My first night back…

I’m annoyed.

Actually I’m very annoyed.

Did I mention that I’m VERY, very annoyed.

First.

I worked tonight for the first time in nine days.  My last shift was  last Tuesday.  I was off on Wednesday and Thursday and then got sick on Friday.  I called out of work on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday.  Which is a lot when you don’t get sick days, and you only make money when you are working.  But when you are sick.  You are sick.  I’m not one of those martyrs who thinks the world can’t do without them.  I’m just a waiter.  No one is going to miss me, and there’s nothing that I do that someone else can’t do instead.  So I called out.

So tonight was my first night back.

And I’m not as well as I thought I was.  Thirty minutes into my shift, I realized that I might not be 100%.  I was suddenly dehydrated, I was sweating profusely, my head was pounding and my voice was gone.  And it was only 5:30.  How was I going to make it through the next eight hours of my shift?  Ugh.

Then around the same time I was figuring out that I didn’t feel completely well, I walked into the manager’s office.  Just in time to see the NEW bar manager printing out a sign announcing that they were looking for servers to move into the bar.  For those of you new to my blog.  About six weeks ago, I was approached by the old bar manager and asked to be a bartender.  It took me a few days to decide but I decided that I would do it.  AND then I was told it HAD to be okayed by the General Manager.  Then I was told if he said yes training would start mid-February, and it was NEVER mentioned to me again.  While I was in Maine I called to see if the GM had okayed everything.  I was told he had, but that the bar manager had decided that the bar was over-staffed and that it would be at least mid-March before training occurred.  And so tonight when the sign was put up, I commented that it was interesting that they were looking to “audition” people, when I was told that I was a sure thing.  The new manager told me I could apply like everyone else.  I laughed and told him, thanks but no thanks.  I make plenty of money being a cocktail server and that I don’t really like being hung out to dry.  And with that I turned and walked out of the office.

And then I actually had to wait on people.  I’m trying to decide something, maybe you guys can help.  Is it better to get a bad tip from people who are rude to you, and make you run for things and are generally unpleasant.  Or is it better to get a bad tip from people who are nice to you, that chat with you for 20 minutes while you are trying to wait on other tables and who tell you that you are a great waiter.  If I had to choose, I think I’d rather get a bad tip from the assholes.  I don’t expect any better from them.  The other side of the coin makes me want to drown kittens.  Or push small children in front of a bus.  Or stab the very sweet British ladies that were my last table and left me ten dollars on 142.00 down the stairs and kick them in the stomach.  Does anyone have a Valium?

And then some idiot in our sales department thought it would be a great idea to have a party of 170 people sat at 11:30 tonight.  It shouldn’t have effected me at all.  But it did.  My last order took almost 40 minutes because it got to the kitchen after the big order did.  And then suddenly my cocktail area was filled with people who were pissed that they couldn’t get drinks from their waiters.  Who knows?  My guess, some lazy waiter who was upset because they had been asked to stay all night just to wait on this party and were only going to make about 75.00 for the night.  And then all of my tables were gone and all of my closing duties were done and I started to do my checkout, which is where you turn in the millions of dollars you are carrying around in your pocket from where people have paid you all night.  But alas, I couldn’t do my checkout because the 14.00 check for MY dinner earlier in the day had not been discounted.  So I asked the manager to discount it.  And 10 minutes later I asked him to discount it again.  And 10 minutes later I asked him to discount it again.  Finally I plopped my ass down in the manager’s office and stared at him while he was finishing up his paper work until he discounted my check.

And then I get to the subway only to discover I just missed the train.  And yes, there will be another, but it means I have to wait 20 or 30 minutes just to get on a train.  And then it will go “local” which means it stops at every stop instead of skipping from 59th street to 125th street.  So that will take another 40 minutes.  So now that it’s 1:30 it means I won’t be home till 2:45 or so.

And now it’s 3:349.  And I would have been in bed about 45 minutes ago.  But our internet connection is fucked again.  It took me almost 45 minutes to get my grocery order to process because the connection kept flaking out.  I had to restart the box twice before it would let me start my blog post.  I’m terrified that I’ve done all this typing and then won’t be able to post my entry.

Did I mention that I’m annoyed?

Very annoyed.

Really.  Very.  Annoyed.

Actually the whole night would have been fine if I had felt better.  It’s so hard to be nice to people when your head is pounding and they can’t hear you because you have no voice.  And so I’m taking my cold medication, sleeping late and hoping that tomorrow night is better.

