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....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Closing the shift

“Hey could you come check me out?” said Aaron.

“What’s your side work?” I asked hurriedly, in the midst of ringing in my orders.

“Well I was supposed to fill the grinder and wash out the sinks” Aaron replied.

Shit, what else was on his list of duties, at a glance I noticed he didn’t fill the grinder or wash the sinks, what else did he skip out on?

“Top off the coffee grinder and wipe down the sink area, then I’ll be back to sign you out.” I said.

“This is fucking bullshit!” Aaron said, ”the sink was clean a minute ago and I can’t fit any more beans into the grinder.”

“I can still see air, either do it or don’t, I don’t want this half-ass shit right now.” I snapped back.

I hustled out of the kitchen to service my nine tables I had rolling. I was stopped by another server, Bill.

“Could you check me out?” Bill said.

“Give me a sec, I’ve got to take another order.” I said back.

“But I’m on a double and meeting a friend for lunch!” Bill whined.

“Jesus, I’ll be back in a minute,” I replied.

After taking another order and dropping off some food I went to attend to the inpatient servers.

I glanced over the side-work chart and noticed Bill was on take out implements and that Aaron was to fill the ice bin, which was woefully nearing emptiness.

“Bill, I need more to-go bags and large boxes,” I said.

“But I’ve got to go…” Bill pleaded.

“I don’t care, don’t bother me unless you have your work done, look , you haven’t done a single thing on the list!” I snapped at him.

He retreated out of site in a huff.

Then I noticed Aaron giving his cash-out paperwork and money to the assistant manager.

“Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” I asked, “I haven’t signed you out yet.”

“This is bullshit, I only made twenty bucks today and I want to get the fuck out of here!” Aaron bitched, “I can’t fill the grinder any more, where the fuck am I supposed to put the coffee? On the floor?”

“What’s up with you letting him go without my signature?” I demanded of the manager, ignoring Aaron.

“Just let him go, he’s had a bad shift.” Said the manager.

“I don’t give a shit, I’m sick of wasting my time checking out people who are trying to skip out,

I’m getting my ass handed to me out there and I’ve got to deal with this bullshit?” I yelled.

Aaron took the manager and I arguing as an opportunity to slip out the side door.

“We’re almost out of ice and I just got sat a new table, who the fuck is going to stock it? You? Its his job, I don‘t care how much money he made.” I said.

The manager had no answer.

I stormed back into the dinning room.

A few minutes I was getting ice in the bar since we had since run out in the service station when a waitress came up to me.

“Could you check me out?” She asked.

I took a deep breath, she was one of the newer, more unreliable servers.

“What did you have?” I asked.

“The second service station.” she replied.

It took me a second’s glance to tell she hadn’t done shit, glasses weren’t stocked, the counter was full of trash and empty pitchers stood haphazardly on the counter. Worst of all there were two ice buckets containing puddles instead of ice.

“You haven’t done a fucking thing up here, why are you wasting my time?” I said sharply.

“But, but, it was clean a minute ago, someone must have left this here.” She stammered.

“That’s likely given that enough time has passed to melt ice into water, I want this spotless.” I demanded.

Shit, I still had nine tables at this point and I was getting a little sick of people taking advantage of me being in the weeds to try to skate on their work.

Work that I myself would have to do if I checked out with management and it wasn’t done.

About half an hour later things had calmed down, the flow entering the restaurant had stopped and most of my tables had cashed out with me. It was then I noticed that the to-go station was nearly empty of containers and take-out bags.

“Has anyone seen Bill?” I asked to several servers.

“I saw him walking to his car.” replied one of them.

“Fuck,” was all I had to say.

The next time I saw the assistant manager I cornered him.

“Bill was the second waiter to leave without doing his work, what’s the point in having me check them out if they aren’t going to do their shit?” I asked.

“Bill had the GM check him out, he said you were too busy.” he replied.

“Bill deliberately checked out with him so he wouldn’t have to do his work, I checked him out and he was one of three servers who hadn’t completed their work and along with Aaron got away without doing shit.” I said.

“Well maybe we need to crack down on side work,” said the manager.

“I’m trying, but it doesn’t help that you and the GM are undermining my job and that of the other closers, now I have to go down to the basement to get ice and take out containers or the GM won’t let me leave. I don’t care if people want to leave early or have plans or didn‘t make any money today, if they don’t do their jobs I’m held accountable for it. The other closer just let me know that Aaron skipped out on rolling silverware also, why bother having me check side-work at all? Why don’t we just let the staff decide for themselves when they’ve done enough.” I said ranting.

“Well I’ll talk to the GM about this,” said the assistant manager.

“What good will that do, he’s more worried about how we roll up our sleeves and how many earrings we can wear than how this restaurant actually runs.” I stated.

The manager just shrugged his shoulders.

What else was there to do but that?


At 11:30 PM , Anonymous Masie said...

ARGH! I hate being a responsible server. I am always the one to pick up the slack and I am always the one to catch crap when something is left undone.

I wish I could just slack off and leave with the cash and not do sidework.

Damn work ethic.

At 1:46 AM , Anonymous Ribeye of your Dreams said...

This post reminds me of my nights at work. Every night at work....every day...with every server and every manager....*sigh*.....

The Ribeye of your Dreams

At 4:28 PM , Blogger Ya Looblue said...

brutal. i'd fire all three of them. why take a job if you're not going to do it??

