It occurred to me the other day that I lead a very glamorous life. I had this mini-epiphany after work the other night as I peeled off my sweaty jeans — the ones that were stuck to my overheated body following another twelve-hour shift from hell. My after-work toilette that evening was not, in any way, unusual — nor did it end there. I still had some other articles of clothing and areas of my body to contend with — like the long-sleeved, button-down shirt that was covered in rib sauce, au jus, and lemon butter — the one that smelled like it was covered in rib sauce, au jus, and lemon butter. And Secret-scented perspiration. Luckily our company FINALLY had the good sense to switch our shirt color to black a few months ago. I’m sure you can imagine what I often looked like at the end of a white shirt-wearing shift — think early Jackson Pollack, if Mr. Pollack had worked in French dressing, barbecue sauce, and grenadine. So, at least that’s something.
The glamour of my job doesn’t end there. No siree, Bob! There’s the slipping on the always slick egress — a result of a faulty bar drain that may or may not EVER be fixed in my lifetime. For the record, I wear $150 guaranteed-to-be-non-slip shoes in my work life. Even the good folks at Dansko could not possibly anticipate that their footwear would be required to survive what amounts to hydroplaning. So, it’s not the fault of the shoes!
The fault, dear Brutus, lies in the placement of the bar drain. I’m no scientist, but it has occurred to me on more than one occasion — including the many times that I have been called upon to discuss this marvel of engineering with corporate executives and/or masonry contractors — that a drain should be recessed. You know, it should be LOWER than the floor — so that, you know, the water DRAINS. Water, much like bullshit, runs downhill, no?
Not only does the water get all over the kitchen floor, but as a result of it puddling onto the carpet tiles (carpet tiles! in a restaurant egress! brilliant!), every single person who exits the kitchen or the service bar via the “out” door tracks liquid onto the already slippery dining room floors. (Seriously, they are like an ice rink even when DRY!) The number of customers who have slipped/fallen does not seem to trouble the “powers that be”. I mean, if it were just us, their humble employees, I would understand the failure to address the issue — after all, who really cares if your $2.13/hour employee takes a header outside the kitchen door? One would think that fear of a lawsuit by a patron would be motivation enough to fix the problem. One would, apparently, be wrong.
While the wet floors are certainly the most pressing safety concern, they are not the sole safety or, to be more precise, logistical concern in my glamorous job. Due to space constraints, most things are placed above our heads. For those of us who have the benefit of being tall, this is not that big of a deal. For the rest of us, though, it’s an outright pain in the ass and, sometimes, downright dangerous.
This is especially true behind the bar. Bottles of wine, additional juices/mixes/etc., and even basic necessities — like glassware — are stored far out of reach of the normal-sized person. Some days I feel like there should be a Ringmaster, like the ones you see at carnival side shows, encouraging the odd passerby to “Come see the ‘tippy-toe’ girl work her magic!” Yeah. It’s like that.
Sure, we have a stepladder, but you can’t be continuously dragging that thing out on a busy shift — it’s heavy, it’s cumbersome, and it resides in an almost-too-small space, which makes taking it out and putting it back difficult. Most times, we just leave it out and trip over it for six or seven hours. Where the stepladder is stored is either another marvel of modern engineering or a simple case of poor planning, I’m not sure which, but my money is on the latter.
Call me crazy, but I will never understand why someone would purchase a stepladder that was almost exactly the same size as the space it was designed to occupy. I know they make smaller ones. I own one. I have, in my quest to be helpful, pointed out the availability of just such an item — from the industrial supply catalog that we keep in the office — you know, the one that we order things from — things like mops, brooms, and, you guessed it, stepladders! I suppose they are just waiting for the one we have to collapse.
I’m sure that I wouldn’t be the first person in the history of the world to get up to a little workplace sabotage. Sometimes hands need to be forced. I may not have the skills or the tools to recess the drain, but I may be able to do something to hurry along the demise of the stepladder. Mark your calendars, folks, because tomorrow may just be the first ever “Take Your Hacksaw to Work Day!”
photo credit: glamour girl