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Monday, May 7, 2012

Mary and Pearl Make with the Servitude


In the uniform of the server, one becomes the server.

Mary and I survey ourselves in the mirror before leaving. 

“You look impressively competent right now,” she observes.

“And you,” I say, “have the bearing of a woman who would like to clear a table full of dishes.”

And with that, we are off.

In the basement of a well-known Minneapolis nightclub, we look over our kingdom, the space in which we would hustle, fuss, arrange, and work for what we hoped would be healthy wage.

It was.

The gig is a wedding reception: plates of food, an active bar, and requests.

“Do you think,” says the maid of honor, “that you could get us some sheets of paper and pens?  We want to set up an advice jar for the bride.”

We ran, Mary and I, searching for paper and pens.  Not a real part of the restaurant, we have minimal contact with the waitresses upstairs.  Thinking it over, we get the OK from the bartender for a stack of cocktail napkins with the restaurant’s logo on them.  Very cool, we thought.  Nice little memorial of the evening, we thought, and conducive to clever, alcohol-fueled advice.

“Oh, no, no, no” she says.  “This won’t do.  We need paper.”

And so, in a room of 54 people with two servers working, we ran some more, found paper.

Two hour later, the same woman approaches Mary.  “It’s very chilly in here,” she says.  “Could you turn the thermostat up?”

“We’re in a basement,” Mary says to me, a stack of dirty plates in her arms.  “It’s May in Minneapolis, and she’s wearing a backless dress.  Does she really think we can run upstairs and turn up the heat?  Why doesn’t she have a shawl?”

“I got this,” I say.

I run up the stairs, pause for a good 30 seconds, then run back down.  I walk over to the woman, give her the thumbs up.  “I just turned the furnace up four degrees,” I say.  “You should notice in a couple minutes.”

A couple minutes later, the woman, drink in hand, motions me over.  Black-pantsed, white-shirted, I approach, a load of empty glasses on a tray.

“Thanks so much,” she slurs into my ear.  “The place is warming up already!”

I smile, assure her that’s what we’re here for.

She’s warmer now. 

And I’m sure those glasses of wine had nothing to do with it.

44 comments:

Leenie said...

Never let it be said that Pearl doesn't know how to warm up a crowd

vanilla said...

Dang, you're good!

Pearl said...

Leenie, nice. :-)

Vanilla, thank you, sir!

esbboston said...

I'm glad you found the therm her stat.

SherilinR said...

sometimes the illusion of change is all that's required.
way to go, pearly!

Shelly said...

With your people managing style, you should maybe consider a run for public office.

fmcgmccllc said...

I used to do something similar and it worked like a charm. People are so gullible.

CarrieBoo said...

Hahahahhahaaa! I wish I had the balls to pull something like that off. She well deserved it. Good one, Pearl!

Pearl said...

esb, do people really think you can turn up the heat in a large, bustling nightclub?

Sherilin, the ol' placebo effect. :-)

Shelly, I can also play the sax, you know. :-)

fmcg etc., yeah, I knew it would work. I told Michelle, the manager, at the end of the night and she loved it.

CarrieBoo, I knew those wines would kick in sooner or later. :-)

L-Kat said...

Ha. What sort of Minnesotan bridesmaid doesn't bring a shawl with them in May? Rookie mistake.

R. Jacob said...

when I was but a young lad, I too worked banquets and weddings, bussing tables for the bar. I noticed early on the room would be very cold and as people arrived, eating, drinking and dancing, things would warm up quickly. So much so, by the end of the night, every table would have woman's shoes under them!
you know what they say, when the shoes come off...

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Funny, Pearl, the placebo effect works on a lot of things. Smart! I wonder if she reads your blog...":))

SparkleFarkle said...

You're are good, Pearlie! Got anything solid I can borrow to tell The Watchtower people the next time they come knock-knock-knocking at my door? Thanks ahead of time!

SF~~~~~*

TexWisGirl said...

you're too funny. and totally competent.

Pearl said...

L-KAT, I KNOW!! :-)

R., Oh, I was hoping YOU'd finish that sentence...

Raymond, I certainly hope not. :-)

SparkleFarkle, I was told, by someone who would know, that the way to get them to stop coming by and never come again was to mention "the dark lord". I've not done it myself, but I have it in reserve, just in case...

