Friday, March 13, 2009

guinea pigs

My 17 year old daughter is a workaholic. She just scored her second job (she's still working at Curves, too) at a restaurant near our house. We love the restaurant and frequent it, with her in tow... so she not only was familiar with the layout of the restaurant and many of the waiters, she pretty much knew the menu.

Or so we thought.

Having completed three full nights of training, she was thrown to the wolves tonight. I mean, to the customers. And although she was pretty confident, she did ask Rick and I to be her very first customers. The very first customers ever... aka guinea pigs.

And so we went.

Her shift started at 5:00. We had to report there at 5:00. Sharp. And we did. Never mind that I'd eaten lunch at 4:10. Never mind that I was ANYTHING but hungry. But we went.

She had two tables in her section. Only two. But you'd have thought she was responsible for the entire restaurant. That drama queen. We were placed at table number 1. Even I could remember that.

"Good evening and welcome to the Cotton Patch Cafe. We are happy that you are dining with us tonight. May I bring you some bacon cheese fries or a cheese quesadilla?"

Really, Liz? Did they teach you to be a robot or are you just naturally that interesting?

She then asked us to order something complicated... just to challenge her and to make sure she had it all down. She had trained, you know. For three days. So nothing could stump her. But just in case...

And so I did.

"Ma'am? How many 'shrooms come in the jumbo crispy 'shrooms appetizer?"

"Uh... five?"

"Sounds good to me. How many shrimps come in the Grilled Cajun Duo... and what are they 'duo-ed' with?"

"Uh... five?"

"You're making that up."


"Is your catfish fresh?"

"Yes. I just got back from the Islamadora Invitational in the Florida Keys about a half hour ago... I've barely had time to get them all cleaned before you got here."

"Hmmm, can I have some bread?"

The evening progressed with Rick ordering his usual shrimp basket and me getting my usual 6 oz. sirloin. With baked potato. Hey, it's Texas. And so what if I really ordered the 9 oz. sirloin. No one's counting, right? I just wasn't up to anything unique and different, even if it would be to Elizabeth's benefit.

And my steak arrived. And it mooed. I swear I heard it moo. Nothing like having to send your raw steak back on your daughter's first night in action. As her very first customer. But I did. And yes, then it came back charred. It also arrived about the same time as Rick's soup that he ordered as an appetizer. Yet it beat out the ceasar salad that he'd ordered first.

We tried not to complain too much on our big night out. But this was our BIG NIGHT OUT! Was it too much to ask for a waitress that had trained for at least FOUR days? Three just didn't seem to be enough...

We hung on through the meal, ever taunting that brand new waitress. Boy was that fun. And we don't usually have dessert, but heck, we just weren't ready to go home yet. We liked watching that new waitress try to remember the foods that were hidden in that menu and then try to communicate it to the cooks via the computer terminals.

"Would you like some banana puddin', peach cobbler, blueberry cobbler or maybe a scoop of Blue Belle's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream?"

"Really? Do they make you say 'puddin'?"

"I'll never tell. Would you like some banana puddin', peach cobbler, blueberry cobbler or maybe a scoop of Blue Belle's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream?"


"Well, which one?"

"The apple cobbler."

"Would you like some banana puddin', PEACH cobbler, BLUEBERRY cobbler or maybe a scoop of Blue Belle's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream?"

"Don't you have any cheesecake?"


"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bring me the peach cobbler."

And she did. She forgot the ice cream though.

We stayed about an hour and a half... at Liz' urging. After us, she was just not ready to wait on anyone else. Ever. We gave her a decent tip though, so she really didn't need to wait on anyone else tonight.

Was $1.50 too much?

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