Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ordering by Colour

"What NE beer do you have?" The man on the other side of the bar was wearing a Nascar shirt under a flannel and ripped jeans. He had pronounced "NE" like "any".

"I'm sorry?"

"NE alcohol." He replied.

"Oh, we have O'Douls." I said with a slight smile, trying not to laugh.

"What kind?"

"The original."

"Red or green?"

"We have the original, in the green bottle."

"OK. Green O'Douls."

Later, they ordered more "white sauce" for their wings. The waitress asked if they wanted ranch or bleu cheese. Their reply? "The white sauce. White."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sometimes I feel obsolete

44. 3. 15. 7.
Number of people at the party: 44
Number of hours the party lasted: 3
Number of drinks I served: 15
Tips made off those drinks: $7

I stayed late today to work a holiday party. The party started while I still had several lunch tables, so after getting the first to arrive's round of drinks I checked on my tables. When I returned (the party was on the bar side of the building) there was a small group at the bar. No big deal, I'll get them next time. Except I never did.
Several people started tabs with the bar.
Several others told me they wanted to see what we had on tap and did not want me to recite the list to them. "I'll just look." and while they were up there they just ordered from the bartender.
People were sitting at the bar and crowding around the tables making it impossible to serve them. Every time I checked on them I was told they needed nothing but several seconds later would see them at the bar.

I hate holiday parties.
How would you feel in this situation?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Other People's Parties

Anyone else hate working these?

My bar tends to have many parties scheduled the week before Christmas. Lucky me, I get to work 3 of them. One is an afternoon party that ends a few hours after I usually am able to leave work. Because of this party, I have to skip a class I have been taking that night every week for the past few months. The joy.

The next day there are two parties scheduled. One of them we have no time on yet. The other is for 100 people. Management has decided that they want a second person working that party with me, which would be great except they want to station her at a beer tub "since most of them drink beer anyway." This means that majority of the people taking up tables on my shift will be going to her for their drinks and I will be left with the few stragglers that want mixed drinks. Part of me understands why the person they are bringing in gets to do the beer tub, but the other part of me thinks this is incredibly unfair.
This is my shift. I depend on this shift to pay my bills and giving majority of the customers to the person who is not usually scheduled to work this shift cuts in to my pay. I will have almost no extra tables on that day with the party of 100 and possibly the other party, 20 people, taking up all the tables and standing space in the bar. Not to mention that these are cash parties and I am not getting gratuity for either. And being cash parties, the customers will not feel like they have to wait for the server to come by and will probably just go to the bar.
Management is so disorganized too. No one can tell me how these parties will be set up, when they end, or when one of them starts! I don't know if there will be a buffet or if I will be taking orders off the menu. How can they expect me to provide good service if they can't give me any idea about the structure or plan of the party?

OK, complaints over. Now I will suck it up and just work the parties the best I can.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stupid Things Customers Say

Customers say some really silly things, don't they? Sometimes I am so appreciative of these little comments and questions. They make me smile, laugh, and give me plenty to talk about with other employees.

1) "I'll have the half pound angus burger, with cheese and mushrooms. Can I get that with Swiss?" Basically a Mushroom Swiss Burger off the menu. Why they can't just order what it says on the menu I will never understand. Another variation on this is the customer that orders the "half pound angus burger" and wants to know what they can get on it. We have a menu for that exact purpose. And all our burgers are half pound angus, so just order from the menu. No need to specify. I will not try to slip you the kids quarter pound burger just because you didn't say you wanted the half pound.

2) "Do you have a bathroom?" Umm, yes. We have a bathroom.

3) "What beer do you have on tap?" After listing the dozen that we carry they order a basic Miller Lite.

4) Asking me what comes on a sandwich. Our menu contains descriptions of all items, so read it. Yes, I know what comes on the sandwich, but just read.

5) "Is the [random item from the menu] any good?" Do you really want to ask me this? If you like pasta and sauce then you will like the mostaccoli.

6) At the end of a bartending shift I will tell customer I am leaving and ask if they want to close out their tab or just have me transfer it to the next bartender. After telling me to leave it open they will catch me on my way out the door, "Oh, are you leaving? I guess I'll tip you next time."

7) "Smile!" Do I need to elaborate on this one?

8) "You are more friendly when you're bartending." Um, yeah. I suppose that when you are sitting at the bar and I am waitressing, I may not seem as "friendly" (i.e. talking to you for more than two minutes). Think about this...I have customers sitting on each end of the restaurant, whom I can't see when I am standing at the bar talking to you. I have twice as many customers than the bar and must walk three times more to serve them than the bartender. They are all drinking at different paces, and I (surprise!) do not have time to stand around and chat with you. I am working. I am talking to my customers. You are not my customer. Yes, I enjoy talking to you, but I enjoy making money more. Ironically, the same people that say this when they are sitting at the bar make it a point to tell me that I am a better waitress than specific others who, I might add, do stand around talking to the bar customers instead of their tables. I know alcohol has certain effects, but can we at least try some higher thinking here?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Holiday Season is Upon Us

This will be my third holiday season at the bar. Over the last two years I have noticed a trend in customer attitudes and comments during this time.
Customers tend to complain about me during this time. Since I cannot see a difference in my attitude or quality of service, I can only discern that it is the customers that change as the holiday season approaches and shortly after; between November and January.
Customers get more demanding. Maybe this is because they are shopping for everyone they know and spending copious amounts of money on things they will be giving away and probably want to keep for themselves. Maybe it is that at the bar they are spending money on something they cannot keep and expect me to fill them with a happy, warm feeling they can take home with them. This I have no problem with other than it is difficult to know what will have that effect on each person, and that when I am serving 75 plus people I may not have the time required to fill each one with squishy warm feelings as they munch on their hot wings and down more cheap beer than I could drink in a week.
Maybe the retail stores are to blame. During the holiday season, retail workers tend to up their game. They greet customers with more enthusiasm than they have shown all their customers combined throughout the rest of the year. They follow customers around the store and seem to fall over themselves to help each one with their every need. Please don't mistake me here. I am not saying anything I mean to be taken in a negative manner toward these employees. I know they have to deal with their own brand of annoying customers and irritable managers and I applaud their ability to keep the smile on their faces and the annoyance out of their voices. However, when customers are flooded with this type of customer service in stores, which they all are due to the amount of shopping everyone does in preparation for the holidays, they tend to expect this level of service everywhere. I am more than happy to give them my best customer service, but the levels and type available at a bar or restaurant is different than that at a retail store. I am unable to follow customers every move anticipating what they need. I think they would be annoyed if I were to do a table check every 5 minutes, though this is what they act like they expect.
I have already seen customers begin their ridiculous complaints (Dine-in only Specials, Charging for juice, and some jerk who thought getting my attention meant sitting there in silence ). This year should be fun.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

At least Let me Say Sorry

Every once in a while I will cover the night shift behind the bar. Usually it is a day that I am already working so I end up being there for a solid 15 hour shift. Working the night shift is much different from the afternoon shift. During the afternoon, people rarely do shots, usually eat food, and are not there to get wasted. At night it is a free for all of drunken patrons trying to get as drunk as possible before last call.

One of the nights I covered happened to be karaoke night at the bar which always brings in a large group of winners. Some of the tables weren't tipping the waitress so she gave up on them and let them come to the bar. This is fine with me as it means less for the bartender to take a hit on tips than the server. Most of these people go to the bar anyway, so they didn't take offense to her absence. I did notice, however, that the same people that never tipped me when I waitress were tipping me as the bartender. Pretty messed up.

One group in particular got to me and the waitress that night. There are small two-top tables right along the sides of the bar and many times people at the bar will confiscate these tables to accommodate a larger group. This group ends up ordering from the bar rather than the waitress out of convenience. I had a group of about 9 doing just this that night. 5 of them were at the bar and the other 4 were at two of these small tables. They were rotating where they were sitting throughout the night.

At one point I was so busy I felt like my head was spinning. People were at the bar two deep and the waitress couldn't get past them to serve the tables so it seemed like everyone was coming up to the bar. People were also ordering "chilled" shots like mad. "Chilled" shots take longer to make. Not by much, but they do. If I have someone waiting for a bottle of beer I am likely to get that before beginning the shots. Anyway, one guy from this table/bar group had moved to sit at the bar. I was making my rounds slowly enough so that if someone needed anything and I wasn't noticing they could call out or flag me down while I was refilling the obviously empty drinks. Soon I hear the waitress calling my name. She explains to me that this guy at the bar asked her for shots. She told him she couldn't serve him because he was sitting at the bar but she would tell me. He argued with her that he had been trying to get my attention for a long time and would go sit at a table. After saying this he got up and stood by the table. She still felt uncomfortable with this so she told him she would get me. He sat back down at the bar. As soon as she told me I went over to confirm his shot order. He denied needing anything several times before telling me that he had been trying to get my attention for a long time and I "missed it". I began to apologize, but he cut me off saying "you missed it." The person next to him needed a drink so while I was getting their order I tried apologizing again, but he cut me off with the same remark. This happened one more time before I walked away without another word. He then got up and went to a table and ordered the shots from the waitress. I am not ashamed to say that I chilled those shots good and they were probably quite watered down. You don't have to like that you couldn't get my attention, but what does being rude to the bartender accomplish really?

