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....

Monday, April 12, 2010

ONE perfect day...

I can hear the gasps as you all recoil in shock. Yes, I said it. A "perfect Day" at Captain Rigatoni's!

We must remember that perfection is relative; what might seem perfect in a normal workplace is never, ever going to happen at Captain Rig's House Of Pain so we must take whatever bone life throws us.

To achieve the day of perfection there is a key ingredient: the elimination of almost 100% of the staff. This includes the obvious players: Capt Rig himself, Jan, Her Man Slave, Bobbi, Ashley, Gina and pretty much any new people who declare retarded things like "Where is Captain Rig today? Things just aren't the same without him!!" VOM DOT COM bitches- don't say ridiculous things like THAT if you wish to live in my little world.

The perfect day would be rather overcast because who wants to be inside on a nice day (I'm getting picky here but am actually setting the scene for the "perfect day that WAS") On the "perfect day that was" it was cool and cloudy out.. The perfect day would also be a weekday, because the head-honchos are always there on the weekend (and the "day that was" was a Monday- rock on!)

I arrived at my own personal hell to find that things were going to be fan-freaking-tastic! On the schedule in big, obvious letters were my Fab self, my HWF, the NNG (who was slightly less new at that point) Marissa and (sadly) the HWF's nemesis before she got fired for running her mouth. Bobbi was there but was in a magnanimous mood because she had just fired several people and that get's her feeling all powerful and kind of... high. Yipes!

Since The Nemesis was good for garbage I proclaimed myself to be the Boss, the queen of The Kitchen and the master of Everyones Domain. Watch out suckers, there was a new sheriff in town! No doubt about it: I spent the night hollering at everyone to dry silverware, to not be idiot douchebags and I generally tried to morph into a little hybrid of Jan & Gina. I kid, I kid!

Somehow even without Jan there to micromanage our every move we got things done! It was busy enough to keep us all moving right along and- GASP- by some stroke of luck everything got taken care of (including, rather shockingly, the CUSTOMERS) and nobody felt like killing anybody else because we all were nice to one another. We were a happy group of people and to add to the joy I hollered "THIS is the BEST DAY EVER" approximately every .2 seconds. I like to make my feelings known to the world.
The good feelings and happy mood must have rubbed off on my customers because I made an absurd amount of money for a Monday. A two top left me a 110% tip which had me literally bouncing off the walls in joy and ecstacy! (I'm really annoying when I get too happy. Oh well!)

The whole night was the bombdiggity and it was determined that if every day on the job was like that we would all work there forever with smiles on our faces and springs in our steps. High fives were exchanged for jobs well done. We all patted one another on the backs for being a team of rock stars who do not need to pillage and plunder in order to take care of business. None of us missed the Head Harpies even one little bit (maybe the Nemesis did. She did not enjoy working with a kitchen full of happy "new" people. Poor her!)

It was no shock to any of us when things returned to their hateful norm the very next shift. The good thing was we all had memories of the one and only perfect day ever to make things a little bit better. Like I mentioned, in a crazy crummy place like Capt Rig's you take what you can get, make lemons out of lemonade and appreciate the luck that is getting ONE great day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

And then there were four....

When you are a new girl (or guy) at Captain Rig's House Of Pain the pride and joy of being the newest member of the awesome-o team lasts about one hour. Not only because you realize that you are working in the worst place ever but because that is how quickly they hire people.

I was the newest girl for two days. Then after the new-new girls quit the following week I was the newest new girl all over again... This went on for quite some time until the Tattletale and Marissa were hired and decided to stick around for a bit.

Right around Christmas time a New-New Girl was hired in a rather unusual way. Marissa had been waiting on her and her fiancee and had taken a shine to her- had brought her not just an application but Bobbi herself to give an on the spot interview. She was hired straightaway (clearly I had no chance to warn her about the sloppy mess she was about to get herself into) and she arrived at my favorite place on earth just after New Year's.

I had reached the point of paying very little attention to the new hires. I had seen so many come and go with such predictability that I felt it was not worth my time and effort to even learn their names. I loved my newfound, bitter attitude. I found that it really suited my personality and gave me a whole new lease on life. I saw myself morphing into a mini-Jan, trundling about screaming "DOUCHEBAG" and bossing everyone to death. Lucky for me, I had a firm grip on reality and my HWF to be snide to- both of which saved me from continuing on a clear path to destruction.

Anywhoo. On the NNG's 1st day there, she had the best luck ever and was assigned to help my fabulous self in the infamous lettuce department. Despite my initial horror over the mass production of chopping lettuce (and my continued terror of being drowned in the sink) lettuce had become my favorite job and I was a freaking rock star at it. Marketable skill right there, not to mention an impressive line item on ones resume. She seemed like a quiet, timid little soul and I was not convinced that Marissa had had the right idea about her. And then.... She started to say funny stuff. And I discovered that not only was she a bit eccentric but we also shared the same views on letting our dogs sleep in bed with us (and that is more critical than having our poor husbands sleep with us. Sorry boyzzz.) This was clearly enough to build a friendship on and so we damn well did.

I said to my HWF later that day "I think there might be 4 of us now...." Which did in fact prove to be the case.

It did indeed, for that particular moment......

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Coworkerdependancy: A situation where ones enjoyment of work (or lack thereof) is based on the proximity of ones favorite coworker and their ever ready wine key.

I am a hostile beast who tends to repel people in the same manner that raid discourages wasps from coming to visit. So I have no friends what so ever.

OK. Not entirely true! However, at Captain Rigatoni's House Of Pain the thought of actually developing a proper (not to mention pleasant) friendship with anyone is a bleak prospect. Make a friend? They get fired the next day. (or we have a very important meeting in which we are forbidden to make friends.) Get all chummy with somebody? And you walk in on them talking smack to Jan about your skills/looks/temperament. HEY-OH! Nice.

The absolute and unarguable situation at Capt Rigs is this: if you do not have somebody who has your freaking back- and who you can also share moments of eye rolling sarcasm with- then you will just curl up and die from despair and mental anguish.

I remember at all of my jobs having a good work friend. You find somebody who has similar geek-like qualities, no bad feelings about making fun of everyone who acts like an idiot and POOF the next thing you know you are speaking in your own secret language and scampering off to the walk in cooler to gossip like a couple of school girls.

I have to give MAD props to my HWF for becoming no doubt, hands freaking down my best work friend. THANK HEAVENS! I need to borrow a wine key? No prob. I need to borrow that wine key FIVE times in one night??! Pssssh, no problem again. Do we share mutual disdain for Jan, her Man Slave and most people including all of management? Hells YES. Have we managed to assist one another in the saving of what is left of our sanity so that we can go home at the end of the day like somewhat normal- well adjusted people?? Maybe?... (I kid. Definately.)

Friends are good to have. Completely underrated in today's society of questionable loyalty and bus throwing-under. Does it warm the insides of my bitter stone-cold heart to know that I have a BF there to give the side eye to when Captain Rig has an "I'm Great" meeting, or when Gina runs thru the dining room criticizing everything and everyone? (or when Captain Rig entertains an entire room of Republicans, all spewing their Republican views?) MmmmHmmmm.

I don't want to turn this into a sappy diatribe on the meaning of true friendship in a harsh, uncaring world of idiots. Well, maybe I want to but I'm not so good at wrapping my head/typing fingers around all that sappy junk (just ask the middleaged Huz!)

But really people, when one works in a place where insanity and hatred is the norm it makes you appreciate your friend/s just a tiny bit more. Or a crap ton more, if you are me.

So here's to you, HWF. Rock on with your bad self, and cheers to our shared hatred of all the BS and the folding of millions of napkins. Good job having my back when things get especially ridiculous and absurd (would that be everyday? YES.) And clearly, I have your back too... And finally thank you times a million for saving/helping my sanity, for enabling me to open many, many bottles of wine and for being a helluva good person.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My adventure in fairly poor service.

