This one goes out to all the “Bad Manager’s” out there.
It was towards the end of days at my last restaurant. Most of the staff had either quit in disgust or been “let go” by the new managers who’d been there for a not even a month.
Of course these employees had been there for two or three years, they all of a sudden just didn’t fit in anymore.
More like the managers felt threatened by us who had more experience and those that deserved promotions not pink slips.
But that is all another story.
I was on my way out, I had a second interview at my current job in a couple days, I didn’t care much anymore I knew it was a lock.
In an effort to get more out of the $2.85 an hour they were paying us they decided to do away with lunch and smoke breaks.
If you were scheduled for a double they just banked on you working through it.
I don’t know about you, but working twelve plus hours with no break isn’t appealing.
The opportunity arose to challenge their system, so I took it.
“So when do I get my break then, now that we’re a non smoking restaurant?” I asked the chief hack of the day.
“You can get it when Randy gets here,” he answered.
Randy didn’t get there till five, I was scheduled to switch from bar to wait-staff at five.
“This is bull,” I shot back,”I've been here since ten and its past two, according to state law I get my fifteen minute break.”
“Well you can’t smoke,” He answered.
“I’m an adult, if I’m not on the clock I’ll do what I want.” I said.
“You can’t smoke on premises then.”
“Fine, I’ll cross the street.”
Just then a customer saunters up to the bar.
“Aren’t you going to help him?” the hack asked.
“Can’t you cover the bar, I want my break?” I asked him.
“I’ve got things to do in the office, I’ll get your break later.”
More like he’s going to mess around on the computer and check baseball scores.
He’s one of the do nothing managers. No people skills, no organizational skills, can’t even do a schedule.
Almost every restaurant has one or two managers that do all the work, the rest like to rest on their quarter inch of authority.
Hell they’re afraid to even talk to customers, if there is a problem the first thing they do is ask what they should do.
Not a good sign, these managers can best be seen hitting on the hostess or walking to the john with the sports page in hand.
Most of the time they’re in the office either smoking while the staff can’t or pecking at the keyboard like a chicken while trying to figure out a basic spreadsheet.
Well an hour passed, then two.
No sign of the hack.
It’s almost four thirty.
I walk back into the office with the sound of the Cardinal’s broadcast in the background, the hack is putting out a cigarette, nice.
“I want my thirty minutes.” I demanded.
“Is your section “polished” up for the night?” He responded.
“Why would it be, you don’t have the floor chart done, I’m still in the bar.” I stated.
“Well I’m putting you here then.”
Shit, I might as well be back at LoneStar.
I express my concern for my section, not with much tact however.
“You know the policy, our guests get better service when you concentrate on them.”
Screw that, the only result is a quarter of my tips are not in my pocket, I’m a little more concerned for my well being than my customer’s.
Mind you at the upper scale place I’m at now we have five to seven tables per section.
Nonetheless I sigh and head out with a wash towel.
I go over the seats and booth backs, straighten the lanterns and silverware.
Returning to the office I state, “It’s four forty, I want to go.”
“Did you “polish” your section?” He asks.
“Well let’s see how you did.”
I follow him to my area.
He moved the silverware around, wiped away invisible crumbs and ran his fingers along the top of the booth.
It feels like the time a cop searched my car after finding an unopened beer in the front seat.
He takes a good five minutes going over my section
“You need to “polish” the tops of your booths.”
“I did,” I respond.
He frowns, “be back before Q time.”
The pre-shift meeting.
“That’s in fifteen minutes,” I complained.
“You better hurry then.”
Screw it, I’m out the door, I don’t know if I’m coming back.
For some reason I do.
I arrive precisely fifteen minutes later, Q time is in progress.
I get a dirty look as I enter the kitchen.
“Listen, I know you’ve been here a long time, but you need to be here to listen to what I have to say,” the hack says in front of the entire staff.
I roll my eyes at him.
“You have a problem with that?” He asks.
“I have a problem with working twelve hours without a break.”
“You got one,” he said.
I didn’t even have time to eat.
That Monday after my morning shift I went to the interview, the manager asked why I was leaving after three years.
“They don’t know how to take care of their staff, everyone is leaving including the old managers, its time to go.”
She nodded, she’d been there before.
The next day I called before my shift.
The Hack answered the phone.
“Yah, I don’t really like my job, I’m not going to come anymore.” I said.
He started to blubber something about covering the shift, I hung up.
Seems like we’re all disposable until we’re disposable.