Saturday, June 5, 2010

The beginning... Of the end...

So sorry dear fans, it has been a while!
I find it funny how after working in a less than fantabulous job for the better part of a year things can suddenly take a turn for the much worse. Just when you think that maybe you have a handle on the pure and unbridled insanity something happens to push you over the edge of reason! (or, if you look at it logically BACK onto the edge of reason.)

I plan to devote my next few posts to the reality that you probably have already guessed: The undoing of the middleaged waitress....

What was it that pushed me over the edge? Here is how my end began...

I had come to accept that bad days were not just an occasional nasty surprise at Captain Rig's, they were the predictable norm.
Since finding my little group of friends, things had become tolerable and occasionally pleasant. Let's remember- tolerable/pleasant is relative. As much as you might find that the company of a few good peeps makes things better there are always the variables (or non-variables) that make life a hellacious undertaking!!
Rather alarmingly another plague of doom that was circulating the building, despite thorough hand washing and zero physical contact among the staff we were all falling prey to it. This was no ordinary little sniffle- this was full blown- knock you on your ass- send you to the Doctor- wishing to die- insanity. The real kicker was that this restaurantitis bug gave its lucky recipients a solid 5-7 days off. One by one we dropped like flies (fortunately not all at once or there would have been nobody home to sling pasta and overpriced martinis!)
I had it and then got another round of it... And then rather horrifyingly another. BAD news! All of my work friends got it and were sick as dogs. We all sympathized with one another (over the phone from our respective death beds) while swigging codeine laced cough syrup and knocking back rounds of antibiotics.
I had the luck of being the only decent person there while the rest of "them" (work friends) all had it at once. This was a troubling time for me, as I had grown used to the feeling that somebody was there who might have a brain/ounce of humanity/sense of humor/good story to break up the boredom with. The sudden and lengthy removal of my safety net of friends was alarming, and I realized that as bad as things were at CR's for the first few weeks- this was far worse.
Business was slow. Things were mind bendingly boring. Tempers were flaring. And I was ALONE.
Captain Rig was on a rampage of hate, steamrolling over anyone or anything in his path. Luckily, Jan and Amber left me be- at this point realizing that making my life miserable was a waste of their time. However, whether I was laboriously dragging thru horrifically dull tasks to pass the time, or hiding out in the employees restroom sneakily texting I was feeling quite sad and unfortunate. (on top of being alone, sad and bored out of my freaking mind I was still most definitely sick. Which really was NOT boosting my morale!)
During this period of time it occurred to me that there was no way I could keep up the madness should a friendly face or two not return to make things a bit more tolerable. Making poor money, and having to scrub walls, sanitize the bar and clean drains for $3.63 an hour is bad enough with an entourage to watch your back... and completely appalling without one.
Luckily, the plague ran it's course and one by one, my friends trickled back in (weak and creaky from days of high fevers and epic doom.)
Sadly though, this was the beginning of the end.
Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

They are everywhere!!!

I recently got a text from the NNG while she was at her "real" job that said:

NNG: I totally saw Captain Rigatoni at a seminar today! I have to tell you all about it. URGGGHHH!

MAW: You saw C-Rig!? The Horror! I want details!

NNG: Yes. It was pretty horrible.

MAW: I'm messaging you on Facebook becasue it is easier and I have a lot to say!

MAW on FB: You saw the C-Riggers today, no shit? I want details. Did he/she/they talk to you? Was this a seminar about how to have clowns ruin your business??!!

