I was told last night that I am “never in a good mood when I come to work — NEVER!”, a criticism that I would have taken far more seriously had it not been told to me by “the pot” who was calling “the kettle” black.
In point of fact, I would like to say that I often come to work in a good mood, but the work beats it out of me — sometimes it takes five minutes, other times I can manage to remain, if not happy, at least not unhappy, for a full fifteen minutes. Also, I have a limited amount of patience, which I MUST save for dealing with customers — sorry, co-workers, but you’ll have to suffer right along with me because I cannot allow that shallow well to run dry — none of us can.
What prompted this person to express her, not very nice, opinion of me? Oh, yeah — I made the mistake of saying that I was tired. And I was. I had just worked a 12-1/2 hour shift — with very little time off for good behavior. I had only been able to fortify myself with 1/2 a bagel and some cheese off the top of a “mistake” onion soup. I don’t think I visited the bathroom all day — who can remember? It was THAT kind of a shift. And, so, yes — I was tired! (Not to mention hungry and close to peeing in my pants — and not in a good way!)
The fact that amidst the mayhem that was yesterday — incompetent co-workers being the theme of the day — the herculean task of having managed to keep my cool was nothing short of a miracle. I had actually been proud of myself by the end of the shift. For the most part, I had really just kept my head down and worked — I had little other choice.
I was at the corner of crabby and cranky when I overheard her bitching about me to another co-worker — all because I had gotten sick of begging folks to tip me out so that I could go the hell home. It happens on all of my food running shifts — this incessant begging and pleading to be tipped out. It pisses me off.
The way I see it is that I don’t make their tables wait for anything (if I can help it). I try to do my job in a timely and, yes, pleasant manner. In return I expect the staff to be understanding — to listen to me when I announce that my shift is over and to take the appropriate action as quickly as possible. But, they never do. Some nights it takes me a full thirty minutes to collect all of my tip-outs. It’s nonsense.
Worse is that they make me wait because they resent tipping me out at all. While they enjoy not having to deliver their own food, they don’t seem to make the correlation that if it weren’t for me (or other food runners), their jobs would be infinitely harder. Ease comes at a price, my friends!
When I first started serving at this restaurant, there was no food runner. As a result, I spent close to 50% of my time delivering other people’s food to their guests — time that I could have spent doing my side work or giving extra attention to my own tables — time that I could have spent making more money for myself. On the few shifts when we had a food runner, I loved it. I felt like I was on vacation. The presence of a food runner also allows for faster table turnover, which translates to larger sales and, guess what?, more money in the server’s pocket. They don’t like to look at it that way, though.
They would rather just spend the night blaming me for long ticket times or yelling at me when we run out of food items — because, you know, I often scarf down all of the asparagus so that their guests can’t have any. And, Lord knows, I love a forty-minute ticket time. That really makes my job a delight — when twelve people feel it necessary to hover in the window, breathe down my neck, and tell me, and anyone else who happens to be in earshot — including the one or two bar guests who are seated directly outside the kitchen door — that they “need” their food now. Really? I thought you were here to suggest that we get up a quick game of checkers.
At one point last night I began to look for the hardest immovable object that I could find — you know, to bang my head against. Had it been moveable, I would have banged it against someone else’s head — and, really, no one wants that. There were a few folks who made the “needs a quick slap upside the head” list last night. The cooks topped the list, as they often do. The co-workers who refused to get plates, knives, and/or spoons; the ones who allowed the ice bin get down to one cube, the lemon bucket to be reduced to pits and juice, and the salad dressings to run dry — while they canoodled, checked their phone messages, or engaged in stimulating conversation about Kim and Kanye’s baby — they were (and always are) the ones who really pushed my buttons.
And this, my friends, was just the dinner shift. I cannot even get into what my bartending shift at lunch had been like — because I fear I would start to cry — that’s how horrifying the lunch shift was for me. So, yeah, I may have been in a bad mood — I think I managed to keep my frustration level in check until about 9:30 — and then I may have let it show. I didn’t flip out or anything, my mood just kind of seeped out. I was just sort of exhausted and annoyed. By 11 o’clock, when I wanted to leave — when, I think, I was entitled to leave — and also to, maybe, just maybe, express some, not out of place, human emotion, I got to overhear a co-worker (who, by the way, I normally think of as a friend) criticize MY mood?
It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
photo credit: full moon