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!

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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.

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.

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.

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.