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.