Manager Demands Response To Text; Server is All, “Nope.”

bitchWhen you are enjoying your day off from work by sucking back vodka martinis and binge watching Fuller House, the furthest thing from your mind is whatever the fuck is happening at the restaurant. It’s your day and why should you be concerned about Table 9’s appetizer order that is taking longer than it should? Sometimes, on your day off, the restaurant will reach out to you at the last minute to see if you can cover a shift. Back when I started waiting tables in the late 80’s, we didn’t have cell phones so it wasn’t as simple to contact someone on their day off. You either had to leave a message on a home answering machine and hope they would be home to hear it or send out the Pony Express. Today, though, a manager can send out a text and if you don’t respond in two minutes, they freak the fuck out. Such is the case with this screenshot of a text message when a manager needed “Roberta” to cover a shift:

3:27 PM
Hey can you cocktail tonight? It’s a medical emergency with Cindy.

4:28 PM
From now on, if someone from work, especially the manager, texts or calls you about picking up shifts…you need to respond with a yes or no. No response is unacceptable.

Roberta did what we should all do on our day off from work: she tried to imagine that there is no such place that makes you wear a polyester apron and clean up after slobs who cram all-you-can-eat-shrimp down their throats. For whatever reason, she did not respond within an hour and this made the manager angrier than a 9-top who showed up without a reservation and had to wait 31 minutes for a table. (I’m talking to you, Paul C.) The manager is now demanding that everyone respond to ALL text messages, because, you know, him covering a shift is way more important than anything else you might be doing on your day off. What was Roberta doing that was so important that she couldn’t respond to a text message? We may never know, but it doesn’t mater what she was doing because it was her day off. If she was at a movie, maybe she did what people are supposed to do at movies and turned her phone off. Or maybe she was out to dinner with her boyfriend and felt that having an actual conversation with someone was more meaningful than staring at her iPhone. Or maybe she was sitting on her couch watching Fuller House and saw the text the second it came in and was all, “Fuck Cindy and her medical emergency. It’s my day off. Deal with it, asshole.”

Listen, managers. You can’t require that people text you back on their day off. That’s not a thing. One day, I accidentally left my apartment without my phone. If this manager texted me that day and then got upset that I didn’t reply, how am I supposed to fix that? I didn’t want to leave without my phone and it was the longest three hours of my life, but if I didn’t see the message then I didn’t see the message. The responsible thing would be to reply back with a “Sorry, can’t do it,” but if that reply doesn’t happen within an hour, the manager has no right to get upset about it.

I say praise be to Roberta who didn’t bother responding. And I hope Cindy made it through her medical emergency, but this manager needs to understand that a day off is a day off and if someone chooses to ignore the fuck out of work that day, it’s their prerogative. You need to get a shift covered? Ask someone who is already at work. You know there is always that one server who is a shift whore who will take any bone that is thrown in their direction. And if you can’t find someone to cover it, slap an apron around your waist and get out there and serve some goddamn seafood-stuffed mushrooms.

I wait tables and bitch about it on my blog, The Bitchy Waiter.

29 thoughts on “Manager Demands Response To Text; Server is All, “Nope.”

  1. I received a call begging me to come in on a day off. Since it was a day off, I was doing what you’d expect; drinking heavily with friends at a bar that wasn’t ours. I informed the manager that I was, well, drunk. He still begged me to come in. Being in a good mood (because:drunk) I agreed and really enjoyed most of that shift. You know, until I sobered up.

  2. I remember on one particular day off, it was during a busy time of the month for us, but I managed to get someone to take my shift because I had plans that day. Sure enough, on my day off, I get a phone call while I am driving and it’s my manager, wondering if I can come in and work. I tell him “I’m sorry, but no. I have plans today. That’s why I had someone pick up my shift.” He said ok, but I could tell by his tone he wasn’t ok with it.

    The next day I worked, he came up to me and was extremely passive-aggressive about it. Said things like “We missed you the other night, could have used your help.” It got really annoying. It’s my day off! I am entitled to live and do my own things on MY DAY OFF! When I am not at work, I do things like…not think about work!

    I get emergencies happen and trying to get people to come in, but my manager should have taken my response and then moved on, rather than trying to make me feel bad about it.

  3. Or, maybe she’s like me and works a second job on her days off from that job. Geez! Maybe this manager’s parents raised him to be an ass hat! Lol

  4. Hmm looking at a 4% battery maybe her phone died! I don’t return work text or call backs on days off that’s my time 2 days a week to get all my shit done. Or take the dog to the park or maybe just lay my ass on the sofa watching fuller house with my left hand on my nuts and chain smoking.

  5. “I cover when I can”
    How does the terrible manager know this when you don’t reply.

    This really isn’t a big deal. When you’re on holiday sometime you should travel and see what other peoples work lives are like.

  6. I’ve had managers like this. It’s obnoxious and abusive. Your days off are your days OFF. I hate being bothered on my own time. As a manager myself I have sent out group texts and ended them with ” please respond yes or no” but that’s mostly so other people don’t get an onslaught of excuses and they can see if someone else responds yes first.

  7. In the state of Ga, if they expect you to respond then you are consisted on call and that means you get payoffs while you are on call at least minimum wage. They can not demand you to respond or expect you to our punish you for not doing it.