When she delivered the shots, the guy (she says) yelled at her about telling me he wanted shots. I really don't see the issue here. He wanted shots, couldn't get my attention, the waitress got my attention, and I tried to serve him immediately. I don't think he was trying very hard as I was on that side of the bar serving others and would have heard a "hey you", "excuse me", or seen someone waving at me. I had even served the person to his right and his friends to his left during the time he was sitting there. One of the orders was for chilled shots which means I was standing there for a good 30 seconds pouring them. In my experience, this would be when people who needed something would get my attention. I am not a mind reader and was too busy to stop and ask every person at the bar if I could get them anything.
After all this, the guy's girlfriend goes to our manager and complains about us. At first he was a bit upset about the customer complaint, but after we both told him the same story he made a joke about it being a full moon.

On a more annoying note, a regular came in with his wife. They sat at the bar and had a few beers. During this time, as is the custom at my bar, when they needed another beer they would put their empty bottle in the ditch at the edge of the bar and I would crack them open a new one. The wife's beer was in this position so I cracked her a new one and took the husband's money. Before I got to the register they started calling to me that she didn't want another beer. I made a joke about the empty being in the ditch and she said "I was just giving it to you." Again, I am not a mind reader. If you use this system to quickly get another beer, I will not know when you are ready to stop if you continue to perform the same action.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Product Names and Their New Meaning

When you have a customer come in and ask for a soda by a brand name, do you tell them the brand you actually have? In our society certain brand names have become synonymous with the product. For example, when you need a tissue, what do you typically ask for? When ordering a vodka mixed with an energy drink, do you say just that or ask for the brand name you know and is most common?

At my bar, we typically don't tell customers that we have an off brand energy drink or the exact brand of soda we carry, unless they ask. Do you agree with this practice? What do you do at your restaurant?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Party Night

The night before Thanksgiving. One of the biggest bar nights of the year. I had the pleasure of waitressing on this night.
It was busy. It was so busy I could barely get to my tables on the other side of the bar. There were people standing everywhere. About 2/3 of the group were friends with the bartender so they chose to go straight to the bar for their drinks. I understand that and didn't mind; I had other tables. Unfortunately, the other tables were paying cash so they felt no obligation to wait for me. It turns out even the people who had tabs with me didn't feel any obligation to wait for me either, even though I had their credit cards. They began going to the bar. They told the bartenders that they had a tab, thinking that it made no difference if their tab was with me or the bar.

I wish I could give every table a few pointers to the bar experience. Opening a tab with the waitress is not the same as opening a tab with the bar. Who you open the tab with holds you card and has to claim the sale. It does matter. I am fortunate enough to work at a place where I can transfer tabs to other people (i.e. the bar), but not all places are like this. If you open a tab with the server, that's who you should be ordering from. If you move from your table and it's crowded, you should let the server know. We may not be able to use our superhuman powers to find you in a crowd.

If you tip the bartender per round, tip the waitress the same. Usually the waitress is navigating through crowds to get your order, then back to the POS computer, then to the bar, then back to your table with a tray of drinks/food. The bartender only needs to reach in a cooler to grab your beer and does not have to fight the crowds. Who do you think is working harder?

If you stop ordering from the waitress when she is busy and prefer to go to the bar on your own, and she checks on you for over an hour without you ordering one drink from her, do not expect her to continue to come back. She has other tables that are actually ordering and tipping her. Do not flag her over after 3 hours of going to the bar yourself to tell her you need something. Every time you go to the bar, she loses money to another employee who is already making more per sale than she is. Some waitresses will not, but many will ignore you. I personally might check on you if I am nearby, but I will not make a special trip through the crowd, getting stepped and spilled on, just to see if you need anything. You are a lost cause to me and taking up space in my section. Get your own drinks if I'm not around. It's what you've been doing all along anyway when I was around.

I realize this post sounds very cynical. I am not always so critical of customers and their actions. That being said, when the bar is backed up three deep and the waitress is standing around bored, there is a problem. This is a common problem at my bar; tables bypassing the waitress and going to the bar. Some bartenders tell people there is a waitress, most do not. I went in to work expecting to make money last night, needing to make money. Instead, I stood around watching others make money and having to fight through crowds to serve the few tables that were allowing me the pleasure of waiting on them. I went home smelling like brewery from being spilled on so much with 1/4 of the money the bartender made...and there were two of them so they split tips.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Charge for juice

I was bartending the other day and actually had a waitress. I never have a waitress. It was fun to have someone else to talk to, but I felt bad because she was having problem customers and I know how terrible that can make your night, especially when it happens in the beginning.
We had a certain alcohol on special that day. One customer at a table wanted it mixed with juice. We charge $.25 for mixing juice because we do not have juice on our bar gun, only in cans. At the end of the night the customer decided to leave a note on their tab telling the waitress that it was BS that they were charged $.25 for juice. Their drinks were only $3.25 because they were on special.
So often lately I have been receiving complaints on things that are on special. Our half price food doesn't have enough meat/potato/fries. "I can see why it's half price!" The drink specials don't have enough alcohol in them, even though we make them the same and are notorious for heavy pouring.
I know the economy is bad, That's why we are running the specials we are. I know this situation is making people unhappy, but it does me no good to short you on anything. I am counting on your tip to pay my bills. Besides, you're already getting a deal!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dine-in only specials

I have many regulars at the bar. This usually makes for a nice shift. Regulars are more understanding when you are busy, keep an eye out for you when you need to get through, and move quickly out of your way. Sometimes, though, regulars expect special treatment because of their frequent patronage. This causes problems for management and employees, as well as other customers.
Currently at the bar we have dine-in only food specials that are meant to bring in new customers. It is clearly stated in several places that these specials are dine-in only. I am annoyed and amazed at the people who order the specials to go and then complain to me when they are charged a higher price.
Yesterday I had a regular come in and order one of these specials to go. I accidentally entered it as the special price and my cook corrected me. See, the cook won't even give me the order if it is entered as a special to-go. When I presented the check to the customer, he complained about the price. I explained to him that it was a dine-in only special, but he proceeded to tell me that he comes in all the time and spends money so he should get it at the special price anyway. While I understand his logic, I can not comply. First, it is not my rule. I have the cook and owner to catch my mistakes and there is no way for me to get the order to you if it's not entered correctly. Second, offering special pricing for regulars is a slippery slope. What defines a regular? Someone who has come in for years? months? or every day for a few weeks? Since we can not advertise such exceptions we can not offer special pricing for "special" people.
This goes along with asking the bartender to buy you a drink because you have spent money. You came in to a business to purchase services and goods. We are open to make money, not friends. While I love my regulars, I can not and will not risk my job so you can save a few dollars (and not tip me on the free drink). If you want a free drink, make nice with the owner and let him tell me to buy you one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Standards of Service

Since I have no stories of my own to tell, I figured I would post something different.
I recently read an article in the New York Times about what one person is having their wait staff do at a restaurant they are opening. While I think there are some very good ideas in the article, some does contradict what many places have us do. I also noticed a conflict between what customers want from their servers. Granted, some of this depends on the type of restaurant you work at, but for the most part I have found customers desires to be unique. Another thing is that some of these rules/suggestions are just plain impossible to adhere to every second of the shift. We are human, not perfect beings, and making mistakes, while they should be few and far between, are bound to happen.

Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.
Many restaurants require their staff to do this. Many customers will ask for your name if it is not given. What is the harm in a customer being introduced to the person who will be serving them for the next hour or longer? I do agree that not flirting, jokes, or acting “cute” with your customers is a good idea. Since these are not people you know very well, it is safer to stay away from anything that may offend.

Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.
So now we have unlimited time? Not to sound overly harsh, but are they there to order something or just talk? Contrary to what I would prefer and customers would believe, I do not have unlimited time. I have other customers that need something from me and when I approach your table it’s your turn. If you stop talking two seconds after I leave the table, I may not be able to come back right away. I try to never interrupt a customer. Usually when the server approaches the table people are polite enough to stop talking and place their order.

Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.
Many of my customers would consider not removing an empty dish or glass bad service.

Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?”
While this is ideal and what we strive for, sometimes if a group is large enough, or the same dishes were ordered with slight changes, we forget. If customers play musical chairs we may not give you the correct plate and will have to ask. I don’t remember your face when you order sometimes. It’s what seat you are in that helps me get the right food to you.

If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc.
Great idea, but is this really possible with every customer? If the bottle is not empty it would be irresponsible, and a violation of some codes, to remove the label.

Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.
Can I place the same standard of behavior on my customers? Please?

Never say, “Good choice,” implying that other choices are bad. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do. Do not compliment a guest’s attire or hairdo or makeup. You are insulting someone else.
While I understand the point of this, I highly doubt that my customers are stupid enough to think that a compliment for something means an insult for all else. I think saying “no problem”, while very casual, is OK. It’s all about tone of voice.

Do not discuss your own eating habits, be you vegan or lactose intolerant or diabetic.
Trust me; I would love to not tell customers about my personal eating habits. My place of work is very casual and customers frequently ask me about menu items. How about not asking the server what they prefer?

I think many of these ideas are a great ideal and standard for employees, as long as the owner/manager realizes that they are dealing with the biggest variable there is; humans. Customers are all different, as is the staff. While you can set the rules for your employees, you cannot guarantee that the customers aren’t going to make it difficult for them to follow those rules, or that they will not desire a different experience than your rules would provide. I think the most important thing any restaurant can have is not rules, but trustworthy employees that are able to judge what type of experience the customer is looking for and to provide it.

Original article:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Past

Since I am not dressing up for Halloween at the Bar, I thought I would share some of the crazy costumes I had to wear in the past for serving jobs.

