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