Monday, February 27, 2006

Hiatus

I do apologise to everyone for the delay in posting this announcement. The blog will be on hiatus until I am once again gainfully employed.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Standards

As I resigned from my job over a week ago, this week I have spent some time relaxing, running errands, and visiting local cafes. Town on Sea is very small. It is by no means sophisticated. However, it is a very popular tourist destination and every holiday period we get hordes of tourists from every major city, and it has gone somewhat more upmarket in recent years. This might be a small town. There might be way too many cafes. But there are standards, people!

1. Most of the coffee in this town is undrinkable. I have had one, one, decent coffee in seven days, and that was made by the guy that owns the store, who has obviously trained as a barista. If you are going to work in a cafe and be required to make and serve coffee, please learn how to use the espresso machine - properly. A flat white is not hot milk with coffee flavouring in it.

2. What ever happened to table service? Order and pay at the counter service makes me feel like I am at McDonalds. I don't want to come to the counter. I want to sit down and read the paper. I am paying $4 for coffee. Please send a waitress out here to take my order.

Secondly, while on this point, what is the point in paying in advance for food you don't have yet? If I don't get my order (which has happened) I have to come back to the counter and ask for a refund. Service, people?

3. Attention, waitresses! When you bring the food to the table, and I say, "Thank you", which I always do, because I am a waitress and it is also polite, don't say "That's okay" as if you are doing me some huge favour. It's not okay. It's your job to bring the food out. If you must say something, say "You're welcome". Or say nothing and smile.

This happened to me twice at two different places last week. It's not okay. It's annoying.

4. Pay attention! If I happen to have come into your cafe to kill thirty minutes, placed my order at the counter, explained to you how I would like my drink, and then refused your spiel, because it is fine as it is, just use soy milk please, make the order that way! Don't come up to me at the table after I have already waited fifteen minutes (and only fifteen minutes left to catch the bus) and discuss with me how you could make my drink. Just make it and bring it!!!! We had this discussion ten minutes ago! Oh, wait, I'm late now, thanks.

It's not rocket science people, but there are standards.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It's a Love-Hate Relationship

It was a hard decision to get back into the hospitality biz. I have been in and out of it my entire working life, on both sides of the fence - in the kitchen and on the floor. It is, however, a skill set you can always fall back on. It also offers the benefit of flexible hours, allowing you to pursue your other interests!

So far I have booked my flight, leased an apartment on a short-term basis,
arranged temporary accommodation until I can get into the apartment, and found out how to get to the campus on the first day.

It is costing me a fortune to move myself cross country. I will need money straight away. With a recent waitressing stint under my belt, I am confident that I will be able to find work quickly and easily.

Waitressing. The job that that travels.You can hate it, but you gotta love it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Moving

Waitress on Sea is moving! That is, I am moving, the blog is not. I am going to leave my beloved Town on Sea, and head across the continent to the city (blech!). I am going to start a new life there, doing what I have always loved. I took a chance on my dream, auditioned for a performing arts course in music, and was accepted. I have to be there ready to start on February 13th!

I have already resigned from my job at the Pizza Palace.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Know Not The Name of Thy Waitress

Two men approach the counter and ask for a table of two. I am out the back refilling the ice, so I don't see them. I hear the Owner saying, "Oh yes, Waitress (insert my name) will help you, she'll be right there."

"Oh great," the American Guy replies, "Waitress was my 'server' once before". This is true. Six weeks ago, outside table, American guy in his fifties, boating and fishing type, long white hair - bread, water, (asked for in the American fashion), lasagne, discussion about the movie King Kong and, believe it or not, Waiter Rant. No tip.

Now, in my opinion Owner has just committed a mortal sin. He told the customer my name. At the Palace we don't have name badges (it might be pizza and pasta but it ain't McDonald's) and we don't say "Hello, my name is X and I'll be your waitress tonight." I like that. IfI am standing at your table in the restaurant uniform or standard black and whites with an order pad and a pen in my hand, then obviously, I am going to be your waitress.

I never tell people my name. The only reason American Guy knows it is because he asked me directly once before. Confronted with this situation, I could not tell a lie. And now, here he is again, and I shall be punished for all eternity.

It begins immediately. I emerge from the kitchen with the menus and seat American Guy and his Australian Friend at an outside table. "Oh, thank you, Waitress. Could we have some water please, Waitress. Also we'd like to order some bread please, Waitress. One or maybe two (five minute discussion)...Waitress, we'll have two."

I am instantly irritated. Not only is this gratuitous overuse of my name, it implies an intimacy which simply does not exist. In some cases it's just downright sleazy. The only relationship that exists between you and I is one of patron and waitress.

I deliver the water, and then the bread, to the table. Every time I do, it's "Thank you SO MUCH Waitress." It absolutely drives me crazy. If it isn't a case of false intimacy, then surely this behaviour is an attempt by the customer to exploit his position in some kind of power relationship over the lowly waitress, whose job it is to SERVE him.

This continues all night. It's endless. I can't wait till they leave. I treat them like any other customer - I look after them. I don't get the same crap from the other tables.

You know what? Tipping is not big in Australia. If you do a good job, you might get a few bucks. We all know Americans are supposed to tip. Tonight I get a tip from every single table (ten dollars from table 23, thank you kindly) except American Guy, who pays the bill on his credit card.

Don't use my name. If you are a local who comes to my restaurant on a regular basis, and I know your name, and you know mine, then I can accept that. If I've never seen you before, it's not okay. If someone tells you my name or I am forced to tell you in the course of my work, fine, okay, but don't be gratuitous about it. If you do know my name and want to thank me at the end of the night, then that would be a situation that constitutes acceptable use.

Otherwise, I don't know you, and you don't know me. I will do my best to ensure that you have a good experience while dining in the restaurant. I will work my butt off to make sure that happens. That is the sum total of our relationship. I'm not here because I want to get to know you better. I'm here because I'm working.