When I worked at a college sports bar it was mandatory to dress up. We had themes for the first two nights leading up to Halloween and could dress however we wanted on the actual day. The first day was "cops and robbers". Rather than have the bartenders be robbers, as the waitstaff thought, they wanted to be the cops and got their way. We all thought it would be nice to dress up the bar like a jail, but instead, the cops were stuck in the box of the bar while the robbers ran around free. Even customers commented on how funny this looked. The costumes for this night were ridiculous. All the bartenders dressed in dark blue or black slacks and blue button-down shirts with cardboard badges. Some had handcuffs, but most did not. The waitstaff's costumes were even worse. Most of us dressed in all black. A few went out and bought orange jumpsuits or stripped costumes, but most did not. All night we were asked what we were supposed to be.
The next night was pirate night. Unfortunately I was not scheduled to work that day. I would have preferred it to cops and robbers night for sure.
On Halloween night we were allowed to dress how we wanted, as long as it was "sexy". Basically this meant we had to shop at Lovers Lane for the costumes. There was a Raggety Ann, a butterfly, a Lion, Dorothy, Rainbow Bright, a girl scout, football player, and of course a cheerleader. Dressing up was fun, but I was so self conscious the whole time. If you have ever seen costumes from this store you would know that there is basically nothing covering you! Thankfully we had 9 bouncers scheduled that night because we needed every one of them. I personally had someone slap my rump, try and pull parts of my costume, lift the skirt, and even spill a shot on me as he was trying to place it for an unauthorized body shot. Despite the customer debauchery, there was great camradery between the staff. We were all watching out for each other and having a small party of our own.

Most recently, I worked at little dive that was having a "party" for Halloween and required all the staff to dress up. I was tired of the sexy garb, so I chose to be a zombie. I wore the obligatory short skirt, though not too short for comfort, a ripped and "bloodied" shirt, and used makeup to make bruises all over myself. One of the cooks got freaked out when he saw me, forgetting it was Halloween, and thought I'd been in an accident.

This year I am not obligated to dress up. Since I am working the day shift and will be the only employee there, I will not be. This will be my first Halloween off in 4 years. Part of me misses the fun of dressing up for work. Part of me is happy I will be getting to come home and pass out candy to the little kids that come to my door. That has always been my favorite part of the holiday anyway.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nothing spectacular

Things at work have been so slow lately that there is nothing really to post about. No annoying customers, fights, running the server, bad tippers, or management mistakes. Nothing that sticks out in your mind at the end of the night.
Maybe something will happen this weekend. It will be Halloween after all...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sometimes Bosses can be...

Ridiculous. They can. We all know it.

I was tending bar on a night we host karaoke. Although this event can bring in good business, ours attracts people who nurse one beer or try to get a glass of free water for the whole evening. I had the pleasure of serving a couple who spent a total of $15 on drinks and bought one small app in the 6 hours they were there. They spent less than $4 an hour. Not a huge deal. Whatever, right? Would have been except they ordered a "bucket" of beer. Bottled beer put in a bucket with ice. We've all seen this right?

The bucket they ordered was split; half one type, half another. One of the beers was on special if you bought a bucket of it. I charged them full price, $1.50 more than the special price. They didn't order the special, right? They come in every week. The specials haven't changed in the two years I have worked there.

They complained to my boss. About $1.50. He bought them both a beer. He bought them both a beer because they felt I overcharged them.

Am I the only one who sees the issue with my bosses reaction? I can understand wanting to keep customers happy. Really, I do. I want them happy too. I think buying one of them a beer would have been good enough for this situation. Basically, he bought them the equivalent of about 1/3 of what they spent all night.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm going to be honest. This is a rant.

It was 4:00. I had just ordered my lunch and sat down to eat when a group of 5 walks past me on to the patio, seating themselves. I quickly take my food behind the counter and go out to take their order. They order two Mike's with glasses of ice, a wine, and two bottled beers. I tell the man ordering two beers that I can only serve him one at a time and he says OK. I ring in the order and see I have another table, one guy, by the bar as I'm pouring the drinks for the patio table. Setting the drinks on a tray, I quickly walk out to take the guy's order.
He asks me for a draft beer and I ask if he would like to run a tab or just pay for each round.
He says start a tab.
I ask for a credit card.
He says "Are you serious? I'm not giving you my credit card. Why do you need that?"
I explain that I have a trainee coming in soon and I have to show her how to start and handle tabs. He is not happy with this explanation.
"I am NOT giving you my credit card." He says loudly. I say OK and get his beer. When I serve it to him he tosses a five dollar bill at me.
After bringing him his change I take the drinks out to the patio. This didn't take as long as it sounds and happened in a matter of 2 minutes, so they were not left waiting long. As I set down the last drink I ask if they would like to start a tab or pay for each round. They all agree they want to start a tab. I ask if anyone has a card I can hang on to for the tab.
"Do you really need a credit card?" One of the ladies asks in a nasty tone.
So I tell them the same thing about training someone.
"Fine. We'll pay cash and make your job twice as hard since that's what you really want. This is ridiculous. I guarantee your tip won't be as good either." She sounds so nasty. "Just bring us the bill."
I stared at her for a second, dumbfounded by the outburst. It is rare people get so irate over things like this. The only other time was over a glass of water.
I quietly hand her the bill, take the money, and return her change with a smile. I want to ask her if she has ever been yelled at for just doing her job and if she thought she deserved it. She is a teacher, so I know she has been.
Instead, I tell my bartender I'll be back in a minute and sit in the back until I cool off.

Don't most places hold credit cards for tabs? Why do people act like I'm going to clear out the bank accounts? I'm sorry your word isn't good enough when I have to pay for walk-outs.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Trainee???

Ally just let the bosses know she can't work weeknights. She only worked Sunday through Tuesday, so she's down to Sunday.
This means I have to train again! I really don't like training. It slows me down and my customers don't get the service they expect. Friday night is a bad night to train.
The bosses want me to train all our new people. Fine, but not on Friday. Have me come in on a Tuesday or Wednesday or something to train. Also, maybe have the trainer not working by herself...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tipping Habits

Friday at the bar was so slow. I worked open to close and had about a dozen tables all day. By 11 pm I had $60 in my pocket for the day.

Stacy started talking about wanting to leave at 9 pm. By 11, she was holding her stomach and saying she didn't know what was wrong with her, but she felt like shit. Manager G thought she was faking. I didn't care. Fifteen minutes before this, I had a group get drinks from the bar and walk out to the patio. Yes, the patio. It was around 50 degrees. I knew they would be staying until close, so to avoid serving them I offered to let Stacy go home. She was out the door less than 10 minutes later.

I ended up making $80 in that last 2 1/2 hours behind the bar. It was still ridiculously slow, but people tip bartenders more at a sports bar.

Earlier in the night I served a family from Austria. Their English was poor, so it took a while to take their order, but they were very nice! I thought that they were from Germany because one of the adults kept saying "Danke" every time I gave her something. At the end of their meal, after picking up the check, I said "you're welcome" in German. It was an attempt at being polite/clever. When they all looked at me with blank or confused faces I asked if they were from Germany. When they informed me they were from Austria they did not seem at all offended, but I was slightly embarrassed. I recovered quickly with "Oh, well it was my pleasure, really. Have a wonderful night." I guess "Thank you" is the same in Austria and Germany, but not "You're welcome." Who knew? They left me $5 on $78 leaving me to wonder what the tipping habits are in Austria.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Two typical lunch customers, ladies, sit at the first booth in the dining room. I serve them two sodas and give them a minute to peruse the menu. When I return to take their order I realize they are high maintenance.
Lady one asks for the second special of the day. Straight forward, great. The second lady asks what Spinach Pie is. I explain to her that it is feta and spinach wrapped in a flakey crust, a Greek dish. She takes another full minute to look at the menu as I am standing there. She finally decides on the Greek chicken. When I ask her what side she’d like I am opening a can of worms.

“Do you have Greek potatoes?”

“Not as a side option, no.”

“No Greek potatoes?”

“No, I’m sorry. All our sides are listed at the top of the page. We have fries, potato salad, chips…” I trail off and let her read the rest.

“I’ll have a salad. Do you have garlic dressing?”

“Yes, we do. Just to let you know, the salad will be an additional charge of a dollar.”

“Oh, it’s not a side?”

“It is, but there is a slight charge for the salad.”

“And you don’t have Greek potatoes?”

“No Ma’am. Not as a side option. Sorry.”

“I’ll just have special one.”

Special one happens to come with Vesuvio potatoes (which are not Greek potatoes), as stated in the menu. When I deliver the food she makes a comment to her dining partner loud enough for me to hear. I let it roll off my shoulders.

When they are finished eating I drop their check and take an order from another table. As I am walking past the ladies to enter the new order in the POS, I am called to quite rudely.

“Miss!! Ex-cuse me! Miss!”

I turn and smile. “Yes ma’am.”

“I need change for this, now.”


I walk to the POS and enter my order in before getting her change. This takes all of maybe one full minute. When I return with the change, the other woman shoves the presentation book at me. “You can take this now.”

Several minutes later, the ladies are all closed out and ready to go. I am getting drinks for another table, my back to them as they get up.

“Have a great day!” they call to me.

I turn and smile. “You too!” I call.

Later, when I retrieve the payment booklet, I see that they have given me a $2.00 tip on a $19.85 check.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The King Regular

One of my regulars, others teasingly call him "the boss", is trying to get me fired, I believe.

A little background on him, other than my posts: he shows up 15 minutes before we open Saturday, Sunday, and every holiday or day he has off work. He spends his vacation time at the bar. The owner's father buys him his first beer every day he is there. He is friends with the owners and frequently goes to sports games with them and invites them to his home. OK, now we can continue.

