Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mexican Hat ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Conversing with Sid the bartender caused the memories to come flooding back. The shit all went down on a Saturday night. Paula, our main PM bartender, had her kids that weekend so instead of closing on the floor like usual, I got to tend bar. It was pretty busy. I got some nice tippage, all of which I kept throwing into a vessel we lovingly referred to as the Mexican hat, although I'm pretty sure it was really just a Chinese basket.
     It was a long-ass bar, not circular. We had the service well at one end of it, to-go at the other. In between those, my narrow workspace. When I was facing my barflies, I had a wall behind me. On the other side of that wall was the kitchen. There was a little window in the wall that served as a passway. And there was a swinging door to the kitchen as well, right next to the POS register, my till and that aforementioned tip recepticle, the Mexican hat.
     It was a cool shift, I got some good money. The only thing a little out of the ordinary was that we had a new cook working that night. He stuck his head through my swinging door a few times to ask me stuff. Those brief convos seemed kind of unnecessary but really, I didn't give them much thought.We eventually closed. I stocked and cleaned. I did a checkout and turned in my drawer. Even though I was a hard-core partier in those days, I wasn't that night. I clocked out and went straight home. A couple of hours later, I realized I'd forgotten to transfer the money from the Mexican hat to my pocket. Oh fuck!
     I was off lunch the next day but I got up and went in anyway. I went in at 7:00 AM, when I knew the manager and a couple of cooks would be the first to arrive. I went behind the bar with great trepidation and stared into the Mexican hat. It was empty.
     Well, what can ya do? I don't know exactly how much I lost out on but a very conservative estimate would be a hundred bucks. Fortunately, it was the middle of the month and in no way at the time was it make-or-break money for me or anything. Still, it hella sucked.
     I never found out what happened to that cashish. I strongly suspect that the chatty new cook helped himself to it from the Mexican hat after I'd left the store. Hell, maybe he took it before I left. He's the only person on that night's shift with good bar access for whom I can't confidently vouchsafe their honesty. Looking back, he stuck his head through the bar door a lot that evening. A couple of days after the incident, he consumed a shift meal at my bar and told me an unsolicited sad story about how he and his wife were having problems and their daughter has sickle cell and his car was fucking up.
     That Saturday night was a long time ago. I've worked a lot of Saturday nights since then, including this one just past. Not at my usual night job but at my usual day job; I picked up a closing PM waitshift there. Future episodes of These American Servers'll probably tell more about that. Anyway, a pretty good shift for me, decent tips and no major difficulties. Just before I left the building I asked Sid, that evening's closing bartender, if he'd done OK. He hadn't. In fact, due to a shortage in his till that he had to make up, Sid was walking with a negative twelve dollars. He had a good attitude about it, he laughed a little and said, "Oh well."
     I asked if he had any idea what happened. He didn't know for sure but shared a very plausible theory about how he'd been the victim of Dallas, an affable, overweight, kind of slovenly young co-worker of ours who's a major stoner. I don't know Dallas very well—or if he's guilty or not—but my opinion of him just improved slightly. I previously wouldn't have thought him imbued with the cunning and self-motivation necessary to steal anything.

     Are there any unusual tip jars or suspected shyster-ass motherfuckers where you work?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Corporate Picnics ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Did ya see the most recent previous episode of These American Servers™  ("Fun New Drinking Games," September, 2012)? It's a righteous repost. When it originally appeared it showed up in the Google searches of several people who were looking for "monday night football drinking games" and like that. So I decided to rerun it this year when Monday Night Football® came back. This time, you know how many search engine hits it got? Precisely bupkus. Oh well.
     How about the installment immediately preceding it ("Hogging the Parking," August, 2012)? That one did a letter better; a couple of obviously super-cool intelligent people read it and commented! One of them chose to remain anonymous and wanted to know what Corporate Picnics are, I guess being as how that episode mentioned them. Corporate Picnics are when a good-sized work group, like a doctors' office or a passel of attorneys or something, calls in a big to-go order. They're usually one check, thank God, but that gets made up for by oceans of special mods. These things usually get phoned or faxed in during the rush. There tends to be a lot of other bovine cabins accompanying them, like the clients wanting their actual names—instead of just the name of the menu item—on their opaque chow boxes. Once in awhile if it's a slow to-go shift I'll yearn for a Corporate Picnic but usually they happen when I'm already pretty busy and cause me to plunge even deeper into the weeds. On the plus side, most, although certainly not all, of the people who pick these things up are pretty cool and it's rare that I get a less-than-adequate tip on one.
     Incidentally—no brag, just fact—I invented the term "Corporate Picnic," at least so far as I know. I don't recall reading or hearing it anywhere before I ever first said it. My co-workers, and probably you if you work in a restaurant, knew right away what it meant when it premiered and some of them even got a little chuckle out of it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fun New Drinking Games ©2011 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

      In honor of ESPN's Monday Night Football, and pro football in general, starting back up, here's a (slightly modified) righteous repost from last year that was kind of popular. And by "kind of popular," I really mean "nobody saw it." If you haven't ever checked it out, it's new to you, right? Enjoy!

