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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mandatory Meetings Can Eat My Pud

Ahh, the mandatory meeting. In no other job outside of the restaurant industry have I been expected to attend a meeting that may or may not be on my day off. The most recent one I was forced to attend was in fact on my day off. Sure, we may get paid for it, but like I need that extra $5.00 for an hour long meeting. I'd rather have my day off, thanks. The meetings are always the same. The owner or district manager or whoever the fuck else shows up and burps out some words of wisdom. This particular meeting was also attended by a silent partner who was anything but silent. Every time he piped in, I automatically dismissed his comments because he knows absolutely nothing about serving. Besides, his wardrobe looked like he raided the closet of Mr. Furley and how can anyone take him seriously? The meetings are meant to inspire, challenge, correct and educate but really all they do is create a big "shut the fuck up" moment that happens collectively among the employees. These people show up and act like they know what is best even though they only show their faces once every four or five months Their ideas may look good on paper, but they need a healthy dose of reality. Unless you are in the restaurant every day, you really don't know how things work. Do I resent them? Oh hell yes.

At the most recent mandatory meeting, I took notes because I wanted to make sure that I got all of their points down on paper in order to memorize them and make our establishment a better place. No not really. I took the notes so I could put them on this blog and people could see how utterly lame and pointless the meeting was. These are a few of the things that were deemed important enough for me to forfeit my day off and drag my ass to work for an hour:
  • Up sell. No shit. Anyone who has waited tables for more than a hot second knows this point. "A vodka/tonic, sir? Is there any vodka in particular you would like? Might I suggest Grey Goose, Kettle One or Any Other Way Expensive Brand?"
  • No eating while on the clock. Yeah, right. Uh huh. Sure. You try working an eight hour shift with no break and see if you don't grab a handful of whatever you can get.
  • No drinking. Excuse me, how the hell do you expect me to deal with the bitch at table 18 if I don't have a hidden glass of Pinot Grigio in a plastic cup?
  • No cell phones at work. Now that is just dumb. Look, I'm not going to be answering my phone whilst taking an order but I will have my cell phone with me. I need it. It is very important that my phone is in my possession so when someone stiffs me I can take a picture of their credit card receipt and publish it to Facebook. It's what I do. T-Mobile made me do it.
  • Be friendly. Oh, really? I thought I was supposed to openly show my disdain for my guests. Thanks for pointing that one out.
  • Be upbeat. That's why I need the plastic cup of Pinto Grigio.
  • Do your sidework. Again, this pearl of wisdom fell right off the Obvious Truck.
  • Respect one another and respect your managers. Now that is just fucking hilarious.
Yes, that was the extent of the meeting. Why they didn't simply send us an email or text message, I'll never know. Perhaps our silent partner wanted to show off his latest pant and jacket combo and felt that a mandatory meeting was the best way to do that. As for the information we were given, file them all under "no, duh" and call it a day. Here are a few more nuggets of wisdom I am surprised they didn't mention to us. All equally obvious but just as important:
  • Wear your pants at work at all times.
  • Do not floss your teeth while standing at a table. Do this in the sidestand or the service bar.
  • Do not pour vodka on a guest and light them on fire no matter how tempting it is.
  • No pets allowed.
  • Be alive when you show up to work.
  • Clock in and out so we can pay you even though you do this for the love of it and not the money.
  • No smoking crack, shooting heroin or tripping on acid while on the clock.
  • When someone orders something, ring it in, and then bring it to them when it's ready because we owners think you are so stupid that you may not understand your function as a server and we feel better if we point out the obvious. It makes us feel superior to you because we all have small penises and have to exhibit or machismo and authority every chance we get.
I hate the obligatory mandatory meetings in the restaurant world. Only once has the meeting been worth attending. We had a pizza party at it. Next time I go, I'll just have to make sure my plastic cup of Pinto Grigio is full.

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Babs n Bacchus said...

Ahhhh, I do not miss those mandatory meetings! Now our meetings are about cool wine :)

M-lo said...

I've made my lateral move from server to management and am baffled at things you have to make clear to every member of the staff. 1. No, you cannot bring your dog to work and tie him up behind the kitchen for the day. 2. Your significant other has to pay for coffee even though it's just coffee. Particularly when you give it to them in doubled hot go-cups that cost $.20/ea plus the lid. 3. Close the damn lid to the ice bin. Particularly since you feel the need to separate stuck glasses by tapping them on the wood above the open ice bin resulting in shattered glasses two busy shifts in a row. 4. Don't even show up to work if you don't have shoes. It doesn't matter that your significant other is bringing them, I don't want your Jiffy Mart looking feet in the building. 5. Don't pick up a $100 bill for a $30 check and ask if they need change you lazy twat. Actually, don't ever ask if they want change.

