Monday, 26 November 2007

Where's the money coming from?

just waiting...

The new little puppies started this weekend. And thankfully my kingdom is secure. Well my insecurities have been assuaged, for another while at least. There are no new males in the little batch of new restaurant recruits. So it seems I didn't need to fling my shit or mark my territory. That said I do enjoy the occasional tantrum and puffing of chest. They are keen and full of enthusiasm. They'll soon get that knocked out of them. By the customers that is, not me. I did warn them about my many mood swings and penchant for a hissy fit. It's good that they know to expect it. Like those with epilepsy I should be moved to a comfortable position where I cant hurt myself or others. And it's usually over in a few minutes.

They are actually some of the best new recruits the overlords have hired in ages. One is a previous employee, strange that she applied a few weeks before Christmas. Or am I being cynical? I will also bet my my fat ass that she wont be serving as much as a single chip by January the second. This weekend was much busier than expected. And it had an effect on the new staff's training. I never got to show them how I like my coffee!

Like I said this weekend was ten ways of mental. I thought there was meant to be a calm before the storm. The old certainties are disappearing. The last week of November is meant to be a dead zone, a temporary cessation of hostilities. We go to work, the customers stay at home. They are meant to be internet shopping and scaring their children to bed with stories about Santa's naughty/nice list. They are meant to saving their money to buy huge flat screen TV's and gamestation360boxcubes or whatever they are called. There is only one pay check left until Christmas so where the hell do they get the money to come out to play all weekend? Are they going down the back of Donald Trump's sofa searching for spare change? Or maybe they aren't getting the kids presents this year. Crikey! What next, busy after St Valentines day? Fully booked on New Years Day?

It was the same in the summer too. July is normally on a par with January for being piss poor for jobbing waiters. No customers, no cash, nothing but beans on toast for me. But not this year. This year we were awash with holidaying tourists and locals who hadn't taken the traditional route to Galway or Donegal. It was strange I can tell you. The days of the "July Fortnight" are well and truly over. In many respects it's a very good thing, it's a sign of progress and political stability. On the other hand it makes it harder to plan your holidays. No waiter wants to take a week off work to discover that he missed 7 golden days of American tourists with their 20% attitude. We worship at their fat feet.

Whilst the customers are different the restaurant year flows the same year after year after year. The first six weeks are rubbish. There is lots of introspection and wondering if it's time to move on and serve another chef's potatoes. This is when a lot of restaurant staff do move on. The days are dark and dull and the nights worse. Even the tips on a good night look paltry against the worst nights in December. Greed is a terrible thing. Then all of a sudden you are taking St Valentines day bookings and you aren't gonna leave before that tip fest. The 14th also marks the time when business picks up again. The Christmas credit card bills are paid, or at least under control and people are treating themselves again.

Time trundles on and the evenings get brighter and you are feeling happier about life. The new spring menu is out and gone are the heavy winter foods. You are excited again. The phone hops with bookings for St Patrick's day and mothers day and you would be madder than a Frenchman to leave before those golden shifts. You plan your summer holiday and you couldn't possibly leave before they start. Then you are skint when you come back. You offer to work extra shifts. There are now plenty of tourists so there is plenty of money. Then the Christmas bookings start. It's all you can think, about well the cash cow bit of it that is. You gloss over the hours at work and the fights with the head chef. In your mind you can see yourself rolling around in a big pile of money, naked save for a santa hat. And you sure as shit ain't gonna leave before that.

Before you know it Halloween has come and gone and you are staring Christmas straight in the face. The fear grips you, not of the work or the customers or even the unmerciful head chef, but fear that the tips wont be as good as last year and you wont get to roll naked, save for a Santa hat, in a pile of money. And isn't that what Christmas is all about?

12 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Upset Waitress said...

Interesting post about your season. People from Europe are all on vaca over here right now. What is with Brits not wanting to eat a full meal? They are just as fat and only want a frickin piece of toast with tea. Anyway, I want everyone to know that people from Ireland will most likely tip at least 20% over here. Brits don't. Well, one out of five of them do.

Back to topic. I will hire a girl in the next couple of weeks to help us get through season. Then I will cut her off to 2 shifts a week and she will quit. I've had a re-hire every year for the past 12 years now. That's not a bad turnover. 12 new people in 12 years.

Medbh said...

I am so loving that pic, Manuel.
It's naughty and nice.

Your post reminds me of Michael in the Godfather when he intones that everytime he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.
And so it goes.

bendersbetterbrother said...

Yeah, Belfast's full of people at the weekends with mucho wonga these dyas.

I hope to have some bonus money in January Manuel, I'll be spending, tipping. Remember to smile. BTW, what is it you really do...

MJ said...

You want bigger tips?

Show 'em your navel.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Every time a person rolls around naked in money with a santa hat on, a North Pole elf is taken out to a cold bleak yard and shot to death.

These days I make sure all my nude money rolling is conducted with strict adherence to international elfin rights laws and I wear a nobby tile instead. As the song goes. There was also something about child mutilation in African diamond mines but you can't be boycotting everything now can you. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Mudflapgypsy said...

Very interesting view on how things have changed Manueal.
The peace dividend, as they say.

I think that credit cards are being thrashed before payday though. It is the only explanation I can think of.

I have a few things to get before the day of gluttony.
I am sitting tight afterwards as things ain't so good in the banking world right now and it will be interesting/scary to see how things pan out.

UW: it seems that the exchange rate has britain flocking to the US to shop shop shop. I moved to a small town from belfast and I can't eat a full meal here....nobody believes you when you mention that the portions are larger either....

Dennis said...

Great post. My fat feet won't be leaving American soil, but I've instructed my countrymen to pack no more than a 19% attitude. The fat bastards.

Sure, you'll brag after the holidays about how you made "around 20%," but I'll know the truth.


- Dennis

Chummy said...

you dirty dirty fat naked man. You disgust me and thrill me

OneForTheRoad said...

Where's the love Manuel? when did it all become about tips?

Remember in the old days? When you'd wait on people just to see the smiles on their faces? Where have they gone? Those golden days of your youth, when it was all about making a difference?

Is 20% worth more than a sparkling smile and a hearty thank you?

Not in my world. Not in a world I want to live in...

savannah said...

i wish you sweet tips, sugar! but i'm stuck stateside until the exchange rate changes :-(

Manuel said...

crazy day, i'll deal with these after I do a bit of blog hopping.....

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