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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rest in Peace

Now that I have earned gainful employment at a new establishment, I finally feel free to write about my last job and how I was unceremoniously dumped from it. I won't say the name of the place because that would be completely unprofessional, but they really acted like a total piece of shit. Well, when I say "they" I really mean the owner. My actual managers were all pretty cool and so were the people I worked with except for one guy. Man, this guy was a total fruit loop and really really old. (Hey, Bill! Luv ya!)

I gave VYNL on the Upper East Side the best eleven months of my life. I was on time, respectful, fastidious, reliable and loyal. And if you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know how well I treated my tables. For the last three months rumors were swirling that we would be closing but no one would confirm or deny. We were told that maybe the restaurant would close for two weeks to remodel and then reopen as a Mexican food restaurant, but we would all still have jobs. And in the two weeks that we would be closed, they would do their best to find us shifts in some of the other restaurants that the asshole owner owned. Or maybe they would give us a stipend to tide us over while the remodel happened. That talk slowly faded away. Because the owner is an asshole.

After weeks of rumors the most persistent one was that we would close by the end of August. Here it was the middle of the month and we still had no official word. So I called the corporate office.

"Thank you for calling Chowdown Inc, can I help you?"

"Uh, hi. My name is [The Bitchy Waiter] and I work at VYNL Second Avenue. I keep hearing that we are closing next week but no one will tell me if that's true. Since I've worked there for almost a year, I feel like I should know if I will be unemployed next week. Can you tell me what's going on?"

Pause. Pause. "I dunno. I haven't heard anything about the restaurant closing."

"Really?" I say incredulously. "Because I would think if one of your five restaurants were closing then if anyone would know about it, it would be the corporate office. Don't you think that's odd?"

"Have you asked you manager about it," she asked me. Like I hadn't thought of that brilliant idea.

"Yeah, I did. They say they don't know either and I don't know if they really don't know or they're just supposed to say they don't know. You know? Can you understand my frustration?"

Pause. "You should ask John about this." John is the asshole owner who had avoided coming into our location for the last few weeks because he knew we would ask him this very question.

I told her I would ask John. "Can I have his number?"

Pause. Pause. "I don't know it." Seriously? This bitch thinks I believe that she doesn't have the number for her boss who is the president and owner of the company that she works for? She doesn't know how to reach him? It must make it really difficult to give him his messages, poor thing. "I can send you to his voice mail," she eeks out.

So I left him a completely professional voice mail-for real, totally professional- about how I just kinda needed to know if I should be looking for a job and could he please call me back when he gets a chance and all that. He didn't call back. So I called back two days later and left another really nice voice mail which he didn't return either. Because he's an asshole.

A few days later we were finally told. On Thursday they informed us that we would be closing and our last day would be Sunday. They gave us three whole days of notice and I only had one shift left. On my last day we were told not to tell any of our tables that we were closing and reopening later. They didn't want customers to know that it would be the same company with a different name and menu. I could totally respect that so I told every single table that we were closing and we were reopening later but it would be the same company with a different name and menu. I also told every table how little notice they gave us because I was totally playing the sympathy card. One regular we called Coach (hated him) overheard me telling someone we were closing in two days. His response? "Oh no! My turkey burger!" My response? "Oh no, my job!" That shut him up.

Two week later, I had not received my last paycheck, so I made a call to the corporate office. The clueless wonder of a receptionist said that she thinks they were mailed to another restaurant for us to go pick them up. Nevermind I didn't work at that restaurant and was never told that was where my check would be. "I think they were going to see if anyone came to pick them up and if they didn't they would mail them out to you."

I responded. "Why would I go to a restaurant I have never worked at to get my final check after I was fired? I don't wanna sit around for three weeks and wait until someone finally decides to put a stamp on my paycheck. Do me a favor. Call them and ask them to mail me my check tomorrow, please." I got my check two days later.

And VYNL Second Avenue can eat it. Along with the owner, John. They both suck.

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Aunty Pol said...

Ok...first of all that sucked.

Been in that position w/o k-y when I worked in the industry but..

Please bear in mind that the receptionist ( yes I am taking up for her here as I have worked that job for attorneys in Houston for 27 + yrs ) may not have been given any other real information and just been left to wing it. A lot of times the ass hats who do this crap like the owner leave the phone jockey's no other option but to tap dance.

Yeah for you for being real with the tables.

eternalcarryoutgirl said...

I feel kind of bad for the receptionist. I bet that girl's been getting a lot of calls from angry ex-employees like you, asking things that she's not allowed to tell you or she honestly doesn't know. Her job has probably been threatened if she divulges certain information, if the owner is as big of an asshole as you say.

I'm sorry about what happened, though. I fear it will soon be happening to my restaurant, as well.

The Bitchy Waiter said...

I aplogize to the receptionist, but I must say I was always very nice to her. really, I was.

Paula said...

a friend of mine worked New Years Eve, made good money, went out for breakfast with another waitress who worked there, when she brought her friend back to get her car there were 2 moving vans in the parking lot and everything was being moved out. Mind you this is 3:00AM New Years Eve. They hid in the bushes and watched it all. The day after New Years Day when the lunch shift came in there was a closed sign on the door.. so much for giving notice....Most restaurant owners could give a crap for their sad.... Hope your new place is good to you, Bitchy !!!!!

Banquet Manager said...

Don't burn any never know who will be your next boss.