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.

1 comment:

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

The one thing that can be a positive is Christmas season is coming up.I find where I am anyway October has always been a bit of a calm before the storm.I admit though the economy is in a tailspin.The worst in decades.