Prairie Dog Poppers

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re looking at the picture and the title and wondering, “What could this be about?”  Well, I can tell you it’s about funny little observations I’ve made while being a hostess, and most people do it.

Now, everyone hates to hear that there is a wait of any kind for a table.  They want to sit down right then and there and order their food and drink and eat immediately.  Nice, right?  Well, on Fridays and Saturdays at most establishments, you have to wait a few minutes.  Sometimes longer.  Don’t get all pissy about it.  Accept it as a fact of reality and life and you’ll find inner peace.  I’m kidding… but, seriously, shut up instead of winging about waiting.

Anyway, at my restaurant when I tell people to wait, I always scope the joint and see them looking around, as if them staring at desirable tables will somehow make them get up faster.  Hate to break it to you, but that isn’t going to happen.  We have a couch before our fireplace, and frequently I tell people to sit there while they wait to get them out of my hair.  A few minutes later, as I glance around, I’ll see somebody stand up and look around and maybe even point to a table.  You do realize that people can see you, right?  You’re not suddenly gifted with invisibility.  Reminds of the Cone of Silence from Get Smart.  We all know how that turned out.  They look silly and tables that are already seated and eating or talking, give them looks.  They pop up like prairie dogs and I have to chuckle.  I gave you a wait that was ex amount of time long.  And you’re already impatient five minutes in?  Gah!  The prairie dogs are on the loose!

In other words, when a hostess gives you a wait time and you sit down, don’t pop back up again to check on a table.  People will be judging you.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Don’t Throw the Gauntlet… Smack Em’ with It

So… some pretty stupid people crossed my path over the holidays and at school when I returned.  As per usual, it was equal parts amusing and annoying.  The Wednesday before Christmas wasn’t atrocious, but Friday and Saturday were a little crazy.  There seemed to be quite a few large, walk-in parties.  Nobody could be bothered to pick up the phone and check to see if we had room.

Oh, well!  I went on a wait, which I always start out a little high on just so I can gauge how long people will stay and camp out.  And of course, everybody and their mother (literally) has a problem with that.  It was getting late and I saw many parties walk in and ask for larger tables, or for tables to be pushed together in order to accommodate them.  Sometimes I could do that if the tables were in the same section, but I hated confusing the servers if the tables weren’t together.  Anyway, I filled up and went on my wait.  Close to 8:00 (and I was still buys), four people walked in: a middle-aged woman, two younger girls, and a younger man.  They asked me for a table and I told them what the wait was.  The middle-aged woman started giving me reasons why they needed a table… something about baking all day and being hungry, yada, yada, yada.  I repeated what the wait was.

Then, one of the girls asked, “What about that table next to you?”  This little table can be a part of my table where I work, but by itself, it’s a little two top.

“That’s a two top,” I said, stating the obvious.  The middle-aged woman then turned her beady eyes on my table.

“Can’t we join that and sit there?  I mean… do you need it?”  I looked down at my little, itty, bitty work station, which was covered in menus, special sheets, seating chart, and wait list.  It was literally covered in things and she wanted me to remove and find a magical place to put my stuff.  I glanced up at her, my face

Twelve Days of Christmas: Restaurant Edition

Sing along if you know the tune (and you should).

On the first day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: (And) A whole pile of crockery!

On the second day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: two broken glasses!

On the third day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: three cussing cooks!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: four winging waiters!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: five bar patrons!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: six reservations!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: seven seat themselves!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: eight unlit candles!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: nine call aheads!

On the tenth day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: ten draft beers!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: eleven drunk diners!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my restaurant gave to me: twelve open checks!

And there you have it.

And on that (musical) note, it’s been real!

The Six Hostess Perceptions

Now everyone has an opinion about hostesses, and these opinions should come from observations they’ve made for a number of different reasons.

  1. They’re experience with hostesses in the past at different restaurants.
  2. Whether they’ve worked in a restaurant before as a hostess or just a server.
  3. Whether they’re nice people, or just *ssholes.

With those reasons in mind, let’s dissect the six perceptions about hostesses.