Otherwise you might hear about me on CNN Headline news tomorrow night.

Gotta Love Tuesday Nights…

I’m losing all faith in humanity.

My friends say that’s what waiting tables will do to you.

Until this weekend, I would have disagreed with them.

But the deal was sealed tonight.

In my past three shifts I have been stiffed (not in the good way) on 1,200 dollars in sales.  Yes, I typed that correctly.  1,200.  Twelve hundred.  One thousand, two hundred.

It breaks down as follows.  I was stiffed (not in the good way) on 500 bucks in sales on Saturday night.   400 bucks on Sunday night.  And 300 bucks tonight.   If I added it all up, the tips I received would be about 4 dollars.  The worst offender.  On Saturday night I had a table with a check of 175 dollars that left me a 25 cent tip. (A couple of people suggested I tell them where to put that quarter).  The rest of the checks were between 50 and 100 dollars.  And I’ve given up trying to make excuses for these people.  If you want to go out to eat, then you need to have the money to pay for it.  If not– McDonald’s is across the street and you don’t have to tip there.  Or you could try Burger King.  Or Chipolte.  Or any other number of fast food joints that don’t require you to pay more than the check says.

If I had actually received a tip on all those checks, I would have somewhere between 180 and 240 dollars in my pocket.  And the best part of all this.  It cost me 60 dollars to wait on these people since I have to tip out 4 percent of my sales at the end of the night.

I’ll stop my bitching now.  I still walked with almost 15% each night because many tables left more than 20% at the end of their meals, and although it doesn’t make up for the missing money it certainly helps.

But this has nothing to do with why I’m losing my faith in humanity.

At around 7:00 tonight, I walked up to my counter to greet a couple.  I said hello and asked them if they were eating or drinking or both.  I was told they were just there for drinks.  I said great, gave them a drink menu and told them I’d be right back.  When I got back, I took their order.  They looked young so I carded both of them.  They were from NYC and it wast the guy’s birthday.  I got their drinks and everything was fine.  The guy ordered a couple of more beers while they were there.  The girl ordered one more.  At one point while the guy was in the bathroom the girl asked me to do a birthday shout out for her boyfriend.  We agreed on a dessert that was kind of small because her boyfriend was a diabetic and I told her no problem.  On my way back to get the dessert I stopped by another birthday party to get a hat for my guy to wear.  I came back did the big birthday shout out (which is the worst part of my job.  Ask my roommate if you don’t believe me.)  We chatted for a few minutes and then I had to run get drinks for another table.

When I returned they were gone.  GONE!!!  The fuckers walked out on their check.  Didn’t pay a dime.  Didn’t leave me a tip.  I ran upstairs to see if I could catch them but they were nowhere to be found.  I’ve been waiting tables since I was 22 and I’ve never had a walk-out.  Fuck this shit.  After I did a birthday shout out and all.  I was pissed beyond belief.  All night long I’ve been praying that the dude’s fucking chocolate ice cream puts him into some diabetic coma and he learns his lesson.

The worst part of all of this is that when you have a walk-out you are given a choice.  Pay for the tab.  Or get written up.  I’ve seen people actually pay the tab.  I say forget that.  There’s no way I’m buying some punk kids ice cream and beer.  I was all prepared to take the write up.  Luckily, tonights manager liked me.  And told me not to worry about it.  But I didn’t know this till about 12 minutes before my shift ended.  I’d spent  the night thinking I was going to be written up.  Not that I cared tremendously.  It’s just that everyone loves me at work, and I don’t want anything that’s going to tarnish that.

And that my friends is why I’m losing my faith in humanity.

Restroom Humor

Sorry for the inconsistent posts this week. Ex-boyfriend Curtis has been here and has made it difficult to write new posts and catch up on my favorite characters. He left today so I’ll get back to normal.

I know that I owe you guys some pictures from Maine and a detailed update and I promise I’ll get to it in the next couple of days.

I have been working a lot since I returned from my little working vacation. And luckily the restaurant is busy again. And when I say busy I mean busy. As you know the place I work isn’t fine dining. It’s what a friend of mine calls “slinging hash.” So to make money I have to turn my tables, give awesome service and hope like hell that people tip. Tonight the restaurant was a zoo. And it was like that at 5:00 when I started my shift. In the first 60 minutes of working tonight I sold over 500 dollars worth of food and drinks. That’s as much as I sold in one whole shift in the days before I left for Maine. And to tell you how much I was running, I was selling alcohol two to one to food. I was at the bar more tonight than I was at my tables.