     Do you ever play drinking games? For example, there's Monday Night Football. Watch Titans at Chargers, for instance, and every time Joe Buck or Mike Tirico or whoever, says, "First down San Diego!" everybody takes a drink. Then there's Fox News, where every time one of their resident douchebags says "Democrat" when they should have said "Democratic," or disses President Obama, your whole crew has to down a shot. I think it's safe to say that either of these drinking games will get anyone playing it fucked up pretty quick and there are a whole lot of other variations out there.
     I don't play drinking games, even when I'm hanging out with people who are. I binge at my own pace and get wasted just fine, thank you. Neither do I advocate drinking games. I think they encourage individuals who already like over-consuming alcohol to get even more hammered than they would if left to their own devices. But if folks are going to play them anyway, I want some of that market share! So here's an awesome new drinking game called These American Servers™. Play at your own risk.
     Everybody get out their internet-connected device. Log onto your favorite search engine. I like Startpage because of their privacy claims, and Google works pretty well too. Have someone call out a phrase or a title from These American Servers™. The first one to find a  reference to my internet column gets to make everybody else take a drink. Or you can deny the others a drink and have one yourself. Remember, and this is very important, you have to actually click on the link to These American Servers or your win isn't official.
     Try different search engines. If you want an easy, fast-paced game, go with Google Blogs. If you're trying to not get too blitzed too early, see what Yahoo or ixquick have for ya. They're not as friendly to These American Servers as some of the others are. Maybe you could see what Chinese Google has to offer.
     Whatever alcohol you imbibe when playing These American Servers is up to you. Perhaps the Chili's crew in Opelika, Alabama enjoy the game with 40 ounce jugs of Schlitz® Malt Liquor after work and you might have a good time with those. Watch out though. That shit is way more powerful than the weak-ass  "light"  beers that so many people are into these days.
     Please don't operate a motor vehicle if you've been playing These American Servers or while you're playing These American Servers. If you run across any rumors that poor, talented-yet-troubled entertainer Whitney Houston was playing These American Servers this past February 11th, please disregard them because they're probably not true.
     "But Joe," I might be asked if anyone actually read this, "I really want to play These American Servers, but ever since I read your excellent post from December of 2010 entitled "A Righteous Proposal," where you advocate a boycott of adult beverages until America ends its fucktarded "War on Drugs," I've given up drinking. Is there anything that I can do?"
     Well thanks for joining me, my hypothetical brother or sister. Just so you know, I haven't consumed any alcohol since that post went up either and I applaud you for being part of the solution instead of the problem. Together, we can make a difference. As a matter of fact, I do have a couple of suggestions about that. Instead of using Colt 45® say, or bourbon, you could substitute dankity-dank bong hits! Or maybe swap the booze for Caffeiene-Free Diet Pepsi®. Of course, if you go with that last one, you and your friends are probably some irredeemable wussies.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hogging the Parking ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     It was crazy fucking busy at my store a couple of Fridays ago. Like every Friday, I was working Curvesideto-go. Alone. If you're new to These American Servers™—and these days, who isn't?—Curveside is the gimmick where you phone in your to-go order and I put it together and bring it out to your ride. Most of your full-service, corporate casual dining restaurant-type chains have something similar, by whatever name they call it.
     When I got to work at the usual time, 10:30 AM, there were a lot of Curveside orders already phoned in, written down and stuck to my register—mostly featuring really shitty handwriting—including a couple of massive Corporate Picnics with oceans of special mods. I was getting weeded as soon as I clocked in and we didn't even open for 30 more minutes.
     At this store, I'm lucky to have competent managers who're (whores?) not skittish about jumping into the mix if they're needed and helping out. They help me plenty and I appreciate it. However, a lot of the time, they're busy eating the weeds of other employees or handling various crucial situations and I'm left to play my position as best I can without a lot of assistance from anyone.
     When you're working Curveside, you frequently get those eager motherfuckers who pull up way before their quoted time. It's usually not a big deal but that Friday it was like the trendy, latest thing that all the cool kids were into. Fortunately, everybody was pretty chill. I'd smile and tell them, "Hi! I wasn't expecting you for another 15 (or whatever) minutes," and they'd be OK. Except that by hogging the parking, they were cockblocking hungry motorists whose orders were ready. Most of these victims had the good sense and telecommunications to call and tell me where they'd found parking and I was able to get them taken care of. I dealt with it but all the extra steps ate up precious seconds.
     At one point during the busiest part of the whole ordeal, a nice, pretty attractive blonde, mid-30's, ordered and pulled up at the appointed time. I got her order out to her, negotiated commerce and made her some change. She commenced to johnsoning around with the ones and fives she'd received. It looked like I was in line for some tippage. I was so trying to not crash and burn that I inwardly frowned and said "fuck it" and outwardly smiled and said "thank you!" and hauled my ass back to the kitchen to bag up more orders. I felt really bad when, two or three minutes later, I was hustling out of the kitchen with several satchels of to-go grub and my lady had gotten out of her silver 2008 Hyundai® Elantra® and walked into the store so as to give me four dollars. She's a nice person; her name's Joy. I seriously hope and expect Joy's not reading this but if you are, thank you Joy. That was very kind and you didn't have to do it.