  1. What society thinks I do: the picture shows a girl who looks like she works for Hooters or a club that has a pool.  Or a strip club (probably the latter).  No decent hostess would wear something like that, so this particular perception is a tad confusing.  Most restaurants all have a dress code that requires a hostess to wear something that covers the shoulders, midriff, and does not reveal too much decollete.  Honestly, not much to say on that one.
  2. What my parents think I do: that picture reveals a nicely dressed girl with menus.  That is kind of accurate.  She looks professional, and is holding menus like a shield in front of her.  When you’re dealing with a confrontational customer, those are like a barrier between yourself and the jagoff.  If the restaurant is nice and upscale, the hostess would look like that, instead of sorry dump and dressed in jeans.  But, as the first person the customer sees, it is her job to look professional.
  3. What customers think I do: it shoes a pictures of some guy double flipping somebody off.  Now, that one depends on who you are.  If you come off as demanding and a bastard or a b*tch, then yes the hostess will do that the moment your back is turned.  There have been many people that I basically do it to once I’m done dealing with them.  Why?  Because it’s easier for me to do that behind your back than say it to your face.  And I’m less likely to get fired.
  4. What my coworkers think I do: this one kind of made me smile.  It shows somebody laying down on a recliner, just chilling.  Okay, let me set the record straight: some restaurants (most) do not have a place for their hostess to sit.  She or he has to stand for the entirety of their shift.  That’s not moving around as much as a server, but your feet and your lower back definitely don’t like it.  So, we definitely don’t sit around.  A good hostess never sits around.
  5. What I think I do: is the closest to the truth than any other picture shown.  In a way, we do hold back the mindless rabble.  We try to make sure that everything is done in a systematic and organized fashion, so that the servers don’t want to commit suicide.  We are the first defense against the zombies that come in demanding brains- I mean!  Food!  I just wish I could have a gun that way if somebody didn’t want to sit where I wanted to put them, I could just make them.
  6. What I actually do: you would not believe how many times people ask you where the bathroom is, you tell them, and they still go to the wrong place.  It’s amusing to watch.  They’ll walk into our lounge, which is full of people, and walk out a second later like a dog with their tails between their legs.  It is said that any place that actually has a sign to indicate where a restroom is, it makes the place seem less ‘classy’.  That’s what I heard.  But, if having the sign up saves me the hassle of constantly telling people where the bathroom is, I’ll take some points off in our ‘classy’ department.

And there you have it!  Those are the six perceptions of hostesses.  For those of you out there who have worked in a restaurant before, are these perceptions accurate?  And for those of you who haven’t worked in a restaurant, pay attention the next time you go to one.  It could be the factor that saves you from getting a stigma.

And on that note, it’s been real!

A Hostess’ Perfect Restaurant

Business seems to have picked up with the arrival of the colder weather and the start of the season where every company decides to have their Christmas Party around the same time.  It is at times like this when I plan the perfect restaurant: basically the restaurant where every customer does exactly what I saw, sits where I put them, and keeps their mouth shut.  Here is my perfect restaurant…

  1. Force field – this force field would surround my little area, and nobody can leave that force field without me escorting them.  This force field would prevent people from walking to a table and seating themselves when I’m not there.
  2. Electrified seats – electrified seats would be in place in case people moved from the bar to a table without seeing me, or moved from one table to another because the first table ‘wasn’t quite right’.
  3. Sign-triggered door – the sign-triggered door is where the door will not open until the people see the sign in the atrium that says ‘Please wait to be seated.’  Once it acknowledges that they’ve read it, the door will open.

Thinking about things like this helps me cope with the fact that the bulk of humans who walk into my restaurant are incredibly stupid, but then they have the audacity to look at me like I made the mistake.  One of my favorites is when people walk in and just stare at me after we greet each other.  You know what they’re waiting for?  They’re waiting for me to magically read their minds to gauge how many are in their party.

I took an extra shift at work on Wednesday night, and I had some funny encounters that had my coworkers chuckling to themselves.  First, I had a woman about my height come in and I sat her at our higher half booth, half tables.  Now, I’m petite, so I’m about 5ft 5″ in height.  A few minutes later, she came up to me and said, “Can we move to another table?  My friend and I are short, and that’s not comfortable.”  I sighed (inwardly), sat her at a lower table and went to tell the server.

When I found her, I said, “Sorry I double sat you; but apparently both her and her friend are hobbits.”  It took the server two seconds to get the reference and she started laughing.  After that, I had a man walk in when all my tables were occupied.  I told him it would be a little bit of a wait, and watched to see when a table would get up.  A little while later, his wife and son arrived and he told them what I had said.  Immediately, his wife started looking around to see if there was something open.  Two tables had just gotten up at that time, and I was cleaning one of them off.  A server told the lady to wait for me, but she either didn’t hear her or chose to ignore her.  You see me cleaning a table, right?  Patience is a virtue!  After that, I had three really young men walk in and seat themselves at a table instead of waiting for me.  One of the bartenders and a couple of the servers all laughed when they saw me sigh and roll my eyes dramatically.  Needless to say, I went back to my post and did not get them menus.  Ah ha!  The hostess strikes again!  Never assume that a hostess is evil.  Merely assume that she is tired of having people try to (indirectly) tell her how to do her job.  Speaking from experience, it gets very frustrating.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Disorder in the House!

