First off, if you are here because of CBS Sunday Morning, welcome to you. And what took you so long to get here? If you are in the food service industry, then you might enjoy my tales of woe and wonder. You should join my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and learn how to Bitch Proud because I try to keep it interesting but more importantly, I am a greedy attention whore who craves your approval.
When it’s a slow shift in a restaurant it’s a double header of crappy. Not only is it boring and time moves like molasses in December, we also leave without any money in our pocket. It’s one of the things that makes serving so difficult, this whole “depending on others for our income” thing. If the weather is bad or there’s something big on television like the Grammy Awards, then the restaurant ends up looking like a ghost town with tumbleweeds blowing through it. Such was the case last week.
I was at work from 4:00 until close which is 11:00 PM. During the course of those seven glorious hours, a total of 23 people came in to eat. The weather outside was crap and here in New York City, the weather is the driving force of our activities. Unlike other cities, we do not drive to get where we are going. We either walk or take the subway which also involves walking. Since all New Yorkers are made of sugar and if we are touched by rain we will dissolve quicker than a box of strawberry Jello in hot water, if it rains, a restaurant shift can turn out pretty deadly. I spent that night at work struggling to stay awake and trying to keep myself entertained. There were plenty of things I could have done to help pass the time, but most of them involved productivity. If you know me, you’ll know that productivity is not something I aspire to when it comes to restaurant work.
What I could have done: organized the sugar caddies and wiped them all down after making sure that all the sugar packets were facing the same way.
What I did instead: ignored the sugar caddies and played Words With Friends on my phone.
What I could have done: taken all the candle holders and cleaned them getting the dried wax off of the outside and replacing the candles with new votives.
What I did instead: took a candle into the sidestand with me so I had better light to play Words With Friends on my phone.
What I could have done: swept under all the booths getting the last bit of bread crumbs out from the far corners.
What I did instead: turned the lights down lower so any crumbs on the floor were now unnoticeable. This also forced me to take an additional candle to the sidestand so I had better light to play Words With Friends on my phone.
What I could have done: practiced my Spanish with the dishwasher, Victor.
What I did instead: asked Victor to ask the cook to get me some french fries.
What I could have done: given special attention to the few tables that I had since I had time to give them the utmost service.
What I did instead: gave them the same service I always do because I figured it’s not like those 23 people were going to be able to tip like 60 people so it was a lost cause anyway so why freakin’ bother?
What I could have done: studied the wine list to get myself more familiar with our offerings.
What I did instead: Drank some wine in a coffee cup that was next to the candle that was illuminating my Words With Friends games.
What I could have done: taken the time to fill the paper towel dispenser in the restroom.
What I did instead: went into the restroom and called some friends and then tried to Skype but my signal in the restroom sucked so I just texted for a while.
What I could have done: spent some time to get to know the bus boy since we never really have a chance to get to know each other and he seems like such a sweet kid.
What I did instead: told my manager that it was too slow to have a bus boy and had the sweet kid sent home so id didn’t have to tip his ass out.
What I could have done: gone to the walk-in and organized the shelves.
What I did instead: laughed at myself for even considering such a ridiculous idea. The walk-in is all the way downstairs for crying out loud.
What I could have done: been thankful that at least I have a job.
What I did instead: bitched about how this job was wasting my precious time and I could be home watching Top Chef.
Finally, 11:00 rolled around and I busted out of there at 11:05. Luckily, no one came in at 10:58 to order two well-done steaks. It would not have been pretty had that happened. Like I seriously may have accidentally cut them in their face with a steak knife if that had happened. I survived the most boring night and left with very little money in my pocket. I did, however, leave with a nice buzz from my Chardonnay and three wins under my belt from Words With Friends. I also learned that I need to bring my phone charger to work with me because my battery almost died before the end of the shift and that would have been downright dangerous. Without my phone, I may have been forced to do something like clean the bread area or polish silverware.
So, what do you do when it’s boring at your job?