Tales from The Annoying Bar and Grill: Knowing Our Worth


NaBloPoMo14DayThreeI think it’s been well established that I work for $2.13/hour. And, really, that’s fine. The tips make up for it. I never see a paycheck, though. The $85 that I earn is eaten up in taxes and other things.

In other words, while I work for this pittance, I don’t rely upon it for anything. It’s like ghost money.

I am scheduled for about 38 hours a week. Once in a while, though, I come close to or go over the 40-hour mark. When this happens — and it is a rare occurrence — management carries on as if I had murdered someone, like their first-born. In my defense, the only reason I ever exceed the 40 hours is that I have a couple of shifts where I can’t get the hell out of Dodge because I have customers who refuse to leave. I’m not sure what, exactly, I’m supposed to do about that? (But, I think I’ve formulated a plan!)

My late presence over at The Annoying Bar and Grill has nothing to do with poor time management on my part. I do realize, in management’s defense, that for some of my younger, rookie co-workers this is not the case. Learning to use one’s time wisely in a restaurant environment takes, well, time. Some of these kids are barely out of training. They are still figuring out how to wait on tables efficiently.

Last night, being Sunday and the end of our pay period, these youngsters were scurrying around nervously. It came to my attention that they were racing around the kitchen like a bunch of lunatics because they “HAD TO GET OFF THE CLOCK!”

I just shook my head and told them to take “deep, cleansing breaths”, but asked them nicely to please cease running through the kitchen. As amusing as it was to watch a bunch of people run around like chickens with their heads cut off, it just wasn’t safe — for anyone.

By “anyone”, I really meant me. I had already been burned by soup and had my head smashed by a door by people whose behavior I would liken to that of Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit. These injuries were, thankfully, minor and wholly survivable. Still, I feared what might come next. An anvil to the head, perhaps? A bread knife to the thigh, perchance?

Finally one of the newbies became flustered and blurted out “IF I DON’T GET OFF THE CLOCK I’M GOING TO BE WRITTEN UP!” That statement got my attention.

I asked him if he had picked up shifts during the week without management approval. He told me that he had not. We determined that he had only worked his scheduled shifts. I told him to relax. I explained that he could not be written up for going into overtime as long as he was working his schedule.

It was then that other co-workers chimed in to tell me that they, too, had been given the same warnings about overtime. Further, they had been told that if they couldn’t work their scheduled 38-hour-week in those 38 hours, they would be “removed” from a shift the following week.

So, it wasn’t just about THIS week. Oy-freaking-vey! “Go ahead.”, I told them exasperatingly and while I was looking for a hardhat, “Let the running around recommence!” Who was I to tell them otherwise, particularly when they might lose a shift — shifts they sorely need to pay for school, car insurance, etc.? I didn’t want their loss of revenue on my conscience, that’s for sure.

I can’t get it off of my mind, though. Like it’s not bad enough to be unworthy of being paid .52 for ten minutes of overtime. Now, apparently, we will be punished for circumstances that are, by and large, out of our control? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do — because I can’t afford to lose a shift either. (And, yes, I was told repeatedly over the weekend that I was “very, very close to OT”. I wasn’t all that close, to tell the truth.)

I’m going to have the managers wait on any late arrivals from now on. They want to start this game? That’s fine. I’ll finish it. And, yes, the result will probably be the same — I’ll lose a shift or get written up for insubordination, but I don’t care.

If I’m going down, I’m going down fighting. That’s for damn sure.


Writing people up (and, yes, eventually terminating them — that’s what the “write-ups” are for; evidence used by management to show a “pattern of behavior”) because they go into overtime seems like it would be (or should be) illegal, but what do I know? If anyone has any information regarding this — or can point me to a resource where I can get the information — I’m all ears!

33 thoughts on “Tales from The Annoying Bar and Grill: Knowing Our Worth

  1. Wow! This does not sound like a fair or even healthy work place. It seems to me if they would value their employees they would get better results from them. Good luck.

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      There is a balance that needs to be struck, that’s for sure. Some people, if you give them an inch they’ll take a mile. But it has been my experience that most people do a good job (or the best job that they can do).

      Like

  2. janieemaus says:

    There is something wrong with this picture. So unfair.

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  3. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I’m with Lois and want to read your tell-all. I’m also keen on the idea of an anonymous call to an investigative reporter. And by anonymous, I’m volunteering.

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  4. CaptCruncher says:

    What sits so wrong here is that it feels like staff that can’t afford to lose shifts and jobs would get written up for not finishing a job or for overtime or they can push to hard and hurt themselves or someone else…. Lousy choices….

