In the restaurant business when everything is going to shit you say that you’re “in the weeds.” Usually we’ll say that someone is “weeded.” I have experienced brief times of being weeded and other people being weeded in my almost three month stint as a hostess/busser/food runner/occaional order taker/basic restaurant bitch. But last night was the first time the entire restaurant was truly “in the weeds,” which was actually more like the f*cking Amazon jungle of vines and pirhannas eating our limbs off. It was brutal. I didn’t help that the night before I had picked up a closing shift and stayed until 3am helping to clean up after a party of 35, and got to work at 1030am to open the next day. We have a chronic problem of hosts calling out/having babies/”getting sick” but yesterday was truly a clusterfuck.
For some reason, everyone and their mother, father, grandmother, friends, and twenty five cousins decided to come eat at the restaurant I work at, which is weird because Sundays are usually pretty slow. Not only did they decide to do that, they decided to do it while there were only two hosts working the whole restaurant (me and another girl) and they decided to come in parties of 10-25, all at the same time, during shift change (read: while servers are going home or sitting around waiting for their shifts to start and refusing to work and switching sections and it’s basically impossible to seat anyone without someone bitching at you). Keep in mind, we don’t have busboys, and the hosts are the bus boys. So not only do we have to deal with these people, but we also are responsible for cleaning and setting all the tables and bringing all the used dishware to the kitchen/emptying them into the garbage, and separating them into their respective piles and racks.
By 4pm we had one other host come in and start her shift. I felt bad for her because she truly walked into one of the worst situations ever, but I was happy that there was another person on this sinking Titanic to you know, like huddle for warmth with me and try not to die while the sharks swam around us.
The whole day my manager knew that we needed someone else to come in for the night shift because two of the hosts for that evening had called out (the other host and I agreed we could handle the day together- probably because we’re both pretty good and because it means less money we’d have to share with anyone out of the tip pool), so of course he didn’t f*cking call anyone because god knows what he was doing.
Time out, because this is entertaining- so one host called out because his “wife” /girlfriend had just had a baby. Legitimate excuse. I already knew about this because I picked up his closing shift the night before. This was his second baby, by a second babymama. Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore.
The other girl called out because she is a pathological liar. First of all, one time this girl told me that she had a heart attack when she was 7 (ok, that could be true, it happens, in bizarre cases), and that it was caused by a tumor in her heart that they decided not to have removed because there’d be a 95% chance she wouldn’t survive the surgery. Then about a month later she told me she was quitting because she was having “another open heart surgery” – time out Beesh, you told me you didn’t have surgery (but I kept my mouth shut to see how extravagant this would get), and then on top of that she told me she had a collapsed lung. I have to conclude that this girl is kind of dumb, because if you’re going to lie about chronic health problems, it shouldn’t be to a future nurse, and if you’re going to claim open heart surgery, maybe you should have a giant scar on your sternum, idiot. Not only that, this girl is like three hundred pounds. If she had a heart problem, she wouldn’t be walking around and laughing, and lungs don’t collapse permanently, they collapse because of pressure outside the lung- which can be remedied with a puncture, and she would be probably moaning in pain and not working 8 hour shifts three days a week with her hearty laugh.
Anyway, back to the night. This stupid bitch woman yelled at me. She and her family of 6 were waiting for roughly ten minutes when she flipped out on me because I tried to seat a party of 8 instead of her family. I told her that the booth we were putting the 8 at is meant for 10-12 people and that we don’t put 6 at it, and I told her multiple times we had a table for her and we were just waiting for the people to leave. Well this woman threw such a bitch fit that we just took her table to the gigantic booth just to get rid of her. I’m sorry, if you bring a party of six to a restaurant and have to wait for 20 minutes, suck it up. She also flipped because I sat a crowd of people in front of her while her family stood there, valid, except that these were all parties of 2 and 4 that could be sat easily in the empty booths that we had. I’m not a f*cking magician, bitch, I can’t just make a booth bigger so that your family can fit in it. Maybe you should ditch grandma and grandpa next time because they make everything a lot harder when you can’t walk them up the damn stairs or have them climb into a somewhat elevated booth. This goes to people who request 3 high chairs as well. This isn’t Buy Buy Baby, ok, this is a bar/restaurant and we don’t have an unlimited supply of highchairs for your kid who is just going to eat those stupid starter cookies you brought with you that you’re going to get all over my floor.
And on another note about kids- what is it with people not counting their babies/toddlers/infants as people? I don’t need to know your political agenda but I’m assuming everyone is on the same page with like, a baby being born as counting as a person, but people NEVER COUNT THEIR CHILDREN WHEN THEY TELL ME HOW MANY PEOPLE THEY HAVE. If you tell me you have two, and then come up when I call you with a frickin kid that needs a high chair or a baby in a car seat- THATS THREE PEOPLE. That’s three bodies I need to place on the floor. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO FIT AT A TABLE FOR TWO, NOR ARE YOU GOING TO FIT IN A BOOTH WHICH MEANS YOU’RE NOT GOING TO FIT AT 80% OF THE TABLES IN THIS RESTAURANT AND NOW I WANT TO KILL YOU FOR NOT TELLING ME THAT EARLIER. Also, you’d be amazed how many people will actually get all the way to a table with me and realize that they’d totally forgotten about one of their children in the process of counting. Like real, walking, talking, opinion-having children.
