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January 12, 2006

Naughty Note

Here's a story for you.  So, tonight I was working at the restaurant, and I had one table which was an "older" couple, who just ordered a main meal each, taking home all left-overs and no drinks.  They were quite nice, but when I collected the bill there was only $4.25 left on the table.  I looked around but couldn't find any more money, so I went to the front of the restaurant where sometimes people pay the host/ess.  No-one had paid at the front.  I asked the busser but he hadn't seen anything either.  I concluded that they must have meant to pay at the front, but forgotten (like I said, they were "older"). 
So, I went and told the manager what happened, and he kind of skirted the issue and asked me to check with everybody (wow, what an amazing idea, how did you think of that?) and then later I asked him directly "what are we going to do about that table?" to which he replied "can you check if that take-out order is ready?"  It was obvious to me that he didn't want to make a decision, so I left it until the very end of the night, when I told him all of my tables were done but I needed to deal with the one that hadn't paid.  He shut the door behind us in the office and informed me that I could either pay it, or be written up.  Always the Aussie who doesn't understand what the Yanks are talking about, I asked "written up?  Oh, you mean like a naughty note - 'I was naughty'?"
    "Yes, like that." 
    Is this even a serious question?  "Write me up then?"
    It was very surreal signing a piece of paper that said I had been very naughty because I let the old people leave without counting the money they had left on the table (because I had nothing else to do???) before they left, and knowing that I was supposed to feel bad for being naughty.  Trying not to laugh at the situation, I was really in disbelief that this is how this place treats it's employees.  Rather than just "void"ing the meals, because to pretend that they don't give away free stuff all the time is ridiculous, they would prefer to make the servers pay or "write them up". 
    Of course, all of this is insignificant to me, my last day there is in 10 days, but what makes me really upset is that the people who work there, who have worked there for years and think that it counts as a real job, don't know any different.  Don't know that this is not how an employer should treat its employees, that the behaviour that goes on in there every day is not normal for a workplace, but they just assume that it is.  When I'm not there, there are still going to be people putting in hours trying to make money in a restaurant which has rotting carpet downstairs in front of the bathrooms because the kitchen has been leaking through the wall for the past 9 months. 

In other news...
    Yesterday was uneventful really, just worked a double all day while J was at the cheese shop.  After work we prepared for the presentation at Hall High, which we gave this morning at 7:30am!  The talk went really well.  Yesterday the class had watched a video on Grameen Bank and had discussed the ideas of microfinancing afterwards.  There was definitely a lot of debate, one student in particular thinking that microfinancing was spreading the evil of money and capitalism to the poor innocent third world victims.  It almost broke my heart to hear this guy speak, just because he was coming from the right place, but getting it completely wrong.  I think he was obviously speaking from his conflict coming from belonging to a system that he believes is doing a lot of harm, but unable to extricate himself from it.  But the only way to learn those lessons is to be in a 3rd world country and have someone tell you they just want $20 so they can go to school, and then see if you can deny them taking part in this evil capitalist society.  Try to tell them then that they don't really want that money, it'll just corrupt them.  In all the class was great, and it was very interesting for Jeremy and I to hear what the students thought of it all, particularly as they are 17 year-old mostly-white students from a wealthy town in Connecticut. 

Jeremy and I also placed our first trades on the stock market today.  I feel really empowered with all this that we've been doing regarding our finances.  I'm learning a lot and I enjoy being in complete control of our money, our portfolio.  I feel like I could be really good at this, and I'd like for us to be able to make some money with the money we have so we're not completely heading towards the red.

Very tired and lots to do tomorrow... Goodnight


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