Friday, June 11, 2010

On the Verge

I have been on the verge of quitting the bar lately. Every week I get several calls to work for someone hours before the shift. The longest notice I have been given was roughly 12 hours on Memorial Day. The Tuesday opening bartender wanted me to work for her.

The final straw came yesterday. I had worked the lunch shift and was just turning down my street looking forward to nothing more than a shower when my phone rang. When I saw it was work I thought maybe I had a check left open or something so I answered. It was my boss saying that he needed someone to work that night at 5. It was 3. I told him I'd rather not, the nice way to tell your boss to F off. He actually told me that sometimes we need to do things we don't want to do and that they needed someone to work. I get that, but it's not really my problem, is it? I already worked that day and I work open to close on Fridays. Seriously, piss off. He got mad and said he would call me back.

He never called me back so after an hour of waiting around smelling like grease and bar I finally called him. He was cheerful on the phone and had found someone to work. Great. But then he asks me about working Sunday and Monday. I hate being put on the spot about working. Is it strange that I like to take a minute to think about it? I told him I might be able to do Sunday, but I'd let him know for sure the next day. Several hours later I got a voicemail from him saying I would be working Sunday. Does he not listen?

I am seriously close to quitting. I am tired of people only asking me to work last minute, but asking others in advance. It really backs me in to a position where I always have to say no and the owners think I am not willing to help.

I really think they need to hire more employees. Let one of the waitresses cover bar shifts and hire another part time waitress. Two waitresses and four bartenders are not enough to run a place smoothly.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I never thought I'd say this...

Sometimes I miss waitressing on Friday nights. I have been bartending for about a month now and have seen the other side of things. People at the bar are annoying. They may not be rude in the same way as customers at tables, but they are rude. The thing I miss most about waitressing is the movement of it all. Bartending I feel like I am in a little box, moving back and forth. Sometimes I feel like I am in a pinball machine, bouncing off one side of the bar to another. It's like a crazy dance and at the end of the night all I want to do is sit down.

One thing I am thankful for when bartending is not having to serve on the patio. I hate the patio. That will never change.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things are changing

I learned today at work that one of our bartenders who has been acting like a manager has actually been given the title. I'm not sure what this truly means since there are only 7 employees in the front of the house. To me it would be more appropriate to call her "head bartender" since we don't really have a need for another manager. It's been a long time since I've worked for a manager that was not part owner, but I seem to remember managers being people that had to help out when it got unusually busy and coordinate scheduling. I hardly see that happening with this girl. I don't often use names, but the bartender I am referring to is Chris.

Another development is the bartender that got fired. Out of respect for her I am not going in to any more detail than my last post about why she is no longer with the company. I will say, though, that I have been given her Friday night bartending shift. I am excited to begin this as it should mean better tips and a bit more fun than waiting tables. I will, however, miss some of my regulars. There are quite a few that I have been serving on Friday nights for about 2 years now and a handful are a pleasure to serve. The girl replacing me on Friday nights is not what I would call fast, but I am trying to stay optimistic about her ability to handle the rushes we sometimes get.

On a more personal note, my dog and I have passed the Canine Good Citizen test and we are on to the next challenge. Soon we should be registered with the Delta Society as a therapy team and will be able to visit hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh Wow...

So the drama of a small bar has reached its height. I can't really go in to too much detail now, but here's the basics:

One of the people at my work got fired today. Not sure if this will actually be a permanent firing or a temporary one. I guess that depends on how rehab goes.
The waitressing shifts were promptly given to a new waitress who wants to quit her other job. No biggie since no one else wanted the shifts. The bartending shift however...there is drama. None of the other bartenders want the shift, but I do. I already waitress that night so they need to find a person to take my shift. It's a Friday night, a good night to waitress (especially on a one server floor). For some reason no one wants the shift. They don't want to work weekends. I have no idea what is going to end up happening with this, but I am staying out of it. Yes, I want the shift, but they all know that. Either I get it or I don't.