NNG on FB: Yes so I saw the C-Rig's! uggghhh....
My boss and the payroll woman and I went to this seminar on......get this......LABOR LAWS!!!!!
While I was getting ready I was thinking to myself "I wonder if I'll way, what the heck do they care about labor laws..." so the thought was fleeting.. THEN we get there and we walk in and my coworkers go use the ladies room (i know i'm getting very specific) so I get stuck picking seats. I pick the front row on the side (cause if i wanted to sit where I would normally sit in the back corner I probably would have fallen asleep and I don't think they would be very happy with me)
I'm sitting and my coworkers come back, and I glance towards the doorway and BUM BUM BUM!!!!!!!!!!!! In comes sista C-rig! Hahahaha Bobbi totally came it and I literally almost threw up. I didn't really make eye contact, I actually shuffled in my bag so i could have time to make a plan.
I looked back over and we slightly made eye contact (i did not even smile) and she, of course, sat in the front row right in the middle. I could have died...
I strategically placed my chair directly next to my boss so i didn't have to look over and cringe. Finally the seminar starts, and of course Bobbi looks all professional and whips out a notebook and is taking notes, (meanwhile you know what she's really writing) how to screw all my employees, and the men in the room? to be the most passive aggressive person in the world!! So all of a sudden C-RIG HIMSELF comes through the door, and sits in the way back. I wanted to get up and be like...ok where's Ashton....I'm being punk'd right???? No, i wasn't dreaming they were both there.
So eventually there's a break and I'm thinking what if she comes over here? Do I punch her? Could I cuss her out in front of my new boss and the department of labor? To make a long story semi long we never spoke, but I did make sure to walk right in front of her so she could see me. I was talking and she was sitting in the front row and i walked right past her to talk to the woman who was in charge of the seminar....I kinda stood sideways so she could see my face and i could see her out of the corner of my eye and oddly, she was sitting there while everyone else had left. I was like "oh my god she's waiting to talk to me" thank goodness my boss and the pr lady are talkers so we kept talking and asking questions and then I walked around got my bag kept talking and then finally she got up and walked over to C-Rig and some other guy and they left!!
But all throughout the seminar i wanted to be like "so it is ILLEGAL to tip out the kitchen" or "so it is ILLEGAL to force someone to pay for broken items and lost checks" i have a list of things that you can make deductions for and those are not on it!!! that is that....awful...

MAW on the FB: WOW. OK.
Item one: According to my HWF C-Rig had their hearing with the Labor Board yesterday. Hence, their appearence at this seminar was probably to do a bit of last minute prep.

Item two: Also according to HWF, at the hearing C-Rig was told to sit down and be quiet, and to let Bobbi do the talking as he was digging himself a deep hole.

Item three: Despite this, C-Rig is apparently very pleased with how their hearing went. Because they lie and have no concience.

My thoughts on your horrifying situation: I would expect that Bobbi was more shocked to see you then you were to see her. She thinks that when people are not at the blessed C-Rig they curl up and die a slow death, probably alone, to be discovered weeks later by the landlord looking for his late rent..... I love the fact that Bobbi and C-Rig were both there but did not sit together. WTF? You guys are RELATED- sit together for christsakes! Was Bobbi all dressed up or in her frumpy-dumpster "workout" clothes? Did C-Rig stand up and interrupt the speaker, declaring himself to be king of the world?

I wish I had been there. The whole thing sounds too awesome to be real (but I know it is!) I feel bad for you though, breathing the air in the general vicinity of the C-Rig-ers is rather poisinous.

Thanks for filling me in. I LOVE it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Play on, Playah's

A helpful chapter, reviewing the Cast of Characters:

There are a lot of players in my twisted little world and it's easy to get confused. (especially for me, since all names have been changed for obvious reasons.) So here's a helpful guide to who's who in the world of Catain Rig's house of pain. Enjoy, and then continue reading with a more in depth understanding of the lovely peeps that I am (ahem) blessed to work with.

The Good:
Middleagedwaitress: That's me, y'all! Obviously one of the good guys, I make it my daily mission to bring Logic & Reason into the world on insanity. Or, if nothing else a bit of humor and reality?

The NNG: She is actually the Reason to my Logic (don't question the wisdom on this one.) A great girl with a big heart and a tendency to laugh just as loud as I do. She shares with me a profound dislike for everything about C-Rig's which is smart in every way. (NNG: Newest-New-Girl. for about 5 minutes, but the name stuck in my head!)

The HWF: Why, oh WHY do both of my best friends not have real names? Oh I remember- because I though that they would both be smart enough to get the frick out stat- therefore not needing real names... Anywhoo, as you all know the HWF definitely plays for the "good" team and is deeply committed to getting Jan fired. This is a lofty goal but he has a devious card to play (and we'll see if it ever happens.) Anyway, my HWF is by BWF and we have each others backs. (HWF: Human Work Friend. Came from something the HWF said about the Head Harpies being some sort of odd, non-human creatures. Long story.)

Marissa: One of the first good people to get hired (and to stick areound!) after I began my reign of terror. She is a sweet girl, a terrific waitress and an (unreasonably) hard worker- and has the second worst luck of anybody I have ever met. She is the apple of Capt Rig's eye (ewww!) but she doesn't let the fame go to her head and she continues to feel moderate hatred for all the Head Harpies.

