Short Lived

I referred to a restaurant last year that I worked at as The Restaurant.  My experience of that place is also written somewhere in these online pages.  This is a story about The New Place.  That’s what I called the restaurant I was hired at as a new server.  That is not the actual name of said restaurant.  However, protection is important and since I can’t blame my experience on the restaurant, or owner, or even the kind person who hired me, I won’t name any of them.

I will however tell you the person who ruined it for me is named Maria.  An older woman–not ancient, just older.

I will also tell you that the beginning of my friday when all of this New Place Stuff went down went like this:

*Alarm sounds at 8am, I hit snooze for an hour and get up at 9am to be at East Harlem by 10am for a Food & Safety test required for me to take for my current position at my original job. It was already in the 90’s at this time.

* I waited underground for 20 minutes for my train.  Think of a hot muggy place you hate that smells like homeless people and rat pee, and dead rats, then enclose yourself in it until it feels like a small 5×5 space.  That’s what it felt like–and I was stupidly wearing jeans.  I have no shorts and I knew if I wore a dress or skirt my thigh would be sweaty and gross and rub together too much and create a small fire by my spooch.  Yah, I just said that.

* Train to 116 then go above ground and wait 5 minutes for the cross town bus.

*Arrive, take my exam that I am not prepared for, and pass–win.

* Walk 5 blocks to bus stop, it’s over 100 now.  No breeze of any kind.  Just a still unmoving heat the weighs on me.  Jeans sticking to me creating a think denim blanket–trapping the sweat and heat in one place.  Get. On. Bus with A/C

* Bus breaks down 2 stops later, we all get off the bus and wait another 7-10 minutes for the next bus.  I am one of the first people on the bus and secure a seat.  This bus is better air conditioned.

* Gets off bus and heads down to train and waits 20 minutes (yes I watched the clock) for the train to arrive.  Remember what that heat feels like, and what I’m wearing.  Yah.

*Gets off train and barely walks home.  I am dehydrated and hungry.  I must also do laundry.

* Stairs up to the fifth floor, naked time infront of a/c unit, then laundry. Down the stairs, outside, next door.  Laundry in Washer.  Outside, back to my building, up to the fifth floor.  30 minutes later. Down the stairs, outside, next door.  Laundry in Dryer.  Outside, back to building, up to fifth floor.  45 mintes later.  Down the stairs, outside, next door.  Collect hot clothes and walk outside, back to building, up to fifth floor and dump hot, dry clothes on bed.  Do not put anything away–it’s too hot to move.  Stand in front of a/c.  Moments later gets ready for work–at The New Place.  Two days of training and trailing, now it was my first day on the floor.  Puts. On. Hot-fresh-out-of-the-dryer black pants for work…


Now.  To bullet point the *highlights* of my evening at The New Place, starting first with a little description of the place itself.

It is small and quaint.  Maybe hold 40-50 people until it’s considered crowded.  There is a bar (not a fully stocked bar, but a bar that’s stocked enough I suppose)  There are stools at the bar for maybe 8 people.  The close quarters of this place make it a bit difficult to get to the computer to put orders in without being int he way of everything else people may need ie stuff from the bar, cups, napkins, silverware.  The kitchen is 3 steps away from the computer and it’s stupid hot in there, duh–they are cooking.  I am under the impression there are 3 Managers on Duty that sort of rotate.  At least one of them is there on any given evening, there are 2 servers total, the bartender, and the busboy.  The Manager will play hostess, seat people, take reservations, and answer the phone and standby and watch to make sure things are running smoothly.  The servers will take drink orders, and food orders.  The bartender will make all drinks.  The server will run her own food and help bus her own tables.  The bus boy will help with water, clearing and re-setting tables.  And he will also help take out food to tables, only if the server asks for help.  If not, let the server do her own thing.

I arrived at The New Place at 3:15 pm.  The manager on duty, Maria arrived by 4:30pm and it took her an hour and a half to get me in the system with an employee number so I could take tables.  Under no circumstances was I to share an employees number (as in don’t ring on the other servers number).  The restaurant opened for dinner at 5pm, and I was finally taking tables by 6pm.  The other server, I will call her Lisa (and no that’s not her real name, you only get Maria’s real name for this one), ran the entire floor.  She played hostess, seated everyone, got everyone’s orders and drinks, took out all her food and I stood and watched going …well that WOULD be my section, if I was allowed to take tables.  SO! 6pm rolls around I get some tables finally and it’s running smoothly.  I go to close out the checks and the button I need to settle the table is not showing up on the screen.  This, to me, means I am not in the system correctly.  It has been my experience that if an employee is restricted from anything, it’s because they are not in the system correctly.  This *knowledge* I attained from working in hotels, and The Restaurant.  It took Maria….Two…More…Hours to figure out WHY.   She actually didn’t know what to do, so she called the other managers and they tried to walk her through stuff, she called the owner who did not answer and she left a message for the owners assistant.  The owners assistant was out of town, but she still called Maria back and walked her through everything. By 8pm I was in the system, able to close my tables and open new ones.  This was just in time for me to have a table of 3, a table of 2, and a party of 8–all sit at the same time.