I have decided that I like not being involved in the drama. I'd much rather hear about it than be pulled in to it!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not a Darn Thing

Nothing much is going on at my work lately other than some employee drama. Yes, even with a small group of employees there is plenty of drama. I think it comes with the heavy drinking that seems to be a requirement to work in the industry. I prefer not to drink much. We're talking maybe 3 drinks a month or less. Maybe this is why I am not really good friends with the other people I work with. They all seem to make plans together that I am left out of. Don't get me wrong, there's no sadness in that for me. With the stories I hear about their outings...I'm better off staying at home.
So this post is taking a more personal turn isn't it? I guess that's bound to happen when business is slow and the weather is keeping the oddball customers home.

Things may be changing at the bar soon. Two of the employees seem close to confessing to drinking problems and another insists on coming in late every shift. Keep in mind there are less than a dozen of us. I will be happy to stay out of the whole dramatic thing. I have enough to worry about with school and other obligations.

This semester makes my first at a local university rather than the community college. It's amazing how little community college did to prepare me for "real" college! I am finding that my grades are not as good as I became accustomed to. I have had to dedicate more time to each class than in the past.
Also, after 6 months of training my dog will be testing for the AKC's Canine Good Citizen test in less than a week. If we are able to pass this test we can move on to our ultimate goal and begin training as a therapy team. I can't wait to become therapy certified and begin visiting local nursing homes and hospitals.
Lastly, I am possibly going to be involved as a witness in a lawsuit pertaining to an accident I was involved in over 2 years ago. That, my friends, is no fun. Trust me. Even the anticipation of this is no fun.

I know this is not the type of post you have come to expect from me, but sometimes there's nothing going on at the bar. I just can't stay silent until something happens.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Patio Days

My work will most certainly be opening the patio today since it will be roughly 80 out. Next week will be back to the 60's, but the bar doesn't close the patio on a day to day basis. While I enjoy the summer and the business the nice weather brings, I hate the crazy people who want to eat lunch on the patio in sweltering 95 degree weather, the people who can't let go of summer in the end and want to sit out there when the weather drops back in to the 60's, and the people who expect to receive service when it begins to rain.

This is the first place I have worked that had a patio. Is it normal to run it like this? My boss's attitude is if someone wants to sit out there, we serve them no matter the weather. What would you do in this situation? I am tempted to tell people that there is no table service when the weather is wet, sweltering hot, or cold to the point that I want to wear a coat. Would you?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How is this my fault?

"Hey, that lady said that she waited for 9 minutes before she got a drink when she came in." Manager G started in. He was pointing in the direction of the entire bar area of the building.

"Which lady?" I ask, straining to see beyond the people at the bar to the tables. I didn't have anyone sitting on that side of the building, but it was possible I missed someone if they were standing.

"That one." He continues pointing in the same direction.

"At a table?" I ask.

"No. M______." He finally tell me. M______ is a woman who comes in several times a week. She is friends with Chris and Stacy and is usually very nice. She came in at 2 in the afternoon. It is now about 8 at night.

"But she's at the bar." I tell him, confused.

"She said that when she came you were sitting at the bar ignoring her. She said she looked at her watch to see how long it would take to get a drink and it was 9 minutes."

What is this? I am waitressing!

"I didn't know where Chris was when M______ sat down so I gave her a chance to come back. She hadn't asked me to watch the bar, and I had tables I was taking care of. After about a minute or two I started looking for Chris to tell her someone was at the bar. She was talking with a customer on the restaurant side but was on her way back to the bar so I didn't say anything. It was only about 2 minutes."

"Why didn't you get Chris right away? Or get the customer a drink? She said she was pissed because she thought you were the bartender and you were ignoring her." His tone is angry and accusatory. I am actually getting in trouble for this. M______ knows I don't bartend on Fridays. She's friends with Chris and knows she works every Friday. But then, she can't complain about her friend, can she?

"G, no one asked me to watch the bar. I have talked to the girls about this and they prefer I don't help their customers unless they ask me to watch the bar. Besides, it was only a minute. I didn't know where she was and for all I knew she'd be back in a minute anyway."

"Well I don't believe that at all. We all help each other out here. We like helping each other out!"

"Yes, but I didn't want to step on her toes." I give up. Somehow this has been made my fault. "I'm sorry G."

How the hell can the bartender not doing her job be my fault? Is it part of my job to know where the bartender is all the time, to track her down no matter where she is to let her know immediately when a new customer comes in? To help her customers when she is not there? I can tell you, no one does it for me.

