Christi, a waitress in Texas, was nice enough to share with us a summary of her stressful night that ended surprisingly well. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so many things going wrong in one night. Christi is a tough gal.
So I have a double shift on a Friday. The morning shift goes okay, I didn’t make much, but was still satisfied, and didn’t have to work too hard. I worked straight through, with just enough time to scarf down a sandwich before getting back on the floor. Then my manager informs me that “By the way, we’re on a 5 man floor tonight because 2 people called in, and we have no support except for a bartender.” (Meaning no busboy, no one calling tickets etc.) Ouch, I thought, on a Friday night? We’re totally gonna get our butts kicked.
With no choice but to suck it up, I just keep working. Then the shit hits the fan. I was walking around so fast, that I had an asthma attack, and immediately following, a bad reaction from my inhaler. I felt like I would pass out, but managed to pull it together. A couple hours later, I had ANOTHER asthma attack, and ANOTHER bad reaction to my inhaler. Just after I get over the bad reaction, I’m informed that I got sat a 12 top. No biggie, I could handle it. I go and get their drink orders, and they order something like 6-7 bar drinks. Just as I ring in the drinks, our bartender comes storming into the kitchen cursing up a storm and nearly in tears. She’s pregnant, and already emotional enough, and some guy at the bar accused her of “cheating them out of a dollar”. Oh, also his different foods were touching each other in the to-go container. So he proceeds to call her a fat bitch, and a dog, and starts cussing her out. She snapped back, and curse words started flying back and forth. Everybody at the bar is sticking up for the poor girl, and telling the guy to shut up.
The manager finally got the guy to leave, but our bartender finally had enough and quit. So now we’re halfway through our rush period, no support at all, I have a ton of drinks I need, and no one else on the floor was bar certified. So our poor manager is rushing around looking up recipes and mixing drinks.
Anyways, this 12 top is running me ragged. They were nice enough, but were getting impatient as they still hadn’t gotten their drinks. I finally got them out and apologized, and they said it was no big deal. Then I realized, Oh crap, I haven’t been to my other table in forever! I had asked a couple people to check on them for me since I was tied up at the 12 top, but everyone was so busy running around like mad that no one had gone over. I ran over to them apologizing like crazy and they just laughed and said, “It’s no problem, I can see you’re really busy.” They left me $20 to pay for their $12 ticket! Really nice of them, I felt so guilty that they had waited so long.
So then the 12 top is ready to cash out. They all wanted separate checks, and this person wanted to pay for that person etc etc. I finally break it down for them and take all their cards and tickets to cash them out. As I walk back into the kitchen clutching handfuls of stuff, my hand cramped up. It hurt SO BAD. It was like one of those horrible leg cramps where your muscle locks up. It hurt so freaking bad, and the muscles in my hand locked up to where I couldn’t even unbend my fingers. They were just curled around the credit cards and receipts for like 5 minutes while I sat there in agonizing pain. Finally it subsided, and I cashed out the 12 top, and told them to have a great evening. They thanked me and left, leaving me roughly $36 on a ~$155 ticket. Not too shabby. As I’m cleaning up the huge mess (remember we have no busboy!), I get double sat. I cringe, because at this point, I feel horrible and all I wanted to do was sit down for 5 minutes. (I have fibromyalgia, asthma, and a heart condition that I’ve dealt with for years that make it really difficult to work tons of hours in a row.)
I greet the tables and grab their drink orders, feeling like I’m going to fall over at any minute. ALL of them wanted bar drinks. I normally wouldn’t mind, as it helps my sales/tips, but as I said, we had no bartender that night, and my manager was having to look up all the recipes. The people finally ordered, ate, and left, leaving me respectable tips. At this point I’ve worked almost 12 hours straight, with only a 10 minute break, which might be all right for some people, but for me with all my health issues, not so much.
As I’m in the kitchen calling food and helping people out, I go to stab a ticket on the spindle. The sharp spindle slips off the counter and the momentum from me stabbing the ticket drives the point into my wrist, drawing blood. Several antibacterial wipes, a bandaid and a couple handwashings later, I’m back on the floor and ready to go.
My last table was a black woman with her nephew. She ordered a bar drink, and later when I asked her if she was ready for another, she said, no, it was a little weak. I told her that we could make it a little stronger for her for a small upcharge, and she seemed very surprised and pleased. I got her drink, and she and her nephew sat there for awhile, occasionally ordering extra food. Then she cashed out, and I dropped off her credit card, receipt and a comment card. We made small talk for awhile, and when I came back out again she was gone. She left me $15 on a $39 ticket, and a note on the comment card saying that I was “superb, and that she would be back just because of me.” Good ending to a very stressful/eventful day!