I was thoroughly spent after my attempts to be the very best waitress in the universe. I was exhausted from the strain of repeating 19 specials a dozen times a night, fed up with figuring out what the house wine of the day was, and just plain fed up with giving 100% to be rewarded with 20%. BAH!

My plan for recovery? Spend one blissful Friday night being a horrible server. Evidently I exaggerate because on my laziest day I still do a damn good job and nobody goes home hungry and crying. My actual plan was to read ZERO specials, give ZERO extra effort, tell NO funny stories and be rather... Beige. Watch out world, I thought brazenly to myself at 3:59 on a Friday afternoon, HERE comes mediocrity!

I did not disappoint. Instead of running bread to my tables I wandered over with it when I felt good and ready. If I felt the need to reapply chapstick or run to the ladies room I did so, regardless. I made up outrageous names for the house wines "tonight we have.... billowing ferns shiraz!" (to which one lady replied "I have had that before and it is wonderful!" PFFT!!) I didn't feel like finding a new tiramisu when one ran out so I simply omitted it from my list of dessert specials. I pretended that the cappuccino machine was broken (and luckily nobody else used it during this period of time!!)

By the end of the evening I had not broken a sweat and was in a blissful state of calm and relative relaxation. It was quite lovely and a very unusual feeling, to be honest.

And how did this little experiment work out for me? FREAKING FANTABULOUSLY!!!! I made a CRAP ton of cash- averaging 25% per table and really hitting the mother load on a 14 top who loved the new and improved me.
Sadly, being this much of a slacker on a regular basis would draw a fair amount of attention to me which I would like to avoid. So despite the fact that being a BIG slacker pays off big time I will have to avoid it as a rule.

A side note: unlike my last lazy experiment I was a diva superstar all night in the kitchen, running food, drying silverware, singing and dancing. All of my coworkers must have thought that I had been bitten by the helpful good employee bug... If they only knew...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

DEATH. Has entered the building....

"Death.... Has just entered the building..." my HWF said ominously as he, waiter Dan and I stood by the wait station.

"What. WHAT?" I asked, a bit perplexed. "Just watch" they both suggested, so I turned my eyes to the front of the building. A new girl walked in the door and made her way towards us. Actually, "made her way" is generous- rather, she moped and shuffled her way down the hall. Her mouth pouted petulantly and her heavily shadowed eyes were sorrowfully cast to the ground. She walked with the air of someone who has suffered greatly, and had known horrible troubles. She was clearly VERY sad (in a way that is clearly NOT sad, so nobody get too worried ok?)

I watched with a mixture of horror, intense amusement and honest shock that she managed to even get hired as she came closer to us. She was clearly attempting to sneak by the three of us without attracting attention but she was messing with the wrong group. "HELLO" said waiter Dan with the kind of intense cheerfulness that he can pull off (that I can not) "How are YOU?" She turned her eyes towards us in the manner of a deer in the headlights, literally squeaked and ran off. I fell down laughing "Are you SERIOUS!" I guffawed "NO WAY.... that is the best thing I have seen in YEARS!" They both assured me that not only were they 100% serious but so was this new girl, and that they were positive that I would enjoy her company.

I decided to get to know her so I asked her what her name was. She told me, with big pouty lips and an extra dose of sadness in her eyes. I was delighted to find that she had a very unusual name which meant "To build up to or reach a point of great intensity, force, or volume." Since she spoke in such a mousy little whisper I was a tad skeptical that this was a fitting name. I asked for details, wishing to know if it was a family name or just a bit of misfortune. AND SHE SAID (in mournful tones, growing more depressed my the second) "My parents had me pegged from the moment I was born..... They knew exactly what my personality would be like...." To which I enthusiastically thumped the reservation book and declared "Fantastic!"

She crept around all night, jumping at noises and freaking out at the crazy busy pace at which we all moved (it was a Monday. It was dead... Poor kid.) One of the other servers said to her "Hi." and she said (get ready) "Hi. Like I told you." WHaaaaaaaaat??

She was fully awesome and I was looking forward to watching the continued insanity- I was very curious to see what her level of nuts-o was! My attempts to help her out were met with such bizarre levels of crazy that I gave up quickly and took enjoyment in watching the train wreck. Sadly, during her next shift the powers that be had had enough of her pouting and inability to speak above a whisper and let her go. So sad... So surprising...

Monday, March 22, 2010

RIP, Fallen Friends

I'm not so morbid as to write about actual dead coworkers. But: the cold hard fact of a job at Captain Rig's is that at any moment you could get fired. Or just get tired of the nonsense and quit. Blaze of glory!! Here is our roll call...

1- So, so many new people who walk thru the door filled with hope and innocence. A rough count of the people who have left before making it thru training: 9 And people who have made it thru training to quit about 1 Saturday shift in: 5

2- Total number of people with names like strippers to quit: 2 (much to my amusement and dismay.) I expect this total to climb to 3 shortly as pole dancer #3 walked in last night.

3: Youth of America: 4 (1 quit outright. 2 politely gave notice. 1 was fired after making the biggest mistake ever.)

4: The bad people: 4
-Karen (will need to find otherways to make $ to pay for much needed dental work.)
-The Nemesis (of my HWF)
-The Tattletale (good riddance)
-the Flighty Waitress (lots of drama here!)

5: 1 cook. BIG blaze of glory! Awesome!!!

6: 3 hostesses. Complete turnover of the front desk.

7: 3 random bus-people. Very confusing, as "we don't HAVE bus-people!"

8: I'm editing this hours later to add someone VERY important! Shrek! The big, bumbling be-speckled close talker who oddly lasted about 5 weeks. Egads.... And sadly, the very nice lady who helped me get thru my first few horrific shifts (she got a better job..)

Holy Crap! So in my 7 months there 33 people have been in-and-out- that is really astonishing. If only Ashley, Jan and Gina were on the list. I can only hope they are soon to follow! (haha, I'm labeling this under Avoidence of Work becasue getting fired or quitting is definately avoiding work!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Adventure in Excellent Service: Part 2

.....My evening continued.

After the Emo Princess fiasco I considered throwing in the towel and finishing up my night in a sub par state of angst. However, I had challenged myself to dole out the very Best Service Possible so I slapped myself a bit and carried on.

I got a table of "VIP's" so no check, but a bit of calculation proved that a 22% tip had been left (good, but if you get all that food for free this middleaged lady thinks that a few more bucks could be thrown down!)

Then I was seated with a John Locke (pre-smoke monster fiasco) lookalike and his buxom female friend. They were some odd ducks, let me tell you! He kept saying things like "I'd like you to bring me a Caprese salad- and I'll PAY for it!" Damn straight you will, bucko! I knocked their socks off with my fantastic waitressing abilities and I was rather disappointed to discover that they had left me a stingy 17% tip. Not really able to figure out why they had been such cheap little peeps I shook it off and got to back to it. Their table was placed in a manner that required that I pass it every time I went to another one of my tables. After a few passes by John Locke asked for more coffee, and when I retuned handed me a clump of folded bills. Hmmmm! Five more bucks (much better!) Another pass by their table resulted in another handful of wrinkly little dollar bills (this was a game that I encouraged, and could get used to! Tip me multiple times, bring it on!!) After all was said and done I had earned a solid 30-ish percent on them which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And justified, since they had been rather full of themselves.

