Why Apply For A Job If You’re Not Going To, You Know, Do It?

, , , , , | Working | August 11, 2020

My coworker is one of those employees who makes a great show of working really hard but always finds reasons to get out of doing what she’s told to do. If a manager tells her to help out doing task A, she apologizes profusely but says she’s scrambling to do task B and wants to know if she could just ignore task A entirely. Usually, the answer is no. Then, she loiters over Task B, only to “forget” where she was supposed to go next.

I put a bug in the manager’s ear about the things she has done and he agrees to keep an eye on her. Today, she is setting the tables in a side room as it opens for customers. When he finds out that she is too busy setting the tables to help her coworker out of the weeds, he tells me and [Coworker] both that one table is solely [Coworker]’s tonight. It seats five people. She is to do nothing else but make this one table happy. Nothing else. No other duties. Period.

Anyone else would cotton on that this is a trap waiting to be sprung and clue in that their job is close to a deadly, invisible line. Not my coworker.

I send the tabletop of five people in and mark them into her section. Fifteen minutes in, I am gobsmacked to see one of the five, a gentleman, come ambling out of the room to ask if a waitress could be sent in, as they haven’t even ordered their drinks yet and have already decided on their meal.

My coworker is back in the side room, across the restaurant from her table, her back to the room in general, setting the rest of the empty tables. She hasn’t even introduced herself to her one table.

I tell her in a sickly sweet voice that, as she was told, she only needed to set her own table and not an entire side wing, and that she needs to get her butt over there and take their order.

[Coworker] huffs and takes their drink order and dinner order and then leaves. I return to the hostess stand and wave over the manager for a quick conference.

The customer makes his appearance again half an hour later. They got their drinks but are wondering when the food should be out. He is remarkably calm and merely a little annoyed but not furious.

I grab the radio and ask about the wait time for food. I get the response, “About five to ten minutes.”

Okay, our chefs are on their game, so why are we at the thirty-minute mark? I go hunting again. 

My coworker is rolling silverware! She says she “forgot” that she had a table — ONE! TABLE! —  and couldn’t one of the other waitresses take care of it, since she was busy?

I send the manager over to put the fear of God into her and she goes sprinting to the window.

I grab the extra plates and walk with them to the room to begin delivering food when something strange comes to my attention: the plates are cool. The food is not steaming. [Coworker] is handing out the plates stiffly, miffed at having been forced to abandon her luxurious busboy duties to serve her one table.

The man who has sought us out a couple of times takes a bite, looks [Coworker] dead in the eyes, and says, “This food is cold.”

“That’s not possible, sir,” my coworker responds. “This food came straight from the window.”

The man says, annoyed, “Do you want to touch it and find out? I’m telling you this food is cold!”

I can already tell by the temperature of the plate, but since I’m going to throw the food away anyway, I subtly stick my thumb into the spaghetti near the edge. The spaghetti is rubbery where it’s still wet, it’s getting stiff and dry where there is no sauce, and it’s room temperature.

“And I’m telling you—” [Coworker] starts, but I interrupt.

“I’m so sorry, sir! We’ll get you some fresh plates right away.”

I hustle my coworker away and wave the manager over. I explain what’s going on and he tests the plates himself while glaring at [Coworker], who is suddenly finding her shoelaces very fascinating.

Long story short, [Coworker] was sent home and told not to bother coming back to work, ever. The meal was comped — a wise decision to limit the damage to only one table and thus only one tab gets comped due to her incompetence — and I personally smoothed ruffled feathers at the table by taking over the duties of the delinquent [Coworker] until someone could be called in.

On the plus side, they tipped me well for my stellar performance. On a more humble note, I’m fairly sure that while I did a good job, the bar was set pretty darn low for comparison.

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