Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Work It Out

This week has literally kicked my butt. Mother's Day weekend for most people is a time to relax, a time to enjoy time with the one who was surprised at the news of your arrival, the one who got fat for you, and the one who was ripped or cut open or god knows what else in order to hold you and cry and celebrate that the wait and the days of swollen ankles were finally over...
Such a touching visual isn't it?

Well... not for the people working in the restaurant world. Mother's Day weekend is the busiest time of the year... Falling short only by a smidgen to Valentines Day... But, I have found that working Mother's Day is far more challenging; because instead of the overwhelming amounts of couples coming in to stare googly eyes at one another, clogging my tables forever, we are "blessed" on this holiday with large group after large group wanting to sit and enjoy their day with their nine hundred hungry, crying, screaming children who apparently think that a restaurant also doubles as a race track and a jungle gym...

It had already been a long couple of days prior to the start of the weekend as we were trying to figure out where we had taken too many reservations, where we could tell guests that we still had spots, but only for X amount of people and dealing with relentless amounts of frustrated and grouchy families for me not being able to make their mother's day less stressful... I did, unprofessionally tell one woman on the phone who seemed so put out that we would make an exception for HER special day that "Mam, you do understand that it is also EVERYONE else's Mother's Day and they have no more or less "special-ness" than you do.
Phone call OVER... 1 Point for Stephanie.

This may not really have been a responsibility that I should have been asked to take on... But, I was in charge of taking and organizing all things Mother's Day at the Desk. I called every reservation we took personally to confirm their spot, getting their seating preferences, etc etc... I was then also asked to take a map of the restaurant to practically puzzle piece out where all of these parties will be going and then to see how many spots we had left over for those who walked in the door without a reservation...

So.. Here are a couple of the stand out stories of the weekend. If this all seems boring to you.. Feel free to stop reading now.. Because there is a definite possibility that it will only get less interesting from here.

Gem #1- I was asked to seat a family of 5 at their table as they had been waiting longer than I originally quoted them. It was a dad and his 4 children. I was seating them at a table that was comprised of half booth and half table... and immediately the boys all wanted the booth side so that they could watch the Jazz game that was on the TVs in our bar... The dad grumpily stated, " We are here to celebrate Mother's Day and you want to watch a basketball game?" I then thought.. oh crap... did I miss count them and they were actually waiting for their mother to show up... "Oh, I'm so sorry... Are we still waiting on the 6th person?" The father stood up, gave me a look of sheer rage, "NO!! She's in Heaven..."
errr... ummm... okay... I mean, what in the hell do you say to that? 'I'm so sorry sir... I hope you enjoy your meal...Happy Mother's Day' None of those options seemed to fit, so I said nothing, handed them their menus and told them that their server would be right over... I felt awful. I felt like I should have been more sensitive... Then shortly following that I got peeved... I mean, how awkward was that? How in the world was I supposed to know that she had passed away. Maybe he shouldn't have said that they were celebrating this holiday in front of a stranger... Or maybe, if the subject is that sensitive for him, then Stay the hell at home.
I personally request Father's Day off from work and don't really do anything in public regarding my dad as I know that it would be really hard for me to be a work and to try and serve and watch other kids and families get to experience that day with their dads... But, as a result of this lovely individual... I have decided that this year I AM going to go out to eat on Father's Day, make some obvious remark suggesting that I am here for my dad, only to tell the poor, innocent waiter,
"NO! He is in Heaven, Asshole!"   
...Vindicated...

Gem #2- Mother's Day Morning- We opened an hour early so that more people could come in and enjoy our BEYOND amazing brunch food. I swear... I hate working Sunday's, but every so often I pick a shift for the sole purpose of being able to delight in our Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. UGH.. I'm salivating right now.
Anyway... At about 10 to 9, I looked outside to see the mob of people forming a line that was out the door, and around the patio just waiting to walk in and eat. That baffles me. We are not the Premiere of the final Harry Potter movie. We are a restaurant. How hungry do you have to be to be willing to stand in a line around the building? Oui!
Doors open, the first couple people check in.. Bing Bang Boom... Smoother than smooth. Then this lady comes up to be greeted and tells me that she is part of the ____ Family with a reservation of 19... oh crap... I put the nicest face on that I could muster and told her that I had personally called them and talked to a gentleman that said that he was just getting ready to call us to cancel their reservation. I apologized and made sure that they couldn't make it... and then I took my pen and gladly took them off my list because we were overbooked anyway... And here they stood... All 19, ready to get immediately sat to eat. The woman went to ask the men in the party if they had taken that call... And then, the Evil Troll who lives inside her came storming up saying, "well then YOU GUYS Fucked UP MY RESERVATION!!!" I pulled her away from the greet screen and tried to tell her again that I called them and was told that you were not going to be here. I pulled out the paper that I had been writing all the reservations down for with all of my detailed notes of who had confirmed, who I left messages for, and showed her the marked cancellations. "So YOU are the one who Fucked this up. You are RUINING MY MOTHER'S DAY! YOU are the Fucking IDIOT! I tried and tried to apologize and to get her to stop yelling for 2 minutes so that I could tell her that even though I took her off my list that I could move some things around and actually get her sat in time... But, she was apparently not done embarrassing me, insulting me, my intelligence, my incompetence in front of this mob of people jammed into the lobby. I got her sat with the help of another manager and moved on....

