She gestured to the wire candy rack and lifted up the candy price list to show me a small pile of tickets. Tickets that had been hidden behind said price list.

I looked at the tickets Sister C had given to me. I looked at the pile. I looked back at the tickets Sister C had given to me. I looked at Hipster.

“Where did these come from?”

“I don’t know; they came over here and started moving stuff around.”

Great. A bad situation to begin with was now turning into a veritable clusterfuck. If the tickets were mixed up, then it was going to be very difficult to determine which tips actually had been distributed and which had not. And it also opened up the possibility that I had given tips to Sisters B and C twice.

Looking back at the three tickets in my hand, I realized that I had, in fact, double tipped at least once. How did I know? Because one of the tips was one I had written and remembered giving to Sister C. Hipster had written the other two. I held them up.

“Did you give these out?”

“I’m not sure…maybe?” Well, she was no help. At the very least, I knew the $4 tip, the one I had written, would have to be retrieved. I caught Sister C in the kitchen.

“I made a mistake and gave you an extra $4. I need you to give it back.”

“Ahahahaha, no.” she laughed. Rather, she tittered, like a snotty cheerleader spurning a lonely nerd’s request for a date. It was the laugh of the beautiful and spoiled. And when I heard that disgusting little titter, something in me snapped.

“Ahahahaha, yes. I wrote that tip and gave it to you personally, and I am not going to have the register come out short because of you!” I fired back, the last few words almost yelled.

“Ohmigod, K, what are you doing?” her smile frozen, Sister C looked around nervously. “Don’t be so loud.”

It was about this point that Owner decided to step in. He separated me from the stunned waitresses (whether they were more stunned by my volume or by my actually standing up to them, I don’t know) and began giving me quiet instructions.

“Babe, I want you to calm down,” he said. I nodded and bit back the vitriolic tirade that wanted to spill forth.

“Here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna look at all those credit card slips. You’re gonna figure out what happened and if you owe anyone money. And then you’re gonna put a rubber band around them and we’re not giving out any more tips today until the end of the shift. Okay babe?”

“Yeah, I got it.”

“And I don’t want any waitresses by the register,” he added before walking back to grill to inform the waitresses of the situation. Almost immediately, Sister B, the biggest control freak of them all, started stomping to the register.

“I SAID, NO MORE WAITRESSES NEAR THE REGISTER!” Owner bellowed.

“But I just want to look at the tickets!” Sister B whined.

“K is looking at them and sorting this out. You just go take care of your customers.”

“But I want to make sure I got all my money!”

Owner’s tone became positively venomous. “K is taking care of it. You can look after she’s done.

With the waitresses out of my hair, I was able to finally sort things out. Hipster informed me that she didn’t think she had given Sister B the $2 tip, but she wasn’t sure about the $3 for Sister C. I didn’t feel like starting another row, so I just told Owner that I thought all the tips were given out by now, but that three things might happen: everything could be fine, the register could come up $3 short, or we might owe Sister C $3.

After I bound the tips together, Sister B came over to check my work.

“Are you sure I don’t have any more tips?”

“Yes. I’ve gone through all of them. And look,” I added, “I need you guys to not be over my shoulder, checking on your tips. We will make sure you get your tips.”

“Well, it’s our money, so we’re going to check.” Sister B said, in that same snotty tone that had set me off on her sister previously. I kept my cool this time, though.

“No,” I said. “You’re not. I need you to trust me to do my job.”

“Well, you guys need to keep track of these things,” she said and started to walk away. I wasn’t about to let her have the last word on this, though.

“We can’t keep track of things if you come over and mess with our system. Stay out of the tips if you want to get them!” She didn’t stop walking, but I know she heard me.

I had about fifteen minutes left in my shift, but Owner decided to let me go home early to rest up before that evening. I thanked him, clocked out, and went outside to sit and wait for my ride.

As I waited, I felt ill at the prospect of returning to The Restaurant in a couple hours. I almost never get embroiled in drama. If it occurs while I’m on the clock, I’m usually uninvolved or just a bit player. This has allowed me to maintain a decent relationship with my coworkers. What if I fucked all of that up? The Sisters (with the slight exception of Sister A, who’s a little more laid back) are not the type of people you want to piss off.

A couple minutes later, Owner poked his head out the door. “K, you did everything I told you to do and you used your best judgment. Don’t worry about the register or the waitresses—I’ll take care of it. Good job, babe.”

Well. At least my boss isn’t pissed at me.