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!