Monday, December 9, 2013
He's a really nice guy and has tried hard to fit into our dysfunctional work family. Here's the thing, he's a klutz. He bumps into you constantly (and is not a tiny Indian). He's studied the menu and tried hard to learn all the dishes and done an excellent job. He's just a klutz, but are a lot worse things a person could be. I like to call him Chief, some call him Injun but he takes it all in the spirit which it is given. His real name is Joe.
A couple of weeks ago he was in the kitchen at work and knocked over a huge stained glass screen that hides all the brooms and dustpans from customers being able to see them. The bottom panel cracked and fell out and I could tell he was sick about it. Luckily, Barb had gone to the store for something so we patched it up with duct tape and no one mentioned it when she got back.
He's the real deal, his last name is even Tall Bull. I've affectionately started calling him "Tall Bull in a china shop."
Saturday night he was doing his sidework which included marrying the racks of coffee mugs by the coffee station which sits right by the door leading to the dining room. He pulled the bottom rack out and pulled it a bit too far and the entire front of the rack fell to the floor sending the china cups crashing to the tile floor and rolling out into the dining room. The rack fell on the top of one of his feet and as he leaned back in pain against the wall behind him (which houses all controls for the lighting in the entire restaurant) and slumped down a bit he inadvertently turned down every light in the store. Lucky for him (again) Barb was gone on break and we all helped him sweep up the mess before she got back. Barb is so tight she could pinch a penny til it screamed. The minute she hears a crash anywhere in the restaurant, her head snaps quickly to the side and she hurries off to see what we have broken now.
So Tall Bull in a china shop got off easy again. When Barb got back she immediately asked who had been messing with the lights, it was dark as night in the place. Oops, we forgot to push the light switches back up after Chief fell into the wall.
So about an hour later was in the back of the kitchen when Tall Bull in a china shop was trying to cut up the Parmesan cheese. Len (the owner) buys a huge wheel that is hard as heck to cut and has a huge two handled knife over two feet long just for that purpose. Tall Bull in a china shop had a knife like the ones we use to cut bread with and was sawing away at the wheel of cheese which is the diameter of a basketball. He said the Len, "Is this the knife I should be using for this?" to which Len replied that was the worst knife to use. I chuckled at that and before I could stop myself said "Somebody get him a tomahawk." I did go over and find the two handled knife for him and showed him how to use it.
It's been lots of fun having a new server to harass and he's given us endless material to work with.
About three years ago, Barb hired a gal who was a total spastic wreck. I know Barb felt sorry for her (Barb always likes to have a pet project) but the gal just couldn't catch on. Her name was Janine. Len made her a nervous wreck and she was terrified of him. Here's the thing about Len: do your job EXACTLY the way he tells you to and you won't have any problem. Well, maybe one or two...he IS a Mad Italian but work hard and you can fly under the radar for the most part.
Any time he would tell her to do something, she always tried to go one step further, which isn't what he wants. He wants you to do exactly what he tells you to do. One time he told her to take more bread to a table. He had stopped by to chat with them and said he'd have the server bring more bread out with their meal. He went to find Janine and told her to take more bread to table 202. She made the fatal mistake of saying "They don't want anymore." Let's just say that set him off. He said "Did I ASK you if they wanted more or did I TELL you to take them more?"
Here's the thing, when he stopped by to chat they said they had changed their mind and more bread would be nice. When the owner of a restaurant tells you to do something, unless it is illegal or not job related, you'd best do it. I learned that one YEARS ago.
One night, a busy Friday night Janine was standing by the expo counter and in the middle of a huge push (that means we were balls to the walls busy) knocked the printer off the counter which sends checks to the cooks. It hit the floor and busted open, but that's not all. As she tried to catch the printer from falling she knocked the huge container of pasta spoons onto the floor and as she tried to catch that from falling as well, knocked a container of steak knives onto the floor as well. When the ole gal goofed, she did it royally. Len had to come off the cook line and fix the printer while the rest of us picked up all the spoons and knives.
She's been gone for three years but still say to someone when they make a mess or goof up royally "Way to go Janine."
So now we have a "Joenine."
Yes restaurant people are a brutal bunch and you gotta have thick skin to work in one. We're also a dysfunctional family that sticks together and will help a brother or sister out.
I've been a server since 1979. That's a long time no matter what you do for a living. I enjoy it for the most part, it's fast paced but that's the way I am geared. Even if it's balls to the walls busy, there will always be down time when you can laugh and trust me, working with the public gives you plenty of things to laugh about.
Even though we are family we are a divided family. Cooks vs Servers. All cooks think servers are complete idiots and all servers think cooks are complete asses. Who's right? It depends on which side of the kitchen you work.
Take tonight, for example. A cook, who can be a total Richard Noggin' was taking a break. He had fixed his dinner on a plate and it held two apples and carrot sticks. Being the smarty pants I am said "What are you, a horse now?' When he smirked at me I turned to another server and said "And we thought he was a Jack Ass!"
Everybody in South Korea (our side of the line) laughed. Total silence from North Korea. (their side)
It's our beach season in the restaurant world. We have six weeks to pad our nest egg. Large parties every night and lots of peeps out to celebrate. It started slow for me but that's just the way it is.
Waiting tables is always a gamble. You roll big or you crap out. You just keep on keeping on and hope it all averages out in your favor.
We have a pretty good staff right now and are set for the Holidays. I say,"Bring it!"
Til next time...Cotton