Sunday, September 30, 2007

Work Horror Stories

So about a month ago I started training as a waitress for the Macaroni Grill. It just opened here in Helena and we are actually the first store in all of Montana. Hurray for Helena! Anyway, training has been ridiculously grueling. Lots of memorization, table etiquette, etc… I’ve been doing alright with it though.

This past week was our first time serving real customers. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we did a charity event for St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation where the restaurant donated all the food that was served and I as a waitress donated all my tips. It was all for a good cause plus it gave us all a chance to practice. Therefore, people basically got to come in, enjoy a free meal while we spilled drinks on them and served them cold food at the wrong table. It was great. I actually did pretty well those three days. Not one spilled drink or wrong order. All my customers were satisfied and when they heard that I was donating my tips for the evening I got more than a couple $100 tips put towards the foundation. I was feeling good and ready for Thursday when I would keep my first night of tips.

So Thursday came and I’m weaving in and out of tables, executing every task with perfect form, so much so that when the biggest party of the evening came in all the managers looked around in panic of who would be able to handle it as a server. ….This is where the evening goes bad. I should probably mention that everyone in the restaurant was doing a pretty dang good job considering that half of us weren’t chiefs, severer, or bartenders 2 weeks prior. They probably picked me to take the big party more because I was the first one they saw and didn’t know what else to do. Before any of you get ahead of me…I did great with this table!… was the cute young couple that got seated in my section right next to them that suffered.

It was the classic story….A handsome man (which I recognized as a manager from Costco) and a beautiful girl out at the newest restaurant in town, on their very first date. The romantic mood was set when she ordered a glass of wine (followed by the whole bottle) and he cautiously ordered water. Classic. I practically glide up to the table, drinks on a tray in hand. I reach for the wine, place it in front of the woman. I reach for the water……but it’s not there! Oh no! It’s tipped off the tray…all over his lap! It was so horrific that by the time I got the towel off my shoulder (which I carry at all times) everyone was laughing. They really were great about it. I moved them to a drier table and served them an appetizer on the house after my manager made a quick apologetic visit.

I must have said sorry 100 times throughout the rest of the evening and they both told me 100 times that it was alright and even left me a generous tip. But it doesn’t stop there. When I went home that night to recount the whole story to Matt I suddenly realized that I might have charged them for their appetizer that was supposed to be free! The next morning I got up, made a couple loaves of homemade bread and swung over to the restaurant to talk to my manager. I told him what I thought I’d done and he gave me a $20 gift certificate to Macaroni Grill that I stuck in with the bread and headed to Costco. Like I said, I didn’t know the guy, but I knew I’d seen him working at Costco. He wasn’t there so I left the bread in his box (one loaf for him and one for his date) and the gift card with a note inside that said “Sorry again for spilling that water on you. Hope you come in again soon. –Amie PS- I’m a much better bread maker than I am waitress.”

Everything else has been going well for me and my new job. For the most part all my coworkers are highly energetic pleasant people and recovering from Thursday night was a little easier as they all took turns recounting a few horror stories of their own. All in all, I’m still sad to be spending time away from Matt and the kids, but it pays the bills for now while Matt knocks out his degree. Then he’ll be supporting me for the rest of my life. I think I’m getting the better part of the deal!

Since then I’ve gained a new appreciation for work horror stories so, if you have any of your own, please share them after the beep. ………Beeeeep!