18 July 2011

I Apparently Like to Steal Things

Someone from Nevada thinks I’m a hardened criminal.  The type of criminal that isn’t above stealing things and ruining lives.  In fact, they think I’m so much of a criminal that they actually called my work to ask about my comings and goings.  Watch out, I’m on the effing loose and I’m doing naughty things.

For the first Saturday in ages – besides my time in Miami – I actually didn’t have to work.  This was due to the fact that I was attending one of those awesome types of bachelorette parties that lasts all day and all night.  Yes, I was drunk for a lot of it and yes I also asked for Sunday off so I could have a ridiculous hangover and not feel even the least bit guilty.  I call that planning ahead.

So I had a weekend of totally awesome fun that was much needed and entirely appreciated.  After allowing myself plenty of sleeping-in time, I headed to Hooters to check my schedule and relish in having to not wear nylons.  What happened next was a real treat.

Manager:  “So I got the strangest call this morning.”

Because I totally look like that, John Smith.  CREDIT.
This opening was followed by my manager telling me that a customer, I had apparently served on Friday, called that morning regarding some strange activity on his credit card.  Apparently, he had all sorts of weird charges on his card and he thought that I had stolen his card number and caused each and every one of them.  The best part is that most of them occurred far from Montana.  In fact the majority were overseas.  Yes, this man actually asked my manager if I was currently out of the country.

Because it makes fucking sense that I would work on a Friday, steal your personal information and leave the country the next day to totally destroy your credit score.

But of course it’s the only way it could be possible because the only place in the entire state of Montana that this card was used was at Hooters Missoula.  And I was the Hooters Girl.  Honestly, do you expect this Hooters Girl to believe that the ONLY place you used a credit card in the fourth largest state in this great United States of America was my Hooters?  Sure thing, pal.

Naturally, he wouldn’t believe my manager that I am an honest person and said he’d be handling this matter legally since she wouldn’t do anything.  Newsflash, dude, I spent my Saturday afternoon sipping sangria in my bikini while maintaining my killer tan.  And for the record that happened in Missoula – Not Bora Bora or wherever.

For the sake of having a brain though, lets take a step back and think about this.  Even if you did only use your card at my Hooters, it doesn’t mean that your information was stolen there.  Perhaps it happened somewhere like – I don’t know – the damn Internet.  Maybe once upon a time you bought some inappropriate thing from a less than credible site.  Is it possible that something like that could have compromised your information?  I’d say it’s a heck of a lot more probably than a Hooters Girl in Missoula, Montana stealing it and taking a whirlwind world tour before she has to be in class Monday morning.  But maybe that’s just me.

I look forward to hearing from the authorities and telling them an alibi that is full of alcohol, party games and penis-shaped straws.  Or – most likely – I look forward to not hearing from anyone because your detective work is totally unreliable and utterly laughable.  Either way, bring it on! 

14 July 2011

All-You-Can-Eat, Cowboys and Aliens

Tuesday nights are pretty much the one weeknight that is lovingly hated at Hooters.  I say lovingly because there is the possibility of making decent money for a weeknight, but I say hated because it’s all-you-can-eat wings.  Every Tuesday beginning at 6:00 p.m. you can shove as many wings down your throat as you can handle for the low price of $12.99.  Basically, if you’re going to order more than ten – all-you-can-eat are served ten a time – you’re getting a deal.  Everyone of course orders them.

Given that it’s a really great deal, rivaled only by 50¢ wings on Thursdays, Tuesdays can be busy.  While that’s nice, what’s not so nice is that people run your ass off more than usual and it’s nowhere near reflected in the bill or your tip.  Basically you could order 100 wings – it’s been done – and run my ass off the whole entire time and still pay $12.99.  Rather than spending over $60 in wings, you spend nothing and get to tip me on nothing (since you’re basing your 20% on the bill amount and not the food value).  But while your price may change, I’m still doing the work of $60 in wings.  So most of the time I’m getting royally screwed.

That’s the problem with all-you-can-eat, I run around like mad reordering plate upon plate of wings and no one seems to notice.  $12.99 sinks into customers’ minds and wings settle into the stomach and there just doesn’t seem to be room for the recognition that I’m working really hard to make sure that your next plate of Daytona wings arrives just as your finishing your last.  And let me tell you, that timing is a feet in itself.  I’d just love someone to notice once in awhile.

This Tuesday was pretty typical.  It was fairly busy and 90% of my customers were slamming wings like nobody’s business.  My sales were high and my tips were decent.  Around 9:30 things began to slow down and by 10:00 we had a fairly slow restaurant.  It seemed a comfortable way to end the night with a few stragglers getting in a meal before we closed at 11:00.

