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Time To Salsa Dance Your Way To A New Neighborhood

, , , , , , | Working | December 31, 2020

When I am in college, I work at a restaurant for a little extra cash, and I do mean “a little.” I work the off hours, during the day on weekdays and the occasional weeknight, and I’m not even making enough tips to get up to minimum wage. The owner is supposed to pay me the amount it falls short, but I don’t realize that at the time, and he just marks that I get my tips in cash. The restaurant is only two blocks from my apartment and I often write during downtime, so I don’t worry about it too much. 

After months of barely making anything, Valentine’s Day comes up, which just so happens to fall on one of my weeknights. We have a fancy prix fixe menu and the whole restaurant is booked. The day before:

Owner: “I’m going to have another waitress come in to help you out since there will be so many customers tomorrow.”

I’m usually alone on that shift. I am a little disappointed but I understand. There are only around ten tables in the restaurant, so I could have handled it. 

Valentine’s night, we each start serving our half of the restaurant, but we also start getting orders for delivery with no delivery guy in the restaurant. I call the owner to ask him what we should do.

Owner: “Run the deliveries, and [Other Waitress] will handle the tables.”

Me: “I would be making hundreds of dollars in tips serving those tables, and if I run deliveries? Twenty at most. No.”

When I start giving my reasons, he acts like he can’t hear me and hangs up. I call him back and he doesn’t answer. I keep calling until he does.

Owner: “Run the deliveries or leave.”

I’ve finally had enough.

Me: “Okay.”

I hang up, leave the restaurant, and never go back. 

The owner keeps trying to call me, both that night and in the coming weeks, but I don’t answer. He has other waitresses call me for months — literal months — asking for me to cover their shifts because he says they can’t stay home when they are sick unless I cover them.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t work there.”

One time, the owner sees me walking in my neighborhood and swerves off the road onto the grass next to the sidewalk I am on to jump out and talk to me.

Owner: “We’re friends, aren’t we? Please come back!”

It got really creepy after a while. One time, he even sent me an emoji of two people salsa dancing with the message, “This reminds me of us.”

Needless to say, I avoided that restaurant like the plague for the rest of the time I lived there. I’d cross the street to not walk past it or go the back ways to avoid the main road. In the end, living two blocks away wasn’t as convenient as I thought!