Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Righteous Proposal c2010 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     I had a nice 12-25 and I hope you did too. I thought I'd make that the subject of this edition of TAS being as how it's about that time again. But "A Sixtop Family Christmas" sounds like a bad TV movie they run every December on the My Pussy Hurts network (on some cable systems it's called the Lifetime channel). So I 86'd that plan and actually wrote "Selling Beer at Pro Football Games for Fun and Profit the Joe Sixtop Way!". I'll probably tweak that one a little and put it up here on TAS pretty soon, but it just isn't ready yet. So here's a good idea I had awhile back, y'all will be the first ones I've shared it with.
     If you work in the restaurant industry there's a real good chance that you're at least an occasional reefer consumer and an even better chance that you like to knock back adult beverages. You're probably unhappy with America's drug laws, especially how alcohol is pretty much legal and marijuana is not. You might have made the argument to someone about how much tax money could go into federal and state treasuries if the shit was roughly as legal as beer is, and you had a good point.
     Fuck that, though. Look how much money the alcohol industry spends buying politicians to cockblock any competing intoxicants. Look how much tax money comes from legal alcohol. Look how financially hurting America and its cities and states are. Think how fucked they'd be if every server that favored cannabis legalization quit buying alcohol. Ha Ha Ha! I think you see what I'm getting at.
     Please talk this idea over with your coworkers at the after-hours bar y'all go to for late nite happy hour after your shifts are over. Feel free to invite anyone who wants to participate, not just restaurant folks. If we get enough people and start by springtime, you and your friends will be purchasing Party Joint Menthol Light 100's by Philip Morris at Walgreens and woofing down hookahfuls of Humboldt Heaven along with your Miller Lites at the after-hours bar before Thanksgiving.
     If this thing gets going there's a chance you'll make just a little less money for awhile, especially if you're a bartender, but if you're anything like me you'll more than make up for it in savings from all the alcohol you won't be buying, especially the way you drink; at bars, prodigiously, tipping 50%. Plus you'll get out of your rut and experience life sober and without hangovers for a change. Who knows? You might like it.
     Happy New Year everybody!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Winter's Summer's Story c2010 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Summer M. waited tables at Ruby Tuesday's for several years. She was a lunch closer six days a week. She averaged about $55 a day.
     Then about five years ago she got a job at a private golf course. She worked days and times that were similar to her Ruby's gig, but averaged closer to $90 a day. At Christmas time she got massive tips from a lot of the members and a fat bonus, over $500, from the club. On January 1st of this year she had over $18,000 in the bank.
     Every year the club closed from January 1st until the middle of March. Summer mostly took it easy during this time, but Ruby's always let her pick up some shifts while she waited for the club to open again. Things were great until this year when the club didn't reopen.
     So she went back to full time at Ruby's. Six lunch closes a week. She was doing pretty well, with all those closing shifts, but the store itself was dying. It closed in November.
     But they opened a long-planned new store less than a month later, so Summer transferred there. The new store is doing well at night, but lunches aren't really happening yet. Summer's only averaging about $30 a day and it's not enough.
     Her husband, a recent college graduate at the age of 51, works days. Summer wants them to be able to spend their evenings together, but she knows she'll probably have to work some nights in order to make ends meet. The $18,000 is gone. It was mostly spent on a new truck they needed, but Summer admits that they bought a nicer truck than they had to.
     Summer is a terrific server, with a great personality and a salty sense of humor. She's got a great work ethic and people like her. She's having a rough time right now, but it'll get better.
     Merry Christmas everybody!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Secret Shame of Joe Sixtop c2010 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     For a lot of years I've mostly worked two jobs; one day and one night. Awhile back a tornado swept away my night gig. Some of you may feel disappointed that I was off that evening.So instead of hustling up and finding something else to do in the afternoons, I've just kept my shifts at the AM place and I pick up some nights there. I'm getting by, but not as well as I'm used to.
     And it'll probably be another couple of weeks before I get off my lazy ass and go seek something else. They've temporarily transferred me, as a trainer, to a new store they're opening. I'll probably bore y'all with some more about that later. ANYWAY, I knew a few of the people there, but it's basically a brand new set of coworkers. And I hate their fucking guts.