About 10:45 two guys came in and ordered a few sandwiches and two double Jack and Cokes.  I figured they would end my night.  I was of course wrong.

“We have like fifteen people coming.  They have a corporate card.”

No sooner had the words left his mouth than I saw them charge the door at 10:55.  Rushing to hold it open, I shared a knowing look with the cooks.  The kitchen had already closed.  Of course this was no matter to the group.  They wanted to drink.  I could have said no, but I’m not good at that.  I let them in and ordered their first round.

Now when you have fifteen people ordering double Grey Goose and double Kettle One and double any alcohol they can think of that shit is going to add up quick; after only one round the bill was over $100.  I decided to stick around at least for a bit – the autograt would be at least $15.

So I served the drinks and being the only Hooters Girl left I hangout and share the usual pleasantries.

Sauce: “So where are you from?”

Black-Rimmed Glasses Hipster Dude:  “Oh, we’re all from L.A.”

Young, hipsters from L.A. with a corporate card in Missoula, Montana?  I was intrigued.

Sauce:  “So what brings you guys up here?”

Black-Rimmed Glasses Hipster Dude:  “Well are you familiar with a movie coming out called Cowboys and Aliens?”

Sauce:  “Of course!”

Black-Rimmed Glasses Hipster Dude:  “We’re having a big press junket at a resort outside of town.  We’re sort of the facilitators and handlers.  We basically put it together and make sure it happens like it’s supposed to with all the stars.”

Oh my Han Solo.  These people were involved with the one and only Harrison Ford.  And Daniel Craig.  And Olivia Wilde.  And other people in that movie I don’t give a shit about.  These were people that knew people.  I had a feeling letting them stay was a good decision.

After a few more drinks and another couple hours, the entourage was slowing down.  Everyone else besides the manager and I had left hours ago.  Essentially the group had an impromptu private party at Hooters.  They seemed to love every minute.

I closed the $280 tab and as an Am Ex was turned over to pay the balance it was remarked upon how affordable it was to drink in Montana.  I didn’t tell them that locally people think our prices are high.  I also didn’t add the autograt.  The slip was signed quickly and without thought; just like that were on their way – with an open-ended promise to maybe see me on Thursday.  They’d left me $90 without so much as giving it a second thought.  They nearly doubled my tips for the night.

Sometimes going the extra mile and doing more than what’s expected really can pay off.  After all I could have easily told them they we were closed and sent them on their way.  But I didn’t.  I did my job and met some really cool people.  And got paid really well for it.  Worth the three extra hours at work?  Hells to the yes.

13 July 2011

Evolution of Bathroom Graffiti

Among the many things in life that I think are incredibly stupid, scrawling words on the walls of bathroom stalls has to be near the top.  It just seems like an incredible waste of time.  I mean, I realize that given the situation you might find yourself in the bathroom for a somewhat lengthy amount of time, but it would never occur to me to use all that excess to write random shit all over someone else's property.  Lets get real here, way back in the day my mom told me that writing on walls was inappropriate and after what I imagine was several incidents involving brightly colored crayons, egg shell white walls, timeouts, and no dessert I got the idea.  Apparently some people missed out on that lesson.

Long ago at Hooters someone decided to leave their mark on one of our bathroom stalls.  Now to paint a mental picture, our stalls have tiled walls and rather heavy wooden doors.  These aren't metal walled cans, these are some nice bathrooms.  This however didn't stop one person from grabbing a pen and stating the obvious.

Really?  You're going to spend all that effort leaning forward while you drop a deuce to write Hooters?  Congratulations, you have the supreme mental skill to point out where you are.  Now originally this gem was not so carefully written in pen; thanks to whoever had the time to make sure we could read it by highlighting it in beautiful blue Sharpie.  We really needed that.

Then a few months later, this showed up.  Notice that the blue highlighter got to both.

Congratulations on your ability to not rhyme - I assume that's what you were going for.  I also appreciate your potty humor - pun obviously intended - in it's glorious lack of any real comedy.  I bet your friends only pretend to laugh at your jokes.

And then, more recently, someone decided to just go ahead and point out how lame these people are.

Of course by adding "FUCK OFF," you're really no better than the original defacers.  You're making a point about how dumb something is by doing it that something dumb.  That's some messed up, circular logic my friend.  Why don't you keep that pen in your pocket next time.

So next time you stop into Hooters Missoula be sure to check out the growing dialogue in the women's second stall.  I've got my fingers crossed for a graphic novel or an epic poem. 

