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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Everyone Brings Something to the Job

I’ve been working for a long time. A very, very long time. Since birth, I believe it was – straight out of the womb and onto a factory line. Those were good times.

One of the first jobs I ever had was working as a busboy. We were ALL busboys back then, by the way, regardless of gender, just as we were all paperboys, a job I also held. The sexual orientation of the lower-ranked help was of no interest to anyone in those days but that of the lower-ranked help, but I digress.

I’ve served and cleaned up pizzas, subs, Mexican food, truck-stop food. It was at the truck stop that I met a fellow waitress who claimed that she could not vacuum at the end of her shift because, and I quote, “I don’t know how.”

She didn’t know how to vacuum.

It wasn’t a trick vacuum. There was a canister, a hose, and an on/off button. That’s all it had, technology-wise. It didn’t sweeten the air, it didn’t make anything any freer from allergens – the lousy thing barely sucked up dirt.

But she didn’t know how to vacuum.

You’d think there’d be a test for that sort of thing before hiring, wouldn’t you?

Needless to say, I was forced to kill her and bury her in the back with the other brain-dead waitresses.

I told you all that because I have a serving job tonight.

And while I can’t tell you what kind of stupidity will occur –it may be nothing at all! people can be so unreliable – odds are good that there will indeed be some kind of stupidity.

I remember the last job like it was several months ago.

“Why don’t you and I fill the glasses with ice water? The reception’s supposed to start at 7:00 and we can have them done by 6:30.”

“Hmm. Yeah, sure,” says Crystal/Tiffany/Amber. She was cute as a button, a little plump, perhaps, in a white shirt stretched tight enough across the bosom to threaten to launch buttons to all four corners.

“Help me grab the water pitchers. We can fill half of them with ice and half of them with water, load them on to the carts, and pull them into the dining room.”

“What’s that now?”

“Ice,” I said. “And water.”

We got a couple other servers to help us while still others loaded creams, sugars, made coffee, straightened silverware.

“Fill the water glasses completely with ice and only half-way with water,” I told Crystal/Tiffany/Amber. “That way when the people get here half an hour later the water level will be perfect.”

“What’s that now?”

Twenty-four rounds of eight. One hundred and ninety-two water glasses.

I’m sure you can see where this is headed.

By the time we had finished, the water glasses on Crystal/Tiffany/Amber’s end of the room threatened to breach the rim. She had filled them without remembering the 30 minutes they would sit.

“What?!” I was astounded. The hours before a large party are hectic and there’s no time for do-overs. I fought the urge to stare at her accusingly.

Crystal/Tiffany/Amber’s big brown eyes registered mild confusion followed quickly by blank blinking. She didn’t really care. Notorious for her ability to snack almost continuously at any job, her mind was on the plates of hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen.

Between the balloon smuggling and her passable Spanish (kitchens being predominantly Mexican), Crystal/Tiffany/Amber did pretty well for herself.

We took care of it, of course, and neither our boss nor the wedding party witnessed the frantic pouring-off and wiping down of the cresting glasses of ice water.

No harm, no foul.

I don’t work as many of the serving jobs as some of the gals, but I hear that Crystal/Tiffany/Amber doesn’t get called in to work anymore.

I don’t think I’ll miss her.

But I’ll bet the kitchen staff will.


Douglas said...

Been there, done that, got fired before they handed out the T-shirts. As a busboy, that is. Seems you cannot disrespect the manager of a restaurant in any way. I actually enjoyed being a busboy for those two weeks. If you don't count the tip money I was shorted by Crystal/Tiffany/Amber's counterpart at The Mousetrap in Cocoa Beach.

"Sorry, that's all I got, hon. Here's your 15% of that," she said... somehow looking innocent in the tightest skirt I ever saw.

Camille said...

My grown up step-daughter claims she does not know how to vacuum. I've offered to give her a quick 101 course on the finer arts of sucking up dirt and using my carpet as the Guinea Pig, but so far she's taken a pass. I'm dreaming of the day my carotids start to clog and I can finally forget how to vacuum.

Dazee Dreamer said...

Now that is a trick I never knew about water. Thanks so much. And thanks for the knowledge of shinola. :)

Mari said...

Thanks for stopping by my place!
I've worked with a few Amber/ Tiffany/ Crystals myself and have witnessed that same vacant stare.

Georgina Dollface said...

This reminded me of the time, when I was a wee lad (since gender doesn't matter at that age, right?), I asked my Dad what the markers on the hulls of cargo ships were for. He told me, with a straight face of course, that they were there so people could tell high high or low the tide was. And I believed him! LOL! Great post. - G

Eva Gallant said...

I believe after Amber/Tiffany/Crystal left her restaurant job, she came to Maine and went into banking. Dumbest teller I ever met!

The Brick Cottage said...

Thank you for your kind words on my blog! I think I need to get a cup of coffee and settle into your blog--I like your writing style.

Oilfield Trash said...

The Mexicans are up north as well?

Kay Dennison said...

LOL Been there; done that!

Charlotte Ann said...

Oilfied Trash: I have one here that does my lawn. I sleep with him too. Not a bad deal if ya can get it. He's also oilfield trash.

Lemmiwinks said...

great background you have here!


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh man. Every restaurant has one--totally clueless/helpless/worthless waitress.

Gigi said...

You know, there are some that are worried about the day that the zombies take over - I'm more worried about the Amber/Tiffany/Crystal's propagating.

floweringmama said...

Oh I agree with Gigi. There mere thought of Amber/Tiffany/Crystal . . . ahem . . . propagating is terrifying.

becca said...

i believe she was my waitress last night

Jhon Baker said...

After hiring and training for about three months - a standard question during an interview over he following several years became, Do you know how to use a mop, operate a vacuum, wash dishes, and sweep with a broom and dustpan? - I would only hire the ones that would laugh before answering.

The Empress said...

Oh, goodness...your life sounds like mine.

Nightmares . nightmares. and more nightmares.

I work for a caterer, and we always have a "tiffany/amber/crystal" who totally dones nothing.


but snack.

bruce said...

glad i no longer work in the FSI...i don't miss it.
well i do miss the duty drinks until the wee hours...

and the tight skirts...and the girls/women...

and the snacking...

why did i leave and go into the building trades?

oh yeah, money...yeah, right...

and the nights and week ends...

and all those close opens with way too many duty drinks...


stupid stuff i see and hear
bruce johnson jadip

Stella said...

Ice AND water. I love it.

Leenie said...

Sorry to be late to the Pearl Party. But now I not only enjoy more outstanding post writing, but also hilarious comments...AGAIN.

Jeanne said...

I've never worked a serving job and, given my coordination issues, that's probably best for all concerned.

Gaston Studio said...

It's such a shame that the younger generation of today appear to have no work ethics. What happened along the way, to cause them to not even want the satisfaction of having done a job well?

Dezi Diamond said...

That was totally a good read and oh so true!
I was so happy the day I finally quit the food service biz

Great post as always Pearl my dear. Keep it up!!!