This is crap.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The party that made me cry last year

Remember this? This group scheduled another event for a recent Friday night. I found out when I came in for the first half of my double that day.

This year, there was no second server asked to come in, no second bartender, and almost no manager. The day manager had to leave early and the night manager had to come in late so the third manager came for the interim. Since he is also an owner, and was not "really" working, and the party consisted of several of his friends, he sipped coctails the entire time, never forgetting to ask me from time to time if I needed anything.

I did my best to keep up with the party, but since it was an open bar many of them simply walked up there. I caught them sometimes, sometimes I didn't. No one really cared either way which was wonderful.

Near the end of the open bar I was making my round back to the dining room when I saw two guys rush in to my path. My path happened to be through the employee area containing the pass through for the kitchen. Before I could say anything, the host of the party, and friend of our owners, said loudly "Can we help you guys?"
One of the two said aggressively that they wanted to order food and they had been waiting 15 minutes for service. I knew this was bull but politely told them I would be more than happy to take their order. They walked back to a table and I followed with two menus. There was a third person sitting at the table and I apologized for not bringing enough menus but was told it was OK. I proceeded to take their drink order; two long islands, no ice (as I was told 4 times), and a water for the one with no ID (no I can not accept a traffic ticket. I need a photo ID). While I was carding the guy who wanted the second long island the first started ordering their food. It wasn't a complicated order, but with two different food items and one drink order being told to me at once I decided to write it down. I asked them to please wait a second and pulled out some paper and a pen. While I'm doing this they repeat their order. As I am writing the drink orders I again ask them to wait a minute. They repeat their order again. Annoying and rude since this is all being done with an attitude on their part. I begin to write slowly. After a second I repeat part of the order to prompt them to continue from there. They speak slowly like I am not intelligent enough to understand normal speech.

I make their long islands, which look like diarrhea in a glass since it is mostly mix rather than liquor. Upon bringing the drinks and set ups to the table the most obnoxious of the three begins to ask me "Hey girl, what time you get off baby?" and "Damn, you sure are fine from behind." I ignore the second comment and, to the first, respond that last call is at 1:30. "You got a man baby girl?" "What his name?" I smile and walk away without answering.

Every time I walk past the table the obnoxious one asks where their food is. The first three times I tell him it is still cooking and I wil bring it out as soon as it is ready. After that I ignore the question.
Finally their food is ready. When I deliver it the obnoxious one asks for more ranch. I run something to another table and then proceed to get the ranch. As I am at the condiment station (sad ranch is considered a condiment now) I overhear a confrontation between the host of the party and the obnoxious guy at the table. I quickly get my manager and a verbal confrontation between the two men and the obnoxious guy ensues. After about a minute, my manager gets fed up and kicks them out. He delivers their bill himself and makes sure they pay it. Do I even need to say he's my favorite of the three to work with?

So I don't think I will be crying over a talk with management this year. As annoying and uncomfortable as the situation with the three guys was, I'd prefer that to getting a lecture from management that makes me tear up and fear for my job.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is this exceptionally difficult?

I had two different tables the other day confused over what starting a tab means and what paying as you go means. I didn't think it was a complex concept.

I brought one girl her beer and asked if she wanted to pay as she went or start a tab. She asked if she could just pay after she had her beer. Umm, yes. That is running a tab. I told her sure and asked for a card or an ID to keep the tab open. She gave me a credit card and told me she wanted to pay cash at the end. I assured her that was fine, but she continued telling me she didn't want to see any charges on her card and why do I need a card anyway? I again told her I could hold an ID instead of a card, but she said it was OK.

The other table ordered a round that totaled over $20. When I brought the round I posed the same question. One of the men at the table gave me a very confused look and said "I guess we'll figure it out on the next round." Seriously?
I politely told him that unfortunately I needed to either give my bar money for the round or a credit card or ID to keep the tab open. Again I get a confused look, but he hands me money for the round.

It seems these things happen in groups. I won't get attitudes about holding cards for tabs for months and then suddenly everyone takes issue with it. For two years I have been posing the "pay as you go or start a tab" question in the same way without any confusion and suddenly no one gets it.

