Thursday, February 21, 2008

Your Emergency Just May Not Be Mine....

My last two days have been way more stressful than they needed to be, bitch. SOME PEOPLE just don't realize how unreasonable they are. Just because you are the customer doesn't mean I can perform miracles for you at the snap of fingers. I'll preface this by saying that I DO NOT promise things that are unattainable. "Under promise, over perform" has usually been a good practice for happy customers. SOME PEOPLE obviously didn't get the memo.

Your Assistant Manager (who is really nice, and I totally feel sorry for her) called early last week for a quote on an underbar 3-compartment sink. I had one available, and gave her a more-than-decent price. She pooh-poohed the price, saying she had another source at a better price, so nix on that purchase. Oh well. Two days later, we sold it to another restaurant. Two hours after that, your AM called to say you would 'take it off our hands after all'. So sorry, we will now have to special order that for you. It 'should' be in next week around Thursday.

Cut to Tuesday:

After checking on the purchase order with the manufacturer, it seems they are a bit behind. Instead of a 2/17 ship date, it now looks like maybe a ship date of 2/21. Being the up-right person I am, I called to say, "Gee, I'm sorry, it looks like your sink may not arrive by Thursday". [You would have thought that I'd reneged on a lotto ticket or something by the response I got.]

You: "That is totally unacceptable. You said we'd have the sink by Thursday."

Me: "No ma'am, I said our orders to that manufacturer usually arrive in one week, which would put it around Thursday. We had that sink in stock last week, but your AM cancelled the order because she could get it cheaper somewhere else. Then two days later, she 'uncancelled' the order after said sink was sold to someone else (for more money than I quoted you!). I'm sorry you will have to wait a few more days.

You: "So, are we going to get a discount for having to wait for the sink?"

Me: "No ma'am, I'm sorry, as I said before, when the order was originally given, I had one in stock, which was turned down. And I never promised that you would have the special-ordered sink by Thursday, only that a normal delivery from the manufacturer would arrive 'around' Thursday. I only promised that we would do what we could do."

You: {Nothing, since you now have your AM talking with me again after I CALLED YOU OUT!}

And, I could hear you in the background coaching the AM on what to say. Classy!

I've worked with too many of 'you people'. I've waited on way too many of 'you people'. I was a manager when 'you people' complained for no rational reason. I wasn't born yesterday. Look at all the gray hairs I have. I ain't a push-over, no 'mo.

I told our owner and his wife what was going on in case she should call and complain. Their reply? "Too bad for her".

I appreciated my bosses a bit more after that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Serious Shortage of Boobage

While working at the sports bar/restaurant/bowling alley (we'll call it 'Zips'), I became pretty good friends with the manager, Kristin. Kristin was a pretty together gal, good-looks, friendly, and smart. Her only shortcoming was her Neanderthal fiance. Many times we would close the place and when everyone else was gone, we would practice mixing new drinks on each other (Not literally 'on' each other). We'd sit at the bar, drink, and talk, and generally wind down and have a good time until we had to leave. Those are some of the good times I miss about the industry (back in the day when it was okay to drink on the house and socialize with management).

The seasons rolled around to very early spring and Kristin announced that she was leaving to go work at the Country Club (which her uncle owned) just north of town as the Dining Room Manager. And she wanted me to go with her. I had worked for Zip's for almost a year and had finally gained the highly-coveted day-time bartender role. Only to lose it to the owner's mistress. Or, more correctly, to her tits. I couldn't argue too much, since most of the lunch patrons were assembly-line guys who would rather see her low-cut tank tops than my shapely legs behind the bar. No matter that she thought Rob Roy was the guy throwing darts across the room, or her register was continually $20-$50 short each shift. Hey, she had HEALTHY boobage. My exile back to the dining room was not mourned by the regulars, but was a sharp knife in the back to my ego. The writing was on the wall, and it was not love letters to me.

