One of Those Days…

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.

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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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!