GTFO: A Love Story


Like any other hip denizen of the Twenty-first Century, I, too, have come to think in acronyms. One of my absolute favorites? “GTFO”. It means, “Get the fuck out”. (If you are sensitive to vulgarities, are not from New Jersey, or are my mother, feel free to substitute the “F-word” of your choice. It’ll still pack the same punch. It’s flexible in this and in many other ways.)

I have come to use it so often (possibly too often) that a work buddy sent me the following meme and suggested that I adopt it as my own personal logo. He may also have helpfully suggested that I order t-shirts, hats, stickers, and tote bags emblazoned with it — the idea being that I could just point to it in situations, of which there are far too many, where saying it aloud might be frowned upon.


I just might do it.

Just because I cannot say it or because I have not gotten around to ordering any merchandise that would enable me to point to my newfound logo, Carol Merrill-style, that doesn’t mean that I can’t think it. I can. And I do. A lot.

The people that I come into contact with the most in my line of work who really need to GTFO are not the ones, surprisingly enough, with whom I must spend great lengths of time discussing the finer points of the fried green tomato. (They’re green and they’re fried. Enough said.) Believe it or not, I actually prefer these idiots to the idiots who order their food to go.

Frankly, I do not understand why anyone would ever order a steak to go. Why pay money for a decent piece of meat only to have it slapped into a plastic container? Unless it is being consumed in the parking lot, it must surely take on the properties — the funky taste, the delightful aroma — of this container on the ride home. Why not, I often wonder, just go ahead and gnaw on a Solo cup? Cut out the middle man altogether.

There can be almost no other way to ruin a perfectly prepared filet mignon than to let it sit in a box, if you want my opinion. Oddly enough no one has ever asked for my opinion on this subject. That’s probably because I would be delighted to share it with them or, at the very least, shoot them my best GTFO look. Same thing.

These patrons not only need to GTFO, they needed to never have CTFI (Come The Fuck In). The resentment that I harbor toward “The Take-Out Assholes”, as I affectionately refer to them, is not, truthfully, completely their fault. The fault lies more in how my company, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to handle take-out orders.

In what is possibly the dumbest corporate decision I have ever had to endure — and working in a corporate restaurant is a test of endurance — take-out orders are the responsibility of the bartender. The executives who devised this idiotic system cannot GTFO soon enough for me.

If I didn’t know any better I would conclude that none of them had ever worked in a restaurant before. I might even question whether or not they had ever eaten in one. Of course I’m kidding about the latter. The former, however, is very likely true. The people who make and then marry themselves to these decisions have either never been on the front lines or are so far removed from this experience to render it moot. The five minutes that they spent bartending or serving back in culinary school or during their restaurant management internship does not count.

I often wonder if, when this — the dumbest decision ever — was arrived at, they were holding their meeting in an opium den or a crack house. Because diminished capacity is the only explanation I can come up with as to why anyone with even a passing knowledge of how a restaurant works — and this is the crowd that is supposed to have all the answers — could even entertain the (very misguided) notion that this is a bang-up idea.

It most certainly is not.

I, for one, am finished with it. I have devised my own evil plan for dealing with all future take-out orders. And guess what? So far, it’s working.

I came to formulate this plan following a shit show of a shift in which I had to decipher no less than seven fairly large to-go orders. Yes, I said decipher. Why? Because in their opium-induced coma, one (or more) of our afore-mentioned illustrious leaders decided that the bartenders, the folks who know the menu, should not be tasked with actually taking the orders. Not that we would ever have time for that nonsense, but still that bit of business — a very important bit of business, let me just add — is taken care of by our host staff. Do I even need to tell you that these people do NOT know the ins and the outs of our menu? And, even if they did, do you think they have the time to spend fifteen minutes on the phone with someone discussing side dishes? They do not.

Throughout the course of the evening what happened with these take-out orders is what always happens with take-out orders: the people who order them come in to pick them up when I am busy. Somehow, and I don’t know how, I found the time to put a few of them together myself and breathed a sigh of relief as they and their owners left the building, happily swinging their little brown bags filled with food that was destined to be a disappointment, but what did I care? They were gone. They had GTFO. (You can substitute “gotten” for “get” in this handy acronym! Like I mentioned earlier, it’s flexible!)

The two largest orders were, I noted, sitting in the window, ready to be put together when the inevitable occurred: I got very busy. A couple decided to sit at one of the bar-top tables. I had service bar tickets hitting the floor (that’s a lot of service bar tickets!). There were no less than six guests sitting at the bar who were ready to order their dinners — meals that they had expectations of being able to order and to eat within a reasonable amount of time. I felt kind of bad for everyone, to tell you the truth. This would have been an excellent time for me to sprout another arm.

In the midst of all of this, I had to deal with The Take-Out Assholes. Was their food ready? Well, sir, that hinges upon whether or not you were planning on consuming it out of the service window. Was it going to be long? That depends on your definition of “long”, ma’am. Can I pay for it? Why, yes. We are always delighted to take your money. And, again, is it ready YET? Nope.

What I did take the time to notice in all of this was the blank line on their credit slips — the line where one normally inserts a gratuity — a gratuity for the $2.13/hour employee who is breaking her ass trying to make it so you can GTFO. That’s when I had an epiphany. That epiphany? I’m not working for nothing anymore. Because while it may seem ridiculous to your average Take-Out Asshole that a gratuity is both appreciated and, yes, expected when your food is gathered together by a tipped employee, they don’t see it that way.

What no one seems to want to acknowledge is the impact that these take-out orders have on my ability to properly serve the guests who have not only chosen to eat in the building like normal people, but who will, if all goes well, tip accordingly. It makes no sense for me to spend my time and expend my energy on hundreds of dollars worth of take-out orders with little to no hope of monetary remuneration. And, so, I won’t be doing it anymore.

What will I be doing? Why, what I did the other night, of course. What was that, you ask? I got a manager. I told him that I did not have time to deal with the orders. I did the same thing the next day. And, I’ll do it tomorrow, too. I’m assuming they’ll catch on at some point, but I don’t care. Their bonuses are based on sales. Let them deal with the take-out bullshit. If they tell me to GTFO, so be it.

One thought on “GTFO: A Love Story

  1. Louise says:

    Well done! Curious how long it will last.


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