So, You Want To Be A Bad Manager?


Don’t say it!

Under no circumstances should you respond to a staff member’s “Good Morning, how are you today?” with actual words. A grunt and a dismissive hand wave will send the message that you would rather not waste  your precious time with the likes of them!

Pick one, anyone.

Each day be sure to choose one lucky employee to single out for inefficiency. That this woman’s biggest mistake may have only been that she selected a shade of eyeshadow that was a little too close to yours and that, unbeknownst to her, she is wearing better, is irrelevant. Single her out anyway. She, too, is irrelevant. After all, it is your world and she is just living in it.

Talk amongst your friends.

Be sure to discuss either this employee — or another, why not? — with your manager pals. Do it just out of earshot, but be certain, through pointing or other gestures, that whoever it is your are discussing is aware that he or she is being discussed AND, this is of utmost important, that the message is clear that nothing good is being said.


If you discover that someone has done something wrong make sure that you behave as if he or she has just killed your beloved cat. On purpose. With their car.

Passively be aggressive.

Ask your staff silly questions while they are busy. When they indicate that they have no time to answer you in that moment, be sure that they understand that you have taken note of their inability to add a sixth thing to the five other things they were, as always, effectively juggling.

Wonder aloud.

In full view of clients and/or other employees (bonus points for both!), wonder aloud why this person or that person did not do this, that, or the other thing. Throwing your hands in the air and rolling your eyes always enhances this situation. For added flair, might I suggest a heavy sigh?

If you have nothing nice to say…

Regardless of what your mother told  you about saying nice things, choose, instead, to be harsh, mean, or downright cruel. Adopting an attitude of superiority while you sneer and snap at your staff is a step in the right direction. That promotion you so desire is, no doubt, right around the corner for a motivator such as yourself!

Do it better!

Everyone knows that you can do everything better than they can. Show them anyway. Do this as often as possible. This endearing behavior, while it may not win you fans, is sure to  get you noticed!

Step it up a notch.

Daily and consistently take your demanding behavior up at least a few notches. Everyone loves a challenge. Luckily, your staff exists purely to make you look exceptional.

Gratitude is overrated.

While stepping on the little people to achieve your goals, be mindful that thanking them is a weakness.











“French Onion Soup” Guy

bowl_of_steaming_soup_01In my line of work I run into any number of people who, on a good day, I like to call “garden-variety” idiots; on a bad day, I call them other things. Luckily, yesterday was a good day.

To distinguish the particular idiot that I’d like to discuss today from some of the other idiots I encountered yesterday, I’ll call him “French Onion Soup Guy”. While some of you would undoubtedly get a kick out of the antics of “Hamburger Bun Boy” or “Rare Steak Lady”, their stories will have to wait for another day — today we’ll be talking about soup — both in its larger context and as it pertains to “French Onion Soup Guy”.

It has been my experience that soup, unlike revenge, and unless it’s vichyssoise or gazpacho, is a dish best served hot. Generally, this is how we serve it — especially soup of the French onion sort. That being said, once in a while, folks will ask me to heat up their soup, as the temperature is not to their satisfaction. That’s fine. I have NO problem with making someone’s soup hotter. There is, however, a way to ask for such a thing to be done. Really, most requests for ANYTHING — in any aspect of our lives — are more likely to result in the desired outcome if we ask nicely — if we employ something as simple as manners.

You’d be amazed at the number of people who DO NOT know this — or, perhaps, they have abandoned the concept altogether — you know, for expediency or because they’re idiots. Whether their decision regarding the employment of polite behavior is a conscious one or one borne of having been raised by wolves, I’ll never know. It’s appalling, though, I’ll tell you that. I don’t know why this is, but I am especially irked when grown men behave this way — worse is when they do it in front of their children. I often wonder, if they feel comfortable with boorishness in public, what must they be like at home? Luckily, I’ll never have to find out.

For the record, I was the one who brought “French Onion Soup Guy” his soup. It was hot. So hot, in fact, that I was concerned that his young child — the one who was practically crawling on the table — was going to touch it and hurt herself. So, I said, “This is very hot, Sweetie. Please don’t touch it!” (I was, honestly, concerned for the kid. Because in a world where no one — except for me — seemed to notice that she was licking the salt shaker, I wasn’t convinced that her safety was of any real concern to the many wolves disguised as adults that were seated around her.)

About ten minutes after I delivered the soup, “French Onion Soup Guy” called me over to the table — and by “called me over to the table” I mean that he snapped his fingers as I was walking by — I was amazed that he had hands, rather than the paws one normally associates with animals of the Canis lupus species — he then shoved his soup at me, and said, “Hey! This is cold! I thought you said it was HOT! It’s supposed to be hot, right?”

