Yay! I got a bartending job! It's been 6 years since I've been on the other side of the bar. I'm pretty comfy on either side, but I like the side that puts money in my pocket rather than takes it out. So, off I went, last night, to the place that serves good sushi and even better Mai Tais.
Boo! Reality, as always, sets in and fucks everything up. I was worried that I might be too old, too haggard, too just not good enough. It never occurred to me that the job would suck and the people I would be working for would be absolute dirt bags.
First, the bar manager, "Peter" calls me "honey" all night. Fine, he's clearly not really a Peter, so what the hell, I can be honey. It's not a derogatory term unless you're Gloria Steinem, and I am so far from her ideals that I could be on Mars to her Venus. The job is hard, with food service added to mixology and unmarked secret mixes that need memorizing. I'm hanging in, I can take a lot of crap before I crumble. I make it through a shift, serving chow mein and chicken fingers with scorpion bowls and love potion. I mastered the computerized cash register, the Keno, and the constant dinging of the machine that prints out the wait staff's drink orders.
I'm good, dammit. Raising the monsters has brought multi-tasking to a whole new level... I can literally balance plates on my ankles.
When it's time for me to clock out, I ask the manager how the tips will be split. Tips? Oh, no, no tips when you are training. In fact, no pay at all and you will need at least two weeks of training before you will be ready to be on your own.
So, let me get this straight... I will work for free for two weeks. I will mix drinks and serve food while another bartender watches me. I will earn $20 tips with my winning smile and gracious attitude and I will watch the leaning trainer count my bills and take them home. For two weeks?! I can understand three shifts, but two weeks is just downright abusive. Then, the manager hands me a printout of the possible mistakes I might make, to study. On sheet number two, there are definitions of sushi, sashimi, maki, tobiko and wasabi.
Wasabi = Japanese hot mustard
Now, I love sushi, sashimi, tobiko and especially wasabi. Wasabi is not mustard, not even close. It's Japanese horseradish. Now, this isn't such a big deal, really, except, well... it is! How can this Japanese woman hand me a list of facts that are not factual at all? I hate to be a stickler, but really, I have to study all this AND work for free? I do need the job, so I will suck it up and not correct the dummy who owns the place.
Or... will I?
I would have. I really would have. Then, she tells me that bartenders are not allowed to count their own tips, ever. She takes the tips into her office at the end of the night and counts them and gives them to you the next day. Huh? Having never heard of such a practice, I was a little stunned and didn't say a word. I just left, feeling a little defeated.
I didn't sleep well last night. I kept replaying all the Little things that bothered me, like the manager telling me my shirt was too low cut, even though it was a tee that came up to my collar bones. But, the money thing really bothered me. There's no way they're not stealing from their employees. Why else would they need to count your tips and not give them to you until the following day?
I paced around all morning. I hate those moments when things don't feel right, but, for whatever reason you hang in doubting your own intuition. Then, I came to the conclusion that I was being played a fool. I really hate feeling like someones fool. It's a job I've been working for far too long in my personal life and I'll be damned if I'm going to let a total stranger play me like this.
So, I called this afternoon and told the manager of false information that while I appreciated the opportunity, I decided that I do not want to work for them.
That felt good. Not as good as money in my pocket, but better than Japanese mustard.