It is a slow night at work. Well, from 7:00 until about 9:00, it is rockin'. There are two of us on the floor and we are weaving amongst each other in perfect synchronicity. Every time I go to refill a glass, I see it has just been done by the other server and more than once I see him go to the window to check on food that I had just run to the table. We are a good team. The customers are happy and I am in a good mood which is very surprising considering there is very little white wine in my system. Suddenly at 9:10, the restaurant dies a slow agonizing death. What had been a healthy vibrant restaurant throbbing with life and excitement is now wheezing for breath and struggling to find someone who wants to order some calamari. By 10:15, the last customer is gone, the other server has been sent home and I am left alone with the bartender waiting until closing time at 11:00. Sidework is done and I even reorganized the silverware, dusted underneath the bin and refilled ketchups. I was that bored. At 10:40, I start to send out vibes to passers-by to let them know if they decide to eat now, I will resent them until the day I die and then after I die I will haunt their sorry asses forever.
Bored, I head to the patio to see if it needs any attention. I pick up an errant lemon wedge and straw wrapper. I notice that a big spider has spun its web linking it from the fence to the giant Pelligrino patio umbrella. I toss a leaf into the web so I have something to watch as the spider races to the unwelcome item. Once he discerns it is not a fly or some other tasty morsel, he tosses the leaf to the ground. I throw another leaf into the web for an encore performance. It is now 10:45.
The candles are still lit on the tables because we do not want to give the impression that we are closing early. Knowing that my manager does not like us to do certain things before the official closing time, I leave the chalkboard scrawled with the words "No Smoking" on the patio as well as the two tables that will need to be dragged inside. At 10:56, I untie my apron and walk over to my manager who is scrubbing the line and wiping down the stove. "Do you mind if I run downstairs and get the book?" I ask. The "book" is what I fill in every night with who worked and what we made in tips.
The manager looks at the clock and then back at me. "Well, we're not closed yet."
Is she for real? All I want to do is run to the office and get the book so I can get a two fucking minute head start in entering information. The date, the names, etc. "Okay. I'll wait four minutes." I put my apron back on.
Five minutes later, at 11:01, I blow out the candles, drag the tables inside from the patio and pour out the last water pitcher. My manger graciously brings "the book" upstairs for me. "Thank you," I say. She does not respond.
At 11:06, I am finished. The tips have been logged, the goodbyes have been said and the apron has been removed for the night. And then she has something else to say to me.
"I need people to be here who encourage customers to come in late, not people who are ready to leave."
I am getting angry.
"I don't want it to look like we are closed when we are still open," she continues. I guess me going downstairs to pick up a blue binder would somehow signify to the world that we are closed, while scrubbing the line and wiping down the stove in our open kitchen is screaming to customers "Come in, we're open!"
"Did I do something wrong?" I ask. "Because all I did was ask to go get the book to start filling in names. We haven't had anyone in here for 45 minutes."
"Well, it's just-"
"Because I don't see how me getting the book four minutes before closing is any different than you breaking down the line," I continue.
"Well, we need to be busier late at night," she tells me
I am still trying to figure out how that affects me. Does she want me to wear a fucking sandwich board in front of the restaurant? Would she like me to telephone people at random and just let them know, "Hey, we're still open in case you're wondering." Or maybe I should tell the guests who come in at 7:00 that they should go home and come back in three hours. None of this is my fault or my problem. She was just being snippy because she sees profits dwindling and she can't be mean to the economy but she can be mean to me. And if she wants there to be more customers then maybe she should look into Groupon. Oh wait, she doesn't want to do that. Or maybe have a happy hour. Oh wait, she doesn't want to do that either. If I thought she would listen to me, I would suggest that he offers 15% off to anyone who comes in after 9:00. I think that is a great idea, but what do I know? I'm just a waiter.
I punch out and go home and then debate whether or not I should blog about this on the off chance that she reads it. Obviously, I decide to write it. Nothing I have said here is wrong. I even gave some handy dandy suggestions on how she could gain more customers. I kinda know a little bit about pimping oneself out for the sake of more followers and it's not any different than getting more customers. Maybe she is reading this and when I get back to work, she will want to discuss it with me. I will cross that bridge when I come to it but before I cross the bridge, I think I am supposed to answer three questions from the troll who lives under it. So let me answer those now and get it out of the way:
Yes, the Chicken Caesar salad has chicken in it.
No, I do not have another "real job" because this one seems real enough.
We close at 11:00.
Wish me luck on this post. I might be digging my own grave but as long as the grave has a mini-bar, I'm good.
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