Category Archives: waitressing

State of Inefficiency

Here’s my question.  What the fuck happened to customer service?  You know, customer service – that whole “customer is always right even when they’re so stupid they should be kicked in the head to save everyone else the trouble of talking to them.”  In the past week, I’ve found myself in several lines in different venues, completely dumb-fucking-founded at the lack of efficiency in operations.

I’ll put a caveat here as anyone who knows me is aware that I am possibly the least efficient person on the planet.  As I’m writing this, I’m mentally calculating how many times I may need to pee in the next few hours and whether I can hold off on going to the store for toilet paper because I forgot to buy some. (Again.)  I am the queen of, “Eh, I know we’re at the store now, but I don’t need that until TOMORROW.  I’ll just come back then.”  (And yes, when tomorrow comes, I’m inevitably calling the me of yesterday a complete asshole.)  I’m famous for only putting enough gas in the car to get where I’m going at that particular moment, putting a bottle of pop with three sips left in it back in the refrigerator, and ignoring the bag of garbage on the porch despite the fact that I am going right past the garbage cans when I leave the house.

However.  HOWEVER.  At work -where are there are consequences for being lazy far more stringent than being told, “You dick.  Take. the. garbage. out,” I am the epitome of efficiency.  My desk is spotless, my emails are categorized, my pending folder is cleaned out every Friday, and my inbox is empty each night.  You know why?  Because I am being paid for my time.  My employers expect me to live up to the promises I made while terror-sweating through my interview and they expect me to provide the service that they are paying me produce on a daily basis.  Other reasons would include being brought up in a household where I was taught that you receive a paycheck for an honest day’s work, that you should take pride in your work, and, oh yeah, that you shouldn’t be a complete douchcanoe.

Which is why I found myself internally screaming, “Do your job, you lazy cow!” several times this week at the following people.

Kohl’s Employee with Zero Concept of “If the Customer has a Coupon, They Expect to Pay Less.”

I returned a Christmas gift at this fine establishment, and, receiving store credit, decided to buy myself an electric sweeper.  Without going into the math, I had more on the store credit than said (fabulous) sweeper cost.  In addition, I had a coupon for 10% off.  Excited about my bargain hunting, I handed over the coupon, and we started to sled downhill.  “Well, ma’am, it shows this isn’t valid.”  Me. “Okay.  Why?”  Person Who’s Super Good At Her Job. “Um.  There was a return on it?”  Me.  “What now?”  PWSGAHJ. “I’m not sure.  It just says return.”  Me.  “I don’t understand.”  PWSGAHJ, with a big smile, “Me neither!”  Me. “So, you’ll take the 10% off?”  PWSGAHJ, bewildered now, “Oh, you still want that?”  Me, in my head, “No, you dizzy bitch.  I’d prefer to spend 10% more than I owe you because you don’t know how to do your damn job.”  Me, in reality.  “Yes.  Yes, actually I would.  If you can tell me why the coupon isn’t valid, that’s fine, but if not, then yes, I would prefer to spend 10% less.”  PWSGAHJ, with an exaggerated eye-roll, “Well, okay, ma’am.  I guess we can honor this.”  Really?  Do people actually just say, “Okay, no, I would prefer not to save eight dollars!” and just hand it over?

All Arby’s Employees at the Thompson Center.

When I was in high school and college, I worked at the movie theater in my hometown.  At the time, it was a second-run theater, charging $2.25 for movies that had been out for a few weeks and were no longer available at the big name theaters.  As this was before Netflix and OnDemand, it was a pretty good deal.  Add to that fact that Elk Grove had to hire extra security when the Krispy Kreme opened, you can imagine this particular theater did a relatively brisk business.  I can remember rushing around behind the counter, slipping on (real) butter, covered in popcorn grease and syrup from the pop boxes, doing everything I could to make the customers’ experience better and their wait shorter.  Which may be part of the reason it makes me batshit crazy when I am in a line of seven people on my lunch hour and wait longer for a premade BLT sandwich than it would take me to cook a fucking steak.  The waiting isn’t what makes me want to eat my own head – it’s the seven employees languishing behind the counter, moving at the pace of drugged snails, that makes me nuts.  Seriously – I’ve walked faster on my way into a gynecologist appointment, and let’s face it, no one’s really rushing into that office.  These folks will hear the timer go off and lumber off in the general direction of the fryer, stopping to talk to their co-workers who are doing absolutely nothing, and occasionally to check their phone.  One time, an employee particularly hell bent on making me want to take a hostage leaned over and retied her shoes before handing me my order.  It goes without saying that she didn’t wash her hands first.  Is there no lack of urgency anymore??  If I had tried that back at the theater I would’ve been out on my ass before the 9:30 showing of Pulp Fiction.

Management at Dominicks on Chicago and Damen.

I know, I know.  I’ve beat this horse nearly to death and have clearly expressed my distaste for the clientele and employees involved in each experience.  However, my visit tonight enforced my belief that the problem clearly lies at the top of this pyramid of morons.  Picture, if you will, a crowded metropolis of thousands of people living in a four-square mile radius.  Then place one solitary grocery store in the middle.  Now, explain to me why, on a Friday night at 6PM, you would only plan to have four cashiers available.  Then, explain to me why only one of these cashiers is over the age of 21 and therefore able to scan adult beverage purchases, which is approximately 75% of your sales at this particular interval.  After that, please – fucking please – enlighten me as to why you would allow the aforementioned only adult employee to sit on the goddamn phone at the end of the self-checkout, where she used the word “Motherfucker,” no less than four times, while every single line in the store had increasingly irritated customers waiting to have their booze purchases scanned and the lines continued to expand all the way to the produce aisle.  It’s called forecasting, people.  Fail to plan, plan to fail.  It’s quite basic, really.

