Wednesday, March 07, 2007 by Ospite.

When people eat out they can look beyond certain things, like other people making their food, not knowing where the food's been, who's wearing gloves, etc. The one thing they simply cannot miss is a server who appears ill.

We really shouldn't be handling and serving food when we're sick, but we do it anyway...up until it's clearly visible that we are in no way healthy. Ironically, this is usually passed the point of contagious, but people don't care about details, they just know that their waiter looks like he hasn't slept in a week and is suffering from some horrible, un-named virus that will become the next pandemic.

When we don't work, we don't get sick days...we simply don't make money. But if we work when we're visibly ill, patrons will either ask for other waiters or tip horribly. At least the table turnover rate is good. Nonetheless, being a waiter and being sick is atrocious.

This atrocity has been my week. I walked into work and the hostess said,

"Hun, you ok? You look like last Sunday morning's hangover combined with roadkill."

"Gee thanks, kiddo. Now pretend I'm not here and only give me 2tops, because if I get anything higher than that, I might just collapse on the floor, and let me tell you, if I do, I won't get up. I simply won't care. The busser will have to carry me to my car." The sad part was, I wasn't really joking.

The shift was slow...thank God. I cashed out without saying a word to the onduty manager, crept out the door, drove slowly home, oozed into bed and flipped open my cell phone. The onduty heard my first words to her of the day,

"Hey. I'll be in bed for the next 36 hours. Don't call me. I'm skipping my next 3 shifts. That cool?"

"I was wondering why you hadn't brought it up earlier. I almost sent you home this afternoon but I cut the floor early, so you got out timely anyway. Will we see you Monday?"

"I'll call in Sunday with a status check."

"K. Get better!"

So, I'm back in the groove now. But to be honest, after taking off so much time in a row, it's hard to go back...


Blogger A Margarita said...

Awww! Hope ya feel better!

I steadfastly refuse to use my sick days when I'm sick. I drag my sorry self in and get bad looks form co-workers who are like, "Don't come near." (Not a very sympathetic office, unlike your hostess).

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing makes me angrier than when a coworker "nobly" comes in to work sick. It's rude, and horribly inconsiderate and selfish.

There are other things to consider as well. Several years ago, my father was being treated for cancer. He could not be around anyone who was sick - no one undergoing chemotherapy can. It's dangerous to their already fragile health.

It was a week or so before Christmas - my last holiday in my hometown before I moved 1100 miles away. I had a coworker who not only insisted on coming in horribly sick, but also kept insisting on coming into my office. If I got sick, I would have had to miss my last Christmas with my father. It still infuriates me when I think about it. Fortunately, I was able to keep her away - after threatening her in a very loud voice.

If you are fortunate enough to be given sick days, for God's sake - STAY HOME WHEN YOU'RE SICK. That's what sick days are for. You're endangering other people's health when you don't.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous red said...

I can tell you the people in Houston are thinking about the health of their food preparers and wait staff. In less than a month, there have been two cases of Hep A by staff at two separate restaurants.

8:35 PM  
Blogger me said...

hope you feel a lot better!

i hate getting sick and staying home..then having to go back.

7:54 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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