Friday, January 28, 2011

A Different year a Different Feel

This year I decided to do somethings different, first I have started working again, but at a place that was most unlike of me...a fast food restaurant.

It is strange because, before when I was a paying customer, it was a different feel to now that I am working there, it is challenging and interesting. It seems that fast food restaurants have a very high turnover, and lately they all have hiring posters like, "We are hiring..." and stuff, so I said to myself, "Let me see if they will take me in", so I signed up, and two weeks later I received a call, got my uniform...and cap and trained to say to hungry/angry/impatient Trinis, "Hi Welcome to ..................., what are you having?"...topped with cherry cheeks and a smile.

As a paying customer you want to be pleasantly treated, and served quickly. Sometimes you get a bit of attitude from the workers, this is not right because it is a service industry, and they have to provide the service. You are spending your money you want good service.

Now lets look at the workers' perspective:

He/She is putting in 8-12 hours of work a day for $12-$16 an hour tops. Basically, they are supposed to work for 8 hours, with one 30 minute break. You are actually on your feet for 7 hours and 30 mins and even more, if, like me, you are early and start working as soon as you reach. With a full staff, this is quite easy, and after the shop is closed, they can clean up within the hour. When we are short staffed, clean up takes from one to two and a half hours.

Let me break it down for you, One person is cashing, three people are serving the customers, one person is washing up and one person continues to prep the food so that it does not run out. These jobs can be switched, and each person can assist each other so that at the end of the day, all workers can return home early and at a safe time. Most times this is not the case.

In reality, you are grossly understaffed, and because of this some workers have to work double shifts like 17 hours. Other workers simply do not turn up for work, just like that. And yet still, others don't pull their weight. So one person have to do two or three jobs. And 8 hours feel essentially like two days, and you will not be getting paid for that.

And then there are the customers like the following:

The Drunks- this is a free country and you are free to drink as much as you can, please, pretty please, don't be fall down drunk and decide to, "Ooooooooorrrrder aaahhhhhhhh *swaying*  *drifting* HEY! yuh aint seee meeee standin' hereeee?" *blubbering*.

Please, order first before drinking, and then burst your liver later, we simply can't be bothered.

The Elderly- I love my old folks, but if you come in and there are 15 sour faces in the line, please don't make an order. Return later when there are no one or at least three people, or else you will simply get no respect. We have to serve each customer in under 5 mins, we cannot handle 50 questions plus prices, and, "Why you not smiling, I could be your granny." Yes ma'am, while I do understand your plight, this is simply not the place for such discussions when there are aggressive glaring customers behind you.

The Joint Smoker - I have nothing against marijuana, but please take us servers into consideration, who have to smell your green tainted breath, while your scrambled brains try to  decode the colorful messages swimming around in your head, sleep it off and return later.

The Gunta (or Bad Boy)- A hungry man is an angry man, please, take a chill pill, pocket the gun, knife, daggers, etc. We are not going to call the police, and we don't want to beat you up. We only need your money.

The Charmer- You will get the best service, and the best pieces of meat, you are loved.

The Flirt- You are loved as well, but many of us have kids, and boy-friends and husbands, and the worst thing that can happen is that they come in and see you flirting with us, unless you can kick like Bruce Lee, you need state your order, pay and get out.

The Crazy Eyes- yes your stomach is controlling how you can see, focus, please, focus. You will get your order in no time.

The Order Barker- Yes we make 70% less than you. So while you are glaring at us, and treating us like dirt, we are smiling, and will give you less than you are paying for, no lie. I am not a pro at this, but the other girls can win Oscars©  in this category.

The Know-What-You want- you are pleasant, patient, and direct. You are a shining example.

The Bad Breath- We are dealing with food, and you just make us want to puke all over it, say it with me: PEPPERMINT. Thanks.

The Silent Voice-Trinis can cuss, and they do so very loudly, especially where I am working, and they are usually very quiet. So, if I ask you to speak louder, please do so, and since I am tonal deaf, I will need to read your lips to help with your order.

The Slug- Yep you are slow, and you painfully drrrrrrraaaaaaaggggggg your order. Please no questions, just mmmooooooooovvvvvvveeeeee along.

The Smoker- Please see The Bad Breath

The Boulder Mouth Pointer- Do you see that glass screen, it is to prevent foreign contaminant, and saliva missiles. In addition, do not reach over and point your busted finger at me, my clothes or my face, it is offensive and again....foreign contaminated.

The Tourist- Welcome to Trinidad and Tobago, and please come again. 

That is all I have for now, there is a new story every day, and new challenges...but with some soft shoes, determination, and a smile, I will be out of there.

2011©Lisa Marie Bonaparte

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