The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bad Management

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.”

Three tables.

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.


At 12:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had jobs where I just wanted to call up and say "y'know what, I'm not coming in..ever", but I was always afraid of that whole in my resume or a bad reference. As if anybody cared.

At 10:01 AM , Anonymous jack burton said...

Damn, Secret. You were probably just young and stupid, but there are labor laws protecting you from crap like that. (no breaks and such) One thing though that you probably know: Never badmouth your previous employer when interviewing for a new job. While everything you said may be true, the new people might take that as a sign that you're hostile or will say 'fuggit' and just up and quit out of the blue one day.

Which gets me to 'anonymous'... In most states, it's illegal for employers to say anything good or bad about you during reference checking. They can only say the dates you were working there.

At 11:21 AM , Anonymous badmanager said...

They're also allowed to ask if the applicant is eligible for rehire, or if you would hire them again given the chance.

I know nobody cares, but I was only bad from mgmts viewpoint, not the crew. The GM was always getting on me for being too lenient. I was the guy sneaking pitchers to the line, letting people go early if they whined enough, granting any and all requests for days off, etc.

Thanks for the dedication Secret (I think).

At 12:09 PM , Blogger AWE said...

Isn't it nice to get even?

At 12:16 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

That's bullshit!! I really hope you're liking the current job 100 times better than that old place. It's probably near closing by now, if they kept that up. The only person that I'd expect to go through that is me, the GM. My servers work some good hours, but they reap the rewards of it being fine dining. Plus, we're closed 2 days a week, back to back.

At 2:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, in some states as long as they have backup to document what they are saying, the former HR department can say what they will about you. If they have proof you came in late frequently, they can say it. In order for it to be slander, there has to be ill intent and something not accurate (with very few exceptions) in the state I live in, anyway.

It's a recent change, but don't bank on your former job only being able to say 'they worked here from this day to that and are not eligible for rehire.' Most HR departments aren't aware of that, however. And, personally, I still go the 'they worked here and now the don't, that's all I'm telling you' route.

Unless, of course, the employee is dangerous, in which case I *can* get into trouble for not warning the new employer.

HR is a pain in the butt.

At 3:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where I was a mangager it was corporate policy to only confirm that they were employed and the hire/separation dates.

At 7:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Dude:

So tell us the story about the managers who felt threatened by the rest of you all who had more experience, and about those waitpersons who deserved promotions and got pink slips instead.


Uncle R.

At 9:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it's not "illegal for employers to say anything good or bad".

It's just that too many companies have been sued because of comments made on reference checks, so as a general rule most companies have a policy only to confirm employment dates.

At 11:02 PM , Blogger Sondra said...

Oh, Insane, I have BEEN that bad manager! See, I love serving, but anything else in the food service industry didn't interest me. And then I got a job as a shift runner at a very busy pizza place (this was years ago) and I did exactly what you described: every time a customer had an issue or a complaint, I was always tugging on my employees going, "what do I do?" I'm glad that's over. I got the managerial pay while they had to tell me how to do my job. It wasn't fair, I didn't like it, and as a result, I didn't last long. I am much more suited sitting behind a desk and telling people what to do. :-D

At 2:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is my one manager to a "T".

"T" being for Tracy.

One time I had a 4 top, a family, the gentleman was drinking Corona and had about half a beer left. This little troll of a manager, who's always perched like a hawk to nitpick the tiniest deviation in her own little world, looks at me an sighs. She strolls over to the table and grabs the empty beer bottle off the table and says, "I guess I have to do your job for you now."

The guy must have gulped down the beer as I was walking away and as you know, you are supposed to grab the empties as soon as possible. I hate that shit man. This is only scratching the surface of her bullshit.

This manager NEVER gives any positive reinforcement whatsoever and constantly aggravates everyone around her.

Her name is Tracy DiRocco at the California Cafe in King of Prussia, PA. She's the stumpy little female manager who won't give you an inch. I friggin' hate her!

At 5:14 PM , Anonymous Tracy DiRocco said...

You're fired, bitch.

At 10:19 AM , Blogger Sondra said...


At 9:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ifsmanager - you had me at "I know nobody cares"


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