And I would love to tell you that I made a million bucks. But unfortunately the bad tippers were out tonight. I calculated that I was stiffed (and as always, not in the good way) on almost 500 dollars in sales tonight. If you do the math that’s somewhere between 75 and 100 dollars that I should have walked home with. Not that I’m complaining. When you are in it for the volume, you still make a decent amount of money.

The real fun of the evening was looking up to discover my roommate and two of his friends waiting for a table in my section. I had been telling him he should stop in since I started work and he finally took me up on my offer. Of course he got there seconds before I had to do the thing I hate most about my job. A birthday shout out. Ugh. You have to get the dessert, get the candles, go to the table, make the guest stand on a chair and then announce their birthday to the restaurant. You can’t imagine how much I hate this. It’s so bad that some servers just refuse to do it. I figure if it’s the difference between 15 percent and 25 percent it’s worth it. Of course I never give the free birthday dessert. If you want me to announce your birthday, then you damn well have to order dessert. Other wise, I hope your mom sent you a card.

And now for the best question I get asked as a server. Actually they are a series of questions, that I will follow with my answers.

1. Do you know where the bathroom is? No, today is my first day and they haven’t shown me where they are.

2. Do you have a bathroom? No, but Starbucks is just across the street. I’ll tell your server you’ll be gone for a few minutes.

3. Where are the toilets? In the bathroom.

Ah, the fun of serving the public.

30 Dollars Worth of Project Runway

Tonight was slow at work.  When I say slow.  I mean REALLY slow.  If every night were like tonight I’d have to start thinking about prostituting myself to pay the bills.  Of course as my roommate likes to point out, who would pay for an over-weight, middle aged man who waits tables for a living.  All kidding aside, I only made 30 bucks at work tonight.  I waited on about seven tables, and that’s counting the two that didn’t tip.  After tip out 30 bucks was what was left.  I’m not complaining though.  There’s only about two or three more weeks before the business becomes insane again as people start to go on spring break.  At that point it will be a zoo again.  I just have to hold out till then.

It’s been a Project Runway week for me at work.  On Saturday night I waited on a table of four women.  They were out celebrating a 40th birthday, and had been drinking and did some more while I waited on them.  About 10 minutes into my greeting the table I was asked if I recognized any of them, since one of them was a celebrity.  I said no but asked why she was famous.  Turns out she was a model on Project Runway this season.  On Episode 5 the models were all women who had lost a significant amount of weight.  The designers were then asked to use “fat” clothes the women wore before they lost weight to design a new look for them.  My particular model was paired up with Jack.  It was in this episode that Jack got sick and left the show.  He was replaced by Chris who I love.

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So my customer was very proud of her stint on the show and it was fun getting the inside scoop from her.

Jack really was sick and spent a week in the hospital.

Chris is a sweetheart and she loved working with him.

Christian is just as annoying in real life as he is on TV.

She has no idea who wins the season.  In fact she didn’t know who won the challenge that she was taking part in.  They were whisked away and out of the building by security guards long before the winners were announced.

She says that Jillian is beautiful in real life.  I don’t think so but maybe it’s the 10 pounds TV adds.

It was fun chatting with her and she and her friends promised to come back and visit.  They live in Connecticut.

And then today Heidi Klum was in the restaurantproject-runway.gif

Unfortunately she was led directly to the event she was attending and I didn’t get to see her.  My co-worker who was waiting on her said that she was more beautiful in person than she was on TV.  I was just pissed that I didn’t at least get to see her.  Of course I did make 30 dollars so I guess it was a fair trade.

Last Night Explained….

I realized today when I reread my post from yesterday along with many of the comments I received that perhaps it seems like I work in a horrible restaurant.   In no way is that the case.  In fact as far as fast-paced, slinging hash type restaurants go it’s the best I’ve ever worked in.  It is in no way fine dining.  We serve cheeseburgers and beer and the occasional steak.  The reason I make money is because we are VERY busy.  The reason we are so busy is because it’s located in the heart of Times Square.  Which means 99% of our clientele are tourists.  The other 1% doesn’t count and I won’t explain why.

Because we are in Times Square there is constant foot traffic and this translates into big business for us.  We are in the middle of the slow season right now and there is still a million times more business than in any other restaurant I’ve ever worked in.  This means that even during the slow season it’s still possible to make money and sometimes it’s even better money because the kitchen is less likely to crash and burn and the work is easier because you don’t have to run around like crazy.