11 July 2011

Receipt Art: July 10, 2011

Even owls need fabulous vacays that involve extra large, extra cold, extra alcoholic drinks now and again.

That is one seriously relaxed owl there.  Please note his incredible casual posture and "I'm cool as an effing cucumber" demeanor.  I'm pretty much in love with the way he is reclining back on his little wing.  What a badass.

If you're a true receipt art aficionado, you may have noted the return of the crab there on the bottom.  Yup, he's shown up on a receipt before.  Forgive me for recycling now and again. 

08 July 2011

Inspiration and Pageant Girls

If you’ve been paying attention, Miami happened.   If you’ve been paying really good attention you might recall that Miami happening made me nervous.  It wasn’t the “job” of it that scared me, but rather the idea of living up to 100 of the most beautiful women in the world.  Trust me, that is some scary, intimidating shit.  Luckily I quickly realized that – besides my rather small, totally real chest – I actually fit in pretty well body-wise.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say I fit into that group of thin girls that actually look active.  Trust me, there is a difference between “I’m nineteen and I’m just skinny” and “I work out daily and eat rabbit food and protein.”  Mostly this difference is seen on the backside.  And let me tell you, my butt is tight.

That part felt good.  I’d been working really hard and had achieved a body I was proud of; feeling like I fit in was reaffirming.  But the body was only the beginning.  I also feared cattiness.  Put 100 gorgeous women together all vying for the same prestigious crown and drama seems inevitable.  I was ready for bitches.

And then I didn’t meet any.  Surprisingly, every girl I met seemed legitimately nice (there was of course one exception).  It was refreshing to meet woman that were not only beautiful, but genuine as well.  There are enough pretty bitches in the world.  It was nice to see 99 women who had the pretty part down but left the bitch at home.

The gorgeous Crystal Cunningham.
Then I got to meet girls like Crystal Cunningham.  I met Crystal from Nashville on my first morning at the pageant.  Sitting in the makeup room unsure who I should talk to first and even more unsure how to approach the women getting primped around me, Crystal was the first person I got up the nerve to talk to.

“So how are you feeling about the contest?” I asked after introducing myself and explaining what I was doing.

“Honestly for me it’s the biggest blessing in the world.”

I was taken back by this answer.  I had expected something typical.  Something about nerves or confidence or excitement.  Crystal felt blessed.

And then Crystal’s story came pouring out.  The daughter of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed preacher and a first generation Korean, Crystal had been in an terrible car accident in 2007.  Crystal, a dedicated dancer, had been traveling a road she thought she knew well.  She thought nothing of looking away for a moment to grab something.  And that’s about all she clearly remembers.  Her car left the road and she ended up slamming into a tree.

There was a time immediately following the accident when Crystal was nearly pronounced dead.  While that’s staggering, Crystal also faced the probability of losing her foot – and her ability to dance as well as walk.  As she was telling me this, I noted the long scar on her ankle.  I had thought it a dancer’s surgery, but this was so much more.  Doctors were ready to amputate; yet here was Crystal before me.  Three short years later Crystal was not only walking, she was a Miss Hooters International contestant and a dancer for the Nashville Predators.  Here was a woman that defined beating the odds.

The last thing I expected when I landed in Miami was to be inspired.  But Crystal did that.  It wasn’t just her story, but her appreciation for life that touched me.  Crystal came from rock bottom and amazingly seemed to appreciate every moment of it.  To say it was uplifting would be a vast understatement.

By the end of the week, Crystal had made her way to the Top Ten of the Miss Hooters International Pageant.  I cheered loudly as she came forward from the crowd because I knew how much she probably appreciated that moment purely for the fact that she got to experience it.  She deserved to be there as much for her perseverance as for her remarkable beauty.

And that’s yet another thing I love about Hooters.  Hooters Girls are hardly ever what they seem – a fact that Crystal proves impeccably.  What is that?  7,893,456 reasons why I love Hooters?

06 July 2011

Tipping and To Go

A Hooters Girl will not come with your to go order.
For all you people who like to order food to go from your favorite dine in restaurants, doing so is not an excuse to avoid tipping.  Yes, believe it or not you should tip the waitress/bartender/hostess who gets you all that yummy food no matter where you choose to eat it.  Now before you get all “well you’re a server of course you want to take my effing money at every possible opportunity” let me tell you why you should be tipping on all that to go food.

