Tonight at work a lady ordered boneless buffalo wings. I wrote her order down and put it in to the cooks and when her food came out she looked at it and said, "That's not what I ordered." This is a fairly common occurence and anyone who waits tables can tell you it happens at least once a week. I'm not sure if people forget what words come out of their mouths, or if they are thinking of something else and then accidentally say the thing they don't want, or maybe I'm just a shitty waitress and I need to get my hearing checked. Anyway, this lady was pretty nice about it and I put in another order of the kind of wings she wanted instead.
Then, there is the tricky part of either deciding whether or not I will pay for the fuck up or if I should ask a manager to comp the food she didn't want. I was guessing my tip wouldn't even be enough to cover her food so I asked a manager. Rightfully irritated that the woman ordered one thing but wanted another, he asked me, "Why should we pay for something that the lady ordered but didn't want? Give me one good reason to take this off of the bill."
My response simply was, "She is really nice."
His reply was, "Yeah, she's nice, but we are also trying to run a business."
He comped the food and I was able to keep my tip from the table but the whole night I was really irked. Not by my manager's response or that I had to run around like a chicken with my head cut off to try and please these people to make my barely livable wage for the night, but by my answer. If I were in charge of a multi-million dollar company who's stocks weren't heading in any sort of great direction at the moment, I'd be in a position where nice just wouldn't cut it. I'd be responsible for making money and keeping jobs filled and nice isn't synonymous with profit.
Clearly, if I'm willing to give things away for free (and not just because it's on the company dime, I have picked up several of my own screw ups out of pocket) I am not cut out for a corporate job. And, I think I'm ok with learning that about myself. I sucked at being a manager for Gottschalks and owned it. I was clearly not meant to handle loads of stress and manual labor and I resented every second of having other managers (eleven, to be exact) bark orders at me incessantly with little to no regard for my schedule or availability. I got to hang things from the ceiling, paint, and dress mannequins so it was a kind of cool job but it was also very nerve wracking to work for a corporation who's stock had plummeted and everyone knew what was coming. Bankruptcy. Everyone that worked for Gottschalks lost their jobs and there were a lot of good people there (the majority of management excluded) who were working for peanuts, pensions, or insurance purposes. I still think about people from that store and I wonder if they are doing ok.
I think I am cut out for some sort of job where I can make my own schedule, I can be creative when I feel like it, and being nice to people isn't a downfall. I have worked so hard at trying to be a nicer person over the years and it hasn't been easy. I was not a good human being twenty, fifteen, hell, even ten years ago. But, today, I am happy with how I treat others and how I am treated in return. I went from the lady who would call the bank screaming my head off for my overdrafts to be removed, to the lady who calls the bank and can say, "Yeah, I fucked up, and I'm really sorry and if there is any way you could help me out, I'd really appreciate it. But, if not, I understand that too." It is honestly amazing how well people will respond to you when you are nice to them and when you take personal responsibility for your own actions. It's like learning how to fit into society all over again.
I don't like feeling like I am failing at my job and I don't like putting someone (technically corporations are people so I assume they have feelings too) in a tough spot and making them lose out on money that could be in either their pockets or their employees', but at the same time I kind of feel like going Robin Hood all over corporations' asses.
It's all about the bottom line. I'm pretty sure my personal bottom line will remain in the red because of all the boneless wings I'll probably pay for in the future as a waitress who feels bad for nice people. And, I'm kind of glad my patrons aren't following my blog because if the word got out and I had to pay for things out of pocket every night I'd start becoming jaded and all corporatey and that would be a step backward in the personal growth department.