Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New patches

At some of the hotels where I worked, they changed general managers almost as often as I changed hair colors. At one of them, the first thing the new manager did was to direct that the underground parking lot walls be painted a different color. Four different managers at that hotel, and four different color schemes for the garage just in the six years I worked there. There were so many things wrong with the building - serious things like faulty electrical wiring, closed off rooms in need of repair, and holes in the carpeting - but they went untouched. Got to be, whenever there was a change in the guards we'd say to one another, "I wonder what color they'll paint the parking garage?"

At another hotel, where it seemed like our food and beverage managers hung around just long enough to send out a couple of memos misspelling their own name and commit a half-dozen acts of sexual harassment (some of them worked quick and could do this in one week), the plan was to change the uniforms for the restaurant and bar staff. We changed uniforms about eight times over the years. One combination I remember was black pants, rainbow suspenders and a white short-sleeved polo shirt with simulated paint spatters that one of the bartenders dubbed, "Gloria Vanderbilt on mescaline." Suspenders are not meant for everyone. The guys didn't have a real problem with them (except some of them that didn't like having them snapped by pranksters) but we had some pretty big chested waitresses that were forever having to adjust them because they either made a wide bow around their chest that pushed their boobs in or a tight line down the middle that shoved them to the sides. Another uniform was pink tux pants, tux shirt, cummerbund, bow tie and suspenders. Not only was this second one an impractical color for schlepping food, but it made all of us look like Easter bunnies. (The effect was even worse when several of the waiters stood together.) The pants had a button inside the fly, one inside the waist band, the zipper to the fly and the clasp for the pants, as well as the clasp for the cummerbund, the clips for the suspenders, buttons and studs for the tux shirt and the clasp for the bow tie to deal with. The first time I put it on, I said, "If there's ever a fire in this thing, I'll never get out of it."

Whether is was the parking garage or the uniforms that the boss changed, it really came down to a dog marking his territory and wanting to smell his own scent about the place. Waiters make their living judging character, and we had a good idea of which one of the new managers was gonna last (that being a relative term for managers) but even when it came to good managers, the paint in the garage and the seat of my uniform pants always lasted longer.


  1. Found your blog from a link on Passive Agressive Notes. What a find! Really enjoying it!
    I am a nurse and every time we got new management, they redecorated the lobby! Each uglier than the last.

  2. Emily, thank-you. I'm just getting started and it's a little scary opening up like this. I appreciate your encouragement.
    I always liked waiting on nurses; hated waiting on doctors! Sometimes people would call us "nurse" when I was tending bar. There's an old riddle, "How is a bartender different from a nurse" and the answer is, "A nurse only looks at one asshole at a time."

  3. Oh, my gosh... I've never heard that one, but don't think I'm not telling it at work Monday!!
    Keep up the good work, you're my new favorite daily read!!