For starters, what makes you think no work is involved with a to go order?  Like always I take the order and deliver the order to you.  I also make sure to include anything and everything you might need to enjoy all that boxed-up, fried goodness.  I get wet naps and sodas and cutlery and menus and condiments and even a handy reminder on how best to heat all that food up again in case traffic slows you down and it goes all cold.  Then I bag it all up and make sure it’s ready to go for you.  I collect your money and bring you change.  I even wish you a great day as you head out the door.  All of that so I can look down and see that you didn’t tip me a dime.

Now I will state that I certainly am not expecting you to tip as much as if you were dinning in.  Would I like you to tip 20% on your pick-up order?  Hells to the yes I would, but that’s hardly realistic.  What I would like is a nice 10% tip that reflects the fact that I am still giving you a valuable service.  Because lets face it, me giving you trays of fried food to stuff in your face in the comfort of your own home is a damn valuable service if you ask me.

And besides, I still have to tip out on your food whether it’s to go or not.  For those of you unfamiliar with the process of “tipping out,” this is basically the restaurant’s way of compensating other employees who are also vital to your dinning experience.  These include cooks, bartenders, hostesses, dishwashers and the like.  And whether you realize it or not, all these people are generally somewhat involved in your to go order.  And they get their percentage whether you tip or not.  That’s right, you don’t tip and I pay tip out from my own pocket.  Essentially, I get the honor of paying for part of your experience.  Not cool by me.

Then finally there are the people who do what table 81 did last Friday.  They come in and order their meal to go, but get drinks and refills and just generally take up my table while they wait for their food.  Besides the fact that they take their food home, everything else is exactly like they are eating in the restaurant like anybody else.  And then they don’t tip.  Now that is pretty much an ideal way to look like a cheap bastard.  Congratulations on achieving a new level of awful and ending up on the Internet.

So please tip your server SOMETHING when you order to go food.  I promise it will make his or her day.  And make you look quite considerate.  Now lets hold hands and sing campfire songs!  

05 July 2011

I Love My Regulars

My Regulars are way cooler than these guys.  CREDIT.
Side note: why is that man pouring his own beer?
Naughty Hooters Girl!
One of the many things I love about my job are the many regulars I get to deal with on a daily basis.  There is almost nothing better than seeing one of those familiar faces walk through the door and plop down in their favorite stool at your bar.  You know what they drink, their favorite wing sauce, that their dog is at the vet and that their sister is expecting.  And they in turn know about you.   With that all that familiarity it doesn’t take long before regulars are considered friends and not people who just happen to frequent the restaurant more often than most.

Now I don’t think this is a Hooters specific phenomenon, what I do think is that the conversational and relaxed atmosphere promoted at Hooters lends itself to creating a regular crowd.  It of course doesn’t mean the regulars have to be totally awesome.  Sucky regulars exist too.  That’s just luck of the draw.  And trust me, at my Hooters we’re very lucky.

We have the fun couple from out of town that adores mango margaritas.  The trivia fanatics haven’t missed trivia night in well over nine months.  There’s the preteen daughter who follows us as a “Hooters Girl in training” as her mom happily talks your ear off.  There are the Pepsi distributors who kindly bring us cases of Rockstar lemonades – the favorite beverage of the Hooters Girls.  We have candy bringers, beer drinkers, families and bikers who all come us see us regularly.

Then there are people like Talladega.  Though we may not have started off on the right foot, Talladega is probably my favorite regular.  He’s the guy that I hope and pray walks through the door when I’m having a shitty day.  One glance his way while helping a particular annoying customer will result in a reassuring smile that says, “I know that dude is being a total asshat.”  And that I love and appreciate.

Before Miami, I was faced with daunting task of moving.  It’s no secret that – even if it’s just across town – moving is a huge pain in the ass.  It’s even more of a pain in the ass when you own a’97 Subaru Legacy.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about my car, it’s just not built for heavy moving.  Believe it or not you can’t fit a bed or a couch in a Subaru.  Who knew?

Naturally, at work I was relaying my moving woes one day at the bar when without hesitation Talladega offered not only his truck but also his services as a mover.  Before I knew it he was singlehandedly hoisting my couch above his head so Dreamy could pull it over the railing into the new apartment.  All of that with a bad back that he’d recently aggravated.  I yelled at him to be careful the whole time.  I doubt he was really listening.

The help was much appreciated and unexpected.  Yes, Talladega and I are friends, but how often do you think restaurant patrons help their servers move?  I have a feeling it’s not too common.  And that was what impressed me.  And continued to impress me when but a week later Ariel fell into an awful situation.

