Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho

This past week my dad took his vacation and invited me down to Myrtle Beach with him.  It was a 4-hour drive, and for a solid half-hour I kept passing billboards for a gentleman's club (I'm not even going to discuss the irony) called "Cafe Risque."  The female silhouettes on the billboards had no arms.  No, really - no arms.  I didn't know if this was supposed to be appealing or avaunt guard or if they just ran out of space, but the women had no arms. 

I almost wanted to stop by to check on the actual women at the club, to see if they had arms or not, but I didn't.  Okay, not entirely for that reason did I want to stop by - I am generally drawn to anything of a sexual and/or seedy nature, meaning strip clubs and sex shops and such. 

But anyway, I got down to Myrtle Beach and was immediately surrounded by hoards of yankees.  It was like I had driven too far down and ended up in Florida.  They were all elderly and/or aging yankees who did things like attend live variety shows and eat at K&W cafeteria, which is also what my father and I did.  It was his vacation. 

The variety show, with the unlikely moniker of, "One - The Show," held at the world not-so-famous Alabama Theater, the namesake of the semi-famous country band, was actually pretty good.  I would have to say it was entertaining.  The comedian was top-notch and his character reminded me of someone I know, a Southerner with a very pronounced "country" accent (in this region, "country" meaning that of the poor, hill (Appalachia) people as opposed to that of the more wealthy, coastal dwellers; I am of the same persuasion) who likes to tell hysterical stories made hysterical mostly by her reactions to the events she is relating more so than the actual events themselves (Hello, Tara, if you're reading, which you're probably not - better chance Laura is reading, in which case she can alert you to this blog post. Thanks.).

They took variety seriously at the Alabama Theater, and the very same dancers that wore Michael Jackson gloves and grabbed their crotches for vigorous upward thrusts graced the stage later in their choir robes.  I don't think that the robes were representative of any particular denomination, but resembled, in a generic fashion, that of any AME Zion church.  The entire cast, with one lone exception, was white. 

I stayed over night, and it was back to work this past Thursday. 

Yesterday was Saturday, my last day before my Day Off (Today), and it reminded me to tell you why I don't like Saturdays:

1) Saturday lunch can be slow to steady, but picks up towards the end and charges right on in to Saturday dinner (which is ridiculous - I don't work at night on Saturdays anymore because it is so ridiculous).

2) I get shit on.

Here's what happens:

Usually 4 or 5 servers, including myself, are scheduled for a Saturday lunch. Two or three of those are "doubles" which means they will have to come back to also work the dinner shift (get it? - two shifts - double.), which means that at least one of them will begin immediately bitching to leave because they're "a double" and need a break before they come back and, really, because they aren't making any money at lunch anyway.  Another is a "volume," which means a person who is screwed every which way to sideways but will make a lot of money, which means they will work the whole damn day right into the night without going home for a break (they may let them sit down and eat at some point while I take tables by myself), from the moment they come in up until either it is really slow and they let them go or the place shuts down for the night, usually closer to the latter.  Sometimes doubles can actually turn into something closer to a volume if we are really busy and they end up staying at lunch so long that there isn't really any sense in leaving the restaurant for their break.  Incidentally, I am there for my entire shift, usually close to 7 hours, without any breaks or eatings, except for the peanuts I eat from the bar.  I try to stay away from the rolls because I'm trying to lose Fat Gut, but sometimes I give in.

I am "the closer" at lunch, which means I come in early (10am - an hour before we open) to set up and am on the floor taking tables until the first person for dinner shift comes in, usually around 4pm. I have to sign for the other servers, meaning I have to make sure they do the stuff they're supposed to do before they stick their tips in their bras and leave, stuff like cleaning their tables, rolling silverware, pouring huge vats of honey mustard into smaller, more manageable containers of honey mustard.  They come to me when they've done their stuff and I check it and initial their little roll of paper that prints out with all their statistics, the most immediately important of which is how much they owe the restaurant in cash.  I do this for all the servers on the shift except for the person working the volume, because she will be there longer than me - night shift closers will have to check her. 

