Oh Tequila…you nasty…nasty woman.
Ok kids, so when you are really poor and your non profit job decides to eliminate your position after six months of telling you there was a possibility of going full time, you do things that you wouldn’t under “normal” circumstances do. Like get paid to be berated by customers (also known as: a waitress). Now I have been a waitress several times before (once for a summer during college, another for four months where I got promoted to shift manager) but I’m just too old for pretending to care and I’m not cut out for it. It takes a certain skill set and certain stamina to maintain any amount of time in the service industry. Your feet are sore, you leave around 2:30 or 3:00 in the AM, drunk guys feel super empowered watching you pour a tap and witnessing a 56 year old drunk woman throw up on her husband’s shoes is not cute. Just no.
On the flip side I believe it should be a government instituted law that one must work in the service industry before calling oneself a fully formed adult. It really tests your belief in humanity. The silver lining: tips. I would walk away on a good night with $250 to $300 in cash and that was a group collected tip situation. Holding those dollars in my hand felt good until the next night when I had to do it all over again.
My co workers were mostly tough and detail oriented. They were were fast, good with numbers, could remember 7-10 drink orders coming at them from five different places, handle proper sanitation procedures for everything and then stay several hours after closing to clean up. The wait staff were soon to be lawyers, working single mothers, theatre people, and some who had chosen this as their profession. I however didn’t make it past August.
Opening night of the restaurant was like a test of my theatre skills. I greeted customers at the door, I carried trays with one hand (foreshadowing) and all the time with a smile on my face. So when I grabbed the aluminum antique tray that carried a pitcher of margaritas with four full glasses (one handed) my ego was off the charts scary. As I stopped at said table, bending my elbow to my side, I could feel the palm of my right hand bounce the center of the tray upward causing the drinks to topple onto one another. My arm went limp and I could not catch the drinks in time, causing all of them to spill onto an unassuming girl. The situation was made worse by the fact that after profusely apologizing, running back to the bar to tell them what happened, flitting around after with my shame, the drinks I brought out to replace the ones I had spilled were not helpful because only two of them drank-not the girl I spilled them on. The only thing to keep me from losing my shit was a comforting man pulled me aside and said, “Don’t feel so bad. I was working at a fancy restaurant downtown and spilled a bottle of red wine all over a guys $3,000 suit. He was a total dick about it and the dry cleaning bill came out of my paycheck. It sucked.”
The end of the story goes something like: through the force of Venus or some other patron saint of tequila I went back to work the next day. I worked there two more weeks before they cut my hours in half. The following Sunday my boss didn’t post my work schedule. That day, after a series of unreturned messages she finally called to say they would no longer be needing my services.
Oh tequila, you are a bitter bitter woman indeed.
***Have a horror work story in 500 words or less? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed under: Work//9-5