So I got a job!
I’ve been re-hired as a Cracker Barrel Server, a Rising Star, a friendly waitress, –
a tired and tiny little robot.
Yesterday, I was put onto the “floor” (server slang for.. the dining room). The full, detailed story follows.
That afternoon, as Chris kissed me goodbye and drove away, all I had anticipated (for all I had been told) was that I would be doing some computer work and would be introduced to chemicals and how to safely use/ avoid them. Then, an hour into the course, the ETC (employee training coordinator) walked in and shared that they were shorthanded on servers and asked excitedly, “So are you ready to get on the floor?”
I was excited, because
interacting with guests and making 2x minimum wage,
was why I was there.
I was ready.
I was walked out and briefed quickly, on the way into the server alley, regarding what our DLS/DDF/soup of the day/VOD/ promos were. I took it all in quickly as I was ushered into the dining room. “Here; you’re taking over for Tamara,” I heard, as I saw a name scribbled out and my name sharpied in it’s place onto a dry-erase floor plan.
I counted with my eyes; 11 tables?
I was being put into an 11-table section?
Really,- my first day back, my first 5 minutes back, in 3 months, and I’m competent to handle
half a dining room?
“Okay!” I replied, grabbed a round tray (you are NOT allowed to leave the server alley without one) and marched into my domain to survey the area and jump on any guests with open menus.
I was breathing heavily and my hands were shaking; I felt like my eyes were starting to twitch. I hoped no one noticed.
“Just stay on top of things – ‘one stop shop, one stop shop’! put orders in immediately, keep an eye on drinks – refill until they’re ready to blow away.. remember what today’s soups are at ALL TIMES so they won’t see you struggling to remember, try to anticipate the guest’s needs and judge which ones are needier, ahem, MOODIER AND HARDER TO PLEASE, than others – pay special attention to these, be exxxtra sweet, totally patient..” I coached myself, silently, mentally, and tried to calm myself down. “You just did this for six months, Rose, and you rocked it. This is going to be EASY.”
My first customers arrived within 3 minutes.
It was two women; a 40? year old and her “in-the-twenties” daughter.
Immediately, the hostess, Amber, hurried over to me with a warning.
“Be careful about these two.. they’re b*****s.”
I walked over, all gung-ho and ready to earn my 500 dollar tip.
“Hi! Welcome to Cracker Barrel!”
The older woman turned her head towards me and stared for about 5 seconds before snickering to herself, as though a clown or 5 year old had just been sent to minister to her.
“Hi (rudely). We need afew minutes to look at the menu (what the heck are you doing here pouncing on us like this).”
“Hey, sure.. no problem!” I assured her, emphatically. “I’ll be back whenever you need me, there is NO rush.”
At this, she looked at me again and sort of (I mean, SORT of, hallelujah!) smiled. “..Thanks!” she said.
I smiled and walked to the back. All of the servers were watching me (I could just tell; “she’s going to fail.”)
It’s such a competitive business.
I miss Florida.
We all loved eachother, and we worked together as a team. Here, it seems more.. hostile. sensual. competitive. angry. without compassion.
So I returned, moments later, to these adorable ones and got their drink/ food order. Put it in, immediately, and the food wasn’t ready for over 30 minutes.
Of course, I’m the “newbie” and, naturally, they assumed that I had failed to put the order in. Um, no.. see? The ticket?
This order, for table 131, was submitted at 3:28.
It’s now, 3:56.
It took another 10 minutes for the food to get out.
The moody ladies, however, loved me, and “raised hell” (as they, themselves, worded it) only at the manager (who had to pay for their meal).
I wish that incident was the only NEGATIVE part of my “first-day-experience,”
11 table sections.. are large.
They get filled.. fast..
I got triple sat and ended up handling 6 tables at once.
I froze up, at the computer, and started crying. (I can’t do this, I’m going to die.)
It was completely, totally overwhelming and I wanted to RUN out of this Cracked-out Barrel and NEVER, ever return.
“It’s okay,” the kind ETC patted me on the shoulder. “It’s okay, don’t cry..”
He did his best to console me and, really, he was the nicest man there. He took the food order and delivered the
drink order of a 6 top for me (table 161). He knew, I just couldn’t handle it. Not today. Not when there were 2-3
other tables out there, in MY section, who hadn’t gotten their food orders put in yet, who hadn’t even been GREETED yet.
Long story short, they allowed me to leave early (which, was rightly due me — I had come to their rescue and
received some martyr’s wounds for it). I made 30 dollars in less than 3 hours (pretty good, for the first day) and on the way out, he (ETC) said that I didn’t need to come in today (Monday); that he’d let me have a “breather” and would expect me back on Tuesday, and that on Tuesday, I would spend 4 hours shadowing a “seasoned server,” Brenda, and that would help prepare me for my “independent serving.”