Gem #3- Later on that morning, when we were on a wait, I had a family that never returned to the restaurant when I paged them to be seated. 27 Minutes later, the man walks in, beyond pissed at how long he had been waiting. Again, I calmly tried to explain that we did in fact try to page them on time and that they didn't answer.. that I even sent someone outside to try and locate them... To which he replied that they had been at the opposite end of the mall... "um. Sir, these pager don't reach through the mall." "Well then you need to tell us that? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You are the GD Cheesecake Factory, you would think that you would have pagers that actually work... I mean, EVERYWHERE ELSE IN AMERICA has pagers that work better!"  (*Big sigh*) "Really sir? Everywhere in America? You mean to tell me that the Denny's in Podunk, Kansas has pager that can reach your front porch all the way across the plains..." Probably shouldn't have said that.. I did now have TWO manager trying to help me with this situation, trying to get him to talk to them instead of me so that I could keep doing my job and filling the restaurant smoothly... But he wanted no part in talking to someone else. His entire focus was on me and his constant berating of how awful I am at service, that I am stupid, how I should be fired, and that I am a piece of shit human being... Yet again I did have a table that was just leaving and that I could completely remedy his annoying ass in 2 minutes if he could just hold on for 120 seconds... But that wasn't fast enough... I put my back to him and kept working, but he didn't stop yelling behind me until he was safely in a booth across the restaurant from me. 

Gem #4- (Last one I promise)- I sat these two women at one of our two person tables, half booth, half table as one of the women was quite large. When I sat them down, the woman sighed and shoved the table away from her to give herself some room... looked at me and said, "You would THINK that being at the Cheesecake Factory, with the portions being as big as they are and as unhealthy as the dessert that you promote that you would have tables to accommodate Fat People!!!"   Um... These are the tables that would accommodate "Fat People" The tables MOVE... I don't know how much more accommodating  you can get. "It's just RUDE and RIDICULOUS that you people ignore that when you are trying to serve different sized people. I mean, I KNOW that your SKINNY ASS wouldn't understand, so you might as well just go away!" I handed her menus and left. Thinking back on it... I mean, what in the hell is she talking about? What restaurant does she eat at that has Fat Tables??? Then some server comes into work and checks in to work in the Fat Section??? And how rude and potentially EXTREMELY offensive would it be to have some tables pushed way out to seat someone who is larger and they are forced to sit in one of those designated tables, being singled out and demeaned by having to sit there. I almost wish that I could have told her that if having that accommodation was so important to her, then she could take her Fat Ass home and sit on her ever so accommodating couch... I, of course would never say that, but it never ceases to amaze me at the infinite ways that people can find to yell about.

The rest of the day went pretty well. We stayed full and everything seemed to go smooth. But I was spent.
I would really like to know WHO raised these people... I mean, I have more than a bit of a smart ass in me, and if somebody did indeed make a mistake about my reservation, I would be angry, maybe even bordering on pissed... But I would NEVER yell in public the things that these people did. I honestly just don't understand where that seems like the appropriate and justified response.
You know who I am not here to celebrate today????
Your mother...
Because I will bet my lotto money I won't like her either...


There were a couple times that I wanted to turn on our restaurant intercom system and scream those opinions that I felt would benefit those childish snots who seemed to all want to come rub sandpaper all over my fairy tale Cheesecake Mother's Day...

"RAISE BETTER CHILDREN"
"DON'T MAKE ME PUT SOAP IN YOUR MOUTH!'

"WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME? I THINK YOU NEED TO GO TO YOUR ROOM UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO COME OUT AND BE POLITE"

That may have been the pinnacle of my awesomeness at work... If only we actually had an intercom system... Perhaps Craigslist can help...