He hasn't spoken a word to me in about three weeks now, and refuses to make eye contact. When I have a conversation with someone he is sitting near and he wants to jump in, he acts like it is a conversation between just him and the other person, like I am not even there. While it doesn't bother me that he isn't speaking to me, the stories I have heard on the matter do bother me.

He told Chris, the weekday bartender, that I saw him standing outside and intentionally made him wait before I unlocked the doors for him.

He told another regular that I saw him and made him wait 15 minutes before letting him in.

Yet another regular was told that I saw him and did not let him in, so the owner's father had to unlock to door for him. Then the owner's father proceeded to yell at me, asking "Don't you know who this is? You let him in right away!"

At least one of my managers knows about this; the one that believes all this man's stories. Fortunately, I have several regulars sticking up for me, saying that I would never do something like that, that they were there that morning, etc. When the story was told that I got yelled at, this manager was standing there. I laughed and said "If your dad had to yell at me, don't you think you would have heard about it, [Manager G]?"

Stuff like this makes me dread going to work. I am currently thinking of ways I can avoid being near the front door so I can truly and intentionally not let him in this weekend.

Changes Part 2

It seems this was all planned. About 2 weeks ago an old employee was rehired to serve two shifts a week. The same two shifts that the bartender that is quitting works. The new/old employee, May, was a bartender and waitress that was let go for an attitude problem right as I began working at the bar almost two years ago. Now, after two weeks of being back, they are having her replace the bartender that is leaving. Seems pretty planned, right?

Although I like May, I feel a bit slighted by the situation. Everyone who works at a bar knows that being a bartender is a promotion. You make more money for less work, plain and simple. After being fired for having an attitude problem with customers, May is being "promoted" after two weeks back. It is what it is though. At least the newbies have shifts now!


Management has hired three new girls for three shifts. Manager G wants to give each two shifts a week to work. Obviously math wasn't his strong subject in school.

One of the three girls they aren't expecting to make it through training. That leaves two girls for three shifts. Still doesn't add up. After asking me if I wanted to give up a shift, I reminded Manager G that if I did that I would need t pick up another shift and he would still be one short. It is beyond me how owners and managers of restaurants do not understand the concept of working for tips. If you schedule an extra server, I lose income. If you take a shift away, I lose income.

Several days ago I found out that one of the bartenders has submitted her two-week notice. This leaves two bar shifts open. I have no idea what management plans on doing with these shifts. Most likely the other bartenders with seniority will grab them up, especially since one of the shifts is Sunday and football season is upon us. One possible solution I can see is giving two of my lunch shifts to these new girls, making a total of five shifts for two girls (a much better equation), and me taking the two bar shifts. Financially, I could give up both lunch shifts and only take one of the bar shifts and still be ahead.

I work today so I may ask the manager if they have the situation handled yet. If not, I'll offer my solution.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I had a trainee yesterday. She reminds me of a waitress we had almost two years ago, only not as ditzy. She's very nice and so eager to learn. It was surprisingly OK training her, and I really dislike training. Manager T hired her the night before and asked her to come in for the lunch shift the following day. Manager G told me that they specifically wanted her trained with me the first day because I am the best trainer they have. A compliment from Manager T?

I thought it would be busy, so the plan was to have her seat people and get their drinks, and then run food when she had time. Having this be the first day of training allows someone to get accustomed to the table numbers and drinks without getting overly stressed. This is not how it worked out. It was so slow that, while she ended up seating and getting drinks for several tables, it was not enough to fill her time. We ended up doing the classic trainee-follows-the-trainer training. After the lunch "rush" ended I suggested she leave and come back at 5 since it would be busier then. She agreed (eagerly) and left for a few hours.

When she returned it was indeed busier. I had three tables in the bar area. It was a great chance to show her how to cocktail. I did my best at explaining how to take the tax off the checks containing only alcohol before cashing them out, how the bar must close checks if a manager can not be found, how backups work, and to just call for the bartender to let them know of any special mods to the drinks. All in all it went well, although I know she was a bit confused at the end of the night. Less so than I would have expected though.

We had four tables for dinner, all at the same time. We got a bit jammed up so I did a few things on my own without showing her to catch up. One table gave her their food order when she was dropping off their drinks. She took the order, only forgetting to get the burger temp, very well. I sent her back to get the missing information, which I think will help her remember in the future.

With no serving experience at all, I was pleasantly surprised with how well she was doing by the end of the night. She picked up quickly on the little personalities we have to show the customers as waitstaff, she is quickly learning the POS system, and her enthusiasm is not failing yet.

She is due back for training tonight with the last girl I trained, Nina, (just a few months ago). She starts at 6, which is when I am due off, so I will stick around if they need me to. It should be interesting; tonight is karaoke. Karaoke is a whole different type of serving. The hope is that she will be ready to be on her own Tuesday. If I were training her tonight I could assure that. I haven't worked with Nina since her training was completed. I know she's a good waitress, but I'm not sure how her training skills are.

Keep your fingers crossed for my newbie, Ally.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Now Hiring


The Sports Bar is now hiring. We don't know what shifts we are hiring for. That depends on if we like the other girls we have just hired. More shifts may be available soon!
Please stop in to apply so we can make notes on your application and ask our regulars what they think of your physical appearance. No need to apply of you are over the age of 35, have hair shorter than your shoulders, are slightly overweight, or are not "pretty".
No experience is required. Apply today!

Yes, I know it is not a new concept, hiring pretty girls. It just seems that this practice is a bit exaggerated where I work. I have seen numerous experienced waitresses apply over the last two weeks. I have seen their applications ignored by management because of reasons I can only speculate (and have above), or because they were not around to see the person applying. Hello! That's what interviews are for. Call the person and have them come in, talk to them! Applications do not contain enough information to determine if a person will be a good hire.

I am so frustrated. So, so frustrated.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who raised these people?

Friday night I was told there would be a softball tournament that weekend. Knowing this allowed me to prepare before the multiple teams entered the bar. The field is nearby so when the teams are in between games, they come in to the bar to grab lunch and beer before playing their next game. Teams always want water, pitchers and pitchers of water. Saturdays I am waitress and bartender.

I get to work 20 minutes early Saturday morning. As soon as I enter the building, before even setting up the bar, I fill 7 pitchers of water three quarters full so I can add ice to them when it is time to serve them. Pitchers of water take a while to fill with a bar gun, so this should save me precious time later.

By noon the bar is filling quickly. Two teams have already walked in the door, three tables are seated in the restaurant for lunch, and a man is sitting by himself at a table, but he is wearing a team uniform so I know more will join him soon. As I am rushing to get beer and sodas for the teams I am thankful I had the foresight to prepare water. I have already gone through three of the seven. Manager J is working today so I know I will be fine. The teams walk to the bar to order (thank you) and all is going well. As soon as the orders have been entered, the lunch tables’ orders are up and ready to be taken out. As I am running these, two more teams walk in the door. With Manager J’s help everything is running smooth. I am having a great time being so busy, although it feels like a continuation of the previous night.

The last team to order approaches the bar. I am still busy and feel hurried to take their order so my cook can get it started. He is quite busy in the kitchen as he is alone as well. The first man to order compliments my tattoos before giving me his order. I thank him and am ready to move on to the next person when his voice interrupts their order.

“What are they, the tattoos?” He is referring to the ones he already complimented me on. Funny that someone should like something without knowing what it is. I could understand him saying he liked the colour or the style without knowing, but this particular line of questioning has always struck me as odd. I know what is to come and have my canned answer designed to cut the questions short.

“Japanese symbols,” I begin.

“What do they mean?”

“Honestly, they have a very personal meaning that would be hard for me to explain to someone that doesn’t know me, but thanks for the compliment.” Usually this stops the questions.

“Do they mean love?”

“No,” I reply as I turn to his team mate and ask what he would like to order.

“Well what do they mean? Tell me anyway.” At this point, his friends are making quiet comments to him to cut it out and just let me take their orders.

“Like I said, it really won’t make sense if you don’t know me.” I again turn to his friend.

“Are they your favorite sexual positions?”

OK, that’s it. I can humor questions and comments about personal things, things that strangers should not ask someone they don’t know. I can handle rudeness, demands, and even the occasional drunk trying to pet my arm. I refuse to be spoken to in this manner. Who raised this man, who is old enough to be my father, to think that asking someone a question like this is OK?

“No. Honestly hun, I’m by myself today. I don’t have a waitress, and I’m a little busy. I appreciate your compliment on my tattoos, but I don’t really have time to discuss them right now.” I say, looking him square in the eye. His friends, to my surprise, back me up and I hear several voices restating what I just said; “she’s busy man”, “leave her alone”, “I’m hungry.”

After the teams leave I have two people at the bar. It doesn’t pick up again until 30 minutes before I am scheduled to leave. My relief is 30 minutes late, but I don’t care because she called to let me know. I am working again tomorrow, so I just want to get off my aching feet and watch TV. Tomorrow will be a long day. I am bartending from 11 until whenever it is slow enough to close. Ugh.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hell of a Day

“Excuse me! Excuse me!!”

I am taking an order from a neighboring table when I hear the woman from 33 calling. I ignore her desperate cries and ask the gentleman from 34 what side he prefers with his burger. As soon as I have the entire order from 34 I turn to the woman.

“Yes, what can I do for you?” This said in my firm server tone meant to convey my feelings of annoyance without crossing the friendly customer service line.