For the record I didn't hire these people. :-)

Anonymous said...

no jokes, at my last job we were literally told that we have to keep our pants and shirts on whilst we are on the clock....apparently a situation had indeed occurred and prompted this particular statement.

The Empress said...

Just goes to show that idiots really do run the asylum!

California Girl said...

I read your posts, scream with laughter.

My husband asks, "What's so funny?"

I read your blog posts to him while laughing the entire time.

He asks, "Who wrote it?"

"Bitchy Waiter of course!"

He's heard that answer before. He just smiles and shakes his head.

Practical Parsimony said...

Do you realize that in education, there are mandatory meetings? Yes, and every question anyone asked, the person from the state who was the expert in that area did not know the answer. She would have to investigate because no one had ever asked that question before. The information she did bring up with a power point had us all bored to tears because that was exactly what we did. Actually, any one of us could have given the PP presentation. And, we don't get paid as much as the traveling expert who also got meals, gas, motel, per diem. No wonder education is getting more money with less results. At least drinking is something expected somewhere in your work, our students might bring it in, but we cannot join them.

Mary A. said...

Sadly, mandatory meetings are not limited to the restauraunt industry. Every year, we get to review our sexual harassment and discrimination policy. For the record, we are against both sexual harrassment and discrimination. Still. Yet every year HR makes me attend a 4 hour meeting about how referring to someone as "Meskin" is offensive. no shit you piece of white trash. Suck my dick.

Sorry -- that may be considered offensive

Noelle said...

We just have pre-shift meetings. Right before we open. All are already here anyway.
Sometimes management plays passive aggressive and addresses the whole staff when only one really needs the talking to. I don't make the whole staff endure the lecture meant for the problem child.

TacoDave said...

It still beats the team meetings we were forced into at Best Buy. Coming in at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to watch training videos and participate in company cheers was not my idea of fun. And I was a college student, so it was doubly idiotic.

Noelle said...

@Mary A. - This independent restaurant does NOT cover sexual harassment. They all already know how to do it and do it well. The reminder every year would just escalate the daily offenses. "Turn the other cheek or bare it".
I know it's very wrong.

Anonymous said...

I work in a casino and we also have mandatory meetings, usually on my day off!!

M-lo..Gotta love it!

Last madatory meeting I attended the HR person spent 4 minutes to tell us about riding her horse. For the life of me I cannot remember the point she was trying to make, but the only thing I could think about is how she weighed about 300 pounds and that poor horse.

Anonymous said...

I have two mandatory meetings at work this morning for waitstaff, and one on Friday morning for bartenders (yes, I'm a hybrid). Everything you ticked off is everything I expect to hear, but you missed one: Show up on time. I routinely abuse the on-time, the drinking and the cell usage. I make up for most of that with my charming personality and ability to out-sarcasm most people. Besides, if I'm going to be a bartender in the Caribbean where the blender runs all day I believe it's my God given right to drink on the clock...amiright?

Nicci @ St Thomas Blog

sherri said...

I used to work at a place where they loved meetings....ugh....
just found your blog tonight and I loved it!

Thirsty Kirstie said...

My personal fav this week is one of our wait staff who could not find the plastic cutlery for the picnic baskets so offered the guest real cutlery to TAKE AWAY and never bring back (being a take away picnic hamper). OMG

Sarah said...

Trust me I feel your pain. We have a mandatory meeting EVERY month! And worse, it is the third SATURDAY of each month a 1230. In the summer, this sucks because most of us are at the beach, and if you have to work you leave at 130 or 2 and then have to be back for your shift at 245 to set up. It's the same speech every month and if you don't go they dock $25 from your paycheck.

Estrellita said...

The Obvious Truck! I love it! If you've been to one meeting, you've been to all. Stencil this crap on the kitchen wall, and call it a day. A friendly, respectful, upbeat employee is one who didn't have to schlep to work on his day off. (And please don't try to disguise a meeting as a wine tasting! I want to spend my day off drinking when and where I choose with people whose company I enjoy.)

Xarata said...

We used to have mandatory liquor tasting meetings(to "familiarize"- ah those were the days.