Thursday, December 17, 2009

In which our Heroine learns that she will never be able to cheat a lie detector test...

Crossing the threshold of my own personal hell the other evening (aka: the kitchen entrance of Captain Rigatoni's) I could hear the hollerin' coming from the back room in a big way! Realizing that this was sure to be yet another heart warming evening of cheerful pep talks, and loving pats on the back I concluded that it was the perfect opportunity to continue my social experimentation on the Captain's dime.

Before I could reflect any further on what my bold mission might be I was captured by Dan, and in a whirlwind of speed was whisked away to the dark recesses of the walk in cooler. My reaction was something of the "HEY! YO! WTH??" kind, as I do not particularly enjoy any kind of sudden kidnapping. Surrounded by buckets of pasta, "homemade" desserts and carrots, Dan delivered a stern lecture. "We have an audit going on today" he said in his very best waiting-to-be-upper-management voice "and we need to go over a few things." I was confused, and was picturing some sort of tax evasion taking place and could not see how I could possibly have any part in such a thing. Continuing on, and carefully annunciating his words lest I be confused by the weight of my mission Dan said "They are going to be asking all of us some questions today about how this restaurant is run, how you get paid and what some of our policies are." "Reeeeaaaaly?" I said, as it dawned on my that this was the Labor peeps and not the Tax goons "What's the deal?" I inquired. "Well, there are a few things that need to be said by ALL" was his firm, and clearly pronounced reply. By this time it was becoming painfully clear to me what was going on: We were going to be told to lie. And if there is something that this middle aged waitress AVOIDS it is lying. It is well known in my circle of friends that my lying skills are on par with my coordination skills meaning, NOT good. Not only is lying something that I am (somewhat) morally opposed too but I just can't be smooth about it. I tend to stammer a bit, get overly exaggerated in my hand gestures and facial expressions and get all red faced and sweaty palmed. I just can't pull it off, period! This was NOT the kind of challenging social experimantation that I was intersted in. Clearly pressed for time Dan continued with his lecture on deceit "When he asks about our tip-out policy you should know that we DO NOT nor have we EVER tipped out any staff in this restaurant besides the service bar." "You don't say" I replied with great sarcasm "Because some little part of my memory remembers something entirely different..." "Well that part of your memory needs to be turned off right now" was his sensible thought on that matter. "Also, you have NOT nor have you EVER been required to pay for anything you have broken, screwed up on or damaged." Remembering that there was a small portion of my medulla oblongata (or similar?) that needed to learn to shut it's mouth I shut mine too... "Also" he droned on "it is not our policy to ask you to pay for a "walk-out" but we do reserve the right to terminate you if you have multiple people leaving without paying." "So the other day" I mused in my out-loud voice "when my work friend was let go for one walk out.... That never happened? Am I right?" Delighted with my quick learning skills Dan exclaimed that I WAS right and that I HAD it and could scurry right along and talk to Mr. Department of Lies.

Fortunately for me, a long line of liars had formed at that point so I had a bit of time to muse over my options. I saw this as a perfect, heaven sent opportunity to expose the shady work place principles that were applied at Capt Rig's. I saw this as a delightful opportunity to avenge my fallen and unjustly fired friend. I worked myself up into a fine state of indignation over the fact that people thought that they could order me to lie and expect me too! Seeing Dan run by to polish the halo that Captain Rigatoni had given him I asked a quick question "So Dan, why is it that you had to catch us one by one and tell us what was going on? Why did we not have a meeting to talk about this? It wouldn't be becasue "management" didn't want to be (ahem) involved? You know, in case we get asked if we were told by our "bosses" to say certain things?" "Ahhh" he said, clearly agitated by my quick thinking and perception "that might be... close to correct..." As he left the kitchen he turned and semi-shouted "AND it's a BEAUTIFUL thing!!" with more than a touch of sarcasm, which led me to believe that despite all the mumbo-jumbo he was still at least partially human. With my suspicions confirmed I went to the front of the line to get down to the dirty business of exposing the corrupt state of affairs going on in the kitchen. My imagination was having a delightful time picturing the way I would describe to Mr. Labor how I had been told to lie, how we did in fact have to tip out everybody and their brother, and how we most certainly had to pay for breakage and mistakes. I was going to be a champion of the masses, a freedom fighter on the level of Gandhi, and a patriot for waitstaff everywhere. That was the case, until I saw where it was that we were going to be having out "private meeting." In the office: NO. In a nice private area of the dining room: NO. Where, you might ask... Where would we have the opportunity to have a heart to heart chat with somebody who might be able to save us from doom and slavery (and the loss of tons of our own dollars, paying for busted up plates?!?) Dead front and center, under the close surveillance of several video cameras and right next to the hostess station, where Bobbi was conveniently located. Although I'm sure that she was keeping a responsible eye on things, not eavesdropping or anything. (See! I can lie!)

My head was in a terrible state at this point and I knew that if I did not lie, as soon as I went back to the kitchen I would be shoved out the back door and kicked like a junk yard dog. I reflected upon the sorry state of my bank account, the pile of bills on my kitchen table and the lack of available jobs in my town (or any town.) I knew at that point, that there was no choice in the matter. I would HAVE to do one of the top things that I AVOID. I was going to have to lie like a rug.... And there was no way that I was going to be able to pull it off because as soon as I sat down my blood pressure went up to 180/240 and clearly a stroke was imminent. "Hello, I'm Mr. Labor" said Mr. Labor, standing to shake my clammy hand, and not reacting well to the fact that my hands felt like the hands of a LIAR!! Wiping his hands on his pants (sorry) we got on with things. "What are your tipping policies here?" he asked sternly "Do you have to tip anyone at the end of the night?" "Um, yeah, um" I said smoothly, and calmly "We have to tip the bartender and ummmm. that's it. yeah, just them" (shut up!! I shouted at myself! Stop talking!) "So just the bar?" he asked again, looking at me with a firm expression "nobody else? Not a bus person? A hostess" THE KITCHEN??" I was in full blown freak out at this time, I could see Bobbi peering at me with slanted eyes and taking notes, I could see that I was directly in the line of the cameras. I wanted to jump up and scream like a freak, and then run out the front door like a crazy person. Gathering my thoughts as best I could I stammered that no, we didn't tip anyone else, and that it was just the bar, and that yes as far as I knew it WAS mandatory to tip the bartender because I had never been told otherwise. I jambled on and on. I could not shut up the word vomit pouring from my mouth. I was red faced and sweaty like a mass murderer under the spotlight of interrogation.. The interview went on for several minutes more, I continued to stammer like a guilty convict, Bobbi continued to give me the stank eye and Mr. Labor clearly did not believe a word I had said. And then it was over, I was allowed to run like a track star back to the relative safety of the kitchen. Where, oddly enough I found most of the staff chirping in indignation about the unjust questions that had been presented to them. At that point they all believed the lies that they had been told to tell (whoa- stop the crazy train right here please so that I can get the hell OFF!)

By far, the best part of the whole adventure was to learn that some of the staff who are supposed to be on the receiving end of out tip-outs at the end of the night had never seen any of that cash. Not a dime, not once! Good to know that we are lining the pockets of management with our hard earned money- really flipping awesome.

The result of this social experiment: OK, so this one was forced upon me and was not my choice! I don't think that I would choose lying as a way to spend my evening. Anyway: EPIC fail. I am a terrible liar and also clearly have no moral fiber since I made the choice to lie (my justification that I HAD no choice is BS- you always have a choice. And I choose to keep my craptastic job.) I'm clearly going to be getting coal in my stocking this year!

No comments:

Post a Comment