“Is this Diet? It tastes like diet.”

“No, its regular just as you asked for. If you don’t like it I can get you something else. “This woman and her male dining partner have been at their table for an hour and a half during prime lunch hours. Not usually an issue, since there are no sections, no servers waiting to turn a table. Today, though, they were seated on the patio which only holds 9 tables and the restaurant had three tables waiting for patio seating.

“It’s terrible. Are you sure it’s not Diet?”

“I poured it myself. As I said, I can get you something else if you don’t like it.” The two of them come in for lunch at least twice a week. They are always equally demanding; saying they are ready and then making up their minds as I stand before them, server pad in hand, yelling “miss!” across the restaurant to get my attention when I am clearly walking in their direction already.

“I had regular yesterday and it didn’t taste like this.”

I fought the urge to argue with her. I served her yesterday and she did not order a nonalcoholic drink of any kind. “Would you like something else?”

Finally she decided on a different drink.

This was not the first round of desperate “Excuse me!”’s from table 33. In fact, it was about the fourth time they had interrupted me while providing service for another table. Finally they are ready to leave and although I am on my way to table 31, I pause to hold the door open for the couple. As I turn to table 31 I hear “Excuse me! Miss! Miss!!”

Apparently table 31 has learned that this is appropriate behavior. Thanks 33.

Eventually, lunch is over. Several hours later, dinner service begins as well as the after work drinking crowd. It starts with a group of 4 getting their own drinks from the bartender. I continue to check on them regardless. Another table migrates from the bar to a table. They also seem to want to get their own drinks. Within a half an hour of these two tables, a third sits in the bar area; regulars who insist on being served by the waitress. I get them a round.

On the restaurant side, I have been sat a two top on the patio, a group of four in a booth, and two at a table. Orders have been entered for two of the three tables, and the last is on no hurry. I make another sweep of the bar area where I get a round for the one table allowing me to serve them. Everything seems to be going well. Then it happens. A group of four seats themselves in the restaurant, a three top seats themselves on the patio, and a man requisitions three tables for the party of ten he is expecting. I rush to get drinks for the self-seaters while running food for the others. Another group walks in and sits in the bar area. I swing by and grab their drink order, then rush food out to the couple at table 6. They have a coupon that states “Dine in only” but have ordered two steak dinners and a pizza in a to-go box. When I deliver the dinners the woman tries to hand me the pizza server saying they are already getting full. I politely tell her that the coupon they are using states dine in only. She looks at me in shock and says “But you don’t really care. I mean, you don’t need to say anything.” Awed by this, I tell her that the owner is here and he knows what they’ve ordered. While we don’t mind people taking home leftovers, ordering to-go voids the coupon.

While handling this, I receive another table on the patio; a team, 20 people. Now I am slammed. I quickly grab their drink order and ask Manager G to get three pitchers of water. I power walk to the bar and deliver drinks to the table in the bar area, making one more sweep of the tables there before rushing to get the rest of the drinks for the team. Food is up in the window so, drinks half filled, I run the food lest it get cold. After all drinks are delivered I grab the food order from the team. As I am entering it, Manager G comes up to me and says one of the tables in the bar area is looking for me. It happens to be one of the tables that have been ordering from the bar. I tell manager G this and say I’ll go over in a second. As I finish entering the order, the phone rings. It is another table, regulars, asking for their waitress. I guess this is the final straw for Manager G because he tells me I need to stop ignoring the bar tables and serve them. He is fairly angry, but I tell him that they have all been going to the bar, save one table, and I don’t understand why they feel I am ignoring them. Since Manager G said one table wanted a round, I enter it in the POS only to find that they have asked the bar for it. Great. I scramble to catch up. Since Manager T is now here, and it is his custom to give away the house, rounds are bought for many tables, the team is given 98% off their bill (This does not have to do with the service they received), and I am even picked up off the ground by a drunk man very happy to have received a round on the house. Manager T walks around with a tray of shots, giving them to every customer at the bar and surrounding tables. Drunk man leaves me less than 10%, and the team only gives me $30 after paying $5 for their (way) over $100 bill.

When everyone closes out, no new tables replace the ones that leave. I have the same two tables from 10 until last call at 1:30. I am happy to leave.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The beer thief returned last night

He ended up sitting on the patio and surrounding him was a small group of regulars. I was running 6 separate tabs between the two tables. Anyone who cocktails knows how much of a pain this is. If your POS system is set up where you can type in a name or number to label the tab it is much easier. My POS system is not set up this way. In order to start a tab I must enter a table number. Say I have three tabs at table 12. I would enter them as tables 12, 112, and 122. Only three numbers are allowed, so having more than three tabs per table makes it a bit more complicated. When the Beer Thief started his tab I had to enter an obscure table number.

I am a fairly organized person at work. When I am holding a credit card for a tab I make sure to wrap a copy of the tab around the card so there is no mistaking which table the card belongs to. Since I also had a table inside that had three separate tabs, I began a list for quick reference. While still irritating, it made the multiple tab situation much easier to handle.

The Beer Thief and his friends sat outside for several hours. When it began to rain, slightly harder than a drizzle but not enough soak through the umbrellas on the patio, I figured they would head in. I was wrong. I served them for another two hours in the aggressive drizzle. One regular made it a point of coming in and complaining to the bartender about my lack of attention to her water glass.

Typically when it rains, the patio is closed. I have to work outside when it is 60 degrees and people still want to sit outside. I have to work outside when it is 90 degrees and people still want to sit outside. I do not think it is unreasonable of me to not feel I should have to work outside in the rain, light drizzle or downpour. I did not completely ignore the group. There is a small awning over the doorway outside and I was regularly stepping out under it and calling over (only about 6 or 7 feet) to ask if anyone needed anything. I decided this was my best option when I was caught in a conversation with one of the people at the table while I was being rained on. Eventually they came in and sat at the bar when it didn’t stop raining.

Please keep in mind that these are regulars. By regulars, I mean people who spend upwards of 4 days a week at the Bar. They know how things work, and they know the bartender doesn’t share tips with the server. Several of them refused to close out their tabs with me, insisting that they would tip both the bartender and me individually. At the end of the night, the bartender was given the payment and tip. She split it herself and gave me my share. I’m not sure I trust the split. In this case, she said she split it 50/50. Not exactly fair when they sat outside in the rain and had my services for 4 hours and hers for 2.

I was entering an order for another table when manager T came up to me and said “If you have a tab with [beer thief] you’d better give it to him. He’s leaving.” I pulled the tab from my book and asked manager T if he would stop him for me and give him the tab since I was caring for another table. Manager T agreed and went to stop the man. I was getting drinks for my table when he came up to me with a daunted look on his face. “[Beer thief] didn’t leave you a tip.”

I gave him a blank look and said “That stinks, but it happens.” In my head I was livid. The bartender came up and asked manager T what was wrong. He told her and she grabbed money off the bar. “He left this on the bar.” Handing it to me “Take it.” It was better than nothing.

About an hour later, beer thief’s friend came in and asked the bartender where the money he had left on the bar was. She told the friend that it was only about $12 and she had given it to me because he didn’t tip me. The friend didn’t press, but didn’t seem happy that I had received the money. I would have felt bad, but it was left on the bar when the man left, and was not asked about for an hour. If it had not ended up in my pocket, it would have been in the bartender’s tip jar.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good Days

I had an unusually nice day at work today. I picked up the lunch shift so some of the employees could go to a training class I did not need to attend. I watched the bar and the restaurant for about two hours before the bartender returned from the class. It wasn't too busy for me to be alone, and Manager J was there. I truly enjoy working with him; never is there a time I feel overwhelmed when he is there.

There was a personal issue for the bartender when she returned so I ended up watching the bar a bit longer than planned. No problem for me as I made some additional money because of it.

In addition, my last table of the day was one of my favorite customers. When I first met him, he was a bit irritating as he ordered his beer "High Lite" and lectured me when I gave him the wrong kind. He usually comes in with his wife for lunch once a week now. After serving him for over a year I have grown to adore him and look forward to them coming in. They are the regulars who can order something wrong but still have it come out right because I know what they meant to order. They are also the only people I know who tip a waitress better than a bartender.

Today he came in with his extended family. They had a family reunion over the weekend and were having one more meal together before everyone returned home. It was a larger group (over 10), but so easy to care for. Everyone took turns ordering and no one spoke over another. It was a pleasure waiting on them.
Days like today remind me why I have stuck with this industry as long as I have.

Found on Facebook

I have been discovered on Facebook by several customers. I really don't feel good about this. I did not, of course, accept their friend requests and have since taken my picture off. But I do wonder how these customers got my last name.

I have to say that this puts me in a strange and uncomfortable position. I am supposed to be friendly and sociable. I am supposed to be approachable and nice. How far does that go though? Do I need to accept these people in to my personal life as well? Do I need to read updates on Facebook about them going to the Bar tonight or their vacations? Censor myself so they never read a word about how I feel concerning my job? (Because of this last one, I had to decline a request from someone I really am friends with because he is Facebook-friends with one of my managers.) I don't write about work there like I do here, but I don't need customers reading updates like "I don't feel like working today" or "not in the mood to wait tables today", etc. We all have those days.

I began using Facebook to keep in contact with friends that have moved away and family that lives out of state. These are the only "friends" I have. I post things about my job and personal life that I don't feel appropriate for customers to know. If I wanted them to know I would tell them. What's next, someone finding this blog? That would be a disaster. Of course I could avoid all the drama and simply censor myself in most aspects of my life, but I think that would be ridiculous.

