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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

The Waiter Chronicles: Protected or Played

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I feel like I took a step backward in my quest to become an excellent waiter today.

During lunch, Grandpa explained to me that I would be the busser while he and the another waiter (his son) would wait the tables. After taking tables on my own for two nights in a row, this announcement burned me. And the more I thought about it, the worse it got. The more I listened to Grandpa and his son commiserate in Spanish, the worse it got.

Those two weasels are conspiring against me to get all the tips.

Now, Grandpa's explanation is that he doesn't want the owner to get upset at me. My recent table-waiting experience has come in his absence, and, now that he's back in the restaurant, Grandpa fears for what might happen if I try to take a table and screw it up. Grandpa says the owner would yell at him. Son-of-Grandpa says Grandpa just doesn't want the owner to yell at me.

So I'm either being protected or played.

If I'm being protected, then how unhealthy of a situation is this? I said to Son-of-Grandpa that there seems to be a pattern at this restaurant of waiters getting hired and fired; he corrects me that the patters is, instead, waiters getting hired and then quitting because they don't want to take the owner's abuse.

"He's Italian," Son-of-Grandpa explains. "He has those words, you know?" He rattles off a few, just in case I've never been sworn at.

I want to believe this scenario. I want to believe that Grandpa is looking out for me. I want to be the kind of person that assumes the best motive in people.

But there's a nagging lack of trust. That wasn't helped by Grandpa's announcement at the end of the night that he wold "pay" me tomorrow for tonight's tips (I helped with all his tables). Of course, I never got to see the checks from those tables, so I have no way of knowing what the tips actually were.

I won't be surprised if he "forgets" about it completely.

Then what?

Labels: , ,

posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 10:05 PM


Yeah, you've got a classic "consolidate the power here because we have no power anywhere else" situation. That sucks, because that fear and anxiety makes folks do stupid and, yes, sinful shit.

But just because this is Grandpa's only life-line doesn't mean you take it easy on him. Right now, it's you're only life-line as well.

Restaurants are cut throat - notoriously so. Assert yourself and get those tables. Tell Grandpa that he's not head waiter and to quit acting like it. Politely, of course.

Sure, the owner may yell because you might screw up, but remember rule number 4: Sin Boldly. No one likes a timid employee.

It may be coming off as "protected or played", but, in reality, it's "kill or be killed."

That's exactly what my wife said.

I'm a lion! I'm a lion! I'm a lion!
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 7:29 AM  
I agree with VLR. This is no time for being conflict averse.
commented by Anonymous Point of Order, 2:03 PM  
Sounds like cut-throat work. Take him out by the dumpster in the alley. A couple quick cracks to a brittle old skull and you'll have all the tables you want. The Sopranos or OZ can provide all the inspiration you need.
commented by Anonymous Guess Who, 7:41 PM  
Guess Who,

I . . . can't imagine . . . what . . . you could be . . . um . . . suggesting.

I don't know nothin' 'bout nobody's knee injury.

Got that?
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 10:40 PM  
I should say that Grandpa did pay me that day's tips, first thing the next morning.
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 4:53 PM  

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