While the Country Club was ramping up, I cut my hours at Zip's as the weather improved, until I was full-time at the Club. Bye-bye shorts and polos, hello tux shirts and bow ties. Now, this was a different world. And I felt strangely at home.

Side-note: Spell check had no problems with the word 'boobage'. Interesting.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

To Normality and Back Again

Michigan, 1986. After serving in the Air Force for five years, it was back to the real world. I was a world traveller in the service, and the idea of going back to restaurant work wasn't at the top of my wish-list. I had taken a few classes in drafting and engineering (and philosophy for some reason LOL) while enlisted, and decided if I was going to live in the Motorcity area, that's the career I should follow. A few classes in body and lay-out and I was on my way.

You start out at the bottom in that business, a position called Detailing. The lay-out person draws a larger assembly, labels all the peices, and hands this off to the detailer. The detailer then draws individual parts that are sent to the manufacturers to bid on. If this sounds rather boring, believe me, it is. You sit at a large drafting table for 8 to 12 hours a day, in a cavernous room filled with other large drafting tables. You can often tell how long someone has been in the biz by how big their elbow callouses are, like rings on a tree. And I felt like a tree, rooted in a boring business.

Within a couple years, I was now a lay-out person, and was working for a company that designed welding fixtures. My hourly wage was now up to $17/hr (in 1989 that was huge) and would be going up to around $25/hr after I finished a computer drafting course I was taking at night. Things were looking up except for one thing. I WAS F-ING BORED!

I made the bold decision to stop my classes, and to use the time to work part-time as a waiter at a local sports bar/restaurant/bowling alley. God help me, I enjoyed it immensely. I started working more hours at the restaurant and calling out sick more often at the drafting job. I was hooked again, and went full-time, full-bore back to the drama, insanity, and adrenaline the service industry offers.

Next up: a touch of class is in order.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Semi-Celebrity Deli Shananigans

So, I start this new job at a new deli. A step up from fast-food, whoo-hoo! After working at chain fast-food, I thought I had it all worked out, I knew it all now. Boy, was I a naive 19-year-old.

First, the owner (or namesake, whatever). I won't give a name, but he hosted a local talk-show, a poor-man's Regis Philbin in the early days (this is the armpit of Ohio). A legend in his own mind. Luckily, he had very little to do with the day-to-day operations of the place. In one year, I see him maybe 6 times. Thank God, I thought we might have to widen the doorways to fit his inflated, combed-over head.

Next, the real bucks behind it. Italian ancestry. Lots of connections. A daughter who married a dufus and had a kid. Dufus needs a job. Instant General Manager. Who hires me.

Mix in a staff who are operating on a mixture of amphetamines, pot, caffeine, hormones, and apathy. I started out loving working there. Parties after work. Good food while we worked. And we had great food. Huge Toledo-made corned beef and pastrami sandwiches on sensational rye and pumpernickel artisanal bread. Piled high subs. My mom's recipe macaroni and potato salad. Made from scratch cole slaw. Scrumptious fruit salad.

Too bad our audience wasn't with-it enough to support that kind of enterprise. In the process I was promoted to Assistant Manager and basically ran it. Unfortunately, the owners thought the name recognition was enough and they didn't need to advertise. And the venture slowly dwindled to nothingness.

I was the first to go, since the owners thought that they'd make the son-in-law do some work finally. I applied for unemployment and was turned down. They blackmailed a girl who was having an affair with the son-in-law to say that I was late every day. She was married, with 2 children, and one of my best friends (I never knew she was boinking the dork), and she tearfully admitted it all to me one day after a game of cards.

I tried moving on, but there were no jobs to be had in North-west Ohio in 1980, so I took what I could get. I enlisted in the United States Air Force. Best job I ever had. Until many of my best friends started getting investigated for 'homosexual tendencies'. I was never questioned, but I saw the writing on the wall, and left with my Honorable Discharge in 1986. And a move to Michigan.