My final table for the evening started out just fine and dandy. A two top, obviously an old married couple who simply wanted to get down to the business of eating with no falderal. The husband had some problems getting the dish he wanted for dinner formed into words and out of his mouth. Pointing to the menu I helpfully inquired if the dish in question was the one I was guiding him to? Looking closely at the menu he confirmed that was indeed what he wanted: a formidable stack of italian meats and eggplant, smothered in layers of gooey cheese and blanketed with marinara. I delivered said items to the table promptly and everyone looked pleased as punch. Returning a moment later to confirm the gastronomic ecstasy they indicated boundless pleasure in their dinner choices. I returned once more with water and everyone was still as happy as a clam (really? how happy IS a clam? they have very small brains... or no brains at all?) When plate clearing time came around I was pleased to see that the dinners had been eaten down to the last morsel- more happy customers! I picked up the plates and the man said "Was that.... Chicken Marsala that I ordered?" Looking at him in a bit of shock I said no, it was the Magical House Specialty as he had requested. "Well" he replied bitterly "that is not what I wanted at all and I don't even know what was IN IT." I rattled off the list of ingredients, thinking at the very least the absence of both chicken and marsala sauce might have made him aware of his error. "NEVER" he muttered "would I eat EGGPLANT." "Well" I replied thoughtfully "there is a great deal of eggplant in what you just ate so perhaps you have found a new favorite since you CLEARLY enjoyed it?" "You know" he said in hostile tones "I should get this meal for free since it was your mistake..." "HA. HA. HA." I laughed brightly, wishing to deliver a swift kick to his face. I got their check. I comped one of their beers, which brought the bill to exactly what it would have been if he had received what he wanted. I examined his licked clean plate for any signs that he did not enjoy his dinner, and found none. I was not at all surprised to discover that they left me a 0% tip on a $55 check. Surprised, no, a little teensy bit pissed off? MmmHmmm. I asked you if said item was what you wanted, you said yes. I checked on you not one but THREE times to see if all was well, you said yes... You ate the WHOLE frigging thing..


At the end of the night, it all balanced out. I averaged an even 20% due to Captain Douchswizzle and his inability to differentiate marinara from marsala. And good times were had by all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Adventure in Excellent Service: Part 1

Quiet times had once again descended upon the restaurant. And by quiet, I actually mean extremely DEAD.

Needing to do something to amuse myself I declared boldly (to no one in particular) that I would become dedicated to the pursuit of giving the most excellent service known to man. I would lay it on so thick that people would be handing me 100% tips without even thinking about it. I would become insanely wealthy and quit. In actuality, I was just curious to see that if stepping up my game a bit might actually have any consequence. (being that I consistently average 22-25% minimum- which is pretty good.) Being that my patience with Captain Rig's was wearing thin I decided that a one day trial of Excellent service was about all I could handle. After that I would go back to by old ways of spitting in peoples soup and screaming "WHATCHA WANT" to take an order.

(I also decided that if I were to find myself laden with Canadians that all bets were off.)

The night in question was slow enough to guarantee that I would be able to perform my act of Excellent waiting- and that the kitchen would not be too busy to be slow and screw me all up. Things progressed nicely and I found that although people were astonished to listen to me recite by memory the 17 specials, and were pleased to have instant water refills, immediate crumb wipe-age and absurdly detailed descriptions of the desserts my tips stayed put in my same 22-25% range.

Part of the way thru the night I was seated with a mother/teen daughter combo. This is not always the most promising situation but my Mom and I enjoy dining together on a regular basis and always appreciate good service (and tip accordingly, obvi.) So I brought my infamous "A Game" to this table and regaled them with my knowledge of San Manzano Tomatoes, attended to their every request with a flourish and a smile and was altogether delightful. Typically little teen girls like me, because I am not so old as to be an uncool parental authority figure. This girl however was deeply imbedded in some sort of emo subculture and was clearly very sad and depressed about her 13 year old life. She moped about, shaking her hair over her face and brooding over Twilight and death (I don't know. I'm just guessing!) After to attending to them like some kind of freaking superhero waitress I went over to clear their plates and to offer them an excellent homemade (at some others home) dessert. The Mom said to me after I dished out the tempting offer of a luscious tiramisu "You know.... There is something about your voice that REALLY bothers me.... Maybe it is just because you are SO loud!" Horrified and deeply offended I looked at her, agog. Thinking back on every interaction I had with them I realized that I most certainly had not been loud, brash or anything but extra nurturing and friendly. My hackles were up! Biting back all kinds of inappropriate things I plastered on my biggest, toothiest grin and said "I'm so sorry that you were offended by mo tone or volume. I must make sure that when I talk that even people who are listening to their ipods can hear me...." (with a sideways look at the princess of the ear buds, who scowled at me and buried herself deeper into the banquette.) Clearing their plates away the Mom continued "The little princess did not like her dinner but didn't want me to say anything." Looking at the offending dish I discovered that as inedible as it had been most of it was gone. "I'm sorry to hear that" I said dryly "What seems to have been the problem?" I was addressing the emo princess but she wanted nothing to do with me, and she turned up the volume on her ipod while rolling her eyes in disgust at the incompetence of adults. (at this age, if I had acted like this i would have been sent to sit in the car. Oh, after having my ipod ripped from my person, my hat removed from my head and my bad attitude washed off my face. but we don't discipline our children in these times...) "Oh nothing...." sighed the indulgant Mom "she just didn't like it...." Knowing that I had no chance for a good tip at this table I calmly reached out and removed a bud from emo princess ear "Hey" I said with the utmost friendliness "If you don't like your dinner and you don't tell me.... There is NOTHING that I can do about it! So... You just remember that for next time, ok?" Gently replacing her ear but I gave her a hearty pat on the shoulder (to piss her off? or because I wanted to slap her sour expression off her face? I'm not telling...)

I delivered the check for the table, now speaking to them in the very most hushed of whispers while looking in the other direction (passive aggression, anyone? with a side of fries?) I did not care because I know it was a lost cause and I figured if I wasn't going to make bank then I better have a laugh. Upon picking up the check I was genuinely shocked to fine a tip over 20%. Go figure!

To be continued...... Will I have more drama on the night of good service? Will I end up making any cash? Wait and see!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Inside the head of a MAD MAN!

Captain Rigatoni was most disturbed.

Sitting in his lair (aka:office) he twisted his large, gold rings around his twinkie like fingers while ruminating over recent events. He was not sure what had him so on edge... But something did and he fully intended to do something about it!

Leaping up from his chair, in the way that only an unfit angry man can he strode to the kitchen filled with agitation. Suddenly, something caught his eye though a crack in the door. Intently he peered out and was disgusted and baffled to see that his staff of clowns had parked out in the back lot. AH-HAH! THIS must be the reason for his discontent, he thought to himself, his STUPID staff was doing things all the wrong way AGAIN! GOD, were they EVER on their A Game? Would he ever be able to get a moments rest, what with having to babysit the lot of them 24/7?!

"HEY YOU!" he shouted angrily to the first waitress he saw, pleased to have found someone so quickly on whom to vent his anger "WHAT are you all doing parking out there? WHY would you do such a thing." "Well" calmly replied the waitress "We are parking there because you told us to." "WHAT?!" he cried, eyeing this small, middleaged waitress with extreme displeasure "I NEVAH would have told you to do such a thing! NEVAH! Now answer me again: WHY are yous parking out there." Annoyingly unphased by his attempt at intimidation she sighed a little and with the kind of calm patience that made him want to kill someone she said "Well.... We are parking there because you told us to do so." This was not going the way he had planned at all. She was making him look like an idiot in front of everyone with her terrible, disrespectful lies! Luckily, at this moment in walked his Mama. He knew that for sure, she would have his back and save the day! Then he could kick that middleaged waitress right out the backdoor where she belonged with her insolent, ignorant LIES! "MAMA" he said "This here waitress is tellin' me that I told all of them to park out back. I did no such thing so what's she playin' at?" Looking at him with resignation his Mama said "Well Rigatoni, you did tell them to park out there." At this point Captain Rig was seeing red and could not believe the betrayal from his own MOTHAH!! From the distance he thought he heard the sounds of self-satisfied laughter (which made his blood boil) but there was nobody else in the kitchen at that point.