     It's not because they're A-holes or bad teammates or shitty workers; they're none of those. It's because they all work so many hours a week that I feel like a rich white college boy who picks up the occasional summertime waitshift at Daddy's country club just so he can bitch about his "job" to his frat brothers when he goes back to school in September. Nobody has just one job. Nobody's had a day off since, like, August. Nobody gets to kick back and chill. Nobody but me, and I'm ashamed of myself.
     The tornado wasn't my fault, but I've kind of used it as an excuse to kind of just coast for too long. I've worked beaucoup hours before and I can do it again. If these people can do it, then so can I. As soon as this training gig is over, I've got to force myself to go get an acceptable second job.
     But first, I'm going to enjoy this day off.

      The Center for the Scientific Study of Pointless Information has estimated that the readership here at "These American Servers" has now reached the low single digits. I'm shooting for the mid-single digits by year's end. Maybe with the help of my devoted readership (either of you) it can happen. Email (actually Gmail, you're smart, you can figure it out) me or hit me up on that Facebook thing all the kids are so into these days. Happy Holidays and 2011 to you and yours.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Old Murpho c2010 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     [After I wrote this, I realized that it makes me look like a super-cool guy and Chad Murphy look like some unenlightened dickhead. I definitely don't claim either perception to be accurate. I never said I was a good server or a good writer so I'm going to go ahead & serve this up anyway. Enjoy!]
     This really happened.
     If you've ever worked in any restaurants for more than 15 minutes, you've met some people that you'll remember the rest of your life. I've got lots of them; for instance my fellow honkie, Chad Murphy.
     We worked at an independently owned restaurant. Chad was the day bartender, Monday through Friday. He was a hardcore alcoholic, he was on work release due to a lot of spectacular DWI's, he was very proud of his Irish heritage and he liked to refer to himself in the 3rd person. And oh yeah, he was really racist.
     He didn't hate black people in general, he was cool with our black coworkers and loved his black sports heroes. I never discussed politics with him so I don't know his, but if his voting rights have been restored, he very well may have voted for Barack Obama. He just hated black customers.
     He had a pet name for these individuals, chakas or shakas or something like that. Someone finally explained to me that this name came from a TV series about a savage tribe in Africa that dined out a lot, or something.
     "Sorry pally. The old Murpho had to put the shakas in your station!", said Chad to me one afternoon. It was a 3top of well-dressed, middle-aged African-Americans, two women and a man. For some reason that day I replaced the typical careless, indifferent service I usually provide with my seldom-used A game.
     These customers loved me. They had a good meal and a good time and tipped me handsomely. They asked to speak to the manager. The manager was probably cooping in the office and anyway I knew what was coming. So I asked Chad to play manager and see what was up. I took a hike and looked on surreptitiously. I could see everyone smiling and conversing pleasantly.
     After the trio left, I asked Chad what their problem was. "No problems, Pally," Chad told me, "those shakas loved you! The old Murpho never gets shakas like that! You're lucky!"
     Yeah I am.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"The Fools of the Trade" c2010 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     The carpenter has tools at work; nails, a hammer, a saw (except for Karen, she brought drums and an eating disorder). The electrician has those colorful wires and the plumber has a plunger and some wrenches.
     We've got an apron full of crap like inkpens, lighters, a table crumber if we're swanky, a server book and a wine opener. All this stuff comes in handy and if I show up at work without any of these, I'm pretty bummed.Of course, even at my most hungover, I've always got them and I get a little irritated when my coworkers "borrow" any of them and I don't get them back.
     A lot of servers, even good ones, underutilize one of the most useful tools of all: their manager!
     I'll always remember the time a manager bit my skull off when I looked into the office to ask for some help. She was looking at Ebay. But most of the time, they'll fall all over themselves trying to help us. If you're weeded, it could lead to unhappy customers and most managers hate that. We even had one guy who'd fill up the ice bins (or as we call them, ice holes) just because thy were low. Awesome!
     Just ask. They'll run food, get drinks, prebus, all kinds of shit. You want your shift to go well and your money to be good. Use every implement at your disposal.
     After all, you already know: your manager is a tool.