By now I’m sure you’ve all heard the well-circulated story about how a pastor at a St. Louis-area restaurant refused to tip an automatically added 18% gratuity on religious grounds and then went ape-shit demanding everyone get fired when it went viral.
Yeah that sucks. And unfortunately these incidents happen at restaurants every day. I could spend hours around a campfire recounting horror stories of guests just like this one.
Imagine my relief when I landed a job as an improv comedy actress making literally over 15 times what I made hourly as a waitress. As soon as I got that job, I earned myself one of these:
Although my patience and balance would never let it happen, I envisioned a few different scenarios of ragequitting as so many of my cohorts before me had. I thought of choosing the perfect guest who epitomized every barf-encrusted jumbo jerk I’d ever encountered, been stiffed by or snapped at like some kind of lapdog, grabbing my dignity by the horns and just completely freaking out on them before walking out.
What I didn’t expect was that the epitome of all douche canoes I had been waiting for would end up as my general manager.
Please, dear god, give me Jennifer Aniston instead.
When I first found out that my restaurant would be having a new general manager transferred in, I asked my good friend Neil, a former employee under this man, what he thought of him.
He replied, “[Shithead Fatcat*] is the worst human being I have ever had the misfortune of working for.”
Followed by, “No, the worst human being I have ever met in my life.”
*Names changed out of respect
Here is a consolidated list of some changes that Shithead Fatcat made at my former place of employment under his tyrannical regime and why they contribute to me resigning:
1. Eliminated “Team Member of the Month” Program: I was the last Team Member of the Month before it was given the axe. Every month one hard worker would be selected, get their name put on a bulletin board with a little star around it, and eat free for a week. Can’t be having that. The company money has since been redirected to allowing Fatcat a week’s worth of free meals every time he works.
2. Became “Big Brother”: When I first heard that Shithead decided to install multiple surveillance cameras throughout the restaurant, I actually got excited. We’ve had issues with employees stealing from coat pockets and purses in the break room as well as issues with walk-outs, and I thought the cameras might finally rectify these situations.
False. They are non-recording cameras that link to an iPhone app, installed for the sole purpose of Shithead Fatcat finding arbitrary reasons to yell at employees from the comfort of his own home.
So far this technology has done nothing to prevent continued dine-and-dash incidences or thievery. And speaking of dine-and-dashes…
3. Issued policy that ALL dine & dash incidences be paid for in full by “the server responsible”: That’s right. If some scumbag teens want a meal for free and book it, you are expected to become The Flash, tackle them to the ground and force them to pay up. Otherwise, you get to pay for your guest’s meal out of your own pocket – and that’s on a $2.65/hr salary. Not to mention, the price of the meal is still added to your total sales, which accounts for how much you still have to tip out your food runner, your busser, and your bartender accordingly.
I once worked with a mother of 7 who had to pay all $200 she made during her double shift as well as $20 she brought from home to cover an entire party’s bill after they snuck out on her while she was being double sat. That one was painful.
4. Began demanding nonsensical tribute from employees: Upon employment, employees are given a four-digit clock-in number. Optionally, employees may use small plastic company swipe cards to access their screens. When Shithead Fatcat entered management, he began telling employees without swipe cards that they must either pay $20 for a new one or forfeit their shift. On a nice summer day when I rode my bike to work and accidentally forgot my swipe card, Shithead actually told me to ride home and get it and ride back.
Assuming swipe cards look like this…
$20 worth of tiny plastic lies
…I became skeptical, wondering how 2-inches of plastic could possibly cost $20. A manager from another store in the area confirmed my suspicions by telling me that in addition to simply using 4-digit clock-in numbers, one could also use their license or an old gift card as a free means of swiping. Busted.
5. Issued policy that employees must work without being paid: It has always been a suggestion that you arrive 15 minutes early for your shift, and it has always been preferred that you complete your closing duties within 45 minutes of being cut, but now it is strictly enforced, with no monetary payoff. You are obligated to begin your shift 15 minutes early, but you may not clock in until your shift is scheduled to start. (No $0.66 for you!) You are obligated to complete your closing duties within 45 minutes, and if you do not, a manager will manually clock you out, and you will finish your duties unpaid. And it gets so much worse.
Working overtime is grounds for being written up or even terminated, even if your managers are the ones scheduling you in at 40 hours a week and asking you to come in early or stay late. If you have reached your maximum hours, you are obligated to carry out the duration of your shift – unpaid.
That’s a great question, kid I found by googling “child pondering”!
Yes it is! According to state AND federal law, it is illegal to ask your employees to work off the clock.
And finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back…
6. Issued the most nonsensical “fake pocket” policy I have ever heard of: When I was first hired in two years ago, I was made aware of the dress code: black socks, black belt, black apron, black pants with a belt loop and four pleated pockets. Got it. Bought myself a fresh pair of Dickies and got to hustlin’.
Fast forward to two years of positive guest compliments, company-noted appreciation, and a laundry list of unbridled acts all from yours truly.
It is a cold but beautiful February morning and as always I am in a great mood, ready to bring cheer and sunshine to the otherwise miserable atmosphere of gloom that is my place of employment. As I am driving to work, I see a billboard (pictured above) with a young girl ambitiously gazing toward the sky and the words: “Will your actions inspire change?” Beside her is a photograph of Rosa Parks, labeled “Civil Rights Activist”.
I know that it is just a Biggby Coffee advertisement, but as a true Detroit native and a big Rosa Parks fan, the billboard really spoke to me.
As I walk in and begin preparing for what would have been an all-day double shift, I am pulled aside by one of my managers, and the following dialogue transpires…
Management: I can’t let you work today. [Shithead] says you aren’t wearing the proper pants.
Me: What do you mean? These are black Dickies. I have the belt loop. I have the four pockets. What’s wrong with them?
Management: Your back pockets aren’t correct. They are supposed to be just slits, not real.
Management: Correct. You may return to work when you purchase the proper pants.
No. Absolutely not. I will not metaphorically relocate to the back of the bus. I will not lie to the world with an illusion of useable pockets that are actually slits. I will not work for a man who refuses me work based on the realness of my pockets. Fuck you very much, you just lost one of your best employees.
Workers: Stick up for yourself and your rights.
Managers: Have your employee’s backs and protect their rights.
Everyone else: Be nice to your servers! They deal with some shit!
If you are morally opposed to supporting a business that knowingly breaks the law to fatten the pockets of corporate fatcats, I am not morally opposed to giving you the location of my former place of employment or the real name of my former oppressor.
Consider this my formal resignation.
UPDATE: I’ve been offered some criticism for singling out one man when he is just “carrying out orders” of corporate policy. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. I loved working for the company when I was under the employ of my former general manager. Things were much different; I had the company’s back and they had mine. Things ARE much different at other locations under different management. Things changed when management changed, and thought correlation does not always measure causation, in this instance it did.
For the sake of not entirely demonizing the man, I will say that he does have some good qualities. However, my criticisms of his management performance as listed above deserve consideration. Dude’s got to rectify some issues, even if he’s dogged into it.