Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fun on Trivia Night!

Okay, this guy technically isn't a "coworker" because he doesn't do shifts at the restaurant. But I gotta put this out there because this guy is a piece of work. He's not a server, bartender, hostess, busser, cook, or dishwasher. He's not a manager. But, our store manager pays him to come in once a week for a few hours. "For what?" you ask. Trivia. This guy started his own little trivia game where people play in teams, he asks questions, plays music while the teams write down their answers and bring them up to him. The idea/game is actually fairly popular and has been in several bars locally. Recently however, he's pulled out of several locations because (according to my boss) "they were dicking him around". I think he just got himself kicked out because he's so obnoxious.

Anyway, last Thursday was Trivia Night again. We had something like 18 or 19 teams playing, beating the previous record at our location which was 17. There were lots of people who were playing and going to be camping for several hours. Plenty of people in the bar half of the building were playing because that's where he, G, is located with his speaker and microphone, and lots of the players are new, brand new.

There's a "no cell phone. period." rule and G is very adament about it. Anyone caught on their cell phone during times when they aren't allowed will result in their whole team forfitting the game. One of the guys used his cell phone while G was outside on his cell phone. The guest asked me to verify if G asked that he wasn't cheating on trivia, he was actually using his phone. G caught the guy and threw a fit. The guy said that his mother was in surgery and the hospital was keeping him updated.
"That's what they all say!" G practically yelled.
Now, I could believe that. Because the hospital could be in another state, thus the reason that the guest was at our bar rather than their waiting room. But G, he's a jerk.

The next thing I knew, someone asked who it was that threw something at G. Sure enough, one of our managers was out on the floor talking to the guy who'd been on the phone, along with one of the bartenders. Eventually, the manager went around to the other side of the bar, so the bar was between him and the guest (possibly so he could hear better?? dunno, not sure) and continued talking. Meanwhile G's saying things like "you don't throw anything at me" and the manger is like "G, go back to your game, I'm handling this".

Apparently, when G was getting on this guy about the cell phone and not believing his excuse or whatever, the guy threw something at G. G flipped out! He went into the back and threw a hissy fit!! "I'm not going back on the floor until that guy is thrown out!" Yeah right. The guy was apparently a regular and there was no way the bartenders were going to let a regular get thrown out because G was a jerk.

Eventually, (only a few minutes later) G goes back out front and continues the game, just like nothing happened. The bar settles down and it's back to normal for Trivia Night. One of the servers walks by and I ask her if she knew what it was that the guy had thrown at G because I hadn't seen it happen.

She rolled her eyes, looked at me, and said, "A napkin."

I always knew that G was a jerk and a baby (and he thinks he's cool btw, he's most definitely not. He's a step above going outside with shorts, black socks, and sandels, lol), but I didn't realize just how much of a puss he was until last Thursday. And believe me, that made my night.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Rant From

We have this woman who comes into our restaurant fairly often and she's blind. The ONLY reason I mention that is because it pertains to how and why she does certain things when she visits us.

She's never been rude or me. She's had problems with other employees though. I'm not sure exactly why she likes some servers over others, but I know that she has not left a tip before and asked to speak to a manager before. Normally, she comes in during the Saturday morning shift and she basically needs a babysitter (which ended up being me, but that's a story for another time). Because she would normally come on Saturday mornings during lunch and we weren't as busy as during the dinner shift, she could have someone take her to the bathroom and take her across the parking lot to another store (yes, EVERY week I had to do that...). Eventually, I got tired of having to take care of her like that every week and not get anything for it other than a "thank you" (which was fine until she started being rude to the servers). I switched to Saturday nights because there's more tips, cooler servers, and to get away from her. Not nice, but true.

A few Fridays ago, I'm working a double. Dinner time rolls around and we go on a wait. No biggie, being on a wait gives me an element of control that I wouldn't have normally and I'm more than comfortable running a waitlist. Then I see Her coming through the door with the dog and an escourt I didn't recognize. "Oh great" I mutter and pray that she doesn't need someone to walk her across the parking lot because I didn't have hostesses to spare on a Friday night.

