Restaurant Dramarama, Part 1

August 2, 2009

Yesterday’s morning shift was drama-tastic. Because it is such a long story, and requires a lot of background information, I’m going to divide it into two parts. This first part is the background—the part actually dealing with the incident will be posted tomorrow.

I did, indeed, have to work with the new girl. I will say this much: my initial impression of her was a little flawed. It’s not that she isn’t trying; it’s more that she’s dumb and disorganized. She’s been at The Restaurant a month, but has yet to internalize even the most basic concepts of running carryout, let alone begin to pick up on some of the subtleties. She’s very nice, she seems well-meaning, she’s just not very clever. She’s also an aspiring art student, and while I have nothing against artists (Boyfriend is an art/animation major), she strikes me as being the kind that has more style than substance. I wouldn’t be surprised if, five years from now, she’ll have acquired a taste for Parliaments and Pabst, a few facial piercings, and an obsession with irony. In short, she’s a nascent hipster, and will heretofore be referred to as such. 

Hipster is also a bit of a drama magnet. Apparently, sometime last week, Sister B went off on her because she hadn’t been distributing tips correctly. The Restaurant handles credit card tips strangely. When a customer chooses to pay with a credit card, the carryout girl asks them if they would like to add a tip before the card is ever run. While this seemed odd and somewhat impolite when I first started working there, more people have actually thanked me for the reminder than have ever been offended.

After totaling the bill plus tip, the carryout girl runs the card and prints out a receipt. The receipt is stapled to the ticket and the amount of the tip is written into the margin at the bottom of the receipt. It is then the carryout girl’s duty to retrieve the tip from the register and give it to the waitress.

It’s an odd system, but not one that’s particularly hard to deal with. The only trick to it is keeping track of the tips you have distributed and the one’s you haven’t. Some girls put checkmarks on the ones they have given out, while others (including myself) physically separate the checks with undistributed tips from the ones that have been given out already. Hipster, who becomes flustered if she has more than one order at a time, apparently began mixing up the tips, causing Sister C to have a minor conniption. I am not sure how the matter was resolved, but what is important is that this incident left an indelible mark on Hipster’s reputation.

Which brings us back to Saturday morning. I spent much of my time early in the shift futilely trying to help Hipster develop some sort of carryout system.

“How long did it take you to get the hang of this job?” she asked me at one point.

“I only had a couple days of training,” I replied, after thinking for a moment. “I guess maybe a week on my own before I really started to get it down.”

Her wide eyes and nervous laughter told me more than anything she might have said. This girl is in over her head.

As the morning turned to afternoon, carryout began to get a little busy. Not too busy—we never had more than two or three easy orders at a time. Regardless, I had to hold her hand every step of the way. If I didn’t tell her precisely what to do, she would just stand around with a blank look on her face.

Unfortunately for Hipster, I couldn’t always be there to babysit. Owner frequently sent me into the back kitchen to plate specials and make salads, something I am slow at due to inexperience. Every time I walked back there, my stomach turned over as I imagined the kind of trouble Hipster was going to get herself into while I spent five minutes stumbling around, trying to figure out which of our eight massive industrial refrigerators contained the components of a chef salad.

And trouble did come, just as I was beginning to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I was in the back kitchen, plating our disgusting creamed chicken, only an hour left to go in my shift. Suddenly, Owner called me from the grill intercom.

“K, I need you to come settle something, dear.” Despite the term of endearment (he calls everyone “dear” or “babe”), I could tell from his tone that something had gone very, very wrong.


2 Responses to “Restaurant Dramarama, Part 1”

  1. PurpleGirl Says:

    I wanna know what happens! 🙂

  2. […] 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 […]

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