And then there was last night…

I had a bad night.  Of course I think that’s an understatement.  I had an awful night.  It started great.  My first seven or eight tables tipped between 20 and 30 percent.  I remember thinking to myself not to say anything about it because I would jinx how well the night was going.  I must have done something because suddenly the tide turned.  And for the rest of the evening the tips were around 10 percent on the high side and you guys have seen the low side.  Unfortunately, what happens is that as the night progresses and the tips are bad, the service starts to suffer.  It’s hard to be upbeat and happy to fetch things for people when the last four tables have stiffed you…and not in the good way.  This is what happened last night.  By 10:00 I could give a shit.  I just wanted the shift to end and be over with so I could count my lack of money and go home.  Needless to say the tips were worse from then on.

The other thing that I should explain is about tipping out.  The reason that servers are expected to tip out on their sales and not their earnings is because a lot of waiters suck.  There are people I work with who never make money.  It’s because they don’t know the first thing about being personable or for that matter just getting the customer what they want and need.  The other issue is that there is no way to track how much a waiter makes, so less than honest servers could lie and not tip as much as they are supposed to.  Our sales are printed on computer printouts every night so it’s published information so if someone doubts you’ve tipped them enough they can always check.  There is also the issue of why do I have to tip if I didn’t get that many drinks.  Well you probably didn’t get that many drinks tonight.  But I bet you did on Saturday night.  Did you tip extra then?  Probably not.  For me there are nights where I server from 1,000 to 1,500 dollars just in liquor.  That’s a lot of trips to the bar and lots of seven dollar beers.  I’ll let you guys do the math.  Because of the high total of my liquor sales and the total amount of business I do I feel like I should tip more than is required.  So I actually tip out 1% more than I’m supposed to to the bartenders.  This however, has worked to my advantage because I tip more than anyone else who works there.  This makes the bartenders happy.  And because they are happy I get my drinks first.  They very  often stop what they are doing, ask what I need and make it for me.  That is if they haven’t already noticed my check and made it before I got there.  This makes my customers happy because I get their drinks fast.  This makes me happy because “most” of the time they tip better because of it.  It’s only frustrating having to tip out the bar when so many tables stiff me and I’m not making any money.

And with all of this said.  It’s still a great place to work.  I make a ton of money.  The work isn’t that hard.  The managers love me.  Most of my co-workers love me.  And most of the time my customers love me.  Unfortunately there is a truth that every night can’t be good.  If I wanted that I could work at Red Lobster down the street where every table has 18% gratuity added to the check before it’s presented.  But they do half the business we do and I would make a lot less money.  I’m very grateful to have the job that I have.

Time for Math Class…

Work sucked tonight. I repeat. Work sucked tonight. I made less money tonight than I have since I started working there. I’d love to say I sold less but that’s not the case. The foreigners were out in force tonight. It got so bad that I kept my receipts so I could share the “good” news with you.

Here are some of my favorite tips tonight.

Bill: $54.05 Tip: $00.00

Bill: $22.22 Tip: $1.78

Bill: $61.01 Tip: $00.00

Bill: $49.80 Tip: $2.20

Bill: $110.71 Tip: $9.29

Bill: $15.28 Tip: $.72

Bill: $28.39 Tip: $1.61

Bill: $25.46 Tip: $.54

Bill: $66.20 Tip: $3.80

Bill: $11.43 Tip: $00.00

Total: $444.55 Total Tip: $19.94

Total Tip Out Expected to Bartenders, Busser and Food runner on $444.55: $22.22

So to wait on these 10 tables it actually cost me $2.28.

The total amount I should have made after tip out should have been somewhere between the amounts: $44.46 and $66.69 if everyone had left between 18% and 20%.

The actual percentage I made before tipout: .045 percent. There seems to be a shortage if you ask me.

It also didn’t help that most of the tables I waited on tonight didn’t seem to be eating. Two beers and a plate of nachos runs about $22.00. It takes a lot of these tables if you are going to make a living. Luckily, most of the tables I waited on early in the evening were very generous. Their 20-40 percent tips helped to make up some of the difference. Unfortunately, because we were slow there weren’t enough of these tables to make it a profitable evening.

It’s a good thing rent is due this week, otherwise I don’t know what I would do with all of my riches.

Ugh.

A Repeat of Last Night………………

Today was quite the repeat of yesterday.  The “A” train sucked.  It took almost 90 minutes to get home again tonight.  And I got stiffed on three tables.  And as with last night, I was not stiffed in the good way.