As my hands were full of food that was making its way to another table, I shook my head in a positive manner. I was planning to say something along the lines of, “Yes, Sir. I’ll be back in a second when I can take the soup from you.” “French Onion Soup Guy”, perhaps thinking that I had another arm that sprouted, when necessary, from somewhere else on my body — wouldn’t THAT be handy? — continued to rattle his soup bowl at me while he said, “Hey! I’m talking to you. About my soup! About it being COLD!” At that point I just looked pointedly at my full hands, hoping he would get the message.

I should have known better — nuance, as it would turn out, was as lost on “French Onion Soup Guy” as it would be on a wolf. After depositing what was in my hands at the table behind him, I turned around to take his soup. He asked me why he was “still holding his soup?” Why I hadn’t “paid him any attention?” I explained, as briefly as possible — because I really wanted to limit my dealings with this idiot — that I had, indeed, “acknowledged” both him and his request, but was unable, owing to my lack of another hand, to remove his soup on his timetable. I assured him that I would rectify the problem. I promised him that he would have a hot soup as soon as possible.

What I wanted to say, but did not — as I have bills to pay and, thus, a job to keep — is that the very first rule of soup eating is that it should be consumed immediately upon presentation. If it is not, one of those laws of thermonuclear dynamics, put forth by a guy named Charles or Boyle — do I strike you as a woman who even vaguely remembers Chemistry 101? — acts upon the soup in such a way that causes it to LOSE heat. It’s shocking, I know, that people fail to grasp this very basic concept when it applies to something as simple as soup, isn’t it?

As a result of “French Onion Soup Guy’s” failure to consume his soup in a timely fashion, I had to endure his lack of manners, return the soup to the kitchen, have a conversation with people who have a limited grasp of the English language — our cooks — and who also get a little “tetchy” when they have to remake things, seek out and alert “French Onion Guy’s” server — no easy task, as this particular server has the uncanny ability to “disappear” whenever anyone is looking for him, particularly his customers — so that, together, we could try to get the soup back out to “French Onion Soup Guy” PRIOR to the arrival of his meal.

Unfortunately for ALL involved, I failed. Actually, that’s not entirely true, because I tasked the server — the one who had a real vested interest in getting the soup out — with making sure “French Onion Soup Guy” received his soup BEFORE the main course was ready to be served. Still in all, I consider it MY failure that I brought the entrees to the table without insuring that he had, indeed, consumed his replacement soup.

Well, I’m sure you can imagine the greeting I was met with when I brought the entrees to his table AND he still had not had his soup. I apologized. I took all of the blame. I assured him that some type of monetary compensation would be forthcoming when he received his bill. I asked him if he still wanted the soup. (When things like this happen, some people do still want the soup or whatever “starter” was forgotten — mainly, I think, because they know it will be free!)

“French Onion Soup Guy” did NOT want the soup. Was I “some kind of an idiot?” “Who would want to eat soup WITH their steak?”

It was really all I could do at this juncture in our relationship NOT to ask him if maybe he didn’t want it for his daughter, who I’d come to think of as “Little Wolf” — the one who was now, as far as I could tell, nibbling on the table leg. She appeared — even after having polished off an order of chicken fingers — to still be slightly peckish.

photo credit: bowl of steaming soup

Help Wanted: Bathroom Attendant

The shelves can only hold so many towels!

The shelves can only hold so many towels!

Once again I find myself in a battle of wills with Fang, the traditionalist. This time, it’s over a ladder. (Under a ladder would just be bad form, not to mention bad luck!)

A couple of days ago I reported that I had painted my bathroom. Everyone knows you can’t paint your bathroom fuschia and put the same old crap up on the walls that had been there when the bathroom was tannish-pink. Everyone does know that, right? Well, if you didn’t, now you do. You’re welcome!

I’ve always had storage issues in my bathroom, as I have zero floor space— and I do mean “zero” — a problem that no amount of paint will remedy. In an effort not to hang the wastebasket from the ceiling, I have to be creative. I must employ other storage solutions. I hung some shelves, but they won’t do for towel storage on a daily basis. While looking for some new bath hardware, I stumbled across something called an “over-the-door towel rack” — perfect! Of course I got it home and it doesn’t work properly — no amount of jimmying or repositioning will make the door close with the presence of the towel rack.