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  5. Wow. Crazy train. It never ceases to amazes me how some folks in management treat employees — the people who are on the front line to their customers. The older I get, I’ve seen it done right and seen in done foolishly. And worked for both. Those in charge who act like that are so short-sighted. Good for you for calming the younger recruits.

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  6. nfhill says:

    Crappola and double WTF!!! Unfortunately this is what way too many people have to live with. I am so glad you are writing about this! Way too many people forget that real, intelligent people, who are not very different from them at all, with lives and families are working their assess off for very low wages. Keep writing. You inspire me.

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  7. angelaweight says:

    Jeez. That really sucks. Just the whole not feeling worthy of making 52 cents for ten minutes overtime. Wow. Management. I hope things get better.

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  8. Oh, I can’t wait for your tell-all book to come out where you name names and are living on your royalties on some beach in the Caribbean with someone else serving you pina coladas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • javaj240 says:

      If only I drank pina coladas, LOL! I don’t think I’m the type of person to “name names”, although it would be sweet revenge ! To be honest, I am treated with about as much respect and fairness as can be mustered. It’s watching the treatment of others that gets my Irish up!

      Like

  9. kimtb says:

    So this kind of scares me that restaurants I love could be engaged in this kind of behavior. Is there a way to find out? Like a reverse yelp for workers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • javaj240 says:

      LOL. That is highly unlikely. You may want to simply ask your server. He or she will probably tell you — if they know you well enough. If you don’t know them well enough, you will get your answer based on his or her body language or non-answer.

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  10. Roz Warren says:

    I worked as a waitress for many years, and I loved the work. Still, because of MANAGEMENT (boo! hiss!!) I finally quit, knowing that if I didn’t, I was going to punch somebody and it wasn’t going to be pretty. No regrets. And the experience gave me great material to write about.

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      Yes, well, it is my “go to” material, LOL! I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. Sadly, I need the kind of money that working in the industry allows me to make, but all of the recent nonsense is just making me sad (and, yes, the potential to become “unhinged” surely exists, but that’s really nothing new 🙂

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  11. elinwaldal says:

    Great idea, maybe then the managers will see that what your doing is delivering service that actually provides customers with a reason to come back. And that pays everyone, OT, or not! Good luck with it all.

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    • javaj240 says:

      Thanks. Empty threats, though. It will never happen, LOL. And, frankly, MOST of the managers know how hard we work. I just went all “Momma Bear” last night. I felt really bad for the “newbies”. Plus, an atmosphere of fear is really never a good thing. We should all be in this together. I hate an Us vs. Them mentality. I’ve seen it too many times through the years. It never works to management’s advantage, but once in a while you get someone who thinks it does and….blah, blah, blah. Same old story.

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  12. Cheney says:

    The write up things definitely are not illegal, and they can actually benefit workers. I work in a restaurant where overtime is not even an option – I’m lucky if I get 30 hours a week – but write ups happen a lot and here’s why : if a person sucks, it’s how a restaurant can fire someone without hassle. The way I look at it is, I am glad when that beyotch I can’t stand working with cause she comes in late constantly and never does sidework finally gets enough write ups to get fired as it was stated in the handbook she read and signed upon being hired.

    However, it sounds like management is a whole other problem and totally sucks and is disrespectful, so yeah. I feel your pain.

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    • javaj240 says:

      I get documenting people for not doing their jobs. It is how they cut the bad ones loose. But, to schedule people — especially “new” people — for 38 hours and then write them up for going into OT? That’s just crazy. I mean, how about “managing” them better? Like cutting them a few minutes earlier. Again, I get it when you have to tell people over and over to stop fooling around and to get their sidework done, etc. But, I don’t think this is the case with the folks in question. I think they are trying to get it together, but it’s difficult when you’re new to do all the things that you are supposed to do, service your tables, and get out on time. I don’t know that threatening them with write-ups (or actually writing them up) is the answer. Strongarming them doesn’t teach them anything of value, at least that’s not how I would approach it. But, what do I know? I’m just a lowly server/bartender who’s been in the biz for over thirty years, LOL!

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  13. What goes on is absolutely astounding.

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  14. Sounds very unfun. Sorry about all the pressure (and the low pay) at work. I hope the environment gets better soon.

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  15. Thanks for the post. This is very insightful about the food industry.

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    • javaj240 says:

      That’s why I write this stuff. Really. I mean all industries have their “stuff”, but the restaurant industry as a whole is just becoming more and more ridiculous by the minute.

      Like

  16. Cathy says:

    Oy, vey is right Jackie. And I give you a lot of credit for sort of being the matriarch of this group. You know what? I think you need a vacation. Want come along with me? 🙂

    Like

  17. I think an investigative reporter might be interested in this disgraceful behavior by management. You don’t have to be named, can stay anonymous if you choose.

    Liked by 1 person

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