Also- its BOOTH not “boof.”
Oh, I just remembered. BEFORE ALL THIS, there was this woman (she was 26 and still lived with her parents because I happened to hear her life story 5 times) who came in alone at 11am, the stroke of when we opened, and immediately went to the bar and started drinking. I didn’t even think you could drink before noon on Sundays in NY, but apparently there is a new law where you can drink if you order food. She sat at the bar for four hours and got totally sh*tfaced and conversationally assaulted every patron and bartender with her life story. Then, she came up to the front and told me and the manager to watch out for her cab. We were like, “ok at least she knows she’s shitfaced and is being smart about it.” Five minutes later she comes back to the front and says, “I’ll be right back” and runs- literally runs out the door with her keys in her hands. We got kind of nervous so we went outside and kept watch in the parking lot for her to make sure she didn’t drive away. I thought she might have been peeing in a bush or something because we couldn’t find her. Why you’d pee in a bush when there’s a bathroom in the building, I don’t know, but you know, to each their own. So we go back inside. Less than two minutes later, I see her drive by in a black BMW and leave. In her car. Driving. This bitch- parked behind the restaurant, but had us call her a cab so that we wouldn’t interfere, and then ran out and drove away. Great life choices, psycho. I hope you sign an organ donation card, although you’ll probably just kill someone else while driving and you’ll live because your body will be so loose and intoxicated that you’ll survive whatever accident you cause. This is why I will never be a bartender, aside from the fact that I dated an alcoholic and am scarred for life.
Back to the night shift- relief eventually came in the form of some trainees who got straight to bussing, which is awesome because while they’re still training they don’t get to partake in the tip pool, and my host manager. He called on a newer server to step down for the night and work as a host. The only problem with this is that she and a lot of my other coworkers (mostly servers, but some hosts) leave the building every ten minutes to partake in another kind of weed. Literally every ten minutes one of them is covering for another one so that they can sneak off to their cars and get high. It is so annoying when you are not high and trying to count on them. For however much more relaxed they get, thats how much more f*cked I get.
There were several points in the day when me and the one other girl from the day shift just felt our eyes welling up due to the pressure, but we didn’t cry. In fact, crying would have really just been an intense waste of time. At least I didn’t have a honey mustard explosion because every so often that happens to me and that is oily and hard to clean up.
When the general manager finally came in for the night and saw what a major disaster the restauarant was, he stepped in and stepped up the pressure. It was like triage, really. And then in the midst of getting a check for a table and bringing someone soda and blah blah blah, he stopped me and he said, “I just want to thank you for all that you’re doing. You saved me this weekend. You’re doing an amazing job, and I’m going to buy you dinner tonight.” And I almost cried because I was on like my 25th hour of work in three days and my bones were hurting and I was working on 5 hours of sleep and I hadn’t eaten all day and I only got to pee one time at 11am, but instead I just hugged him, and it was good.
Eventually I got put as the list person, which kind of sucks but at least I was in front of the TV whcih was playing America’s Funniest Home Videos, and I got to talk with some nice guests. By 8pm, everything was going a lot smoother, but I still got sideways looks from a few guests like I was personally trying to screw them over by seating other parties ahead of them even though they’d been very particular about their requests.
Everyone should work in a restaurant at some point in their lives. Unless you’ve worked in a restaurant, you have no idea how many systems are in place that make a restaurant work. It all looks a lot simpler than it actually is. Also, chances are if you’ve worked in a restaurant, you’ll probably be a lot less of a douchebag to people who work in the service industry. Believe it or not, we do not have you on a secret black list, and we’re not trying to ruin your day. That would actually take a lot of energy that we just don’t have.
But I still love my stupid job. I spent the last few hours of the night just singing and dancing to myself at the host stand in front of a lot of strangers, because I was delirious. I even whipped out the Single Ladies dance when it came on. Sometimes you just have to dance to keep from crying and/or falling asleep.
I must have made at least a million dollars yesterday in tips from the amount of business and the lack of hosts working with me. On top of that, I took home a glorious strawberry shortcake, courtesy of my boss, for my blood, sweat, and almost tears.
I was supposed to work the day shift today, but even before the massacre of Sunday I had bribed another host to take my shift for $20. She took it, and that was the best $20 I’ve ever spent in my life, as I am not only exhausted, but I have to deal with another kind of weeding now, the “weeding out” of any kind of university Biology department and the test on brain and nervous system structures I have tonight.
And then I’m going to watch brain-numbing reality TV until the wee hours of the morning and maybe imbibe an entire bottle of arbor mist, by myself.