Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Working Gal's Blues

Working for restaurant owners who themselves have never worked in a restaurant is a mind-boggling experience.

They wander aimlessly across the floor, completely oblivious to the fact that, directly behind them in the narrow pathway between tables, is a server with about 30 things to do, who desperately needs to get around them.

They choose the most inconvenient places imaginable to stop and have a conversation with contractors/friends/fellow-owners. In the only doorway to the kitchen, for example. Or directly in front of the service bar.

They'll try to hand a glass bottle of water to one of those friends, reaching across the open doorway, and after three servers burst through the gap between them, laden with trays of food, they still haven't quite figured out that it is not a good place to hang out.

They ask you to get them sodas in the middle of a rush.

They decide to hold your credit card tips until your paycheck, utterly oblivious to the fact that the chief reason anyone gets into this line of work in the first place is money. Caah-in-hand, unseen by the IRS, MONEY.

They spring this information on you unexpectedly a few days into the first week of business, allowing you no time to budget for the fact that you won't see more than a few random dollars for two weeks, because in a neighborhood filled with high-rise office buildings, everybody pays on credit cards.

Chances are, having opened a restaurant for the hell of it, being able to afford to do so, and therefore being entirely unfamiliar with the concept of getting by day to day, paycheck to paycheck, they don't have the slightest idea of the financial crunch this move puts on all of their employees.

The employees without whom, it must be said, their business would be entirely unable to function. Because the idea of these individuals donning an apron and carting around trays of french fries is laughable.

Not to mention working four double-shifts, currently clocking in around 14 hours each, per week.

Then again, at least they're actually paying us, which is more than I can say for the last restaurant by which I was "employed." (Can you call it "employment" if they're not paying you?)

All I can say is: business had better pick up, and the money had better get exponentially better, and SOON. Because now that I've taken a job, I can't go back on unemployment (because restaurants never "downsize"). If this place bombs, I am screwed.


And that's a terrifying thought.


Jess said...

Ugh. This sounds... unfortunate. Fingers crossed that things improve!

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Having to wait for credit card tips....yuck.

K said...

Ugh. Incompetence is one of my big pet peeves. Standing in a place that blocks traffic is another. Fucking with employee income is a third. And I am talking big ones here, the kind that annoy at least a little more than they should. The owners of your new work have hit the trifecta of my pet peeves! On a brighter note, though, you can totally get unemployment if the restaurant fails.

the frog princess said...

Only if it fails to the point of going under... not if it's just crappy enough that I'm making less than unemployment by working there...

wegrit said...

For sure the best part of my working in restaurants (and I really honestly enjoyed it) was that I had managers/owners who knew what it was to be me. At no point did they ever ask me for anything in the middle of a rush, they were acutely aware of where they were within the restaurant space and they never, ever withheld credit card tips until payday.