Being the closer has both its perks and disadvantages.  One perk, for example, is that the closer doesn't have to roll silverware; she gets her server-minion-friends to do it, and she signs for them, so she doesn't have to do it.  This usually works out during the week, but not on Saturdays.

On Saturdays, I end up rolling a shit-load of silverware.  This is a disadvantage. 

The "doubles" get "phased" (meaning they don't take anymore tables and start doing their work, called "sidework," for me to check off) roll their tiny-to-medium amount of silverware and then get the hell out of there.

And then all hell breaks loose.  And then we, me and the person who is working a volume, get slammed with people.  People who eat off of silverware.  Silverware that must be cleaned and rolled for the next people to come eat off of. 

So, at the end of my shift on Saturdays, I have to roll silverware or else we won't have any for dinner.  Again, tons of it.  Tons of silverware.  Shit.  Loads. 

A while back ago I got written up because the manager thought I had failed to get the other servers to roll silverware.  Dinner started and there wasn't any silverware.  It wasn't that I hadn't gotten the other servers to roll, it's just that I didn't get them to roll enough silverware, and after they rolled what they rolled, it was all used up again before dinner shift started.   This can also be complicated by the fact that the previous dinner shift may have left behind clean silverware for us that they should have rolled, or there may have been dirty silverware from our lunch shift that wasn't washed yet, neither of which lunch shift servers typically want to roll. 

Yesterday at the end of my shift I inquired to the GM about what kind of sexual favors I would have to perform to get out of rolling the massive amounts of End-of-Saturday-Lunch Silverware this time.  She took a bribe instead.  I was just so tired and my last table had been, well:

There is apparently something very disorienting about walking into our restaurant.

People become deaf, dumb, blind and unable to read their menus, unable even to answer simple questions such as "how are you?" or pick up on implied social cues or directions such as "I'll get that menu out of your way for you." (Move your damn elbows, please.  No, no!  We mustn't move our elbows! What horrible thing you are asking us to do!)  They also become very irritable.  It is as if they have had traumatic brain injury or stroke or both. 

They are very sensitive, very easily offended.  Offended, for example, by my asking if they would like a potato.  Or a salad.  They would like not to be bothered by my not being able to read their minds as to the desired dressings and/or added acruements associated with said salad and/or potato.  They would like very much for me to tell them what they would like to drink, also what exactly a drink is.

That is if they are even able to ascertain that I am standing at the table, that I have in fact spoken to them and am awaiting either an answer or any sort of recognition whatsoever that I exist.

If they are able to see that I exist, they latch on to me as the person to blame and give a hard time about the fact that we charge $7.00 for a crab cake.  Seven dollars for ONE DAMN CRAB. CAKE. 

Hey, buddy.  I agree with you.  But I can't do anything about it, so let's not play this little game, alright?  Do you want the fucking seven-dollar-crab-cake or what?  What?  Is it good?  How the hell should I know?  I'm not paying seven dollars for a crab cake!  I don't even think I like crab cakes.  Do you want to give me 7 dollars?

Anyway, my last table yesterday got pissed off for some reason and left me two dollars, that's tooo doll-ahs off of a close to fifty dollar bill. 

Fucking fuckity-fuck fuck bastards.

All of you!

You can tell it's getting close to the Holiday/Thanksgiving/Christmas season, the season during which we celebrate family, peace on Earth and the birth of Christ/Menorah/Africa, because people are getting stingy with their tips so that they can roll on the floor at Wal-Mart with another parent, win, and buy their little Brat McFattyCakes-Prissy the new XBox/Video Game/Morbidly Stuffed Doll That Talks and Walks and Pisses Water. 

Thanks for my 13 percent of it all yesterday, you cows!

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