I had only been working there for a few months but that was long enough for me to already hate being a Garden Ho(e). Darden, Olive Garden’s parent company, was the largest restaurant corporation in the known universe and working there was the largest pain in the ass any normal human being can handle. I remember one time the cracked out GM came up to me, eyes completely bloodshot, screaming at me because he thought I had put more soup in a soup bowl than the 4.673 ounces the manual said to put in the bowl. Don’t forget that the soup came with free refills. Cocaine is said to be a hell of a drug and I guess one of the side effects is that it can make you care a whole lot about enforcing standards. This was in addition to the constant policing of buttons. ‘Is your top button buttoned?’ It was like being in the military, only without the getting to play with guns or having a sense of pride or self worth.
I was pretty well sick of the place when I was asked to be a bartender and I was ready to start looking for another job to hate. There was an element of pissy, horrible people that worked there that poisoned the environment and I just didn’t care to work with them. Plus there were a lot of thieves that worked there. I’ve never worked anywhere where so much got stolen. You literally could not leave your [insert noun here] lying around without it getting stolen. Every other night somebody had money stolen from them. One of the day bartenders would routinely try to steal money from the drawer of the night bartender via the use of a key that the GM somehow refused to believe existed, but that’s a story for a different time. When the bar manager was asking me if I wanted to bartend I was initially indifferent until this particularly bloated and pissy employee who was always a fat rude bitch on wheels for absolutely no reason interrupted the conversation to whine ‘But I wanted to be a bartender. Wahhh!’
I was indifferent no longer. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Not the pay raise, the wardrobe raise (no tie required) or the cool factor opportunity—I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stick it to someone who truly deserved to come in second. As petty as that makes me sound I would challenge anyone else to walk that quarter mile in my shoes at that time and not do the same thing.
My first training shift was my last training shift. I came in one night and followed the main night bartender and watched what she did. Then I was scheduled to be off the next day. At around 4:30 I get a call from the bar manager telling me that my trainer had been ‘busted’ by an undercover sting designed to trap servers and bartenders into selling alcohol to a 20 year old police officer without first checking their ID. These ‘busts’ and ‘stings’ are complete bullshit because the only underage people who get served any alcohol in restaurants of my town are the undercover ‘agents’ that come in and order it under false pretenses. It’s a crime that basically doesn’t happen unless the police commit it and if that’s not as fucked up as a left-handed French Canadian football bat then I don’t know what is. (I put quotation marks around the words busts, stings and agents because these things are about as organized and well-planned as a wet fart and not separating them from actual stings and busts and agents would be a disservice to those in law enforcement that actually do the community good by risking their safety by participating in real stings and busts. These things don’t exactly take Donnie Fucking Brasco to pull off after all.)
So from then on I was the main full time night bartender. With exactly one day of training. Sink or swim. Trial by fire. Good times.
I ain’t done yet . . .