Chronicles of trading in Corporate America for a waitress's apron during my very own quarter-life crisis.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting my just desserts

I'm writing this after my dinner shift on Tuesday night and scheduling it to be posted on Wednesday.  Tuesday night was pretty slow at the restaurant, but the money was worth it.

What isn't worth it, however, is that I have the restaurant's satellite radio station that pumps contemporary pop music into the dining room in my head at all times.  Songs such as "This Kiss" (Faith Hill), "Drops of Jupiter" (Train), "3 AM" (Matchbox 20), and "Only Wanna Be With You" (Hootie & the Blowfish) drown out my thoughts even when I'm not at work.  It's even worse when the restaurant is slow, because then I actually start to pay attention to it.  I found myself going along with it today:  "But just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die/You gotta get up and try, try, tryyy-- oh god, what the hell am I singing?!"  It's only slightly better than the Mexican polka music that the kitchen staff plays on repeat.

I can't give in to it.  I must be stronger.

I long to hack into the system and blast out Nirvana's "Rape Me," just to see what happens.  At least with my office job, I could listen to whatever I wanted at my desk.  I'd even plug my earbuds into my phone if I needed to run errands around the building.  That had an added benefit of giving off a "don't talk to me" vibe, but I also got particular enjoyment from walking around and dropping things off at peoples' desks while Zack de la Rocha screamed "FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME" in my ear.

I tried to wear my earbuds and listen to music while I rolled silverware, because the repetitive act of fold the napkin - two forks - steak knife - wrap - roll technique, 90 times, while standing after a long shift, is torture; however, a manager told me (politely, to his credit) that I wasn't allowed to wear earbuds while doing my sidework.

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Anyway, I'm assuming that I won't have time to post on Wednesday, so I'm writing this now.  I'm working a double shift, like most of the waitstaff at the restaurant, because Wednesday is known in my restaurant chain as the day when people get a certain kind of dessert for FREE with the purchase of any entrée.  Customers flock to the restaurant in droves, packing into the lobby and spilling out into the parking lot.  We stay on a wait for hours at a time, and we're still taking tables long after some servers have been on their feet for ten hours.  The first Wednesday I worked there, I was in tears three different times; the same was true for other servers, even those who are more seasoned than I am.

Even on Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting, penitence, and sacrifice, we gave away dessert after dessert.  Though, to be fair, we had way more orders for fish entrées than usual.



So it's safe to say that if you're reading this, and it's Wednesday, I'm off somewhere getting my ass handed to me right now.

It wouldn't be such a big deal.  It really wouldn't be.  I don't panic at the thought of the restaurant being on a wait, turning over tables, being a little busy, making some cash.  All I'd have to do is concentrate on my section and keep up with my sidework.  However, this free dessert stuff falls almost entirely on the servers' shoulders.  I'm happy to accommodate my customers, but it's pretty time-consuming to put together these desserts and their whipped cream toppings/chocolate shavings/walnuts/chilled forks for multiple people at every table, especially if they're taking the dessert to-go.

We don't even have a simple "Free Dessert" button on the point-of-sale computer system; it takes exactly five taps on the screen to ring it in.  That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're ready to rip out your hair and deliriously sprinkle it around the hostess stand/sacrificial altar, those taps accumulate.  I'm already at the point, after only about a month of Wednesdays at this place, that I wouldn't mind never eating dessert again.

I went to a raffle a few weeks ago, and they had a table of food.  My boyfriend pointed and said, "Oh, look.  Pie."  And I shriveled up and yelled, "NooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

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