At 4:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah. Check them out permanently.

At 5:16 PM , Blogger Ex-restaurant manager said...

Sounds like your managers are "testicle challenged". I've worked with many like that, and it's a fast-track to low morale amongst the hard-working servers. Maybe an anonymous e-mail to the Area Director is in order. The only way they can get rid of slacker managers is to have a "paper trail" of revelations like you describe. You deserve managers who have your back.

At 7:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Waiter,
Today life sucks. Big time. No matter who you are, what you do, it sucks.
I'd love to tell you how my day sucks, but the way it's been going, you wouldn't read it anyway.

At 7:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took a job. A small western town needed a drama teacher. I worked so hard I had a couple break downs trying to make it all work. Once it was so bad I jumped in a 65F pool because it was the only way to stop myself from screaming uncontrollably. Gasping for breath from the cold made me calmer.
Today the script I've worked on for months and never charged them for my time. Today I was told to let the students write themselves whatever parts they wanted because they weren't happy. My boss told me that she didn't want to come down and see the students not busy. I had spent 7 hours the day before writing out material for them to read when not on stage pertaining to performing and memorizing lines, with assignments. Instead she came down and took them outside and let them perform as they wanted to because despite my work, sacrifice and effort I'm a glorified baby sitter for high school children that don't want to work but get out of class and screw off. My script that my boss has had for over a month and hasn't yet read because she's too busy also was deemed inappropriate because I used an actual historical account of passing out rum in the 1700's when crossing to California and wrote a huge scene on it. I want to say take the script, eat it, burn it, crap it, I don't care I can't take anymore. And I really can't be a baby sitter anymore. I feel so depressed. I was the anonymous above about how life sucks. Thank you for letting me talk to someone. And yes, my life is that lonely and empty of anyone to tell this to.

At 8:41 PM , Blogger staticwarp said...

"After taking another order and dropping off some food I went to attend to the inpatient servers."

hehe, when i read this i got a mental picture of a couple of servers in a hospital ward, bow ties and all, groggy from anaesthesia after undergoing surgery. had to call you on it.

seriously, what is the deal with people half assing or not doing their work at all, then people who actually do their job pick up the slack? management finds it easier to run the skilled employees into the ground with no reward than to discipline the people who are fucking up. bastards!

i love this blog.


At 11:06 PM , Blogger TheDame said...

I have a repeat offender at my restaurant, she hasn't done a whole day's side work without having to be baby-stepped through the whole thing. Even management knows she's notorious for never doing all her side work. My ideal solution for shoddy performance? "Retraining". Bring slackers in for an entire shift and make them do side work all day, and only side work. Because obviously the only reason they don't do all their side work properly is because no one has ever officially taught them how, what else could explain such poor performance in the matter? So, to be absolutely thorough, they're going to do it for the entire shift, and if it seems like they still need some practice in the issue, they'll be doing it their next shift too.

Or, simpler still- forced tip-outs. Say Mike disappears before rolling his silverware or putting up glasses, and Lisa does it instead, after showing the managers that Mike has left without doing them. Well, Mike now owes 10% of his gross sales for the day to Lisa. Only fair, since she did 10% of his work, right?

At 9:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

who cast the first stone ?

At 4:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that your managers have no testicular fortitude... they are going to need it or they are going to have to deal with this shit non-stop.

Good luck, I would have lost it too!


At 12:26 AM , Blogger Cricket said...

This is one of the reasons I loved being a headwait.

I might have closed down the place every night, but whatever work the other servers were sticking the poor closers with, NO ONE left without giving me the restaurant's money and receipts, and the managers wouldn't have let that skate.

That aside, I hate that, too. How much does it really take to do your flippin' sidework?

Man, I love working in a bookstore instead of a restaurant. Especially now that I'm not in the cafe. If stuff isn't put out for tomorrow--we can actually do it tomorrow 90% of the time.

At 12:30 AM , Blogger Cricket said...

Thedame, that's not a bad idea. Some of us might have embraced that shift as a break, too (once in a while, I was very happy to have an expedite shift instead of one where I'd make actual money ;) ).

Anonymous, it sounds like you should have a blog all your own to vent to the world. And I, for one, would love to read your play. Most of what went on in history is inappropriate for today's high schools (but not for today's high-schoolers, who are much tougher and not afraid of angry parents wielding torches, pitchforks, and lawyers).

At 9:10 AM , Anonymous the_waitress_from_hell said...

write out the side work either by station or first cut, second cut, closer etc.
post it. you and/or manager has to sign off on side work done before cashing out is done.

At 1:59 AM , Blogger hotel Groupie said...

Wow, thats so frustrating. In my restaurant we couldn't leave until everything was done.. annoying but better than finishing by yourself.

At 10:31 PM , Blogger nola said...

Sounds like corporate. I used to work at macaroni grill. You get to know which people you actually have to check out, and which ones you know did their work, and just sign their server slip when you're slammed. dont put up with that bullshit from management

At 9:45 AM , Blogger RastaManErn said...

Oh, just start stabbing people already. It's what I would do...

At 4:08 PM , Blogger Tam said...

Swearing at these people is probably counter-productive.

At 9:02 PM , Anonymous Jenell said...

I definitely know how it feels. I've had many a night like this, and actually quit a really nice place because the GM cared more about server appearance than he did about work ethic.

Worst are the ones who give you attitude and say such things as, "Was I TALKING to you?"


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