Right at that moment into the kitchen trundled Jan, dragging by his ear her faithful man slave. The man slave was a well trained employee of Captain Rig's and was Jan's poopsy-woopsy. She loved the way that he sucked up to the Captain in a way that was terribly disturbing to the normal idiots working there. She loved the way he massaged her rolls of fat after the hard hours she put in on the job. Oh she just loved everything about her man slave, especially the way that she could throw him at Captain Rigatoni to cheer him up, collecting tons of brownie points in the process. The Captain was delighted to see the man slave and jumped right over to where he was standing. With his fat finger he poked the MS in the ribs, causing him to giggle and nervously jump around. "You like working with these idiots" chortled the Captain, poking and tickling at the MS who continued to jump nervously from foot to foot, giggling all the while "you like what I have to put up with around here, DONTCHA!!" Agreeing with his every word while slobbering delightedly at the attention the MS nervously dodged the ever more violent pokes that the Captain was giving him. Tiring of their little game the Captain finished up the bizarre interaction by putting the MS in a headlock and mussing with his hair. "You go now" he bellowed "I know I can count on you to do a good job!" Running away as quickly as possibly the MS went to hide once again in Jan's formidable shadow, while trying to master the art of basic English.

This robust moment of bullying had helped the Captain to clear his head but had also exhausted him. To his office he went, shaking his head and muttering obscenities to all the cooks as he past them by. Couldn't leave them for a second, he mused to himself, because they'd be trying to put him out of business. Once back in his office he realized that he had some mail on his desk! Delighted, he pounced on it like a fat kid pounces on cake. Unwrapping the biggest package first he was giddy to discover that he had been mailed an Award Of Excellence. He, the master of the universe was finally being given the credit that he deserved! Never one to pass up an opportunity to shamelessly indulge in public self promotion he immediately summoned the entire staff to the kitchen. "STAFF" he said in his most preachy, big-news-is-coming voice "I have won the most important award in all the land." I wanted to tell you all this so that you know how powerful and wonderful I am. AND I wanted to tell you that this is what happens when EVERYONE does that job that they are supposed to do and EVERYONE is on their A GAME!!!" Not noticing the baffled and bemused expressions from most of his staff (with the exception of Jan and her MS who were jumping up and down, hyperventilating from excitement and high blood pressure) he solemnly led a round of applause and retreated to the depths of the restaurant to polish his new plaque.

And the moral of this story is: (we should all have a Man Slave) Just kidding! The real moral is that when one wins an award, of any caliber, the supposed slacking and ineptitude of the staff is momentarily forgotten.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cakes, Cleavers and Car Trouble. Or: I'm BACK!

I was on route to Captain Rigatoni's not too long ago, all shiny and well dressed (as usual) running punctually on time (as usual) and with a smile on my face and a freaking song in my heart (aren't I just the picture of perfection!) When I heard a pop.... I pulled my car over and sure enough, I had the very most flat of flat tires. I was not too bothered by this as I was raised to be an independent and clever woman, one who does not need any stinking AAA. I got my jack, and my winter coat. I dug out my tire iron and the spare tire. I got to work. Much to my dismay the lug nuts would NOT BUDGE! Inwardly cursing my mechanic for tightening the little buggers with the air wrench thing I realized that I would have to call for some serious help (AKA my poor put upon Dad. The middleaged Huz was at work.) The entire situation proved to be challenging (it was cold. my phone service was questionable. My Dad was very hard to locate.) But to make a veeeery long story short and reasonable the tire got changed. Being that I am a gifted and responsible employee of Captain Rig's most Magical Bistro I got on the hop and drove like a lunatic to arrive a mere 37 minutes late.

As I made my walk of shame into the restaurant I noticed that I was feeling a touch unwell. Thinking back on my day I remembered that I was running on no lunch, and that the cold weather and tire changing nonsense had put me into an icky state of low bloodsugar-itis. I am a scrawny little thing, who needs to be fed every hour on the hour to keep the hypoglycemia at bay. If I miss a meal, watch out... Not only do I get crabby but I get clammy, shaky and eventually just fall down and pass out, or become disgustingly nauseated. That's where I was at upon my arrival and I was rather hopeful that I would be able to snag some juice and crackers before being called into service.

As soon as I walked in Marissa and my Human Work Friend jumped on me. "You're just in time" they said with barely disguised disgust "We are being summoned to the kitchen for a Very Important Meeting!" Now, when one is summoned for a VIM one absolutely does not stop for a life saving smackerel of something. Looking longingly at the basket of bread, I woozily made my way into the kitchen and propped myself up against the salad cooler (and was promptly admonished for leaning on the salad cooler...)

Captain Rig crashed into the kitchen, very much in I-Just-Swallowed-A-Beehive mode. Faaaaaaaantastic. Glaring around at us in a tizzy he started in (and I knew we were in for a long one.) He reached into the dessert cooler and produced half of a cake, which had had something of an accident and had essentially slid off of itself earlier in the week. (we had been allowed by his majesty to eat some of said cake on that particular day- it was very good and we were all secretly glad that it had structurally failed.) Anyway, I digress. He pointed at the cake with a large meat cleaver and demanded the cooks to tell him why it had not been turned into some other type of dessert and sold. None of them happen to own a magic wand that transforms failed desserts into Ace Of Cakes like masterpieces so they were unable to answer his question. This displeased Capt Rig immensely which encouraged him to spend at least 15 minutes repeating the same question over and over again "WHY THE EFF DID YOU CLOWNS NOT MAKE THIS CAKE INTO SOMETHING THAT WE COULD SELL? WHY THE EFF DO I PAY YOU? WHY ARE YOU ALL SUCH IDIOTS?" This went on for long enough to put me into a stupor, one which was not even relatively pleasant. At this point I had reached the cold sweats and shaking part of my desperate need for food and was wondering what my punishment would be if I passed out and fell upon the floor.

Just as I had decided that vomiting on my shoes was the thing to do I was horrified to hear Captain Rig shout my name (he knows my name. mental note to legally change name as soon as possible) I shook my head in a weak attempt to revive and asked him to please repeat. He pointed and glared at the red faced cook behind the line and then he pointed at me. "SHOULD I" he intoned, slowly so that I would be sure to understand "FEEL SORRY. FOR THESE IDIOTS.... WHO WASTE! MY! MONEY! And EFFIN! RUIN! MY! BUSINESS!" I peered over at at the cook, who looked inches away from tears. I could feel the stares of Marissa and my Human Work Friend on the back of my head as they collectively held their breaths. In my hypoglycemic state I had a clear vision of what would happen if I said "Yes. You should feel sorry for them because you emasculate and demean then in a way that is unprofessional and unacceptable." I imagined how red faced and bug eyed Captain Rigatoni would get and how he would gesture wildly to the door and order me to GET! THE! EFF! OUT! I pictured myself high fiving the cook, grabbing my bag and shouting "Don't let the door hit me in the ass on my way out" or some such ridiculous nonsense. "Hey" hollered Capt Rig (in reality) "WELL, SHOULD I????" I looked at the cook, who looked back and from behind Captain Rig's back gave the tiniest shake of his head. "HEY!" shouted Capt Rig, fed up with my meandering nonsense "ANSWER ME!" "Welllll" I said, valiantly trying to see a loophole "I suppose that you wouldn't need to feel sorry for anyone who.... wastes your money.." And there was a huge sigh of relief from everyone around me who gave a crap. Not entirely satisfied with my answer Cap Rig jumped over to the sad looking cake and stabbed his meat cleaver into it. "WASTING MY MONEY, FOOLS" he ranted, stabbing and cutting in a manic frenzy "NONE OF YOU ARE ON YOUR A GAME!!! YOU DO A TERRIBLE JOB! GONNA RUIN MY BUSINESS!" After a few moments of ranting, hacking and frothing he was spent, and thankfully retreated to the dark, dank recesses of his office.