Am I the only that wants to simply start screaming in these situations?  How is it possible that so very many people have zero pride in their jobs?  I can understand feeling you aren’t appreciated; I can understand feeling that the job you do isn’t important or worthy of your talents.  As a college graduate who spent two years waiting tables and catching terrified lobsters out of a tank on Saturday nights for delighted diners, all while wearing a FUCKING BOWTIE, believe me, I understand.  But for me, that’s a life lesson.  If you want a roof over your head and appreciate electricity, nothing is beneath you, my friend.  You take that job and you do the best you can at it. And you do it with a (fucking) smile.

That's about right.

That’s about right.

You Asked For It – Some of my Favorite “Guests” at the Restaurant

So Trisha mentioned that I should write about the boom box story so her friends don’t think she’s lying.  I had no idea what she was talking about and had to ask her.  Apparently, it was a story I told her not long after I lost my patience with waitressing, which was appoximately three days after I completed my training.  I must have blocked it, and so many others, from my memory for fear of lashing out at the next person I see eating shrimp.

But once I remembered that one, they all started coming back to me, like that scene in “Ghost” where Whoopi Goldberg has all the people trying to communicate with their loved ones.  But instead of harmless dead people, I was assuaged with visions of, “Miss!  Miss!  Hey Bartender!  Hey Blondie!!   Where’s my shrimps!  This ain’t fried hard enough!  I want raspberry lemonade!  It’s my birthday, this is free, right?”  So rather than tell all of these stories, which would most likely result in my drinking very, very heavily tonight, I’ll just give you the highlights of my favorites.

— The boombox people.  Came in at exactly 10:55 on a Saturday when we close at 11:00.  Don’t EVER, EVER do this unless you are really going to tip your server lots of money.  I had already cleaned my section, which was closed.  Unfortunately for me, the only place this lovely foursome wanted to sit was in that particular section.  The reason?  Because it was in a little alcove type area, kind of separated from the other jerks who wouldn’t leave.  Why, you ask?  So they could play their BOOM BOX and have room to have a little dance party until one in the morning, in between sending me to fetch them more water.  They left me a whole two dollars!!  Totally worth it.

— “Well, I want raspberry lemonade and I know that he wants red Kool Aid.”  Stop.  Stop.  First of all, we don’t have raspberry lemonade, just like the last four times you came in and pissed me off.  Second of all — WTF?  What restaurants do you usually dine in?  Cause the last time I checked, even Chucky fucking Cheese doesn’t serve Kool-Aid.

— “Miss!!  Scuse me!  Miss!!  I didn’t get a pineapple with my drink, and she got a pineapple with her drink.  Why didn’t I get a pineapple?  Can I have two, since you forgot?”  You know what?  You’re 40.  You don’t get prizes with your food.
— The people who wanted all of their drinks for free because once they were almost done with them, a fly landed on the glass and apparently walked around inside of it.  Also requested that I stand by with a flyswatter in case it came back so as not to disturb their lunch.  Sure, a now homicidal waitress who gets paid three dollars an hour and has to wear a bow tie  glowering at your table with a weapon should enhance your dining experience.

— “I want raspberry lemonade,” after I’ve told the previous four patrons at her table that no, we don’t FUCKING have raspberry lemonade.  “Oh, then I’ll have blueberry lemonade.”  I can’t go further into that one cause I’m going to get a beer to calm myself.  Blood pressure, up.

— The people who told the table next to them that they would beat the hell of out of their kid if they spilled orange juice.  The child in question still didn’t have teeth.

— The two ladies, and I use that term loosely, that sent me back not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, not FIVE times, not SIX TIMES, but seven times while they each alternately changed their drink order each time I brought a fresh one to the table, then one of them told me that her french fries weren’t fried hard enough and she would like a brand new batch to be made especially for her.  While the special fries were being made, she flagged me down again to tell me, “You know what?  While I’ve been waiting for my fries, my shrimps have gotten cold.”  This was the night that I went to my manager and told him that if I went back to that table, I would be fired within the next three minutes.  He took care of them, and remade the shrimps and the fries no less than three times.  HATE.

— The “men” that ordered an apple martini and then sent it back because it was too strong.  Look, Sally, if you can’t handle three apple pucker shots, perhaps you should stick to juice.

— Last but certainly not least, and this happened in several variations thoughout my stunning waitressing/bartending career, was the guy who, after his meal, came up and thanked me profusely, telling me what a great waitress I was, they so enjoyed themselves, told the manager that I was such a great server and they just loved me, then pressed a ten dollar bill in my hand to cover the tip on his $360.00 bill.  Yeah, thanks, asshole.  Your thank you will keep me almost as warm and fed as the $150.00 I would have made if I hadn’t gotten stuck waiting on your twelve person party for four hours on a Saturday night.  That will put almost as much gas in my car as I need to get home!  Thanks, SIR.

Off for more beer.  My head is starting to do that spinny thing again.