Not Ever Working, Part 4

| Working | August 27, 2012

(I’m training a new coworker on how to close up the front line and clean up the equipment. It’s her first night, but I’ve been getting the feeling that it’s not going to work.)

Me: “So, we need to make sure to empty out both the sweet and unsweet tea urns and clean them every night. I’ll show you where the cleaning solution is after we put these back in the sink.”

(We put both tea urns in the sink and start soaking them.)

Me: “Now we let it soak a bit, and while we’re waiting we can do multiple things. We can take the nozzles off of the soda dispenser, we can sweep the floor, and we can fill up the plates, cups, silverware, straws, and napkins so that the morning shift won’t have to worry about it.”

New Coworker: “Why? They should be able to do it when they get in.”

Me: “I’ve worked the morning shift before, and it’s really hectic trying to get everything in order for the food. The front line generally gets pulled in to working with the servers to get the restaurant opened and the food set in the buffet slots.”

New Coworker: “But it’s just as much their job to get their spot ready as when we get here. Why can’t we just leave it as we got it this evening?”

(At this point, I’ve heard variations of what our job ‘should be’ all evening. I send her off to do some other work. My manager comes from the back while she’s gone. Ever since I accurately predicted how long the last three front line employees I trained would stay, she’s always asked me about them.)

Manager: “So, what do you think?”

Me: “I give her two work days before she figures out that work is actually work instead of standing around. She might shape up, though, if she realizes what we have to do isn’t that much. I’m hoping she sees that tonight when I show her that the biggest things to clean are the urns and floor, but I’m not expecting too much from her.”

(The new coworker comes back and we finish stocking the front. We start scrubbing the tea urns.)

New Coworker: “So, do we have to do this every time we work the evening shift? It seems like a lot of repetitive stuff that would be better to do once a week.”

Me: “If we don’t clean the urns, the tea that’s left on the sides will start to make the urn stink and will cause the tea we make the next day to taste funny. Plus, the sweet tea’s sugar will start to form a sticky film.”

New Coworker: “I don’t like tea, so I didn’t know that…”

(We finish up the urns and go to the front to clean the soda dispenser. We get a bucket of scalding water and start to take the nozzles off of the machine and put them in the water.)

New Coworker: *sighs* “This is annoying. It’s just going to get dirty like this tomorrow, so why do we have to do this?”

Me: “Because the syrup from the sodas will cause the nozzles to get sticky. We need to clean them so that it doesn’t grow mold or bacteria from the sugar.”

New Coworker: “Worrying about other peoples’ health makes this job have all of these worthless tasks!”

Me: “Well, we do work with a lot of people on a daily basis. We want to make sure we don’t cause anyone to get sick. These are very simple and quick things to do to make sure we give the customers a clean environment to eat in.”

New Coworker: “I’ve never had to worry about all this cleaning stuff. My mom just does it for me and says that I can pay someone to do it later. I’m working tomorrow. Are you going to be here tomorrow night?”

Me: “No, it’s Sunday tomorrow and I don’t work on Sundays.”

New Coworker: “So I’m going to have to do this all by myself?!”

Me: “[Manager] will be here. She can help you with customers if it starts to get busy. Have her check your line before you leave to make sure you didn’t forget anything.”

New Coworker: “I just started. Why am I working alone already?!”

Me: “It’s running the cash register and handing out drinks. You really don’t need multiple days to learn how to do it. The customers who come here are really nice, and can tell when you’re new.”

(At this point, I leave for the night. I don’t work the next day, so I come in on Tuesday after school expecting to see the girl there. However, I only see my manager at the register.)

Me: “Where’s [new coworker]? I thought she had the shift before me.”

Manager: “You were right. She said the job was just too much work for stupid little things and left yesterday!”

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