Whaling and Drowning

MVWJ was as a server in a restaurant that sold soup, salads, sandwiches, and espresso. All of which were overpriced. A husband and wife team, who claimed to be very religious, owned the joint. They always looked down on all the staff for not being the same religion as they were. In the dining room, they would play three CDs on repeat all day. Those CDs were Kenny G’s Greatest Hits, Whale Songs (noises whales use to communicate), and Ocean Sounds (seagull noises).

Whenever the owners came in, they would make a total wreck of the place as they had no business or restaurant experience. They would have their four kids do their homework in the kitchen and bar, and complain about crazy things like the soup ladles being too big or employees not cutting the sandwiches “the right way.” They never came in without their kids and would scream at them and make them cry. One of their kids they had just adopted from Romania and he spoke almost no English. This was cause for frequent yelling and subsequent crying. I knew a few words of Romanian and would try to calm this kid down and I would get yelled at for that. They didn’t want “the help” speaking to their children.

They only employed two servers for the 50 tables and at noon, the other server would leave no matter what. Most of the time we weren’t that busy, but every Sunday, we had this huge group come in and every table was full. This always happened right after the other server left. It is impossible for one person to wait on 50 tables by themselves. The owners always refused to help at first, then after I put in all the orders, the family would just start taking food out at random to all the wrong tables. Then they would get mad at me for “mixing up the orders.”

I was young, so I was really trying to make this nightmare work for some reason. But I was fired, because one day some of the customers complained to me about the Whale Songs CD being played. Sympathizing with them, I went and relayed this sentiment to the owner (I had never before voiced my dislike of these terrible CDs) and he completely lost it. He screamed that he doesn’t like the CD either, he liked ACDC and Metallica but you couldn’t play those bands in a restaurant! And on and on for about five minutes. Then after he finally calmed down, he said to me, “You know what? This isn’t working. Don’t come back!” He opened the till, cashed out my tips and gave me my hourly wages in cash.

The restaurant was shut down in the next two months. I can’t imagine why.

Comments (7)

Frau BlucherJune 11th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

these people are obviously demented and alienated everyone…they probably thought god would intervene and help them run the restaurant.

GlennJune 11th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

It’s a little awesome that you know even a few words of romanian. How did that happen? Also, the whale sounds CD sounds like something so awful that you need to go out and listen to it while you’re stoned.

TMSJune 11th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Considering they had no experience running a restaurant I’m surprised it stayed open for as long as it did.

TronnerJune 12th, 2010 at 8:26 am

I liked your story. It goes to show that the Starbucks, Chilis, and Olive Gardens of the world aren’t the sole reason that little mon and pop stores tank. A good deal are like the owners above, with ability that doesn’t match their dream.

Frau BlucherJune 15th, 2010 at 10:56 am

exactly, i can think of a number of businesses around here that fit that description…and also, having your kids running around is not cute, homey and atmospheric, it’s unprofessional.

NyanAugust 14th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Whale Songs!! LOLL

I couldn’t stop laughing about the Whale Songs.

jsnackSeptember 9th, 2010 at 11:51 am

This is a good story, but I was actually most interested in the part about you knowing some words in Romanian lol. I think that’s so cool.

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