One morning, ready to head to work, Ariel found that her Jeep wouldn’t move.  Well it moved, but not very well.  Something wasn’t right and upon inspection she found that three of her tires had been slashed overnight.  Let me digress for a moment to interject that men can be effing crazy.  And creepy.  And stalkerish.  Anyhooters, it was apparent Ariel wouldn’t be getting to work anytime soon on that Sunday morning.

Working her bar shift as she tried to remedy her most unfortunate situation, I relayed Ariel’s story to Talladega and he immediately began making calls.  Talladega is a car man that knows people.  He was going to figure it out – awkward tire size and all.

Once again, I was warmed by Talladega’s generosity and noted it to another bar Bud Light drinking regular a bit later.  This was followed by, “Well I have a spare set of Jeep tires from that model year.  She can have them and the rims too.”

“Well I’ll help you put them on,” added Talladega.

I went from warmed to utterly flabbergasted.  A regular had just offered Ariel a free set of tires with free installation courtesy of himself and Talladega.  Now that doesn’t happen everyday.

Half an hour later Ariel’s Jeep was sitting on a brand new set of non-slashed tires.  I thought she might cry as she hugged them both and thanked them profusely.  They had saved her time, energy and hundreds of dollars and expected nothing in return (they got cards, cupcakes and beer anyway).

This is why I love my regulars.  Not because I make lots of money off them or because they’re good connections, but because they are generally good people.  They are the type of people who brighten your day not because they want something, but because it’s what they do.  They are the type of people that make you feel that there’s hope for the world.  It’s just nice to feel that sometimes.

Here’s to all my Hooters regulars.  One day I hope to repay you.  For now, thank you.

04 July 2011

Happy Fourth of July to All You Regular People

Come fill your face with fried shit and celebrate being independent!
It's the Fourth of July and while for most people that means hot dogs and boats and fireworks and alcohol and other non-work related things, for those of us in the food service industry it most likely means business as usual.  Yes, Hooters is open today and I will be bartending 4:30 to close this evening.

For the record the Fourth of July has historically been the slowest day at Hooters.  I'm talking losing money because you're paying your employees more than you're taking in slow.  But of course we're still open bleeding money like it's no big deal.

All that being said, I really don't mind that I'm working the Fourth.  After the total fiasco that was the Fourth of July last year I'm actually looking forward to the mundane safety of the bar.  Wasted people don't generally follow you around and threaten to beat you up for no good reason while you work bar.  You also don't have to sleep in your car in a parking lot being prowled by a brown bear.  I'll take working the bar any day.

Please note how I just spent the last paragraph talking myself out of how much I'd be enjoying the gorgeous weather from the bow of a boat right now.  Consider that dedication, Hooters.

Happy Fourth of July!

03 July 2011

Miami in Pictures

Because I'm reminiscing, a few pictures from my adventure in Miami.

 The absolutely ugly view from my balcony.  Of course by ugly I mean gorgeous.

The other view from my balcony.  It's obvious I must be big time because I was given double the views. Regular people only get one.

 Ladies on a boat.  They are in bikinis in case you didn't notice.

This is where people swim.  And drink overpriced booze.  On that note, I miss Miami Vice - the drink, not the show.

Downtown Miami at night.  I thought the clouds were beautimus.

Please note the large hotel behind the butt on the left.

This is a kitty contemplating life on the boardwalk.

Being a huge costume loser, this was my favorite part of the contest.  Please note Lindsey Way, Miss Hooters International 2011, is on the right.

More bikinis.  It was a general theme of the week.

Winning is fun.

P.S. If you have a confetti cannon I'm going to need to borrow it for life.

Back To Hooting

After nine fabulous days in Miami I have returned to my life as a Hooters Girl.  I've had five shifts since I returned late Monday night.  Add my work schedule to a summer class and a new apartment that still needs organizing and the beaches of Miami seem much more than a week behind me.  That seems like another life.

And really it is, I've been to the other side of Hooters and I want in.  While I love my orange shorts - while hating the nylons - I enjoyed the business end of things as I experienced it in Miami.  Obviously being in Miami didn't hurt, but it felt good to play such an integral role in pageant week.  It's not that being a Hooters Girl isn't important, it's that spreading what a Hooters Girl is so widely feels really important.  After all, exposing the true nature of Hooters Girls was the whole point of this blog in the first place; being at the pageant allowed me to do that on a much larger scale.  And that I loved.

I love my job and I love sharing it on this blog.  I'm glad that Hooters gave me the opportunity to share with an even larger audience.  And maybe one day I can do that full-time.  But for now I'll happily don my shorts and continue to share my experiences here.

Maybe one day you can all say, "I read her when..."


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