TexWisGirl, competent and starched within an inch of my little server-ly life!

Indigo Roth said...

Ha! The power of suggestion; people just want to be heard and pandered to. You must have looked pretty darned professional in all that starched white cotton and plain black. *asthma* Roth x

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Service over and above....you and Mary are the best.
Well I did find out how to keep the Witness from the door...just tack up a sign "blood donors wanted"...no explanation. I keep a set of plastic fangs handy by the front door.

Mel said...

You are brilliant, with the thermostat trick.

What was the woman thinking? Advice written on the napkins would have been a perfect memento from the reception.

Glad all went well and you got a healthy wage :)

fishducky said...

I'm pretty sure the same type of thing happens on the phone when you ask to speak to someone's supervisor!

jenny_o said...

Two servers for over fifty people, for food AND drinks? Wow. Just wow.

And, brilliant action on the heat request :)

Christina Lee said...

Niiice! :D

Roshni said...

why on earth would she expect you to produce paper on top of all your other work?! And, brilliant move with the heat!!

Pearl said...

Indigo, you are absolutely right. People want to be heard.

Delores, you are both correct and frightening. I like that in a person. :-)

Mel, I thought the cocktail napkin bit was cool, too! I mean, it's a well-known establishment here, very old-school, very cool. Those napkins could've made for a very retro, hip memory...

fishducky, :-) You're on to us.

jenny-o, we had a bartender, so no worries there. The food was plated in the kitchen (of course) and came down piping hot. The biggest challenge of the evening was the place markers where the blue dot (salmon) was disturbingly close in color to the green dot (almond-crusted chicken).

Christina, we works hard for the monies.

Roshni, honestly, that's what I thought. It's like you want advice for the bride? Tell her to get more proactive bridesmaids in the future. :-)

Ms Sparrow said...

You are a master-gofer and a wily psychologist in black and white garb.
You rock!

Belle said...

You know how to keep people happy, Pearl. ;)

mapstew said...

Yer a Divil Pearl so y'are!

As weddings are my major income I've come to learn a few tricks like this. One regularly gets the drunk who wants to sing, 'we're not insured for guest singers', or the guy who keeps asking for that one song we don't know, 'but we played it already, you musta been in the bathroom, so sorry'.

:¬)

xxx

Eva Gallant said...

Way to go Pearl! Keeping things under control! Was there a video at the beginning of the post? I couldn't get it to play.

NotesFromAbroad said...

You are such a clever little devil, Pearl.
What happens when the shoes come off ?????
luv

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

Awesome!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Yeah, I tend to believe everything also, especially if I have a half empty glass in my hand.

HermanTurnip said...

“You look impressively competent right now”

That's one thing nobody has ever said to me...

...perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned that.

Diane said...

I think, therefore I am. Clever, clever Pearl! You're still my hero!

sage said...

That's thinking on your feet... are you also going to write about going to confession? :)

The Elephant's Child said...

I love this. Such talent. You and Mary are my new heroes.

The Elephant's Child said...

I love this. Such talent. You and Mary are my new heroes.

esbboston said...

You prompted me to read the opening first few paragraphs for energy, heat and work in wikipedia. Also, I believe most paper comes from trees, so the neXt time someone asks you to find paper products, and you wish to refuse, just reply, "Do you see lumberjack on my resume?", which reminds me of a joke I asked Siri on my wife's iPhone two days ago. The joke involved there being three lumber feet in a lumberyard, but Siri's was confused, and replied something about lumbar (with an A) feet. My wife said I should stop bothering Siri.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

You do indeed have the bearing of a woman who would like to clear a table of dishes.
;)

The Jules said...

Nothing like being be-black-pantsed to give off an air of professionalism.

Of course, I want someone to tell me I look impressively competent when I'm starkers.

kt said...

Ah, the brain is a powerful thing, and so easy to manipulate! You really used yours! kt

Roses said...

Well done! You're a fast and creative thinker. Awesome woman.

NellieVaughn said...

Toilet paper and a crayon would have worked for a woman like her.

Pat Tillett said...

You are good! For that kind of job, you should make some good money...
Good story!

Susan in the Boonies said...

You are the girl who gets 'er done in the clutch.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Hahaha! The wine-placebo effect gets them every time ... it's even been known to work on me!!!