I RAN and had some juice. Revived. Shook my head in dismay.... And wrapped up the chaotic night by having an amusing conversation with Marissa and my HWF about what exactly they pictured me doing during the stand off with Captain Rig. Evidently they imagined me doing something startlingly similar to my groggy daydream.

This set off a several day tirade from His Highness about what a terrible job all of us do (pretty normal) about how we are never on our "A Game" (same message, dfferent phrase) and of course the standard stuff about being idiots, clowns, etc. Stay tuned to find out how long this rant lasted, or what it might take to snap a crazy man out of his madness....

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm Still Here!

All of you out there on the internet probably think that finally I did something so bad at work that I fell into the infamous 7th circle of hell trap door.
Alas, it is not nearly as exciting as that. Just when I began to get back on my feet from Restaurantitis round 1, I was hit again with Epic Sick round 2. ARGH, the violation!
Anywhoo, thru my codine induced fog I have not been able to write, speak, or waitress with much skill or talent. But fear not friends, I'll be back this weekend with tales of horror from the Happiest Place on Earth! Whoot!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Resturantitis. The plague of DOOM.

Restaurantitis: A plague of epic proportion, possibly contracted at said place of employment and most certainly vile enough to prevent one from functioning at a normal level.

Yes my friends, as I mentioned a week or so ago I was struck down by the horrible anthrax like bubonic bug that is restaurantitis. Hence, the lack of blogging as of late as I have been so crippled by congestion that my thought process has slowed to a turtle like shuffle.

After 5 days of laying low, moaning and taking large doses of sudafed I deemed myself non-contagious and bravely went back to Captain Rigatoni's to kick some ass.

Guess who got her ass kicked?...... I got thru the sidework portion of the day in grand style, despite not being able to hear anything whatsoever due to my completely blocked ears. I tried to look on the bright side- not hearing means being somewhat immune to the high decibel level of screaming. In reality, not hearing makes it very difficult to take orders, or to hear what sorts of food need to be brought to what table.

As the evening progressed I noticed that the air in the restaurant had turned into the consistency of pudding. I found that it was a great struggle to move thru the jello-air, or to breathe properly. "Suck it up!" I told myself sternly "thick air has never stopped you before!!" Slowly swimming my way into the kitchen I heard the chefs call for someone to run food to table 47 so I grabbed it and headed on out. Only to find that table 47 had nobody at it. Struggling to get enough oxygen into my addled brain I heaved back into the kitchen. "Table 47" I gasped "has nobody at it." "TWENTY SEVEN!!!" hollered the impatient expeditor "I SAID TWEEEEEENTY SEVEN." Armed with the correct table number I labored my way over to table 27 only to find that they were already eating. I could not believe my eyes... I felt that I was rapidly nearing the end of my rope, and that a freak out was imminent when the Tattletale grabbed the food from me with a curt "the party at 27 moved to 29. They should have told you that." Completely exhausted form the walking back and forth, and the considerable confusion, I tried to remember what on earth I had to do next.... Check on my own tables. I tediously made my way over to my side of the restaurant when out of the blue the whole floor tilted to the left. And then to the right. Grabbing table 26 to stabilize I broke into a cold, nauseated sweat. Looking around cautiously so as to not disturb my equilibrium any more I confirmed that the earthquake had only happened in my brain. Tiptoeing along as the floor continued to buckle around me I finally reached the security of the wait station where I was able to prop myself up against the counter. My human work friend walked by and looked at me with a significant level of parental concern. "I'm not gonna make it" I moaned into my palms, sick frustrated tears oozing out of my eyes "I JUST. CAN'T DO IT" "Have you asked Bobbi if you can leave?" my HWF asked logically. "No way" I moaned, all sweaty and shaky "She's gonna yelll at meeeee" "PFFFFFT" said my HWF "You're a mess, I'm going to go and tell her." As the world continued to tremble around me and my eyes continued to leak in extreme frustration the Tattletale came upon me. "What's wrong with YOU??" she asked indignantly. "I'm SICK and the floor is TIPPING and I need a minute to cry by MYSELF!!" I said crabbily. "Are you going to throw up?" she asked nervously. "YES" I said "ON YOU." (I had no intention of vomiting, but it made her go away.)

Thankfully, I was sent home. Luckily, once I sat down in my car the world came back to a place of stability. Happily, I was in bed, with loads of decongestants in my system by 7:30. My conclusion is that working at Captain Rig's on a normal day is bad. Working with restaurantitis is fully impossible.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday. The sensible companion to Mental Health Monday...

I am still exhausted from running around like a chicken on crack for 12,000 hours on Valentines Day. Not only that but I have been struck with a vile plauge, which is normal as I always get sick or need a root canal on or around V-Day. Ahhhh, life... Anyway, since I simply do not have the mental or physical health needed to fill you all in on the fantabulous V-Day adventures that I had (NOT) I'm gonna hit you up with this weeks list.

Top things that I have been told NOT to do. Or have been yelled at for.

-DO NOT make friends, have friends or care about your friends.

-DO NOT speak out of turn in a meeting.... Or ever perhaps.

-DO NOT ever make a unilateral decision. Always ask questions.

-DO NOT ask questions!

-DO NOT use a dirty trash bag to put the left over lettuce in at the end of the night. Really? I never would have guessed!

-DO NOT tell the truth to the guy from the Dept of Labor.

-DO NOT!! Lean on that counter....

-DO NOOOT remove your shoe

-Absolutely DO NOT purchase a tiramisu. You renegade thief!

-DO NOT forget to fill up your salt shakers unless you enjoy being called a douche bag

-DO NOT forget to restock the rubber-salad-gloves. Unless you like being called a piece of shit effing waitress. Ouch.

-DO not- Trust people who are in good moods. Unless you wish to sustain whiplash when their mood swings back to BAD.

-DO NOT- Throw away nasty lettuce. Wave your magic wand and make it USEABLE!

-DO NOT! Take care of your customers when there is silverware to dry

-According to Ashley DO NOT listen to Jan. According to Jan DO NOT listen to Ashley. I make it all ok by not listening to either of them.

-Do NOT make mistakes when bringing food to Gina's table. Even if it is your first day on the job, she will rip out your spleen and eat it in front of you for being such an ass.

-DO NOT ask Ashley how she is. Unless you want sordid details of her ongoing sexcapades.

-DO NOT break anything or make mistakes of any sort unless you wish to be beaten soundly with the handle of the vacuum cleaner

-Do NOT cross your arms. Touch your face. Touch your hair. Use your words. Have thoughts. Be smart.

-Do NOT drop 4 loaves of bread on the floor and then pick them up and use them anyway. Oops, did I just say that?

-Do not congregate in the waitstation. Stand by the hostesses. Block the hallway. Talk to one another. Unless you are "everyone but US."

-Do Not throw a jar of sauce at Jan. It will just hit the floor and make a huge mess.

-Do not question the Wisdom. Remember that we are in the presence of someone great and famous

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love Fest Oh-Ten. Here we come!

Valentines Day. Just the thought of this holiday makes me cringe a little. Both from sugar shock sappy overload and the thought of the tidal wave of "happy couples" who descend upon the local restaurants. (good for my bank account. not for my mental health...)

This will be my first V-Day spent in the always loving embrace of the good people of Captain Rigatoni's. I fear that the bitter feelings from the Tattletale alone could be enough to plunge the rest of us into terrible, hate filled moods. Not being a huge fan of the holiday I rarely care much about it- other than to know that I'm going to get to see society at its finest and hopefully line my pockets with 100 dollah bills.