As much as I liked the towel rack, I’m pretty confident that I could not convince my family to do their business in what amounts to an al fresco environment — plus, who needs to see that?! It also occurred to me that even if they could be convinced and I could learn to live with the bathroom door being forever ajar, it might be slightly uncomfortable for guests — at least the one’s whose company I enjoy. It would, no doubt, work to my advantage for the odd unwanted guest, though. I could just ply them with beverages, knowing that they would be forced to leave once they found it necessary to heed the call of nature.

Alas, the over-the-door towel bar did not provide the necessary solution to my problem, but I am enamored of the concept. “No big deal”, I thought, “I’ll just get one that ATTACHES to the back of the door. That’ll work just fine!” And it would’ve worked just fine — if only such an item existed here in the Northern Hemisphere in the early part of the 21st Century, which, of course, it doesn’t. As anyone who owns a computer and is faced with such a dilemma is wont to do, I turned to my old friend, Pinterest, for inspiration. I found that some folks, including some lady called Martha Stewart, had solved this problem very simply — by attaching two or three towel bars to the back of their bathroom door! Well, why didn’t I think of that?

With this keen idea in mind, I began to look for three black 18″ towel bars to use in lieu of the over-the-door towel bar. If it was good enough for Martha Stewart, it was good enough for me! Guess what? This turned out to be an exercise in futility — because black, I guess, is not de rigeur these days in modern bathroom accessorizing. Black! Not readily available! What the….?

Well, that’s not entirely true. If I want to purchase a decent black towel bar, I can — but I have to do so from one of those specialty stores or websites — to the tune of upwards of $80/bar. That’s $240 — in American money — to hang a few towels from something black on the back of my bathroom door. That’s ridiculous. I could employ a bathroom attendant for less. You know, like they do at some of your finer restaurants. She (I wouldn’t be comfortable with a “he”) could just come in every day and hand us towels, spritz us with the perfume/cologne of our choice, and ask us questions like, “Do you need a safety pin?”

I was beginning to think that this, the hiring of a bathroom attendant, would be easier than finding a simple way to address my towel hanging needs — and then it hit me — I could just hang a ladder on the back of my bathroom door! It, like a towel bar, has rungs! As luck would have it, almost immediately, I found two ladders that would fit on the back of the bathroom door! Success!

I instructed Fang to abandon the Google search for the perfect (and affordable) black towel bar. I was relieved that he could finally stop showing me “oil-rubbed bronze” accessories, all the while trying to convince me that “oil-rubbed bronze” is the same as black. (For the record, let me tell you what I told Fang, “‘Oil-rubbed bronze’ is NOT black!”) I explained to him that our prayers had been answered. I showed him the ladder that I had found on Etsy for $50 (FREE SHIPPING!) and the one that I had stumbled across on Ebay ($30.10 with shipping).

At this point, I figured that we would haggle over the $20 price difference between the two items that I had found — the $30 one would require me to paint it or to stain it (no doubt there would be some sanding involved, as well) — the other one would be ready to hang right out of the box. If I’d wanted to paint things, I could have just bought the “oil-rubbed bronze” bullshit and done just that. I don’t want to paint anything, so the $50 number is, obviously, my first choice.

Not surprisingly — I know Fang all too well — his problem is not only with the $20 price difference. His problem is also with the fact that I want to hang towels from a ladder mounted to the back of my bathroom door — because, as he so eloquently pointed out, “that’s just stupid”. I’m not even going to get into the dialogue that followed THAT comment, but I will tell you what I did do — I showed him the many, many examples of people hanging towels on ladders that exist on the internet. And there are many.

What there are not many of, however, are photos showing the ladder itself hanging from the back of a door — most people lean them up against a wall — most people have the floor and the wall space to do that sort of thing. Even if I hung the trash bin from the ceiling, freeing up the necessary floor space, I wouldn’t have a wall to lean it on. What I can do, though, is hang it on the back of the damn bathroom door.

He then went on to grill me as to how I was going to accomplish such a feat of engineering. Seriously. My reply: “Oh, I don’t know. I thought I’d get crazy and use a couple of screws.” He is still convinced that I can’t “make it work” — as if I’m suggesting that I can fit a square peg into a round hole. This task, as I see it, will require four things — a drill, wall anchors, screws, and a screwdriver.

I’ll just wind up doing it, as I do every other home improvement project, when he’s not around to watch me. And then it’ll be done. And I’ll have my back-of-the-door towel rack. That I’ll have been right about the ladder? That will just be icing on the cake, my friends, icing on the cake! If, for some unforeseen reason, the ladder thing doesn’t work out — I fear that I will be forced to resort to plan B: the bathroom attendant.

photo credit: towels (me)

The Perfect Ending to a Perfect Day!

full moonI 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