“Sure thing – absolutely. That sounds great.”
I totally didn’t mind the help, the schooling, the instruction.
(I had texted Chris previously, letting him know I’d need him to pick me up earlier than 8.)
Chris was outside on a wooden bench, waiting for me.
“Come here baby; tell me about your day.”
I sat down, he put his arm around me, and listened to my sad, sad story.
“It was awful, Chris. I hated it. I sucked.”
“I love you, baby.. I am so proud of you.” He kissed me, and took me out to eat at my favorite restaurant:
Isn’t that awesome?
No. Well yes, it is.. but, I have failed to mention that
for the past 2 weeks, I’ve been on-and-off nauseous. Yesterday, it was horrible – worse than ever.
Before we got there, I was nauseated. While we were eating, I was nauseated. After we left, on the way home,
I was STILL feeling sick. (and no, I’m not pregnant; took a test, it came out negative..)
I went ‘straight to bed’ after we got home and Chris made me drink water. Right as he was telling me it was time
for me to change out of my work clothes and into pajamas I jumped out of bed.
“Chris, I’m GOING to throw up.” I ran to the bathroom and he followed me.
He held my hair back while I puked.
It was horrible..
but, that awful, sick feeling – that horrible anticipation that precedes all vomittings – was over.
He held a cool rag on my head, gave me more water, and I fell asleep.
Today, I feel fine. 🙂
I think it was nerves; my mind works disaster on my body sometimes.
When put in stressful situations, it hits me immediately before or after.
I’m usually fine “during;” it wasn’t until after we had pulled out of the Cracker Barrel parking lot that I noticed or realized how horrible I was feeling. It’s like a “delayed effect.”
It’s only 60-65 degrees out this afternoon, and we’re excited about it. It’s been in the upper 90s for weeks now.
Our plan (Chris and I’s) is to have my car title changed, call about some jobs for him, and go play frisbee.
I love being outdoors.
And I still miss my mom, still miss my dogs. I dreamed about them last night – that I was protecting them (my four pets: 3 Siberian Huskies and a German Shepherd) from a wild, aggressive ELK, and that the elk ended up killing all of my dogs, all of my friends, and my entire family.
It was weird.
I was trying to be a hero, a savior – trying to protect and defend the ones I loved..
but eveyone, everything, that I loved, died –
and I lived, just to remember them.
To live for them.
I also still miss Melissa.
8 years of friendship.. it’s hard to comprehend how that could mean absolutely nothing to someone.
And I miss Micah and Amy.
We used to be closer. Now, they’re busy with moving and work and a kid, and I’m busy being a grown up.
I miss Grammy and Grampy, too.
I miss having Bible studies with Gram and running errands with and for her.
I miss Sabbath walks and real-life talks with Grampy, the Big Bird who was always like a father to me.
I miss my brother, and realize now that mom and gram were right – I do regret not spending “enough” time with him.
It’s when you can’t do anything about it anymore,
that you realize how bad the wrong decisions you made, were.
And I miss my dad,
and my mommy.
It seems like everyday, I cry more and more.
Chris feels worse and worse.
She becomes a deeper, stronger, more needed friend.
Never thought, or knew, that I was (and am) so dependent on her.
So, since we aren’t going to Ukraine, we are definitely settling down here.
CB is my “get-through-college,” permanent working place and Chris is still trying to find his employment.
We want to get out of his parents’ house and find a place of our own.
We need the privacy, the space, — the license to cook whenever we want, whatever we want, and clean up messes
when it’s convenient for us. Feel free to walk from the bathroom, after a shower, to the changing room, without being fully dressed and not worrying about someone stopping you in the hallway to chat. To get in late at night and not have to exlain why. Stuff like that.
I’ve also been asked, on the note of religion, to teach (about 2-3 times a month) an earliteens class at church. I’m excited about it; any opportunity to share, to help, to enlighten, .. is from the Lord. I plan on learning just as much, if not more, as those who I’m undertaking to teach.
I need more help than anyone;
I’m worse off than everyone else I know.
**Just because I’m losing
Doesn’t mean I’m lost
Doesn’t mean I’ll stop
Doesn’t mean I’m across
Just because I’m hurting
Doesn’t mean I’m hurt
Doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I deserved
No better and no worse
I just got lost!
Every river that I tried to cross
Every door I ever tried was locked
Oh and I’m just waiting til the shine wears off
Newscasters on the webshow “Live: From Ma-waubi Mu-haubi.”