I remember many a V-Day at the place I used to work (and subsequently went on to develop a fairly bad feeling about the holiday in general.)

What a waitress observes on the most romantic of romantic holidays is a lot of people feeling obligated to go out and have a damn good time. Due to the pressure (and crowds) this is often just the opposite of what happens. (come on peeps there are 364 other days to tell your loved one/s that you love them. you should do this and avoid going out on freaking love fest oh-ten. unless it is to come have me wait on you, and take all your money!)

Sure, I have seen lovers-in-love, people who really do enjoy the holiday and obviously care for one another. But the depressing fact of the matter is that on any given V-Day I have waited on so many more people who hate each others guts that it's downright depressing! GAHD! Why can't I be the waitress who gets the guy about to propose with a diamond ring that he wants me to put in a champagne glass!? Because, if that were my table the fiancee to be would either swallow the ring or say no, HAH!

I love to see people who lunch with their spouse and then dinner with their lovah. In the same restaurant (and since I was working a double I was their server both times. YUCK-OH!) This was terribly troubling to me, especially as the wife got some generic gift and the lovah got all sorts of exotic things. Jeepers.

V-Day is a day to enter the walk in cooler at your own risk as you might find the sexual tension between coworkers had just become too much, and they decided to ease said tension upon the boxes of tomatoes. Nothing says romantic interlude like doing the nasty in freezing temps in with the produce!

If nothing else Valentines Day provides me with an oh-so-sappy moment to feel lucky to have a nice normal husband who I am still married to (I'm a freaking minoroty!) Looking at the epic hatred that flows between he so-called friends at Cap Rig's I am also very glad to have a group of kickass friends. Who I actually like. A lot. And do not try to stab when they are not looking....

I hope that tomorrow I make an absurd amount of money. I hope that the bitter ladies who I work with can get thru the love-dipped-day without too mane displays of hatred towards one another, or their ex-es. I hope that I DO walk into the cooler to find people gettin' it on. That would be hysterical, especially since I can NOT for the life of me figure out who would do that with WHO. I hope that I get to put a diamond ring in somebody's creme brulee. And I hope that I can get past my sarcastic feelings for this Holiday enough to brighten up somebody's dinner a little. Because when you really think about it, the world needs a little more love... And if a Hallmark Holiday and a happy waitress is what it takes to get it? Then so be it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

War Story Wednesday!

I arrived at work on Monday filled with anticipation of list sharing fabulocity! (dubbed mental health Monday by yours truly..) Marissa had dropped the ball but my Human Work Friend had enthusiastically done a good deed and banged out a top 10-ish list of his own. Being that this is Wednesday and every day at Captain Rigatoni's is a war I'm giving my HWF the honor of having his top 10-ish as the WSW today! Whoot!
I tried to contain my glee and keep my "mouth" shut but I could not help commenting on several items in this list. Ahhhh, the fun times we all have...

(in no particular order.)

1- The economic/political speeches we have to endure (ED note: good call. These are torture.)

2: The public badgering and belittlement of the kitchen staff (Yep. bad news.)

3: The prevailing ANGER.

4: The restriction of our 1st amendment rights (rock on friend!)

5: Jan, Ashley, Gina

6: The distain the three of them have for each other (bwa-hahahha!)

7: The glorification of Captain Rigatoni by the 3 of them. Plus Dan. And one other nameless soul...

8: The fact that we all put up with it....

9: Filling the "premium" bottles of wine/liquor with the cheap crap

10: Yelling at us for not using common sense when clearly none of us have any, since we choose to continue working here. (this is quite possibly the best thing I have ever heard. I laughed for 10 minutes upon reading this.)

11- The overall hypocrisy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

OHH! A top 10-ish list!

Important things that I have learned from working at Captain Rigatoni's Most Magical Bistro, Formerly XYZ Restaurant Italiano, this is the Middleaged waitress, how may I help you?
Editors note: The one reason that I am willing to get into the car and go happily to work today is due to the fact that Marissa and my Human work friend are making lists too. We are going to exchange, laugh (maybe cry) and then cause madness and mayhem per the norm. I like my work friends. They make that place somewhat more tolerable. Here's to you, you guys!

1: Gratuitous overuse of the eff bomb is acceptable and encouraged. Show your ignorance! Limit your vocab!

2: There is such a thing as the word "YOUS". Awesome!

3: Public displays of evisceration are great fun. Let's have everybody come in and watch as the cooks are disemboweled.

4: People in glass houses should indeed throw big, ugly stones. It is a good thing to critique everyone's ability, physical stature and mental state even if you are an overweight, inept and insane (and incompetent) individual (nice attempt at alliteration there.)

5: Since we all live in a bubble it is a good thing that nobody ever brings Dunkin Donuts cups into the kitchen. If we found out that there were other restaurants out there who knows what might happen!

6: We are supposed be dedicated to the pursuit of excellent customer service. Unless their is silverware to dry, dishes to put away, a gluten allergy to deal with, an actual problem, or a "very urgent meeting" in the kitchen which requires the attendance of the whole staff.

7: All of us are trying to put the restaurant out of business! We are all idiots! Why do they pay any of us clowns?!?

8: There are dishes and silverware in the kitchen!! Who is the douche bag that took the last of the lettuce/pie/dressing!! Start on your SIDEWORK!! Who left powdered sugar on the COUNTER!!!???

9: We are not worthy of the greatness that we see before us. Let us bow down and kiss your toe cheese and then watch as you give the cooks their daily beating for mopping the floor with the incorrect mop.

10- The bus is there to throw people under. Utilize it at will. Rinse, repeat.

11- Instead of promptly getting our work done let's spend 456 hours reading 1.2 million specials to all of our guests. Primo use of time. (have I ever read all the specials? Oh, yes. And by yes I mean NO.)

12- DO NOT talk to one another, go behind the bar, congregate in the hostess area, speak unless spoken to, (or have any thoughts or feelings) Well, if it's me, Marissa of my Human Friend you can't. Everybody else CAN.

13- Being honest and genuine is so 2008. That is simply not how we roll!

And the most important that I have learned? Do NOT under any circumstances attempt to purchase a tirimisu. That is one of the 7 deadly sins and must be avoided at all costs!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

War Story Wednesday! MAW Style....

I'm going to steal WSW for myself today but I feel that is my prerogative since it is my blog, after all. I have had this story waiting in the wings for quite some time and it is time for it to be let out into the open! BWA-HAHA!

Back in the day when I was a young, innocent child I had a waitressing job in a (very) local restaurant. Not only was it known for it's questionable managerial style but it was known for bringing in a varied and somewhat seedy crowd. Clearly, a nice and wholesome place for a nubile young girl to work....

One evening I was waiting on a table of one man and his flock of three ladies. They made no attempt to hide the fact that this was most definitely a date with a one way ticket to some kinda funky bedroom action. Yikes! Anyway, I minded my own business, brought them their food and tried to stay away because their promiscuity was frightening to my impressionable young eyes. (ooooh kay. maybe I wasn't quite as naive as that. but still people, really?)

As they all languished around, pawing at one another and getting their drink on the man beckoned to me to come over. I was somewhat terrified, imagining that he was going to ask me to join in the (ahem) fun. Thankfully he just wanted to let me know that he was a psychic! And would I like a display of his powers?? I took a look around to see who would have my back if this was some sort of nasty trick. Seeing that the manager was nowhere in sight and that the bartender was getting loaded with some locals I tried to politely get the eff out. He wasn't hearing of it and told me that he was going to use his mental prowess to discover what color toenail polish I had on. Relieved that his intentions seemed pure I told him to go ahead and give it his best creepy guess.

