Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Work, Less Pay

Business has slowed so dramatically at Sports Bar that I am left wondering if I will be able to afford my apartment, let alone things like food. I'm sure the story is the same everywhere, but I am seriously thinking about seeking employment elsewhere.
Monday I made a whopping $11 on the lunch shift. Because business is so bad the bosses have been cutting hours. The SA doesn't work Mondays anymore and as soon as lunch hours are over I am free to go. This works well for me as I have more time for homework and am freed from tipping anyone out.
Tuesday the SA didn't show up for work or call. Wednesday was the same story. I fear we have lost Ramon. This doesn't really present a problem with the bussing of tables as I am perfectly capable of doing this myself. The problem appears in the other duties our SA performs. The bar isn't being stocked, the floors are unswept, the dishes unwashed, and bustubs overflowing. I'm not sure that they will be filling the position since it is so slow. My job description is about to expand.
Yesterday morning was an indication of things to come. When I arrived at work I had to take all the chairs down from the table, roll silverware, set up the bar (my bartender was late), and not only put the specials in the menus, but actually type them out on the office computer. After an hour the place was finally set up (45 minutes after we opened).
I had more tables than I had Monday or Tuesday, but they came in one at a time. I would receive one table and, upon cashing them out, would receive another. I ended up staying at work until 5 and making less than $10 an hour,including my hourly. Beyond frustrated, I apologized to my bartender for being so crabby.
Today,in an attempt to make the day go better, I will be taking my own bustubs to the back of the house and washing my own dishes. It's not right that my cook would have to do this, I might as well help out. Besides, with business the way it is it will atleast provide something to keep me busy. The bartender working today has been complaining that she is getting sick so I will offer to send her home and complete her shift. If I have to stay past the lunch hours I atleast want to be doing more than caring for one table at a time!
I'm heading in early today so I can finish setting up by the time we open. It's going to be a long day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

No Waitress Necessary

Friday was fairly slow at Sports Bar. The economy is killing business and good tips. A new trend I have noticed is business guys tipping less than 10%. This happened with several tables this week. I could spot them when they sat because they made jokes about the stock market crash asking what our "crash specials" were and then ordering the cheapest thing they could from the bar and the most expensive menu items.
Being as slow as it was, by 8 pm I was starting to get tired. Knowing I had 6 hours left I made some coffee and drank a few cups quickly to get a quick energy boost. Then it happened; something that I would try to keep from bothering me for the rest of the night, but would still sting when I woke up in the morning.

I look at the clock with dread. It's only 8:30 and Sports Bar is dead. So much for Friday night.
"This is one sucky Friday night." I say to my bartender. She looks up from her cell phone and laughs.
"Yeah,so much for making good money tonight."
She turns away to help some thirsty customers and Red Shirt Guy walks up behind me. Red Shirt Guy is friends with one of our beloved regulars. A sweet guy who stays for many hours on Fridays, I have often given TJ a ride home from the bar so he can leave his car. We always go through a drive through and he buys me dinner before I drop him off. He is one of the few bar regulars that, when sitting at a table, allows me to serve him, waits for me rather than going directly to the bar, and tips me the same as the bartenders. Tonight TJ and Red Shirt Guy are sitting at a small table right next to the bar and are going to the bartender for service. This doesn't bother me since it is a table the bar regulars usually spill over to and I rarely serve anyone that sits there. Their choice, not mine, but I have accepted it.
"Tell Stacy there are no paper towels in the men's room." Red Shirt says.
"Why tell Stacy?" I turn to him confused. She can't change the towels in the men's room.
"Because I don't know who else to tell."
"Oh. Well you just told me." I replied amused by the guy.
"Well tell her for me so she can take care of it. She's the bartender."
"She can't take care of that, but I'll tell someone." I'm less amused.
"Just tell her. She's the bartender. She's the most important person here. F**k the cooks and the managers. They don't do anything." Red Shirt says with the tone of an ass.
"What about the server?" I ask with a little smile, hoping to turn the conversation around.
Red Shirt looks at me with something resembling agitation. "People can serve themselves. You don't need a server."
"OK. Well that's nice." I say as I turn to find my SA to refill the paper towels in the men's room.
About an hour later I am talking to the bartender and standing in my usual spot next to the opening for the bar. Red Shirt walks up and pushes past me to get behind the bar. He stands next to Stacy with a menu in his hand.
"I wanted to order food but I guess I have to talk to the waitress." He says with not so much as a glance my direction.
I am amazed at this guy. What the hell is his problem? He places his order with the bar and goes back to the table. I want to tell TJ what an ass his friend is, that he's being rude...but I don't. It eats at me for the rest of the night. My manager asks me what's wrong at one point. When I tell him his only response is not to let jerks like that get to me. I know this. I know it's silly, but there are so many reasons why it does bother me.
The economy stinks right now. Tips are down in general, customers are coming in less. My wallet is taking a hard hit. It's more than that though. There is a bar nearby that cut all their servers. They only run bartenders and let the customers go to the bar to get their own drinks and order food. This scares me. What if Sports Bar does the same thing or decides that they don't need a server on the slower lunch shifts? Good for my bartenders, terrible for me.
Another reason Red Shirt's comments bothered me so much is because of the dynamic of the bar. The bartenders serve the same amount to half the customers a server does. They make two to three times the money. The bartenders at Sports Bar have little to no "sidework" at the end of the night. The put the fruit back in the cooler and the spill mats by the sink for the barback to clean. A server is in charge of the silverware, replacing the specials in the menu, the specials board at the door, the salad station, setting the tables, and refilling condiments among other things.
To hear from someone, even a complete ass, that my job is unnecessary is hurtful. I already get the short end of the stick and to hear someone say what I already know so many bar patrons think sucks. It just sucks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Goodbye World Series

The Cubs and the Sox are both out of the world series. While I am thankful that this means no more nights staying late and waiting for the crowds my managers are sure will come (but never do), I am going to miss the money that it promised.
Friday night there was a Sox playoff game and the Sports Bar was packed! There was not an empty seat in the place. The day bartender stayed after her shift to help me run food, drinks, and check on tables. I even had people sitting on the patio and it was roughly 50 degrees outside. Probably more on that later. This and last week have been hectic for me as I moved into a new apartment, have three tests in school, and two papers to write. I barely have time to do the homework let alone for any pleasurable activities, including this blog. I plan on taking some time after class tonight to sit on my ass and enjoy the cable I have for the first time in three years.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Just a short rant I need to get out.
Working at a sports bar during the playoffs really sucks. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that both Chicago teams made it to the playoffs, but my work schedule is now screwed.
Two weeks ago I made a doctors appointment for tomorrow afternoon. This is not normally a problem as I leave work at 3. Now there is a Sox playoff game at 1:20 tommorow afternoon and I have to reschedule the appointment. Since I don't know what the playoff schedule is for next week I can't reschedule until I do, but the office has a two week wait for appointments. Looks like no doctor for me until the playoffs are over.
I also have an unimaginable amount of homework, am moving on Saturday, and have been asked to work that night since there is another playoff game then. Being that Sports Bar has a total of three servers I can't get anyone to cover my shift or come in early so I can keep my appointment or not have to work Saturday.
With both the Sox and the Cubs in the playoffs I stand to make good money over the next month. This is a good thing as this is the time of year business starts to drop off. I am thankful for that, but today, I hate baseball.