Has anyone else been found online by a customer?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spray-on Tattoos

I love people who seat themselves in an empty section or the outdoor patio, after walking right by the “Please wait to be seated” sign. I always drop menus by when I see them and take a drink order, but sometimes it takes a few minutes for me to see them sitting there.

Today I had a lady seat herself on the patio at a dirty table; the only dirty table. When I saw her I brought two menus. Since she was on the phone I walked away to take care of my other tables. When someone joined her I went back to get a drink order. Upon bringing their drinks the following conversation ensued…

Man (to me):”We’re ready to order.” Turns to woman “Are you ready to order?”
Woman: “I’m not sure. What’s pizza bread?”
Me: “It’s French bread baked in the pizza oven with sauce and cheese.”
Woman: “Oh. It has sauce? I don’t know. Go ahead and order I can decide later.”
Man: “There’s Sauce on the pizza burger?”
Me: “Yes, everything that is listed in the menu is on the burger. We can leave something off if you want.”
Man: “I don’t know what burger I want. I know I want a burger, but which one?”

After me standing there for almost two minutes in awkward silence, they finally ordered; pizza bread and a pizza burger.

At the same time I had this table, I had another who asked to be seated at a table. As soon as I placed the menus down they asked to move to a booth. As I reached the booth I was going to seat them at, they asked to sit on the patio. Upon taking their drink order one of the men proceeded to ask me if my tattoos were “spray on”. I looked at him and paused before answering “Yes” with a silly grin to show I was joking. I walked inside as his question of “How much did they cost?” was drowned out by an airplane going overhead. He thought I was serious. Later he asked again how much my spray on tattoos cost me. I told him I didn’t know and that mine were real. He gave me a shocked look and reached out to touch one of my tattoos. I pulled away quickly so he was not able to make contact. He continued to point, however, and asked if one after another were real. I replied “Yes, they are all real” to each question. I don't know anyone over the age of 10 who has a temporary tattoo. I'm a little old for that. How old do these people think I am?

The best thing about lunch shifts is that they are short and rarely do people sit for longer than an hour.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Serving Differences at the Bar

When I wrote my most recent post on a 20% tip not being enough, I anticipated some would disagree with my view. I think this is a good opportunity to discuss the difference between serving dinner and serving cocktails. Please keep in mind, this is only my opinion based on my place of employment. I understand that all restaurants are different and what is appropriate at my restaurant may or may not be at yours.

Serving Dinner entails bringing several rounds of drinks, which may or may not be alcoholic, to a group of people whose main purpose at the restaurant is to eat. These diners may or may not drink enough to feel the effects of any alcohol. If they do, they typically will remain calm and maintain decent behavior for a public setting. There are two reasons for this; alcohol has less of an effect on a person’s system when food is involved, and they are most likely with people who have not had as much to drink as they have and do not want to be seen behaving poorly, i.e. embarrass themselves or their partner.

At the end of the night, after dealing with complaints, multiple refills on sodas or coffees, and a nice game of “run the server”, a 15-20% tip is left (on average) to the server. After the table has been cleaned, another group is sat and the server begins again.

Serving Cocktails means running drinks to a table that may order an appetizer to share among a group of 4 or more people, or may not order food at all. Over the course of the night, these customers will become increasingly rude without knowing it. They will drink faster, requiring the server to monitor their intake lest they be over-served. As everyone in the group is drinking, no one is worried about acting like a fool since all their friends are also behaving poorly. Grabbing the waitress to ask for a drink, to see her uniform, looking down her shirt openly, commenting on her body, and asking for one item at a time five times in a row, is all common behavior. Also not uncommon is throwing up on the washroom floor and using half a roll of toilet paper to cover it up. When this happens in the ladies washroom, a female server must do the preliminary clean-up.

At the end of this very eventful night, after trying to walk out on the check before realizing the server is holding your credit card, a table may ask to close out. The standard question from the server will be something like “Would you like me to charge the card I am holding?” Answers to this question range from “Sure, go ahead” to “NO!!” to “That’s why I gave you the card, right?” with a nice sarcastic tone and roll of the eyes. For all her work, the server is typically left a 25-40% tip depending on service and if the house bought a round. By this time, it is past last call and time for clean up.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Party and The Beer Thief

Last night Laura and I worked an open bar party of 30. Since no gratuity was collected (thanks again manager T), we decided to share the party and rotate the tables. Stacy (bartender) was busy, as always, chatting with her customers so I got all my own drinks and many for Laura on the open bar tab. This is normal procedure for Stacy and me so I thought nothing of it.
Open bar lasted from 7 to 9 and was fairly tame, save for one older woman who was drinking her chardonnay like it was water from the fountain of youth. As a favor to the regular who's mother was hosting the party, I did a last call for the open bar. This is not normal practice for open bar. As a thank you, the mother came up to me as I was speaking with some of her guests to yell at me that the open bar was not over.

I calmly looked at her and said, "The open bar ends at 9, in 10 minutes."

After arguing with me for a few minutes, I directed her to Manager J to work something out. They decided on running a tab for any drinks that her guests wanted.

During the party, Laura and I were still taking tables. I was filling a tray to take out to a larger group when one of Stacy's regulars took a draft beer off the tray while I was getting another drink. Just took the drink right off the tray! When I returned I asked him if he had taken the beer but he wouldn't answer me, just gave me a drunken grin. The guy standing next to him told me he had. When I went to take it back, I was told he had already taken a drink out of it. Really? What the hell. I looked at the thief, some guy who had won the lottery several years back and was quite rich, and told him he had better finish the drink since he wanted it so bad. Now I can think of several other reactions I could have given; taken the beer and dumped it out, added it to his tab, or demanded he give me cash for it immediately. Later, when I told Stacy about this she said she puts up with him because he tips her well. Well, he isn't tipping me.

The group stayed in their private room until 10 and then the remaining members (about 15) moved to the bar for some shots. After a round of those, the party was down to 7 people. The tab was closed at 11 and the host designated an equal tip for Laura, myself, and the bartender. I am grateful for my tip, but am a bit jealous of Stacy. On top of the tip from the party, for whom she worked a total of one hour for, she also received $50 from the millionaire.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

When is 20% not enough?

I thought I'd have more to post about my second day of doubles, but I don't. Saturday was karaoke, but that didn't start until 10. I tended bar from 11 am until 6, and then waited tables until close. Between 6 and 10 I had 2 tables. Thrilling.

At around 9 a table came in and sat at a high top near the bar. I served them drinks and some appetizers. Shortly after the food was gone a few left and the remaining 4 men went out to the patio. One of the three had a tab with the bar, but asked to keep it open. I figured this meant that he would be sitting at the bar majority of the night. I was wrong. He remained sitting at a table, ordering rounds for his friends, and then closed out his tab at the bar before he left. He tipped the bartender 20% and me nothing. Very nice.

His friends spent the evening flirting with me. Since it was not busy I chatted with them, even spoke to them about school and my degree. I try and keep it superficial with customers, but the older man told me that he was a Sociology major so I figured we'd have something to talk about. Boy was I off my game that night. The Soc major began telling me that my degree is a waste of time and money. That I would be better off continuing to waitress all my life. This last remark was accompanied with a snort and a loud laugh, like he had made a great point with his remark. They were happy with their service and kept telling me how fast I was in getting their drinks. They even tried to order me off the "special menu". I laughed at this remark, in the way we do when humoring someone. I rarely do this. My usual reaction is a deadpan "No" while I continue to wait for their real order. The reason I have stopped humoring people? Because it gets me nowhere. I don't make more in tips when I humor them, nor are they nicer or more fun to wait on. If anything, they become more obnoxious after. I actually get a better reaction from people when I don't humor them, but that is for another post.

I should have remembered myself. These "gentlemen" ended up staying for a total of 5 hours and running up a tab of about $75. After running the credit card of the Soc major I sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender since we were both bored. Soc major came in and handed me the book with the cc slip in it and walked off to the washrooms. Upon opening the book I realized his card was still there and the slip was blank save his signature. I waited for him to emerge from the washroom and then brought him the book. I handed him his card and said "I need you to fill out the tip and totals for me." He said OK and I walked off. When they left I picked up the book to find that I had been given a $15 tip.

Not sure if everyone agrees with me here, but for bringing drinks to a table for 5 hours, that's not really a good tip. After a certain point, you need to add to that 20%.

***EDIT*** I realize I perhaps worded this last bit improperly. My meaning in this instance is simply that for the amount of running for this table, the being hit on and lectured, and the comments from the men saying that I was "so fast" in bringing their drinks, I would have expected more than 20%. It is my experience (and understanding) that a 20% tip is given for average service; good service. According to these men, my service was above this level and their expectations.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rehersal Dinner

I have tried to write this out nicely so it is a quality piece of writing, but I have found that my brain is on vacation at the moment. Sorry in advance.

I really enjoyed working this party! It has been a long time since I could honestly say I had fun working a party. Usually they are nothing but a pain.
The whole dining room was reserved for the party. We had it all set hours in advance, but continued to seat people there for dinner, letting them know we had a party coming in and offering to seat them somewhere else if they wanted a more leisurely dining experience. Everything went fine; no issues, no complaints. Kinda boring for story-telling purposes.

During the day, management made the mistake of leaving the booking slip out where I could see it. It was because of this I learned how much gratuity would be collected for the party. I had already agreed with the other server that I would take the party alone so I could leave when it was over as I was working her shift the next night (making my Saturday a double, as well as that Friday). I knew I would be working by butt off for it, but the gratuity from that party, minus the busboy's cut, would make up for the slowing economy.

