DELVING BETWEEN THE TOES OF LIFE....I AM TOEJAM


2003-07-26 - 5:47 a.m.

I have something Iíve been feeling guilty about lately. You see, my job is one which is fast paced. We ALWAYS have customers and usually we are running our asses off. So it is imperative to keep things running smoothly, with no glitches in the system. It totally messes up the pace when you reach in the brown sugar container, for instance, for brown sugar and find none. There are only a few of us that pull our weight and keep things full, stocked, easily accessible. When I come into the waiterís aisle I do many things. I donít just come back there and turn my order in and then stand there and talk. If I chose to talk I will work while talking. I will make extra coffee filters, fill butters, sugars what have you. I rarely ďtravel emptyĒ (which in waitress speak means that no trip anywhere is wasted even that means I am only taking one dirty plate with me). Then there are the waitresses who will stock stuff, but only when we are really slow, when it is not needed. But when we get busy they are useless. And then there are the waitresses who I have never even seen change a coffee filter. There are the waitresses who canít handle their section when they get busy and I (or someone else) always bail them out. And here is where the problem lies; my boss doesnít see any of the going onís in the back. He only sees the end result. Letís use Mary (fake name) as an example. Mary comes to work and eats breakfast first thing. Then she chats a little, drinks some coffee. Meanwhile, the other waitresses (those that are useful) and I are prepping the entire waiterís aisle for the rush. The rush comes and Mary uses everything we have just stocked not to mention Mary canít handle her section and instead of asking one of us to pick up a table for her, has us running all over the place getting drinks for her tables, running orders to tables and following behind her re stocking everything she has just used. But seeÖMaryís section isnít any more difficult than my section, in fact, I am always in the busiest sections because I have been there a long time and am very efficient. So, I have a harder section but somehow I am ending up carrying Maryís weight and my own. And my boss hasnít seen any of what happened. He didnít see that out of Maryís whole section she only waited entirely on one of her tables. He doesnít see that Mary does NOTHING in the waiterís aisle. He only sees happy customers and thatís all that matters so he thinks Mary is a good waitress and the next week gives her an even more difficult section.

So a while ago I made the proclamation that I will no longer help anyone that doesnít carry their weight. And Iíve stuck to it. If you arenít helping make the day go smoothly, if you canít handle your section (and Iím talking about canít handle your section on a normal day, I understand there are days that are busier than others and days that are more chaotic than others and I will help when the situation arises) I am not lifting a finger to help you.

But hereís why I feel guilty. Because yesterday, through a fluke, one of those waitresses that canít handle things and doesnít do anything to make the day go smoothly ended up in one of the more difficult sections. And my thinking wasÖIím not going to make it easy for her. I didnít pull one of her orders, I didnít lift a finger to help her. In some ways I wanted her to see that being in that section is hard so she will understand that when she orders someone to get a drink order for her table that they have an even busier section going on. In some ways I wanted her to see the importance of keeping things stocked. But mostly I just wanted her to suffer. I wanted her to feel like she had been through hell and I wanted my boss to see that she isnít the waitress he thought she was. And thatís why I feel guilty.

So today I am going to help everyone, not just the people I feel are worthy of help. Because I have become petty and vain. And I donít like it.

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