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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Workin' 9 to 5

So I do Marketing for a restaurant here in Central Florida. Actually, six restaurants. Amazingly enough, the human species exhibits amazing qualities when they eat lunch and I really feel like a Hospitality degree is really a code name for Psychology degree.

Really, hospitality is psychology when it takes a vacation.

Things I have learned about people while working in a restaurant:

1. People refuse to push in their chairs. Now let's consider this- when you leave your table, you have nothing in your hands. When you come to your table, your hands are full. Now, lets consider that we have about one foot of space to maneuver around people already sitting, chairs, wild children, obnoxiously large purses, etc. Who will have the easier time pushing in stray chairs to navigate around them? YOU. YOU WHO IS LEAVING THE CHAIR FOUR FEET FROM UNDER THE TABLE.

2. The earth is going to rot away because people use too many napkins. We ar eall very concerned with the status of our planet- we change the type of lightbulbs we use, we recycle, we turn off the water while we brush our teeth. These things are all wonderful, way to go America! Now lets look at the next largest culprit when it comes to the mass murder of precious little penguins and other baby polar bears= NAPKINS. I throw away about as many napkins as I take breaths in one day, about one million. Because people see a burrito, they think that they might need an entire ream to make it through the meal and then, when they have 500 napkins left, they think they are helping out the next guy by leaving it on the table. Well, guess what? No one wants to use your dirty napkins! They throw them away. They make me throw them away. The amazing thing about napkin dispensers is that they hold alot of napkins. Believe it or not, if you need another one, you can get it. They're free in our store. Let's be smart folks.

3. Not everyone has a social conscience when they get to the register. People do ridiculous things when they get to the front of line. Everyone is waiting to pay for their food and Crazy Kathy at the front decides she wants an extra quesadilla to go. Or that she wanted extra chicken. Or that she just remembered she's allergic to black beans and now needs them all taken off. Or they are picking up 10 orders for people in their office. And they're paying for them seperately. And they have coupons. And a AAA card. And they served in Vietnam. And they have food stamps. And they're a blood donor. And they're voting for Hilary in the 08 election. And they're cat people versus being a dog person. And they drive a Subaru. And they're a vegan. Rude. If they turned around at this point, they would see that everyone in the line behind them is either dead, or barely surviving on the large portions we serve them.

4. When parents have large numbers of children, no one watches them. You may think you are the cook for the evening, but when a school brings in a field trip group, or moms come to have a dinner date with all 96 of their children, you will make dinner and be the babysitter. There will be kids taking up all sorts of tables with their food still sitting on tray's but they're all crowded at one table talking about Nintendo DS. Meanwhile, people who are coming into the restaurant are forced to eat outside in the elements because there are 6 tables being used to hold up half drank Dr.Peppers. For our Grand Opening, we had these martini glsses with confetti in them on the table. I hadn't even gotten them out on every table before three kids under the age of 5 each took a cup and poured them out from their table to their parents who were waiting in line. Did mom and dad freak out? No, they looked at their kids. They looked at the empty cups in their hands. They looked at the trails of confetti everywhere. They looked at me. They ordered and sat down. When you take kids to someone's house, do you go to the corner and let your kid wander around? "Jimmy, make sure you go through the drawers!" "Sally, see what stuff you can throw down the stairs. Heirlooms? Perfect!"

5. Some people don't mind eating the same thing every day. Every day, I mean it.

6. Some people haven't made it to 2008. A lady once asked me if we had food to go. I thought I might tell her people could only eat food in the restaurant. "Sorry ma'am. Recent legislation prohibits me from selling you this quesadilla if you're going to eat it anywhere from here. Pay no attention to the drive through." Just kidding. We don't have a drive through.

7. People who work in restaurants love to sing. They have a crazy knowledge of music. Anything from Evanesence to Stained to Rush to Elton John. Everything. 95 % of the time it's a little painful to hear them sing. 100% of the time they will sing remarkably loud.

8. Smoking is in. If you want to take breaks during the day, be a smoker. You can claim anything in the name of a smoke break. "Sorry I just ran over your child, I'm driving but I haven't taken a smoke break yet, as you can understand." Erin and I have talked about other options for breaks that people can't argue with. Every hour on the hour, inform your employer that its time for your Ipod break. How can anyone expect you to work when you haven't taken your text messaging break. What if you had a brownie break? Maybe you just need to eat brownies during the day. How can they argue? Are they a doctor? If they were, they wouldn't be working at Kirklands. How do they know if you're addicted or not? I say if someone can take a break to smoke, I can take a gun-shooting break. You know, I'm trigger happy and I have some soda cans lined up out back ready for me to take a crack at. It doesn't seem ludicrous to me.

9. There is no number 9.

10. Ordering at new restaurant is the great equalizer. I doesn't matter if you're wearing Gucci or your coveralls from the Toyota Parts department. Both men will look equally confused when they come into the restaurant and try to order for the first time. "Sir, would you like guacamole on that?" "Um, no. Well, maybe? Does it come with it? What is guacamole?" They both, at this moment, are just like a newborn babe, all wrapped in swaddling clothes, holding out thier American Express, wondering what the heck they just ordered. You just ordered Picante Ranch. You don't even know what picante ranch is. You just ordered shredded beef, but you're a vegetarian. There were just too many questions! How were you supposed to keep up. We understand.

So, point in case- there is a lot to be learned about our fellow man in line at a restaurant. People are crazy. People are rude. People are insecure. People are talkative. People tip well. People tip poorly. I should get paid more.

PS- there were going to be pictures but Blogger lost its mind. Maybe I'll add them later- they are all originals, so you should enjoy them.

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