The rest of this story will be bullet pointed…

*  Maria took food off the line in the back and walked around the restaurant with them asking “who ordered ____.”  And regardless if it was for my table, someone…somewhere in the restaurant…got the food.  Therefore my party of 8 had pieces of their orders, and some got their entrees, and finished them before others got their appetizers.  I asked her not to *help* me because I needed to see the food and group it up to take it out at the same time, to which she replied–with great volume–that I needed to hurry because the party had been waiting for their food and I must not know what I’m doing.
* I apologized profusely to the table and went back over their orders so I could get out the food that was missing.  This also upset the chef, because I had to ask for repeat items because Maria had taken them out to other tables.
*  The party had also ordered some desserts to which I was again yelled at, with volume, because it was a birthday and I didn’t make a big deal out of it.  I reminded her it was my first day on the floor and I didn’t know the policies of the restaurant.  She said not to charge them for their desserts and when I tried to explain that they were already on the ticket, so she needed to either move it to a house account, or void it–she cut me off and yelled at me not to charge them.  I walked away from her.  I won’t be yelled at like that.  And I’d like to think I know the difference between speaking loudly over a crowd, and yelling–she was angry, or something, and yelling.
 * Then other people said it was their birthdays as well and when I checked in with her about them, she walked away from me muttering something about how helpless I am–it’s just cake.
* She also decided to give the Bartender some of my tables–without notifying me or Lisa.  So the bartender was working the full bar, ordering food for them, making their drinks and our drinks, then leaving the bar to wait on tables.  Now, that’s just not okay with me for the obvious reasons.
* By the end of the night I needed to print out my reports, which I was walked through once before slowly, but I wanted to be sure.  I asked her if she could help me and she said she could, but wouldn’t and that I could ask the bartender or Lisa.
* The closing argument I had with Maria was that I seemingly closed the party of 8’s check, incorrectly.  I had placed the 20% gratuity on it, as instructed with parties of 5 or more, and the table left me an additional tip so the bill would be an even $230.  I asked her how I should write down the 20% tip, and the additional tip and she said I closed the check wrong, so it was The Owner’s money now and my tip was the additional $6.69.  STUNNED, I said…well…”I”m not gonna eat it $45″ and she just repeated herself.  I asked her to re-open the check and show me how to close it correctly and she said she didn’t know how, and if she did she wouldn’t do it.  That it was my fault for not asking before, and if I took the money that was supposed to be my tip, It would be considered stealing, but that the Owner *might* let it go this ONE time because I was new.
I. Lost. My. Shit.
I told her …no I snapped and raised my voice to her in a sort of… authoritative manner…to STOP TALKING.  That she was a terrible excuse for a Manager on Duty, she was of no help that evening, she screwed me over with the party, she moved like molasses and I should charge HER for wasting my time.
 There’s only so much Lisa could help me with being new herself (two weeks there, but she had served before), and might I add she held that floor down remarkably well when I wasn’t allowed to do anything.  She did…everything, while Maria stood staring at the screen.  Lisa was answering the phone, playing hostess, and the whole floor was her section until I was situated.
The unorganized, and poor management was a complete turn off.  I had dealt with worse, for longer–and I promised myself I wouldn’t work like that ever again.  I’m too old! heh
I finished my reports, tipped out the bartender and the bus boy, took ALL of the money that was owed to me in tips, cleaned what Lisa asked me to clean then thanked her for everything that night, and told her to take care as I was not going to be returning.
I walked out into the midnight thirty air of 90 degrees and humid and remembered that uptown trains were all running express so I would have to walk 10 blocks to get to the closest train stop.  So I hailed a gypsy cab and gave him my address.  I leaned back into the cushioned seats and tears began to roll down my eyes.  I was so frustrated.  I made it home, into the building, up to the fifth floor, walked in the apartment, walked down the hall to my bedroom stopping only briefly to look at my housemate Mattie and tell him I wouldn’t be returning to The New Place.  My eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara all running down my face as I opened my bedroom door and was embraced by My Darling Sam.  I had been able to send him a quick text before my phone died of no battery juice and ask him to be there when I got home, even though that wasn’t the original plan for friday.  He had said “of course.”  I collapsed on the bed next to him and cried more and he just squeezed me tightly and ran his fingers through my hair and gently caressed the back of his hand against my face.  I told him I was so glad to see him.  He kissed my forehead and told me it would all be okay.
It was 2:30am before we went to sleep as I sat up and complained and vented about my evening.  And it was 6am when the alarm sounded for me to get up and go to work by 7am.

About Aiy_M

5'9" barefoot

Posted on July 25, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. wow, no wonder you quit! i would have thrown down too! I’m sorry sweetie ❤

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