The Neutral:
The Youth of America: A smattering of kids, all of whom have short lived careers at C-Rig's due to their globe hopping tendencies. They are too young and innocent to take much stock in the horror that we witness, and they still have the cocky attitude that all 22 year olds seem to possess. They can be amusing at times but are mostly annoying, hung-over and proud of their sex lives.

Waiter Dan: There is a Waiter Dan and a Kitchen Dan, This can be confusing... Waiter Dan is very good at his job and could have made the "good" list except for his feelings that Jan makes the business run well. This is a horribly misinformed statement so despite his ability to fix problems without making a federal case out it them, and his amazing stories about banana tree escapades he is stuck on my "neutral" list.

The Bad/Ugly:
Captain Rigatoni- The owner, "head chef" and self proclaimed Master of the Universe. A very bad man.

Bobbi Rigatoni- C-Rig's sister. A first class beeyotch and the Queen of Passive Agrestiva. My dislike from her is profound.

Mama Rigatoni- The mother. Somehow managed to raise some effed up children but is a fairly cool lady. I can not overlook her dreadful offspring though- so "Bad" list it is!

JAN- The head troll, boss of everyone (as in none) the person who brought douchebag back into my vocab and somebody who I make fun of due to her hideousness. The #1 enemy of my HWF- who she would be wise to treat a bit better...

The Man Slave- Jan's lubby-dubby. C-Rig's tickle fight partner. Does not possess a man card, or an ounce of the smart.

Ashley- Ewwwww. Dreadful in every way. Has attitude of a supermodel (without the looks) and the strange compulsion to talk in a baby voice which creeps me to the max. I dislike her more than I dislike Jan- but I am one of the few that feels this way (well. I think that the NNG agrees)

Gina- No words. Luckily she is on a schedule that keep us apart 99% of the time or she might be my least favorite. She has a heart filled with hate and is bad in practically every way.

The Now Extinct but terrible in past tense:

The Nemesis- Except for Jan she was HWF's least favorite person. She had the IQ of a stump and the motivation of a rock. She was pretty great.

Karen- HORRIBLE times a million and bat shit crazy. As bad, if not worse then Jan. I declared a National Holiday on the day she was fired.

The Tattletale: Self Explanatory

The Flighty Waitress: Irresponsible times a million and had the smarts to rival the Nemesis. Was fired because she decided to stay home one day and get drunk. But was not smart enough to stay home, proceeded to go out and about and get busted by Ashley (who- no kidding- then RAN to the restaurant, on her DAY OFF to tattle on her. Maybe Ashley should have been the Tattletale?)

Shrek- Too cool for words. A gynormous close talker and mouth breather. Ewww.

And there we have it. A glossary of the bizzare players both past and present. You can see how lucky I am!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Thong Police

Ashley had been lying dormant for a while, or at least as dormant as any of the axis-of-evil members can lie.

Evidently, keeping quiet had lost it's charm and appeal for her because she came out with vengeance and a high level of mouthiness during a Friday evening shift.

I might have previously mentioned that while Ashley pictures herself as a lean, bodacious supermodel that simply is not the case. While she might not carry the heft of Jan she is a portly soul, and has enough rolls to fill a basket. None of these things stop her from being exceptionally critical of the physical stature of others (she might not run... but she does run her mouth!)

For whatever reason she became agitated by the fact then in the kitchen on occasion when one (or several) of the girls leans over to get something their shirt hikes up and there might be a momentary flashing-of-the-thong. THE HORROR!! The sensible approach would be to say "your showing too much skin there, pussycat doll wannabe!" But as we all know, the sensible approach is the road less traveled at Captain Rig's.

I witnessed Ashley not walking, but literally running (while gasping for air, I'm sure) to tattletale to Bobbi, Momma Rigatoni and anybody who would listen. She went ON and ON about it in a rather bizarre, but quite passionate way! I had not realized how deep her desire was to be the leader of the thong cops of America.
Sidling up to me she whined "You know... I just can not figure out why all of these BIG girls will not buy cloths that FIT! Maybe if they actually bought pants that would button then we wouldn't always be seeing their underwear... I know it must be really hard to have to buy a size 16 instead of 14 but they might look a little better." I studied her figure intently and came to the conclusion that she had deemed her pants to be well fitting, since her muffin top was only jumbo sized. (and then I went to beat my head bloody against a wall, as hearing her berate everyone in sight was downright painfull.)

