Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Bad


I now only need one hand to count the number of shifts remaining in the biz. Durango has hit its seasonal slow-down and the streets and restaurants are no longer filled with tourists, but sales have remained pretty good thanks to the politically passionate people who come in to watch the presidential debates and gather in support of the local candidates. I have decided to drop three more posts before November 1---The Good, The Bad and the Ugly side of this industry (so clich├ęd.. but bear with me). I want to end remembering the Good but also bring to light some of the Ugly and basically just vent some of the Bad parts of the job. Every occupation has all three, so I guess I will begin my rant with the bad.

(Kind of Mandatory Disclaimer: Remember this is my personal sarcasm dump based on my observations and in no way, shape or form is directed at any one personally with any intention of mean spirited judgment or condescending tone.) 

Bad Tippers

You knew this was coming. Tip a minimum of 20%. Period. Not 18% or 20% on the total before tax or 10% (insulting) or any other amount less than 20% of your bill. This is 2012. All other rules of etiquette you may have learned are now antiquated, null and void. The prices on the menu reflect the price of the food and beverage not the service. Someone (with a heart and mind and a living to make) is in a position of serving you. Treat him or her with humble respect. You are not royalty and despite what you may think, you are not in a higher social class structure. The person handing you your cheeseburger is also a human.

We are more than happy to give you the best experience possible and accommodate your every need and quirk. So speak nicely and politely. Be gracious and tip properly. I work my ass off to get you and the hundred other people what you want as fast as I can. If I know you are going to tip me a dollar and order me around like a dog, I will still put on my fake smile and help you, but you can bet I will first help the person next to you every time.

A piece of (unsolicited) advice: Observe how a person treats their server/bartender---you will learn a lot about them that may not be evident on the surface.

Bad Kids

Yep. In Colorado it is perfectly legal to bring your kids into a bar before 9pm. And when I see parents plop them down on the stool next to them and shoot their tequila and drink six beers and ham it up with the local crowd it amazes me on one hand and saddens me on the other. There is no shortage of the F-bomb being dropped regularly in these conversations along with many other adult subjects. Sure, they have probably heard it before, but really? Is this the place to bring your 11 year old daughter or son? What are you doing? Starting them young? Showing them how cool it is to spend everyday after work on a bar stool? Drinking and partying is glamorized plenty in our society and they will be faced with it soon enough. Don’t bring your kids to the bar while you drink. Take them on a hike or to get ice cream and talk to them. Don’t just keep ordering mocktails for them while you douse your day away with tequila.

Ok, and while I am on the subject: I know kids can be grouchy, hungry and impatient. They are kids. I will do everything I possibly can to get their food out first, give them extra cherries in their Shirley Temples, etc…So, in exchange how about you teach them how to talk and act at a restaurant? What could be the worst that could happen? That they would know how to act when they are older in social situations? Maybe if you took the time to talk to them instead of just distracting them with a video game or a hot fudge sundae before the meal they would know why shredding napkins and crayon wrappings all over the floor, throwing food and screaming “Gimme” and “I want” are not acceptable ways to act.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some parents who have done an amazing job and have kids who act better and are more polite than some adults. Mad respect. That can’t be an easy task.

Bad Moods

If you know me personally, it is no secret I am NOT a fan of constantly moody or angry people. Unfortunately, Jekyll and Hyde personalities run rampant in this industry from management to bar to kitchen to wait to busser staff.  After observing and having to constantly work with grouchy, difficult, irritable, whiny, lazy and bitchy people, I soon learned that about 50% of the cause is due to being hungover everyday (yeah, sad) and the other 50% is their inability to leave their “issues” at home. We all have difficulties, challenges, issues and really rough times. Deal with it. I don’t make your time on the clock a living hell, so how about you give me the same respect? We have a job to do and your unpredictable "mood of the moment" makes the shift even longer for everyone who has to be around you. Grow up.

Bad Sleep

Ugh! This is maybe the worst of the “bad.” Double shifts that last 16 hours. Clopens. (ie. clocking out from a 3:30am closing shift and clocking in again at 10am or sometimes earlier to open). Sleep deprivation zaps motivation to study, train, ride, be social….um, yeah pretty much everything. Some nights, I find myself about halfway through the shift thinking of really nothing but my pillow and how amazing my head on it would feel. Its scary to think how many times I found myself in my driveway with no memory of the drive because I was half asleep or how many times the rumble strip on I-25 woke me up. Dead serious. Living sleep deprived is not living.

So that’s probably enough....I don’t want to dwell on negativity, but I also am not one to sugar coat reality. 

Ok. I wasn't going to, but I can't resist the chance to get my (good humored) dig in on people and their cell phone etiquette (addiction?) I tried to think of something to write, but after seeing this the other day, there is no hope of topping this: