Thoughts & Essays

50 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do At Work Anymore

This was originally written sometime in 2006, back when I was still managing restaurants, by me and a couple of co-workers. These are based almost entirely on true stories and events, or decisions that were very nearly made before other, more sensible managers stepped in.

50 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do At Work Anymore

  1. I am not to tell the owners “the truth.” Even if it is.
  2. When asked what’s in a BLT, I’m not to answer, “Bagel, lemmings, and Tabasco.”
  3. If the cook dies on line, I’m not to stuff the body under the prep sinks and continue to cook the rush myself.
  4. Nor am I allowed to tie a spatula in his hands and prop him against the grill until the owner comes in and finds him.
  5. I am not to greet the general manager while wearing a neckful of Mardi Gras beads, and smile mysteriously when he asks how I got them.
  6. If I do so anyway, I’m not to spend the rest of the morning bragging about my tips.
  7. And eventually, one of us will have to explain to the general manager how one actually gets Mardi Gras beads.
  8. We may not wait until the boss is drinking his coffee to do so, just to see him spurt coffee out his nose.
  9. There was not a wedge of cheese going into the bathroom all by itself.
  10. Wait a minute, yes there was.
  11. I am not allowed to sell the other waitresses to my customers. Not even if they agree to it.
  12. Nor am I allowed to sell the managers.
  13. I am also not allowed to sell any of the equipment, even if I have warned the boss that I will sell anything that isn’t nailed down. Not even if the guy I sell it to has his own truck.
  14. I am not allowed to wash an omelet, wring it out, and serve it anyways. Not even if the five-second rule applies.
  15. Nor am I allowed to pass off a plate of shredded cheese and tomatoes as an omelet to the drunk at booth 5.
  16. Not allowed to take the plate back, wait five minutes, and reserve it as the remake. Even if the customer falls for it.
  17. If the food is running late, I am not allowed to set the ticket on fire, blow it out, present it to the waiting table, and explain sadly that there’s been a small accident in the kitchen, but we’ve got it under control now, and we’ll have their food out in a few minutes. Even if everyone at the table buys the story.
  18. I’m not allowed to serve the pastel dinner mints as hor d’ouerves.
  19. Not even if I spike them on the frilly toothpicks first.
  20. I’m not allowed to let the ferret into the restaurant, even if it is cuter and more well mannered than the rest of the customers.
  21. That goes for puppies, too.
  22. And snakes, and kittens.
  23. All animals, really.
  24. No, customers do not count as animals.
  25. I can, however, let the dishwasher sneak his pet rat into the restaurant, provided the customers don’t spot it.
  26. When asked by a customer, “What’s in a ham and cheese omelet?” I am not allowed to slap them.
  27. However, if the cook asks, I can slap him.
  28. If the dishwasher asks me how to get up to the marquee to change the sign while standing right next to the ladder, I am not allowed to tell him to put the letters on the ground, shinny up the pole to the sign, and holler until we come out and throw the letters “to” him.
  29. Not allowed to name the cockroaches.
  30. The “five second rule” never applies.
  31. Can’t dare the cooks to “snatch the French fry out of the fryer, grasshopper.”
  32. Not allowed to try and flip the eggs over the Ansel system pipes.
  33. Not allowed to pull the Ansel system for any kitchen fire that is smaller than a VW Bug.
  34. Kitchen fires must be larger than a breadbox before I can use the fire extinguisher.
  35. Not allowed to beat the dishwasher to death for insisting that he’s washing the glasses even while he has a dinner plate right in his hands.
  36. No matter how badly everyone else wants him beat to death.
  37. Not allowed to send new dishwashers or cooks to find pickles in the (non-existent) basement.
  38. While I do have the authority to bar people out of my restaurant location, I am not allowed to bar them out of our location in Hell, too.
  39. If a customer calls up to ask if we have fish on our seafood buffet, I am not allowed to answer, “No, dumbass!” and hang up.
  40. Coffee pots are not to be used as riot control, no matter how big the bar fight has gotten.
  41. The answer is not always, “More gravy.”
  42. Nor is it “More whip cream.”
  43. Not allowed to charge a cover on slow nights for the back dining room.
  44. “Sensible black shoes and thumbs” are not our only prerequisite for hiring, no matter how short handed we are.
  45. Not allowed to temporarily hire cooks from other restaurants to help out when they wander in to eat.
  46. Training shall consist of more than “Here’s your pad and pen. Go take orders.”
  47. Management training shall consist of more than “Here’s your keys. Have a nice night!”
  48. Notes in the manager’s log book will have more detail than “Waitress running late, ran over ex-husband with car.”
  49. I may not take money out of the till to make my waitress’ bail, no matter how badly I need them.
  50. That goes for cooks, too.