  8. Sometimes on a person’s day off they are dealing with personal matters and are actually unable to get to their phone for an hour or two or three. I usually schedule my doctor visits for my days off so my phone can be tied up or on silent for up to two hours. But my opinion on the matter is that it is not an obligation to have your phone ON on your day off unless you are using a company phone and work “on call” at times.

  9. had this type of manager at my hotel , he tried this with us, texting us the night before telling us to come in on our day off to work or to a meeting that he had decided to hold that day. After several of us refused to respond to him he tried to make responding mandatory. He would text us after hours about sidework that had been missed or other work related issues. Someone took him to the hotel HR dept, they put a stop to that!! My day off is my personal time. I am not required by any law to respond to you on my day off. I am a server not a manager. I don’t live there and when I am not there I am not responsible for the establishment. No other business operates this way and I’ll be damned if I’m going to have do that at my place!!

  10. I’ve actually gotten busted in class for texting my manager back saying that I am in class and cannot come in to work. If I’m not already at work, it usually is because I am in class. Nogt even studying, most of my studying is done at work.

  11. Yeah, if I was Roberta I would be saving these texts and starting a paper trail with my State Labor Board ASAP.

    When I was a server, I went home to the country when I had a day off. Our hometown has around 400 people; they’re outnumbered by cows, still have dial-up internet and good luck getting a cell phone signal. If one of my managers had tried to reach me, they never would have been able to, but I would hope they wouldn’t make assumptions like this jackass manager and, consequently, think it was their place to lecture me on their version of “manners.”

  12. Speaking as a manager, that manager is an idiot. Every time one of his staff needs manager assistance during their shift and one isn’t available right away, they should be blowing up his phone if it’s his day off. See how well that goes over with Mr. Over-Demanding.

  13. Awe industry how I love and loathe the. Last year my dad went into the hospital, accidently put his meds in a medicine bottle, grabbed wrong bottle in my moms purse and accidently overdosed on 36 tramadols. He was on On deaths door. After spending and exhausting night and morning of no sleep, I called one of the two bars i worked at relayed the story said I would not be coming into work at 2pm, it was like 8 am maybe 9 when i called. I assumed (ass u me) that my manager would call others, since i was going back to the hospital after a quick nap. 3 o’clock rolled around I get a call asking if I got my shift covered…. “ah no thats why I called you, you’re the manager”, which flew over like a fart in church! Bar didn’t open til 6… i didn’t have time to call and try and coerce people to work for me. My dad was close to dying, which by the way he didn’t, thankfully. Sorry, but thats why I call and let the important people know. Keep them on their toes, give ’em something to do. My other job at the time was awesome, very understanding, plus i knew if i was working there and had to rush to the hospital I would have people to cover, the first place….I would have to call around wait till I got some one, wait an hour forthem to show up if at all. Sorry my regulars, love you out, locking door and going, its my dad. Guess where I chose to work permanently, been here a year and a half.

    One a side note one boss called me when i was out of town, to come in, then back lashed me because I didnt imform her I was going out of town on my weekend off. It’s my day off, and what I choose to do with it is not your concern. I had to learn the hard way after working a year straight of 6 night shifts (only open 6 days) and occasionally a double…. that it was none of their damn business and that I had the right to say no to covering a shift, that I am not a servant or slave that must obey your every whim. I cover when I can, i work extra for special occasions, i do my job well. Do yours, your the owner, slash manager.

    Ps. Love your Paul C. Reference I laughed way to loud at that. Keep up the good writing, love to read it.

    1. This is all so true. When we have a cold, or are hungover or just have something better to do, we call/text/fb our fellow servers to see who wants our shift. When we are very ill, or someone is in hospital or dies, then it is the manager/owners responsibility to find someone to cover your shift. Sound like common sense…but not for all.

  14. I got a text like this from a manager one time. I was at my grandmother’s funeral. Needless to say, she wasn’t my manager for much longer after that.

  15. Why is it in hospitality this happens? I worked in restaurants and bars for 10 years, I’ve changed career now and I came in with a bit of a cold and was told “health before wealth” and was sent home to get better. If someone’s lost an arm or has explosive food poisoning my new boss doesn’t expect them to come in but in a restaurant if you’re not legally dead you must turn up to your shift, and even then the other staff will grumble and comments will be made regarding “faking it” to get out of a busy Saturday lunch.
    Although I don’t think there’s any other industry where you have a second family, who you probably know, love, get drunk with, fight with and share as much with. And all your non-hospitality friends will never quite understand why you can’t pull a sickie to go drinking with them, or why you never have a weekend off.
    It’s a crazy industry but I do miss it

  16. My day off is my day off but I also work a full-time job and waitressing is just my extra $$ job. I typically don’t fill in during the week because of my full-time job but if I have weekend days off (which is rare), I am going to enjoy them.

  17. If you,are going to refuse to answer a text that is a request for help, then refuse to answer a text about plans for the night while you’re at work also!!!

    1. You’re assuming that A. She “refused” to answer, when any of the scenarios BW posited are possible and B. That she texts at work.

      You know what they say about assumptions.

  18. If they want a response on my day off, they can buy me a seperate cellphone and pay the bill.

    So glad I am disability retired and don’t have to deal with stupidity like this anymore.

  19. My phone is OFF on my day off. Hate to say it this way but its not my problem. We use staff linq so I can choose to pick up. My very rare days off are MINE

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