Sunday, February 04, 2007 by Ospite.

I wasn't scheduled for Saturday night, and I've no idea why. Saturday is Money Day for people in the restaurant business. One third of my week's income is received on that day, so to not be schedule is brutal. The beauty of working as a waiter is that shifts are given up or picked up on a whim.

I worked through a mundane, slow Saturday lunch and was desperate to get something for the evening rush. Even if I had to bus tables. Something had to be done.

If you pay attention in the world, you can learn a lot. Say you're working security, don't worry about the punks rampaging about, keep your eye on the 20-something loner with the floating eyes...the eyes that are constantly examining, ever wary, assuming someone is always watching. It's him you have to worry about, because he's afraid of being watched for a reason. This is the person who gathers all the information in while scanning the room...people's positions, attitudes, attire, hair, and watchfulness. The one who knows what they can get away with when. I approached the host podium with those eyes.

I needed to find the roster for Saturday's dinner. Small talk. Works with the hostess shirt, new shoes, what'd you do last night. I skimmed the roster while we chatted and found Dre on the list with a 3pm in time. Fabulous.

Dre works only one or two nights a week now, lives 15 minutes away with her husband and son, and can often be persuaded that she doesn't want to work. Her number is in my cell phone. It was 2:35 and I had to move fast.

I abruptly ended the 'conversation' up front and fled to dry-storage where I new I had good signal on my mobile and wouldn't be found using it.

"Dre, it's me. You don't really want to work do you?"
"Well, I was just getting ready to leave now, rather annoyed that I had to go out in the cold. Let me call you back within 5?"

She called in 2.5 minutes with wonderful news. Her shift, in my favorite section, now belonged to me.

Saturday ran normal as Saturdays go. I was on a roll with great timing, a solid groove, and not a single tip under 22%. I had a huge smile on my face until the Trio was seated at table 60. Three girls in their 20s. Jet black dyed hair, excessive tanning almost to a glow, make-up that took 3 years to apply, ample cleavage. These are the kind of girls that naturally assume they can squeak by in life based on hotness alone. This is a trait I have never enjoyed in anyone.

I did the typical spiel and never let my eyes linger too long. The moment they see you checking them out (or not checking them out, but rather looking anywhere but eye contact) they think they've got you. They tossed their hair, pursed their lips, made longer-than-normal 'thinking moans,' and acted flirty with each other. I flicked the switch on my back that changed me from ManMode to WaiterMode. (i.e. sarcastic, dry, and never giving an inch)

"Can I get this without the chicken in it?"


"Good. So it's cheaper then, right?"

"No, I'm sorry, it's not. The meal has a set price that I am unable to alter."

"Mmmm...come on. It's not that big a deal. Since I'm not getting the most expensive ingredient, it should be cheaper."

"While that is actually logical, it's not the case. You see, we have a computer system in which all our menu items are entered. It automatically tallies the items for your meal, and the pre-programmed price setting. It can't be altered."

"Well, that sucks." - over accentuating the "s's" and shooting me puppy dog eyes. This is a look that has simply made me laugh since I was in 6th grade. I caught on early that it's only a manipulation tool and became hardened to it, much to my benefit.

"That it does."

I ring the order in and return with their waters when they decide to persuade me to buy them drinks. It was one of the girls' 21st birthday... sure it was.

"I'm not allowed to buy drinks for patrons. Restuarant policy." - there is no such policy...not one that's not personal anyway.

They became rambunctious at their table, as if they had already consumed much alcohol. My other tables were clearly annoyed. I turned to approach them, right as the girl closest to me shifted her arm, accidently knocking a side-plate to the ground. Normally they'll hit, crack in a couple places, and bounce a bit. Something special happened with this one. It hit the floor with the explosivity of a 4th of July firework. The shards launched in every direction, sliding to a stop some 30 feet away. It was impressive.

Seeing the 12 shades of embarrassed red on her face and stifling my uproarious laughter, I donned the stern face and said, "Seriously ladies, are we not adults here?"

They shut up for the rest of the meal, paid in full, tipped well, and even apologized on their way out the door. Sooner or later, they have to realize not everyone buys the act.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha. i think i love you for not putting up with the "i'm so hot therefore i can do anything routine." It's even worse for the female waitresses since we have to refill their waters and diet cokes for three hours and be left with a five dollar tip no matter what the amount of the check was.


9:46 PM  
Anonymous cj said...

Well played, Ospite.

(I confess-- I lurk!)

5:18 AM  
Blogger Augs Casa said...

You are a rock, an Oak tree! Good for you. You handled that situation as perfectly as anyone can. To the victory go the spoils. You won by getting the evening shift, and with those young ladies.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous samwilcox said...

Cool, Sounds like you gave them a piece of your mind! We get annoying people (men and women alike) like that in Britain too. Some of the stories I've heard have been crazy!

This is a great site too, hope you don't mind that I linked to you!

4:23 AM  
Blogger SkippyMom said...

"Sooner or later, they have to realize not everyone buys the act."

You can only hope, Sir, can't you?

I am glad that you had the temerity to cut them at the knees and they knew it.



2:22 AM  
Blogger me said...

i'm in highschool.

you can imagine how many of these kinds of girls i have at my school.

unfortunately, in highschool, wearing low cut blouses do get you somewhere.

1:33 AM  
Blogger I am not Star Jones said...

If I didn't read it, I wouldn't believe it -- girls trying to get out of paying for an entree because they have big hair and boobs?

If you don't have the money, stay home and cook.

12:49 PM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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