As far as the train is concerned, I’ve decided that I’m going to call the MTA and complain.  I understand that there has to be track work, but they have many options at their disposal to inform us about the work.  They send out emails, they post bulletins, and make announcements.  In this case nothing was done.  I just want to know so that I can make the best decisions when it comes to traveling in the city.

As for work and getting stiffed.  Two of the tables tonight didn’t surprise me at all.  They spoke very little English and that was to be expected.  The last table though pissed me off.  They were at their table for almost two hours and 30 minutes.  They got great service and I didn’t rush them at all when I discovered they were planting themselves there for the evening.  When they gave me the bill with the money, they specifically asked for the change back.  It was almost a 200 dollar check.  Trust me when I say it hurts when someone who has spent that much money doesn’t leave a penny.  Especially when you consider that I still have to tip out 8 dollars to the bussers, bartenders, and food runners.  So it actually cost me money to wait on them.  Somehow this doesn’t seem fair.   Luckily it was the end of the night, so I was able to let it slide and not ruin my night.  When something like that happens early, often it affects how you deal with people the rest of the night.  Of course the conversations in the wait stations are hysterical when this happens as we say little prayers that their passports, credit cards and wallets are stolen and they have to beg on the street corner to get enough money to get home.

And on a  last note.  I realize that people go out to eat late.  I also know that the my restaurant closes at 12:15 on Sunday nights and I fully expect people to arrive that late and be seated.  But be considerate.  Realize that when you have been finished eating for 45 minutes and are just sitting there, you are keeping an entire crew of people in the restaurant.  Look around you.   If no one else is there, chances are the bussers, dishwashers, managers, waiters, bartenders, cashiers, are all waiting on you to pay your check and leave so that they can finish their work and go home.  There’s nothing worse than being kept at work an extra hour because you want to sit and chat.  I work in Times Square for Pete’s sake.  The area is filled with 24 hour restaurants, diners, bars, and coffee shops.  Pay your tab and move to one of them.  And please, please if you ARE going to keep me at work an extra hour, be kind and tip extra.

And that my friend is my complaining for the evening.

And how would you liked that cooked?

I just worked my first swing shift. A swing shift is when you go in midway through lunch and stay until the restaurant is off the wait for the evening. Today I got to work at 1:30 and my station was cut at 10:30. Overall it was not a bad day, and I do have to admit that my new outlook is working great. For the last two days I’ve had great shifts, worked hard and made good money. And basically I just tell myself that no matter what’s happening there is no reason to be upset. It’s not worth losing your job over, yelling about, or losing your cool. And for the most part it’s worked.

I do have to admit though, that I had to take a couple of very deep breaths at the end of the shift tonight.

My last table of the evening was four British women who were sat around 9:30. There was nothing out of the ordinary about them and they were okay nice. They didn’t want to have fun, but they were pleasant enough. I should have known better. They ate at a snails pace. It took them almost an hour to finish their main courses. And when you have an appetizer, entree and dessert, that can take a while. They also had three rounds of cocktails. When it was all said and done, their bill came to $241.27 and they had been my only table for well over an hour by 11:30. At around 11:45 they finally paid their tab. They were very sweet and told me to keep the change.

And so breathlessly I took the money to the wait station and said a little prayer. And counted it.

They had given me $250.00. Good lord. And I got to keep the change. All$8.73 cents worth.

You have to be FUCKING kidding me. Eight bucks on a $240.00 tab. And it’s caused me to be at work an extra hour. Goddamn it.

I just stood in the wait station, cringing. I was afraid to go back on the floor because I didn’t want to be tempted to say something to them. With most corporate restaurant jobs, the one sure way to be fired is to say something to a guest about a tip. The same holds true in my restaurant. But at the same time you have to be kidding me.

Just to break things down for you. I have to tip out 4 percent of my gross sales. So let’s just do the math. 4% of 240 is 9.60. Yes, that’s right, it’s actually cost me money to wait on them, and in the end I didn’t make a penny. And I’m still at work at midnight, when if they hadn’t been here I could have been home by midnight. AAAAAHHHHHH.

By the time I got home, I just let it roll off my back. There’s no use getting upset about it. It really doesn’t do any good when it’s all said and done. I still managed to walk with 13% of my sales for the day and that was still a significant amount of money. But I just keep thinking how nice the fifty bucks would have been if they’d tipped the 20 percent they should have. Ah, wishful thinking.

And now I’m going to go to bed, so I can have my new outlook during my shift tomorrow.

Wish me luck.