Problem #1: She couldn't understand that we were on a wait and kept asking "You don't have a table for just one?" over and over again. I kept trying to tell her that first of all we had no tables for just one and they all seat at least four and there were no table open at all currently. No matter what I said to her, she couldn't understand that. She asked how she would know it was her turn to be sat and then didn't want a pager when I explained how it worked (it will flash, vibrate, and beep all at the same time when we page it). That's not a problem because there were no other blind ladies with dogs in the restaurant, she would be easy to find. She then kept insisting that she didn't want us to forget about her. I kept trying to assure her that we wouldn't forget about her and we were going down through the names on the list in order. Meanwhile, her escourt hasn't left yet and is watching her to see if she wants to stay. When it's clear that she's chosen to stay (and through all of this has not mentioned anything about being on a time restraint) the escourt says to call as soon as she's done eating (I guess so she can come pick her up) and then leaves. I have one of my other hostesses lead N (the blind lady) where there is a bench so she can sit while she waits.

Problem #2: After five minutes, N wanders out into the aisle (blocking other customer traffic) where another (very nice) customer imediately notices that she's blind and asks if he can be of assitence. She mumbles something to him, he comes back to me says that this woman's blind (like I can't figure that one out) and she needs help. I told him that she was already on the wait list and he shrugs and goes about his business. N starts asking my other hostess, C, if her table is ready yet. C tries to explain again about the wait list and N begins to demand "why didn't we tell her that while the cab was still here so she could have left" over and over with every explanation C gives her. That's when she starts telling C about whatever time restraints she has, not a moment before *shakes head*. N demands to speak with a manager. Manager comes out talks to her briefly, asks if there isn't a table we can get for her now (just to get her to leave him alone because he doesn't feel like dealing with her either). Her name is two from the top of the list at this point, she only has a few more minutes to go and her total wait time would be far less than the 20 minutes I orignally told her, more like 10ish. We seat her anyway, thankfully, we're a small restaurant and all the other waiting guests could hear and/or see what was going on and no one complained that she got sat sooner than they did.

Problem #3: She's been to our restaurant many times before, she's had the menu (the WHOLE menu) read to her many times before. I understand that she goes to other restaurants as well (I've even seen her other places when I've been off duty) and it would be hard to remember who has what food. She also has dietary restrictions which makes everyone else's life in addition to hers a little more interesting. The server, A, she's been given is one of my favs, absolutely nice and funny girl, she'll bend over backwards for you, so long as she knows that you're nice and worth it. A reads N the whole menu, twice. When N has questions about a certain dish, A answers knowledgably like with any other customer because other customers do ask the same/similar questions. N orders a dish with two (2) chicken breasts (important!). The dish comes out, A even cuts everything up for her so it's easier for her to eat. N accuses A of lying to her, saying that A told her 3 chicken breats not 2.

Problem #4: N gets over the chicken breats, finishes her meal, orders the cobbler for dessert. Accuses A of stealing some of her cobbler. Then accuses A of giving her child-sized portions of everything, treating her like a child, etc. N now wants to speak to the manager again. Manager comes back out and sits down across the table from her and listens to all of her rants about how bad her server was and blah blah blah. N doesn't want to leave a tip now, she gets Manager to tell her what her bill is and hands the money off to Manager and makes sure that Manager brings back her change. You would think that would be the end of it now that she's paid her bill.

Problem #5: She gets up from her table and waits out in our foyer (it's really a little box between our outer doors and our enter and exit doors) for her ride I guess. One of the other servers goes out to see if N would like help out to her car or something. N says something about not tipping her server and wanting her server to come back out and talk to her. Lol, like that was going to happen. As it happens, A had *just* gotten another table ( ) and was too busy to come out and talk.