Suddenly, we were all summoned to the kitchen for a Very Important Meeting. Mama Rigatoni gathered us all around and said "when you girls are in here bending over and we can see your THONGS I wave to the boys and point down your PANTS!" (lucky you guys, way to get an eyeful of coin slot!) Continuing on she said "From now on everybody has to wear pants that FIT, shirts that are LONG and NO MORE THONGS!" As people dispersed she made a point to tell all of us "girls" that she planned to line us up at the end of the night and (wait for it....) have us all bend over- so that she could check on the thong escapage. OH. MY. GAWD! This middleaged waitress don't bend over for nobody- you had better believe it.

Several of the girls, including the poor NNG were very embarrassed by this encounter and outraged at Ashley's false sense of self-pride/worth/beauty. Not to be stopped, Ashley continued to steamroll on all evening blathering on and on about unacceptable thongage, poorly fitting pants and her own slim figure. It was all very strange. Stranger still, was how she chased the NNG around all night trying to talk to her about the incident. Being rather offended by the whole mess (hmmmm, why might that be?) the NNG grew more and more pissed off. I was waiting for a fistfight... It never happened...

I was pleased that Mama Rig forgot about the promised Bending-Over because that might have been a bit too much for me to take. I was pleased to know though, that I'm not a grownup enough girl to be able to choose the knickers that I might wear what with thongs being banned and all. So, high waisted granny panties it is. I wonder how everyone will feel when they get an eyeful of those sexy things!
(Editors note: can't do it. I don't even own a pair of high waisted granny-pants. but whatev- it's a great visual!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why bad tippers cost us money and should be shot. (just kidding.)

This is a post dedicated to Anonymous, from Mass who left a comment on my "Adventures in Fairly Poor Service" blog. (she/he will know why!)

Going home exhausted and broke at the end of a long restaurant shift filed with poor tippers is a rough story. It happens to all of us, and the uninitiated will say "Get a REAL JOB!" or "You waitresses don't have to claim any of your tips so it's still like working under the table!"

While I have no pleasant response for answer one I am going to try to shed some light on answer #2.

Why bad tippers cost servers money at the end of the day:

We'll make this easy. (almost) everything in this day & age is computerized and almost everyone pays with a credit card. Therefore, "Hiding" money/tips from your restaurant is almost impossible and rather frowned upon.

So, say on any given night you make $500 in sales and hit the jackpot with 20% tippers. You have $100 in your pocket. "Sweet" you say to yourself, "A decent night!"

WAIT. That's not all for you, clever server.

Let's hand off 10% to the service bar (those drinks come from somebody, no?) And then throw another 5-10% at your bus-person (if you are blessed to have one.) At some restaurants there are more people on the tip out list- food expeditors, coffee prep people- essentially, anyone who is not paid minimum wage can be "tipped out."

So, you tip out your people and you are down 10-20%. BUT- all your sales were in credit cards so even if you wanted to say that you left with $85 you could not. You have to claim the whole lump of $100- and get taxed on it.

Which brings us to an evening of bad tippers and what happens then. Say you make $500 in sales, and one table leaves you $0 due to their profound dislike of Italian food (your fault!) then you get a few more tables who tip in the 12-15% range. You finish up the evening with $60. You still have to tip out all your helpers- and then things get a bit tricky. It will show in the "books" that you made $500 in sales. If you "claim" that you only left with $45 that is going to raise eyebrows both from your boss in the backroom and the IRS. (one's boss will usually expect to see a server claim 15-18% of their total sales. and WILL say something if the total consistently looks low.) So once again, you "claim" the full amount- knowing that even at $60 your tips are possibly going to raise some eyebrows.

Back in the good old days a 15% tip was considered the norm to reward good service.

THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE (go ahead and flame me. I really don't care! Badasssss!!)

20% rewards good service and is also pleasantly easy to factor into your bill! YAY for the "easy" button!!

15%- honestly means that something was lacking. Slow service (not always the servers fault- but sometimes) forgotten items,

Less than 15 percent means that there was a major problem.

As a server I consistently tip much higher than 20%, as a sign of solidarity in a cruel, unfortunate world. If things are complete crap I'll still usually leave close to 18%- because I consider that to be bad!

This is not a post meant to be snooty. However, being that I am a lifelong server and it IS HARD WORK I feel that perhaps I can help my fellow restaurant employees by throwing out handy tidbits of info. I'm cool like that.

(and BTW. I have a REAL job. OH, and BTW again? Serving is a REAL job which requires a very specialized skill set, high energy and endless patience.)

