…In addition to fishing unused jelly packets out of the trash to rinse off and put back on the dining room tables (previously referenced in this post); what a feeling it is to watch an oblivious diner fiddle with a little plastic bin of grape jelly you rescued just fifteen minutes prior from a muggy grave of chewed hash browns and sausage upchuck.
– the dish washer who was obsessed with Dream Theater and tried to convert me every night
– the dish washer who was obsessed with Canibus and was constantly complaining about ringtone rappers
– the regular customer who always brought his own tiny briefcase of specialized condiments
– the other bus boy who exclusively addressed me as “James Bond Jr.”
– my employee evaluation; the only negative bit was “needs to smile more”
– the day I wore Converse to work instead of my regulation grease-proof boots to prove some kind of point (i.e. I won’t CONFORM to YOUR WORLD, oppressors); I slid around on the kitchen floor the entire night
– the Billy Drago-esque manager who raced Kawasaki motorcycles in his spare time and who could never walk out the back door without taking a deep breath, looking up at the clouds, and saying, “What a beautiful day to die!” (he was later fired for sexual harassment)
– being scheduled weekday mornings and having jack shit to bus
– being scheduled on Sundays and feeling like I was in trench warfare
– never being too mad about the servers not sharing their tips because they all had families to support and I was just some bozo in college
– the in-store satellite radio playing the craziest post-grunge (deep cuts from Green Day’s Nimrod, the 1999 Alice in Chains “reunion” song, etc)
– getting pied in the face on my last day of work by one of the servers (it was a hearty apple pie and I had pieces of fruit caught in my hair for hours)
– running into the lead manager at a nearby Waffle House several weeks after I quit; she told me I was a great employee and that I could come back any time (this was very nice to hear)
I’ve not set foot in that Perkins or any other since hanging up my bus tub.
A: There was an academic snafu in my junior or senior year of college that kept me out of class for a semester, so I took a job in a call center. It was customer service for a cable company, troubleshooting and helping people with billing issues. Pure misery always just sorta hangs over places like that. This was no different. Management treated everyone like they were serving detention. The break room was the size of a broom closet. The computer system we were working with had been constructed during Jimmy Carter’s presidency.
And, of course, every other call that came in was some idiot who hadn’t paid his/her cable bill in fifteen months but was still apoplectic that their service was being (or had been) disconnected. Once I had to mediate a physical altercation between a customer and a field technician who was attempting to shut off her cable. Obscenities, punches, and handheld items were being thrown. Meanwhile, my “team lead” was more concerned with my tone or how long I was taking to resolve the issue.
The whole endeavor was just a smoldering wasteland of negative energy. The paychecks barely qualified as justification. On the other hand, when I was a bus boy at Perkins they made me dig unused jelly packets out of the trash, rinse off the gunk, and put them back on the tables, and I suppose that’s a more finite version of complete fucking hell. I got free soda at Perkins, though. Nothing was free at the call center except pain.