This party was a 70 person rehearsal dinner. All attending were very nice and actually respectful of the busboys and myself. I was able to get everyone their drinks quickly, received many compliments, and was even pouring my own drinks from the bar since the bartender was feeling exceptionally talkative that day (not that I care).

I stayed after the open bar ended to continue caring for the almost 45 people who had remained. They were already drunk, but began doing shots. Their rounds were roughly $60, yet they were not tipping. After 2 more hours of this and no tips, their numbers were down to a point where I could leave. I told manager T I was ready to leave and we began cashing me out. As he handed me the gratuity from the party, he told me that he would give the busboy and the bar their tip-out from the party. I reminded him that I got all my own drinks for the party, thinking that the bartender should not get tipped-out on what she did not do. He replied that he was only going to give her $10. I am not pleased and here is why:

Gratuity paid by the party: $280
Gratuity I received: $140

So the busboy's gratuity from the party is about 50%? I helped him set up the room and bring out the buffet. He did not help me prebus the tables, bring out drinks, refills, etc.

Am I being totally unreasonable in being upset about this or am I justified?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quick Question

I'll post the story later, but right now I would like to know what you think...

How much of the collected gratuity from a party should the server receive? And how much of that should the bus staff and bartender receive?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Weddings and Dildos

Over the next two days, the Sports Bar will be hosting a rehearsal dinner, a dildo party, and karaoke. Lucky me, I will be there for all of the fun as I am working doubles on both days.

All I can hope is that I will be leaving Saturday night having been blessed with good tips given by people who know how to act appropriately in public...OK, I guess I'll settle for good tips. Oh, and that the tone-deaf lady doesn't show up and want to sing the whole Gwen Stefani catalouge.

Still too much to ask for? How about just getting out of there before I fall asleep on the bar despite the karaoke, which almost happened last time I tried to work these two double shifts back to back.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Missing something?

I know that my cook made a slight mistake with your order. He mistakenly told me the marinara was in the dish to the left and the meat sauce was in the dish to the right. I apologize I did not tear into your meal to check for myself. I apologize that I was not able to see through the mound of cheese baked on top of your pasta made to order with "extra, extra" cheese to see my mistake. I am sorry that you were too busy talking to hear me tell you when I delivered the dishes that my cook told me which was which and politely suggest checking before I leave the table. You must have heard me say that I prepared the dishes myself and mixed them up on purpose.

I am deeply sorry that when the mistake was discovered, your meal was replaced in less than 2 minutes. Maybe I did not apologize enough, or you wanted more than the round of drinks the house bought you. It is possible that yelling at me did not bring you enough satisfaction. You are correct; I am an idiot, and I am sure your "retarded friend" could have gotten your order right, unlike myself.
Thank you for your 9% tip. This leaves me only having to pay a small amount in taxes for having the pleasure of waiting on you.

Just a bit of advice from the idiot waitress...don't leave your credit card behind next time you leave the waitress a bad tip. You are lucky as I am not one to act out of spite. Your card will safely be waiting for you Sunday when we reopen after the holiday. I only hope that you needed it for your fourth of July celebrating.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

No words...I need more privacy

I think all managers and restaurant owners should have to work the floor and the bar at least one night each. Maybe we could avoid stupid mistakes and high employee turn-over this way.

I found myself discussing the second-server situation with manager G today.
I found that he doesn't know what T told her about the shifts, so he doesn't know if this is temporary or not. He also brought up that 15 hours is a long day and he'd be tired if he worked that long. "Now you can leave earlier and not be tired since you work Saturdays now."
Uh, thanks. I've been doing the 15 hour Friday, open Saturday thing for over 8 months. Suddenly you're concerned?
"It is a long day, but I like it. I'm not too tired to do my job right." was my response.
My bar has not had a two server shift for over 4 years. Now that business is down and they are having to cut menu prices they suddenly decide that they need to have two servers? I am so confused.
There is also a party of 30 coming in at 3 tomorrow. They are not having Laura come in for this party, only for the dinner hours. Seriously, are my managers living in their own world? They are going to have me handle a party of 30 plus our normal after work groups, and expect me to be just fine alone, yet expect dinner to get too busy for me alone? With the party, tomorrow afternoon proves to be the same as any Friday night dinner shift. I can not stress how ridiculous this is.

I am finding comfort in thinking of my options right now. There are a few restaurants in the area that I could probably get a job at. Some do not serve alcohol. How wonderful it would be to not have to deal with drunk people AND crappy management at the same time.

One another note, and perhaps more interesting, a lady from one of my tables opened the stall door while I was using the bathroom. After saying she was sorry and going into the other stall (while leaving mine wide open, mind you), she proceeded to ask me when the cook was going to make pot pies again as she loves them oh-so-much. She also informed me that they needed more iced tea at her table "when [I] have a moment." Is there anything quite as awkward as bringing iced tea to a woman who has seen you sitting on a toilet with your pants around your calves less than two minutes earlier? I wish we had employee bathrooms.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bachelorette Party in April

This was surprisingly uneventful, but disturbing.
They arrived 30 minutes late in their party bus that took up the length of our small parking lot. I guess the mother was in charge because she walked in first.
"Where's the bathroom?" She demanded, plastic cup in hand, leaning a bit as she spoke.
"Around the bar." I told her trying to hide my amusement.
She stumbled outside to inform the rest of the group where the restroom was. When she returned she asked for a food menu and proceeded to order half the appetizers we offer along with 3 extra large pizzas. After entering the order, I show her to the party room and help my busboy clear a space in the middle for the dancer. After discovering that they want nothing more than pitchers of water, I set up plates and napkins for the food and leave the lady and the girls to their giggling drunkeness. Shortly after this I hear the woman telling my boss that she does not appreciate his employees intruding on her party. I wonder why they ordered food if they didn't want service and how I can possibly bring it to them without entering the room.
I hang out at the bar with the bartender and an off-duty employee until their food is ready. I have no other tables and the bar is dead. I end up giving one girl from the party three martinis and offer to bring them out for her as I am their waitress.
"Uh no. I'm a bartender. I know how to carry drinks."
So sorry I offered. I forgot I should have known. How silly of me.
When it is time to deliver their food, the dancer is doing his thing. My busboy and I take the food in to the room as quietly as possible and I catch a glimpse of the stripper in his bright red thong bikini and unbuttoned cop shirt giving who I believe is the bride-to-be a lap dance.
The only other time I returned to the room was after hearing glass break. I slipped in and swept up the shards while getting death looks from the mother. The stripper was now on his back on the ground doing I have no idea what. Possibly humping the air? One of the women asked me to get them some lotion and hand sanitizer.

They spent about $80 and tipped $20. Great considering I did next-to-nothing, but I still hope I don't have to work too many of these parties.

Manager T is the Bane of my Existance!

Remember the manager that didn't care when I fell at work? The manager that believed drunken customers that I was rude over his own experience with my professionalism (see January)? Here we go again...

It was a slow Friday night at The Bar. I have one table on the patio, a strange man that comes in several times a week and his date whom I've never seen before. As I wander in after checking on them, I see the boys filing in one by one. "The boys" are a softball team, only one of which is old enough to drink. Not all of them order food, and they will drink about 7 pitchers of water while they are here. Tonight there are 12 of them. They begin to seat themselves, walking right past the "Please Wait to be Seated" sign and me as I say "How many tonight?" I shrug and continue to the bar for the beer my patio table needed as my boss, T, goes to see the new table.
When I return inside I see T getting several pitchers of water so I ask him what else is needed and get it. While dropping off the table's drinks they ask T if they canhave separate checks. I am standing right there, server book in hand, pen poised to take their order. Are they unsure I can answer such a complex question? Maybe they have forgotten that for the previous two weeks I have complied with this same request?
"For all of you?" T asks.
"Yeah." one of the boys says.
"Uh, no, we can't do that. We can give you two checks, but not twelve. We have an ATM in the front you can use." T says with authority and walks away, leaving me standing there smirking on the inside. Serves you right for ignoring me and asking T. I would have said yes.
I give the boy an innocent look as he says, "But you did it for us last week."
"Yes, I did, but now my boss said no and I have to go by his decision. Sorry. I would have done it for you."
I take their order, which ends up being 2 appetizers and 4 sandwiches. I refill their water 3 times before their food comes out.
Shortly after delivering the boys their food, 3 people walk in and begin sliding tables together that run the length of that section of the dining room. Not only does this set up block my path to the patio door, it also sits close to 4 other tables rendering them "unseatable." Within minutes, the whole group has arrived, 35 in all. I am familiar with this group as well; separate checks by family (there are more kids than adults). Thankfully they are ready to order their food as well as their drinks, so after checking on my other tables (the boys and 2 others on the patio), I begin.
As I open my mouth to ask who is starting, a woman from this group turns to T, who has walked up beside me, and asks for separate checks. I am dumbfounded. Seriously, what is going on?
He begins to ask how many, but I interrupt him, as politely as possible, and say "I know how they want this split. It's OK."
After taking their food and drink order, I ask T to help me fill several pitchers of water while I put the order in the POS. He does, and I get the remaining drinks when I have finished. Have I mentioned that I pour my own drinks from the bar?
As we are waiting for the order to come up, I get sat again, and then again. Both are two-tops. I cheerfully deliver their drinks, gather their orders, and enter them in the POS.
Here's where things get messy. One after the other, 2 four-tops come in. After I get their drinks delivered, one is ready to order. They want dinners that come with salads I have to make myself. I make the salads quickly and deliver them, get refills for the boys on their water, the large party on their water and sodas, as well as another bucket of beer and cocktails (all while searching for the right check to enter these on). After delivering the drinks, I take the orders for the other four-top and am entering it in the POS when T comes up behind me.
"We still need an order for those people and the other table right." This is not a question.
"Nope. All the order are in. Just help me run food when it comes up and I'll be fine." I reply.
"Really? Oh, OK." T says with a surprised look on his face.
When the food begins to come up my bartender and busboy (who has been helping the cook) help me run the order to the large party out. T takes a round of plates (i.e. two) out to the table and then disappears. After all the food is out I make sure it is satisfactory and refill drinks yet again. I run food to the other tables, refill their drinks as well, and wait for my turn at the POS as T cashes out the boys. Several minutes later T tells me the table on the patio wants to order. I get their order immediately and apologize that they had to alert my manager.
"It's OK. We only told him because he was out here. We could have waited just the same. We aren't in any hurry at all." I thank them and scoot inside to enter their order.