He made a big show of closing his eyes, pretending to draw power from the universe and all kinds of wacky BS. His harem oooohd and ahhed and giggled to each other, very impressed with their boyfriend's skills. Nonplussed I eyed the spectacle with growing doubt. Suddenly, his eyes snapped open and he gestured towards my clog clad feet. "PURPLE" he shouted "WITH SPARKLES!" Aghast I exclaimed that this was indeed true, and that I was duly impressed and had noted his one life skill as being legit. "Take off you shoe!" the girls exclaimed squealing in ecstasy "we want to see! we want to see that it is true!" Since there were no rules in this restaurant pertaining to the removal of one's shoe. I kicked off the clog and showed my purple hued toes to the salivating and scantily clad pussycat doll wannabees.

And then the unimaginable happened. Like a flash Mr. Creeper reached out and grabbed my foot (like, off the floor) and..... Bit it. With his teeth. My foot, in his mouth. Agog, I tottered on one foot and tried to repossess my appendage (lucky for him this happened before I developed cat like reflexes, as now I would smartly kick him in the teeth. And then in the junk.) Just when I did not things could possibly ever get any worse he stuck out his nasty tongue and licked the bottom of my foot. Which had been in a smelly, sweaty, dishwater soaked clog for no less than six hours. No really, he did! My horror was immense because not only was this a disgusting display but I have very serious issues with anyone touching my feet. I have to get a beer before I get a pedicure so that I can make a good show of trying to like the experience (I don't. But sometimes the toes have to look good!) All the girls burst out laughing as he freed my foot from his hairy hand, and jumped all over him in awe of his foot fetish. "Heeeey Baby" he crowed in delight "Howdja like THAT!" (not at all) I fled the scene in complete horror, dry heaving a little to myself as I ran to the relative safety of the wait station. I was completely repulsed, and refused to go back to the table choosing instead to have the rather inebriated bartender get them their check.

This was one of my all time worst experiences with a customer and it taught me to never take off any article of clothing upon request (like I have previously mentioned I was young. Full on Youth Of America, ya know? Very trusting, OK!!) The image I could not shake (along with that of my foot being bitten by nasty, nicotine stained teeth) was that of all the prancing ladies making out with Mr. Creeper, and him having a mouth full of dirty foot crud. Let's all say it together: EWWWWWW!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The many joys of waitressing....

From time to time one gets the misfortune of being stuck with a party that is intent on being dissatisfied. They come in already disgusted with life and simply refuse to be pacified with good service (or multiple cocktails.)

I was on the receiving end of one such party the other evening and from the moment that they settled in in my section I knew they would be trouble. Luckily, it was a night that was slower than molasses in January so I had plenty of extra time to deal with their shenanigans.

Looking over the drink menu they moaned that they could just not find a bottle of wine that struck the right cord in their hardened hearts. I made a few suggestions, which are usually taken well. Not this time.... I was given a ten minute lecture on what we should have on hand, and how the selection was not up to par. (side note: as I may or may not have mentioned on previous occasions this restaurant is out in the boondocks of east bum f***. A huge wine cellar of $200+ bottles would be unjustified.) Moving on.... They were able to select a few glasses of wine based on my suggestions which honestly I was not delighted with- as I know this could come back to haunt me. (insert doom music now.)

I brought the wine. I explained the specials in minute detail. I sang a song. I told jokes. I listened intently as they criticized every item on the menu and then scolded me for creating said menu. I did not bother explaining to them that I actually have nothing to do with the birthing of the menu, as I am just a old decrepit waitress. Not pleased with the 24,896 possible choices on the menu they went on to create their own epic dinner selections. Always a wise choice in my eye, as clearly you would not want to entrust your dinner choice to the staff of trained experts paid to create tasty dishes. No, that would be quite risky.

I took their self-created order and explained that if one were to order an appetizer as entree then they would not get a "free" salad. Aghast, the lady at the table inquired how could such a thing possibly be true? Attempting to keep her from working herself into a frothing frenzy I indicated that a garden salad could be purchased for x dollars. Crisis averted! Somewhat pacified she demanded to have less of this and extra that on her salad with a dressing that I would create out of several items (not on the menu) to meet her needs.

(at this point they took the time to tell me that their wine selections were "painfully..... average" "barely....adequate.") Noticing that they were a 9/10ths thru with their drinks I concluded that average must still be quite drinkable.

After delivering the detailed, impossible and fairly ridiculous order to the kitchen and dropping their salad creations of horror off at their tables I spied on them from a corner of the wait station. They were all rather fond of moving their food around on their plates, smelling it, and grimacing. Hmmmmmm. Off to investigate I went (oh, lucky ME!!) "How are the salads?" I asked in my most happy-to-help-you-voice. "This is not what I had in mind" the lady said darkly "and the dressing is just horrendous." Well, that is what you get for asking me to combine olive oil, vinegar, ketchup, and the still beating heart of the head chef to make a special just-for-you dressing!! Keeping my thoughts to myself I dumped it into a box for her and sneakily took it off the check to save myself a major headache when the bill was dropped off..

During my check-altering moment their self-created dinner masterpieces had been brought, piping hot from the kitchen. I waited for them to take a bite and seeing that it was going to be a long process I went to check on my other tables. Returning a few moments later they still had yet to take a single forkful. I asked in everything looked ok to which they replied yes (so off I went.) Yes, you all see where this is going now dontcha?? On my return trip to their side of the restaurant I saw the lady gesturing to me with wildly swinging arms. As I neared her table she said "My food is COLD I can not eat COLD FOOD!!" Squashing the desire to tell her that if she had consumed her food in a timely fashion it would have been quite hot, I ran it back to the kitchen for a quick warm up. When I brought the (once again) steaming dish back to the table they all took quality time to lecture me on how the food was "incredibly.... average" "really.... just so-so" "not really what.... I had pictured in my head..." I was fighting a loosing battle so I just smiled, offered ground pepper and ran away as fast as I could.

Not shockingly they all declined dessert "we're really.... all set....with the so-so food...." So I dropped off their check, sweetly adding that I had removed the death-dressing salad from the total. The total of the bill was $79.13. They added $4.21 as a stunningly generous tip for the baffling total of $83.54. more than anything, I was glad to be rid of them and their slow talking criticism. Ahhhh people, you really make my job just a little more special!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

War Story Wednesday

Hold on to your hats blogger friends! This week I have no other than the QUEEN of the internet LiLu, from livitluvit gracing my small, simple blog with her witty and creative musings.
To say that I am excited that she is guest blogging for me is essentially the understatement of the century.
So without further ado, here it is:

Though I have long since retired from the world of restaurants and bars, I remember the trials and tribulations I endured throughout my decade in the industry like it was yesterday. I started out as a sixteen year old hosted at a suburban TGIFriday's; and yes, every cliché you can imagine about it? True.

I'd been eyeing the much larger tips servers made for some two years by the time my 18th birthday rolled around, and I started my first shift training "on the floor" the day I was legal. (Insert obligatory "barely legal" joke here.)

I was pumped, but (understandably) terrified, despite that fact that I was shadowing a good friend of mine.

The night went well; almost too well, in fact. I cavorted with customers, winning them with smiles and extra bread sticks and upselling them on booze and appetizers all the while. I was a natural.

That is, until we got seated with an 8 top.

"Just treat them like any other table," my friend and mentor coached me. "Drinks, apps, entrees. You can do this."

And so I did. Green though I was, I managed to get their drinks in record time, enter all the courses in the computer with the appropriate delay times, and was riding high by the time their soups and salads were up in the kitchen. The group had a one year old I'd been playing peek-a-boo with, and their wallets, I mean hearts, were mine.

I waltzed over to their table with three salads on one arm, proud as anything of my newly acquired "carrying" skills.

"Here we are, folks! One Italian, one Thousand Island, and finally, an olive and vineg-"

I saw it happen. I saw the ramekin of olive oil slowly, tenderly, terrifyingly, TEETER...