OH! Almost forgot. For those of you who think that we take home a paycheck at the end of the week- WELL, we do. If being paid 3.63 an hour (before taxes) counts for anything. So... I'm just sayin'.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Key to my FAME!

I see that I ruffled some feathers with my last post!
Since being a tad offendive is clearly going to be the key to my fame and success I have compiled a list of excellent topics for an upcoming blog post. Perhaps I should take a poll on which to choose?!

1: Canadians: Humans, or Aliens??

2: Gluten Allergies: A LIE to get attention!! Just eat the damn WHEAT!

3: People with children: Leave them home or drown them in the river! (the kids, that is- or yourselves if you choose to allow them to run amock.)

4: Christmas decorations/Christmas in general: Brainwashing at its finest...

BWA-HAHA! I can feel my fame skyrocketing!
(and really, if you don't understand that I'm kidding then please see topic #3 and consider doing the same!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Canadians. Wine-O-s. Singing Brooms? Ahh, a day in my life..

Dear Canadians. I am sure deep down inside you are all lovely people. BUT! (and before I offend all of y'alls- I am NOT racist about anyone. There just happen to be a group of people out there who waitresses really dread and sadly, our friends from the North fall into this category. So no hate for the middleaged waitress, ok?) I have posted about them and their never ending shenanigans and terrible tipping skills before and my feelings (and their behavior) has not changed.
I'm sure that all of you Canadians are very nice people, and I know that you play a good game of hockey. But please learn to behave and tip!

I had a very long night of Canadian-itis recently. Table after table of $150+ check totals and $8 tips had me crying in my soup. Or cursing rather loudly and threatening to shoot myself in both feet so that I could just go home, damnit!
One table in particular had me gnashing my teeth and reminding myself to shut my fricking mouth... They ran me ragged... Their children were demanding and petulant and they refused to speak English except to boss me around. (and they could speak English. It was annoying.)

At the same time in the adjacent table I had a 2-top who were clearly from the Very Big City that is known to produce A-Holes. No offence. However, these two decided to break the stereotype and start off with full blown fabulocity. Perhaps it was because I had the table of truly offensive northerners that made them seem rather tolerable- but this 2-top started out full of promise. they ordered wine (had to get the HWF's wine key, obviously) They ordered apps and warned me that they were going to have a nice, leisurely meal. This sounded like an ideal plan because not only was it early and I had to be there- so I might as well be busy- but my Rude table was keeping me so busy that I had me big old hands pretty darn full.

By the time that the Rude table was ready to get a move on the Man in the friendly 2-top had drank his way right thru the bottle of wine. Needless to say, things at their table were starting to take a turn for the worse- or at least a turn for the strange.

As the Rude table left they demanded to see their bill again to "check the breakdown.. because it seemed really HIGH." Ok, no problem, here you go DOUCHEBAG! They studied the bill with a microscope and found it to be correct, much to their dismay. Since it was my fault that they ate and drank so much they punished me with a four cent tip and got the frick out.

After they left Mister wine-o had lots to say about them. "Soooo" he drawled rather tipsily "they think that their shit don't stink, now don't they?" Not wanting to spark some sort of insane debate, or to appear rude I just laughed them off. But he persisted "Tell us what you really thought of them, because we thought that they were first class assholes." "Well." I said tactfully "They were a bit needy but it isn't something that I haven't dealt with 100 times before...." This was not a good enough answer and he persisted in pestering me to spill my real feelings on the matter. (which I would not do. but I did get him to order more wine, knowing that his wife was DDing his drunkass home.)

Much time had elapsed at this point and they were my only table left so, much to my chagrin, I had very little excuse to hide from them. More fine had further loosened Mr. Wine-o's tongue and he prattled on endlessly. (this is why I hated bartending and never wish to do it again- escape is challenging. and at a table like this- you are suddenly the bartender, therapist and best friend EVER!) As they prepared to take their leave I was asked one more question "In the Disney movie with the lion and the princess, is there a singing broom?" Lion. Princess. Singing Broom? WTF? Thinking hard I said "Beauty and the Beast you mean? Are you thinking of the singing candelabra?" He was not convinced and spent 10 lawyerly minutes asking me if I had reasonable doubt that there was NOT a singing broom in Beauty and the Beast. The whole situation unnerved me a bit and I started second guessing myself and could not say with 100% certainty that there was no damn stupid singing BROOM! (anybody? have the answer?)

In the end all the ridonculocity paid off because they left me a gargantuan tip- but it was all around odd.
And I'd love to know if there is a singing broom in the movie about the lion and the princess....