All in all, the night went off well. I was able to handle all the chaos without issue and was compensated with good tips for the night. The major accomplishment was the large party's 8 separate checks were all correct despite that they were spread all over the table and were not sitting together. I felt good. I did well and I knew it. No complaints, no mistakes, no unhappy customers.

The next night, T told Laura that he wants another server on Friday nights because he has to help me run food and asks her to work. She can't that Friday and it's two weeks before I find out about the request.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I had to discontinue my internet for a while due to the economy's toll on my income. I have finally been able to reconnect it, although I am worried this will not last long.

Several updates...Katie the waitress is gone, Nina the waitress is in. I have been successfully working open to close on Friday and opening on Saturday morning for 8 months now. I have not taken any days off in that time.

This year has been slower than last. Usually over the summer I am able to make enough to supplement the slower winter months. This year I am just breaking even.

Last Friday we were closed due to storms, and next Saturday we are closed for the holiday. Ugh.

To all my friends here, I am sorry I have been missing and hope this doesn't happen again. I do need to ask for your help. Being in the same industry, your advice and input is greatly needed:
Last night I found out that another waitress has been asked to work with me on Friday nights. The manager that asked her said that they want another server because they "have to help [me] run food." They do not have to help take orders, get drinks, prebus, get refills, take carryout orders, or take payments. They only have to help run food when I have large parties because all the food is ready at once and we do not have food trays to take the food out. The waitress they asked to work is the one who told me, no one else has spoken to me about this. I am hurt by this, and angry. They are taking away half of my income!
I need help figuring out how to bring this up to management. The other waitress has agreed to work the shifts. Our hope is that after a few weeks of working together we can sit down and tell the manager that it isn't necessary to have both of us there.

Please help! Any and all responses will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm back

I have been unable to write for quite some time due to a very heavy class load at school. It's been so slow at the bar lately...BUT
tomorrow night I have a scheduled party of over 40 for a bachelorette party with a dancer...please help me!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And the problem was...

After thinking long and hard about every aspect of the previously mentioned Friday night I have come to the following conclusion of where the problem occured.
After the open bar ended at 10 I received a party. They are regulars that come in every week and I adore them. They are polite and easy to care for as well as being organized. If I come by to check on them they make sure everyone hears me speaking and asks for what they need at once. They never play run the server. Being that these are great customers that come in every week with a group of 10 to 35 people we do our best to take care of them quickly and efficiently.
Most of the people from the party were hanging around waiting to hear the outcome of the 15 item raffle. While the numbers were being read off the group crowded around the server well at the bar and at the server station where we keep napkins, silverware, and our personal items like purses and coats. This area is obviously not someplace a customer should be standing. The way the Bar is set up, a server walks through the server station to reach the server well at the bar. Needless to say, this group was in my way. Usually I let people know they should not be standing in the server areas, but I was too busy at that point to say anything so I simply worked around them. On my way to the server well I said "excuse me" loud enough to be heard. On my way back through with a full try of drinks I felt the need to speak a bit louder since they had their backs to me. I have had people back up into me and spill an entire tray mostly on me, breaking glasses and wasting time, and wanted to avoid this happening then. Several times the men standing in my way apologized and I gave them a cheerful "it's OK" as I walked off. I usually don't get that much from customers. It's nice when they are polite and realize that you are trying to do your job. At some point I also had to disturb the ladies standing at the server station and using it as a table so I could reach the silverware and napkins needed by my customers. One of the women was the wife of the man running the party.
I believe that the wife complained that I was rude because of all the loud excuse me's and making her move when I needed to retrieve items from where she was standing. Also, I don't doubt that after the twelfth time having to say excuse me to the group I was no longer smiling idiotically. By no means was I rude, but to a self-important woman I guess it would be seen as rude for someone like me, a mere server, to ask her to move. I treated them no differently than I have people in the past.
Women customers sure can suck.

Strange Day

I picked up a Sunday bartending shift. There were no good sports games on and it was brutally cold so business was...not really there. I served about 25 people in hours. I worked with the same manager that gave me the talk the day before so I was a little uncomfortable starting off the day. My worries were unfounded as he treated me no different than he had before the talk.
At the end of the day we were missing two credit card receipts. I remembered the tip amount on one of them but not on another. I ended up losing the tip since we couldn't find the receipt. When I got home I remembered the amount was $11. The transaction had been closed before I left so I couldn't get the tip later.
The strangest thing about the day happened when the owner came in to talk to the manager. It's a family business and this is not an unusual thing. I chit chatted with his wife for a minute. She commented about it being slow and I told her that it had been that way all day. Later, as I was walking by where they were sitting, Jerry (the manager) handed me a ten dollar bill and said it was from the owner. Stunned, I said thank you and asked what it was for. Jerry said "It's a long story" and the owner said "Because you're a nice girl."
Whatever the reason for it, I don't think I have to worry about the talk anymore. It's not every day the owner hands money to an employee and tells them they are a "nice girl." Beyond that, I felt appreciated and that is one of the best feelings an employee can get from an employer.
What a mind f*ck of a weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bring me to Tears

It's Friday night and there is an open bar party. This event was scheduled over a month ago, but I found out about it the weekend prior when another server told me she would be working with me Friday. I was surprised and felt a little sour about the management not telling me since they had known for so long.
The party is scheduled for 7 and will run for 3 hours. I don't know if the house was including a tip for me and Kate. Kate arrives at work at 6 and we try to work out a plan of attack for the party. Since we don't know how many there will be or which side of the bar they will be at we decide to play it by ear. There could be as many as 150 people!
The party begins to arrive at 7. Kate takes the first round of drink orders while I continue to care for the few dinner customers we have. Kate lets me know after delivering the first round that she did not receive a tip. We laugh it off and try to make a joke about it. By 8 the dinner tables have left and Kate and I are both caring for the party. Kate quickly figures out which tables are tipping and only serves them. This leaves me with the tables that are not tipping. I take it in stride, making jokes with Kate and the bartenders about how I am not making any tips. It is, after all, my job to serve customers whether they tip me or not. When the party is over I have made $2.
Kate leaves as soon as the party is over and I am on my own. Most of the party-goers have left and the remaining people are paying cash and have begun to tip. Go figure. With every tip I receive I give a big smile and a genuine thank you.

The next day I am scheduled to work the bar. When my manager gets in I let him know how the party went. I told him I made $2 and that we had to turn away several tables that came in for dinner because we had no seating. I suggested that next time we reserve a few tables so we can still seat customers.

About an hour into the day my manager asks to speak to me. I stepped iff to the side with him and he starts.
"I had a couple of complaints about you from the party last night."
"Really?" I ask, genuinely confused.
"The guy in charge said that he had people from the party coming up to him telling him that you were really rude. They said that you were complaining about not making any tips and that you had an attitude problem. We can't have people like that working here. These are customers, people who live in the neighborhood. We want them to come back. We can't have employees being rude to them."
"Wow. Jerry, you know me better than that. I would NEVER be rude to a customer. As far as complaining about them not tipping would make me uncomfortable to say something to them about it. You know me better than that." I am floored. I wasn't happy about the way the party had turned out, but I felt I had handled it with my usual attitude. I have never been told I had an attitude problem with a customer. I know better than that!
"Well, we can't have that here. I've let girls go for that. You can't be rude to customers."
"Jerry, you know me better than that. I usually get compliments, not complaints. I admit that I was joking around about not making any money. One of the people from that party probably overheard me. I am very sorry that happened and I assure you it never will again. I will be more careful in the future. But I promise you I was not rude to anyone last night and I really don't feel that I had an attitude problem."
At that point my barback let me know that someone at the bar needed a drink and I returned to the bar nearly in tears. I got a beer for the customer and excused myself. I stepped outside to clear my head and my eyes.
The rest of the day went quickly, though I was fighting back tears for 2 hours after the talk with Jerry. Several times during the day I was told that I was "on top of my game" for offering another drink when one was almost gone. One customer, who had been gone for 3 weeks, told me that he had missed my smile and was happy to see it again. These are the comments I am accustomed to hearing, not that I have an attitude problem.
I managed to make it home before I broke down. I guess I thought my managers thought more highly of me than to believe I would treat customers in that manner. I believed that I was thought to be a good employee. I realize that there may be other factors that contributed to the view of my actions the night before. I know that I was not rude and did not have an attitude with the customers. I'm embarassed that I made the huge mistake of mentioning tips within hearing range of the customers, but don't believe that was the only perceived problem. What the hell happened??? I guess I am not the valued employee I thought I was...