My older brother, Bob, worked for a restaurant management team in 1988. They would get hired by restaurants to come into their establishment and tell them what they were doing wrong, or where they were losing money or whatever. They were hired by a local Bar & Grill. They moved in and they pointed out this and that and the employees complained to the assistant manager who told them…really, get this…he told them to all walk out on a Friday night and that would bring management to their knees and beg them (the employees) to come back and everything would go on as it used to. No matter if it was cost efficent, no matter if it was against health codes, no matter what…all would go back to normal if they all walked out on that certain Friday night. They did. Guess what, they didn’t have jobs anymore.
At that time in his life, nobody knew more ex-restaurant employees than my brother. Pretty much all he had to do was call up the old neighborhood, instant restaurant. At that point in my life I was doing daycare. I had my gf Kari’s 3 children, my middle sister’s daughter and my (at that time) 2. Two 3 year olds and 4 one year olds. I believe they did close down the rest of that Friday evening. I got the call on Saturday and my 1st response was “today? I kind of have a headache”. I got off the phone and thought about a restaurant with no servers, realized brother bear did need help and called him back to tell him I was in. I then called my nephew to babysit and both Rob and I headed to the restaurant. I can’t tell you how much fun that was! People would ask me “do you have this” and I had to tell them “I have no idea, I’ve never been here before” or “if we do have it I have no idea where to find it”. Lots of conversations like that and…AND the added bonus that I got to speak to adults! Yeah, it did take some getting used to before I learned to quit speaking baby talk, stop wiping the mouths of adult customers, stop yelling “HOT!” and stop asking total strangers if they needed to go potty.
Walking into that restaurant that 1st time was a total trip back to the neighborhood I grew up in. Rob and my brother-in-law (at the time), Bill jumped behind the bar (although neither of them were from our neighborhood). Bernadette, Kari, her sister and I put on aprons and ran out to the tables, my oldest sister, Claudette and baby brother Joe were washing dishes, Kari’s brother-in-law got back to the kitchen and started flipping burgers and so on . It was total chaos and tons of fun! It was a Saturday night and the place was hopping and not one of us working had the slightest idea of what was on the menu. At the end of the evening we traded stories and laughed ourselves silly.
When we got home I realized that I didn’t just come home, I came home with money in my pockets. Hmmm…I get to talk to adults and go home with money…I am SO in.
The 1st couple weeks I worked there, the previous employees were outside the restaurant picketing. I’m not exactally sure what their point was. Once in a while one or two of them would yell at me, I would just stop and do a slow turn around.. The stopping part they understood, the slow turn around gave them a chance to think about whether they really wanted to be confrontational or not, after all, they never yelled at me walking towards them, just when I had passed them and my back was to them~wussies. Once facing them, most of the time they all shut up. Okay, I’d turn around again and go inside. The one or two times they did actually say something, after I turned to face them, I would offer to get them applications.. They only picketed a couple weeks, I have to guess that it took them that long to realize: Crap! I have to get a job!
The bar regulars continued to frequent the bar. They are the ones who had the best seats watching the change over. We had a lot of fun with them. They had no idea that we all knew each other, they only knew that everyone on the staff was new. One night one of the regulars asked me what I thought of the bartender, kinda thinking Rob had pissed him off. I looked at Rob, looked at the bar regular, shrugged my shoulders and said “eh, sometimes I sleep with him”. Right, say this to a man who, I knew, didn’t know Rob and I were married but who also has no life and yes, I thought his eyes were going to explode out of his head. Another time some guy asked Rob, while pointing to me “what do you think my chances are that she’d go out to breakfast with me?” It was Rob’s turn to shrug his shoulders and he came back with “I don’t know, why don’t you ask her?” My favorite, there was an issue with a table, not sure but kind of thinking it was the limit of only serving 3 Long Island Teas to any one person. I was explaining this (or what ever it was) to a table in the dining room and brother bear (who was now the manager) was standing nearby so I overly loud and very dramatically let the table know that it was a house rule and the management was so cruel and evil that I feared for my safety if I broke any of the rules. It was at that point that Bob walked over and physically carried me off the dining room floor. The faces of the people at the table….priceless. Right, I know, but some people beg to be played with. Shame on me for taking advantage of this but hey, they put themselves out there. Somebody’s got to.
I am one of the few who stayed after the restaurant hired new people and got back on it’s feet. I had no idea that I was that desperate to get out of the house and talk to adults. Within the next year I was done doing daycare. I spent my time with just my children during the day the few nights a week that I worked, Rob would come home after work and then I’d go to work and my children spent time with their dad. Good all around.