This past weekend, I legitimately and truly and really wanted to kill somebody.  Not my coworkers, but the customers (as per usual).  Friday night, I arrived at 5:00 for my shift and we were already pretty busy.  I got situated and then I had Granny and Paps come up and say they had eight people.  All my big tables were already taken, so they asked me to push two tables (in two different sections) together to seat them.  Now, if you work in a restaurant, joining two tables belonging to two separate servers for one party is a b*tch.  Why?  Who the f*ck is going to get it?!  So, I got my manager’s permission and pushed them together.  They brought in five noisy children, and one of the tables near them, moved to a different one.  This irritated me and threw the server off.  From there, everyone kept coming in and nobody was leaving.

I soon found myself on a wait and people couldn’t grasp that it was almost forty minutes.  Then, I got the Incredible Bulk dragging himself through the door.  I told him the wait time and he really gave me a hard time.  He wanted to go at the end of a long table, which was occupied at the other end.  I told him we could not do that and that I had a reservation going there.  “But I’ll be gone in twenty minutes.”  I just gave him a look and told him I couldn’t do that.  “Well, I want to speak to a manager because I don’t understand why.”

“Yeah, because you’ve got blubber for a brain,” I muttered to myself as I walked behind the bar to grab the floor manager.  I grabbed him and explained the situation to him.  He raised his eyebrow and affirmed what I already knew.  “Well, can you tell him that?  Because he doesn’t seem to want to take no from me.”

“Alright.  Where is he?” my manager asked.

“Turn around.  You can’t miss him,” I sarcastically responded as I started to walk away.  He looked, caught sight of him, faced me and mouthed, ‘what the f*ck?!’  I just nodded and went back to my post.  The rest of the night, people kept saying they didn’t see the sign in the atrium, so they sat themselves at dirty tables, and I didn’t bother with them.  I got angrier as the night went on and people kept being idiots.

My coworkers all said, “Wow!  You’re really pissed off.  I’ve never seen you this pissed off.”  I was.  It hadn’t even really cleared out that much when I was let go at a quarter to ten.

Saturday night, I was semi-hopeful, but definitely not optimistic.  Not long after arriving, I got a walk in eleven top and a seven top.  I guess calling to check if we even have room is out of the question.  Then, one of the servers was late, so I had to divide her section between the other (already busy) three.  Needless to say, I was not interested in taking shit from people after Friday night.  Thankfully, Saturday night was not as bad as Friday night.  My coworkers commented on that, and how I didn’t look like I wanted to decapitate somebody.  That was good.  We’ll see how this weekend goes.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Costumed Craziness

This past weekend was a like a masque affair at my restaurant.  We had all the staff dress up on Friday night, which was fun.  I dresses up as Worick Archangelo from the anime, Gangsta.  A few people thought I was Uma Thurman’s character from Kill Bill, but I had to correct them.  We had one of the waitresses, who is very good at makeup, did her face like a clown from American Horror Story.  She also did our manager’s face and made him look like a voodoo skeleton man.  We had a mermaid sort of server, a kitty cat (she was a little lazy), and a 50’s greaser girl.  One of the bartenders was Goose from Top Gun, and the second one was a rebel pilot from Star Wars.  In a sense… he was basically wearing a pajama onesie that looked like a rebel pilot on the front, but made him look like a Telly Tubby from the back.  We were all dressed up on Friday and we had fun.  Except for my lack of depth perception.  My character has an eyepatch, and I was doing my best not to bump into everybody.

On Saturday, we had several large parties make reservations, and one of them was an eighteen top costume party.  They kept standing up instead of sitting down at the tables we assigned them.  The servers couldn’t wait on them until they sat down, so that the two servers could know who they had.  My manager had to go over and tell them that they had to sit down in their seats to be served.  They sat down, but decided to occupy two extra tables as well as the larger two we had given them.

That was the first annoying aspect of it.  The second was an obnoxiously loud six top that was right next to me.  One of the women was obviously under the influence, and kept talking about certain, slightly off-color topics in a loud voice.  She mentioned the ‘LGBTQIA’ repeatedly and so loudly that I thought she really did want the whole restaurant to hear her.  They were there from almost the start of my shift to the very end of my shift.  They were there for literally four hours.  Anyway…

The costumes this weekend were pretty interesting and I could tell who put time/money into their costumes, and which ones had not.  Being a costume connoisseur, it was easy.  Halloween didn’t used to be a big holiday for me.  As I get older and older, it has changed along with me.

And on that note, it’s been real!