N wasn't all bad. A's next table actually happened to ask casually if all of A's tables had been treating her right tonight. Of course A had to mention (in an abridged version of course) the whole episode with N. That nice couple happened to leave her a nice tip too. I had also just been "cut" (translates into "you can clock out and go home now") and my fiance was coming up for dinner with me when I let him know I was off. We sat in A's section and also left her a nice tip. It was the least I could do for seating such an SC in her section, I felt bad but it was the closest table we had and I thought it would get her off our backs. Oh well. A said that if it wasn't for all the employees in the back making her laugh, N would have made her cry.

The whole situation reminded me of another post before the boards went down, asking if an elderly woman was really an SC or should they have given her some slack. I said it then, I'll say it again now, it's not whether you're disabled or elderly, your race doesn't matter, it's your behavior, your attitude, and your outrageous demands that make you an SC. N has been moved from Minor Annoyance to an Offical Sucky Customer.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My faith in humanity is restored once more...for now.

Today, my managers got chewed out by a guests (who happens to manage a restaurant in the inner harbor) for sitting on their butts and not helping any of the other employees (including myself and a manager in training, who's awesome by the way) who were all very busy because we were understaffed this morning. It made my night. :) Here's the story in a nutshell:

Independence Day, July 4th, rolls around and the boss decides that we're going to be open for lunch. Normally, we open at 4pm and most of the people in the area know this. Also, the 4th of July is not usually a busy holiday for most restaurants as families are getting together and it's a huge cookout day. So we figued we would be slow. We have three servers on the floor, one in the bar and two in the restaurant and one hostess working a double (yours truly), thinking this would be plenty. Well, we didn't realize that we would be the only sit-down restaurant around that was going to be open for lunch. We got fairly busy (would have been much better with more servers) and most people were perfectly understanding and nice (no SCs!) and in a good mood for the holiday.

I told my boss when I got there that since I was sacrificing an entire day with my family to come in to work (and the last time I did that I could have seen my grandfather one more time before he died) he was going to give me an hour break to go home and see my family for a little bit. Since the grandfather thing (which is true) guilted him into it, and I've been there long enough he doesn't want me to walk out (which I would have done if he had said no), he agreed. I busted my butt seating guests and bussing tables (the genious didn't get a busser to work the morning shift either...) until my break, took my break (didn't clock out though ), got back and continued to bust my butt along with the other servers and our current Manager In Training (MIT). Where was my boss and his relief, another manager, when I got back? Sitting on their butts eating lunch. I could understand my boss eating, he'd been there since before I came in, that's fine. The other one though, had only been there an hour. Several minutes later, thier plates were empty, yet they still sat and laughed and talked with the rest of us running around like chickens with our heads cut off (again, including the MIT).

The next thing I know, one of the servers T comes up and says that she just got into a fight with D and G. Apparently, she went over to their table, cleared their plates, and asked if they were finished. When they said that they were, she looked at them and said, "Good, now do you wanna get up off your asses and help us?"

They followed her into the kitchen and asked if she knew that they were managers. She asked them if they knew that there was food that needed to be run and work that needed to be done.

A little while after T told me about telling of D and G, I see G sitting at one of T's tables talking with them. He's over there for a good ten minutes or so. T comes over to me and tells me what happened after G is done with them. Apparently, when the couple at the table came in D and G were still sitting on their butts. The Guy ask T if that was a manager he saw in the striped shirt when he came in, one who just sat and stared at him without bothering to get up and help seat them. T said that yes, that was a manager. Guy asked if the other guy dressed like him was a manager too. T said, "Yes, that's our store manager". Guy tells T to send one of them out because he needed to talk to one of them. That's why G was at the table for so long. Guy was chewing him out and telling him that if it wasn't for his server, he would have never come back to our restuarant because he was so appalled at the managers sitting on their butts not doing anything while he watched EVERYONE else running around and being overworked.

So if you're out there, Guy-Who-Told-My-Manager-What's-What, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for telling him what we were all thinking but didn't want to risk our jobs to say! I hope to someday do what you have done for us by either defending an employee to a SC or some similar action and pass the good karma around! Viva Rockin' Customers like you!