Before it gently slid off the edge of the bowl and upended its entire contents onto the bald little head of the toddler.

Stunned, the baby sat there with a little plastic yamaka resting on his crown, the oily yellow goop slowly dripping down his wee button nose.

And then I died.

Or, everyone uttered noises of surprise and clucking and frantically grabbed napkins and blotted while trying not to laugh because hey, if you think about it...

That's pretty damn funny.

Fortunately for me, the family was amazingly cool about it, but my mortification was complete. I hid in the kitchen until they were gone and ate my weight in Sesame Jack chicken strips to forget the pain.

I went on to be a helluva waitress, but I never forgot.

And I put the cocky away...

At least until I became a bartender.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

War Story Wednesday.... Or, the WSW that wasn't.

I thought that I had the best entry ever for WAS. I was so excited because it was clever and funny.... And vaguely familiar?? And after a bit of thinking was proven to be an excerpt from "Waiting" by Debra Ginsburg. Umm, Debra, if that was you who sent it to me than my apologies! How-EVAH, evidently it is time for a couple rules.

1: Original work please. Although I certainly can not police this if you are gonna scam off a book them I'm probably going to bust you.

2: No racial crapola. All peeps are occasionally bad tippers. There was a lot of this JENK in my inbox. STOPIT!

3: Hey "lousywaitress" at I genuinely loved your 12 emails that all said "They wuz bad tippers. They left me like, 10 cents maybe." I might just have to combine all the fabulocity of your emails to make one big wacky post. I bet you would love that! And common sense tells me that maybe you only got a smattering of change becasue you were.... lousy??

Anyway everybody- better luck next week. I did get a few good laughs but nothing that I felt ok about sticking up on my blog-o'-fantabu-lism.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Adventures with Spaghetti...

At the end of a very boring evening I had this adventure:

Within minutes of closing I got a table of two, which happened to be my first table in well over an hour. It was a table of "mature" adults, obviously on a date. As I walked close to the table I was struck by a very unusual and altogether unpleasant odor. Realizing that it was heavily applied perfume radiating from my female dinner guest I attempted to place the exact scent that I was detecting. After a moments pause it occurred to me that it was the odor of a freshly cleaned porta potti, or to be more exact almost the identical smell to those little deodorizers that are placed in porta-crapper urinals. Ummmm-UM!

Breathing thru my mouth to avoid the noxious fumes I greeted my party and asked if they would like to partake in a beverage. "What do you have for beers" the boyfriend asked. Seeing that they did not have a drink menu I took a minute to recite the selection which, while not impressive is fairly lengthy. "I'll have a Bud Lite" he declared. If there is one thing that bothers me (and believe me, the there is more that one) it is when people ask for a beer recitation and then order a BUD! Howbout you just ask if we have Bud in the first place, if that is what you are going to drink? Spare me the trouble of going thru the whole shebang, you know?

When I got back to the table only girlfriend was there and she was all ready to chat me up and to become my very closest friend. She gave me a very long and boring story regarding the magnetic bracelet that she had on and how she could pick up her silverware with it. Trying to be a good sport I mentioned that she must need to be cautious when handling knives as that would be a nasty way to loose a phalange. She looked at me in complete shock and awe, and gasping, declared that she had never thought of such a thing! And oh my gosh, wasn't I just the smartest thing!! (yes.) Moving along, she asked to order an appetizer which is referred to as "toasted." She did not understand this phraseology. "Toasted" she said, flipping her menu over in confusion and looking at me with a wrinkled brow "you mean they put them in a toaster?" I explained that no, this was something that was baked or "toasted" in the oven and it was just another way of saying the same thing.... She was baffled, and said thoughtfully that the menu was very confusing indeed. Sighing, and shaking my head I left to put their order in and was intercepted by a most agitated Karen. Looking at me in an irritated was she said "The people at your table smell TERRIBLE! I am going to have to go and apologize to MY tables about the SMELL!" I agreed wholeheartedly that eau de urinal cake is not the way to go, and that if nothing else perhaps the stench would get people out of the restaurant before it got too late. Looking at my watch I noticed that it was indeed getting very late and due to the chatty Kathy nature of my table things were moving slower that molasses.

Since I knew that their apps would take a few moments I returned to stink bomb central to take the dinner order and get the show on the road. "I'll have spaghetti and meatballs" girlfriend said. "We don't have spaghetti" I said, but we do have the following pastas..." Listing them carefully I noticed her drifting into la-la land, clearly overcome by her own odor. "OK" she said dreamily "I'll have the spaghetti and meatballs." "Actually." I deadpanned "We. Don't. Have. Spaghetti. Why don't you try the angel hair with that?" "Hmmmm. OK. I'll have Spaghetti and meatballs!" "Al-righty!!" I exclaimed writing "Angel Hair and Meatballs" carefully on my pad of paper. Turning to boyfriend I asked what he might like to have on this very fine and confusing evening. "I'll have the shrimp scampi!" he drawled. Sighing mightily I explained that we did not have that item, but I would be happy to see if it could be prepared specially for him. "NONO" he said "I'll just have the spaghetti (yes, he said spaghetti) and red clam sauce." Wondering if either of them had bothered to so much as pick up the freaking menu I explained that again, that was not an item on the menu but I could check on the special order situation. Turning down my offer once again he finally agreed to have some good old fashioned manicotti. AHHHH!

All the while I had been at this table, attempting to avoid breathing in the thick cloud of epic perfume nastiness I was getting an eyeful of the table-next-door, wrapped in a full blown make out session. Which made me think of This Madness! Imagining that I was going to have to go and get the broom and poke them apart like horny dogs I told Marissa that it looked like her table was ready to leave (to get a room.) "Oh CRAP" she said "Really? Do you think that you could go over there and make them uncomfortable so they stop?" Thinking that if the eau de latrine was not making them feel icky than nothing would I prepared to stop the madness via a pitcher of very cold water thrown upon their writhing bodies. Much to my surprise the lady from my table has broken up love fest Oh-ten by stopping to chat with them (I could hear her telling them the story of the magnetic bracelet. Fun!)

Fortunately for all of us, crazy in love table included the big bad spaghetti dinners came out at this point so everybody had to go back where they belonged. I asked if there was anything else that I could get for either of them to make their dining experience more enjoyable? "I'll have a peanut" said girlfriend. I was a bit staggered, as there was absolutely nothing on the menu that I could think of that had anything to do with peanuts. "A peanut...?" I said slowly, attempting to buy myself some thinking time "Could you be a bit more specific about what you mean." "Yeah, yeah" she said, nodding helpfully "you always have a couple different kinds of peanuts? maybe two different ones." PEANUTS. BRICK WALL. I had nothing, no matter what way I twisted my brain I could not conjure a recollection of ever seeing a single peanut. I was ready to admit defeat when she perked up "I remember!" she exclaimed "I always get the PEANUT GREEEEGIO!" Ah. Pinot Grigio- gotcha!! I scampered off to get her a nice glass of peanut, and to get them more sauce for their spaghetti and to escape the fumes of perfume death. Returning to the table I asked how things were, and if they were enjoying dinner. "Don't know!" crowed the boyfriend "Haven't even tried it yet!!" Sneaking a peak at my watch I noticed that we had been closed for almost 30 minutes and this table had taken ne well over an hour to get to this point (appalling on a slow night.) Sneaking peeks at them I saw boyfriends fork hovering in the air, bite ready to try. And it hovered. And hovered. And did not move. For well over 5 minutes. Awesome! I give up!

After a time they did hurry up and eat, and then I hustled them around and forced them to pay up and get the eff out of my freaking section. As much as I love hanging about at Captain Rigatoni's it was time to leave.

The best part of the whole situation was that they wrote on a comment card about the "great spaghetti...." ummm hmmm. Some people never learn.