On another note, I had the most annoying child in my section the other day. The parents allowed the kid to unroll all the silverware on my newly-set tables while I was checking with the kitchen on their food. 40 sets of silverware that needed to be rewashed and rolled because parents couldn't be bothered to watch their own children in public. The same child was also stopped from pushing open the front door and leaving the restaurant by a customer drinking at the bar.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I am tired of not being able to eat the meal I order (and have to pay for) while I am working. That is all.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Annoying People Come in Groups

It was a Friday night and I was almost ready to be cut. There were 2 hours til close, but I had only had 2 tables for the last few hours and they were getting ready to close out. Being at the bar for 13 hours without a chance to sit for even a minute had made me tired and my feet hurt. As I was bringing the check to the first of the two tables ready to close out a couple of girls walked in the front door. They stood by the bar for a few minutes before turning and walking to the dining room and seating themselves. With an internal sigh I walked over to greet them. After taking their drink order the second of my tables asked for their check.

I quickly ran the check out to the appropriate table and went back to the POS. As I was ringing the drink order in, 2 young guys walked in the door and up to the register. They needed a table. With another internal sigh and an outward smile I grabbed menus and sat them at a booth, taking their drink order immediately. When I returned with their drinks, the taller of the two said they were ready to order. His friend looked at him and said he needed more time. I told them I would return shortly.

After dropping off the drinks for the two women, another table walked in. I seated them and asked for their drink order. They spent 5 minutes asking me the prices for various drinks and beer, as well as our drink specials for the day. In an attempt to speed up the process I told them our specials were listed on an insert on the table. One of the kids (they were all between 22 and 24 but acted like kids) told me, as a joke, he couldn't read. After finally extracting an order for food from one of the four and drink order from another I told them I would return. On my way to enter their order, I gathered the check from the earlier table and went to the register to close it out. As I was doing this, the tall guy came to the register and started telling me his order. I smiled and entered the order before scooting off to the bar to gather the drink for the kid's table.

The kids had a few more questions and the proceeded to play argue with me standing there. After a minute of this I asked if they would like me to return. The illiterate guy ordered a drink. Back up to the POS. The tall guy was there waiting for me. I told him I would come to his table in a second, thinking he would sit back down. Nope. He waited at the register for me as I dropped off the drink that had been ordered. Smiling, I told him I would have come to his table to get his order. Keep in mind, tall guy and his friend were not waiting long, and I was visible to them the entire time, so they knew I was occupied. Maybe they aren't used to going out to restaurants? He seemed to prefer to order at a counter.

Eventually tall guy's table and the kids were fed and happy. The kids split their check and one paid while the other joked he was going to walk out on his as he sauntered over to the bar. I told him he would need to close out with me if he were sitting there and promptly got his check, which went unpaid for another 30 minutes though he ordered nothing. Seems he preferred to lean against the bar making out with his girlfriend. Tall guy and his friend paid and left.

Throughout all this, the two women had issues with their drinks. First, the mai-tai had too much juice so I added more grenadine making it a sickly bright pink. The the long island had too much sour so I added more coke, making it look dark brown. Their waters also tasted "wrong".

I practically ran out the door as soon as all my tables were closed out at last call.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Was Right

Last night there were 16 people in the bar when I arrived. Between 5 and 9, only 8 new people arrived, and most of the people already there left.

The bartender called in sick and since I am also a bartender there, they decided that I could work the bar. They felt they didn't need a waitress after all. I was a bit upset about this at first. I had tried to get that night off a month ago but was unable to find someone to work the shift. In the end, they decided they didn't need a waitress so I should have been sent home.

All in all, I had a fun night. It was all regulars there and they were playing music all night. One of them offered to play any songs I wanted to cheer me up. When my songs came on, some of the regulars asked who played the songs and I admitted it was me. They cheered. I guess they liked my taste in music.

We ended up closing at 10. I doubt they will try to be open next year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Open New Year's Day

My bar has decided that we will be open today. Not just during the day, but at night as well. I am not hopeful for the evening. Even the clubs and college bars are closed today. If anyone is going out drinking tonight, it's going to be the college kids.

Management thinks that we will be busy because it is a Friday. I think it will not be busy because it is New Year's Day. Let's see who's right.