Ahhh, long weekends filled with sunshine. After weeks of rain, and months of unseasonable cold weather during what has allegedly been called ‘Spring’, what an ideal long weekend for Londoners! The sun came out, the temperatures soared (to the early 20s), the winter coats were hung up, the summer dresses were dusted off, expiry dates on bottles of suncream were checked, delicious food was devoured, and the booze flowed. For some anyway.
I would have quite liked to sit in the sunshine with some friends drinking wine, getting sunburned and feasting on delicious food and I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous as I ran around like a headless chicken serving people, smiling politely as I said ‘yes of course’ when they requested another bottle of Côtes de Provence rose and ‘more ice please as it’s so lovely and warm the ice is melting so quickly’.
I battled feelings of resentment as I took payment for bills upward of £200 after customers had lunch, and then decided to make a day of it and drink long into the afternoon.
I was enthusiastic and sweet and helpful as people asked me about the menu, or ordered drinks or decided to splurge and get a dessert as well. I was cheery and polite as I was shouted at and waved down on my way past people despite carrying 3 large and extremely hot plates of food. I channeled my inner ‘zen’ when a brat of a customer tried to interrupt and demand service when I was quite clearly taking another customer’s order.
I chuckled and pretended it was cute when some kid nearly sent me and the plates I was carrying sprawling and smiled when the parents didn’t care that their kids were running around inside a restaurant. I calmly offered a set of pencils in an attempt to get the child to sit down and I reminded myself it could be worse when I had to pick up a dirty nappy from the toilet because the mother in question couldn’t be bothered to use the disposal system that was provided.
I was apologetic when I had to explain we had run out of salmon or simply just didn’t have a free table and it was probably going to be at least a 30min wait. I was understanding when people decided it was too crowded and noisy and they might go ‘somewhere quieter’.
I was extremely grateful when people tipped… and especially so when people made a big show of adding 50 pence to their bill of £80 (insert sarcasm here).
I was exhausted.
My mouth was dry as I realised I hadn’t stopped to drink any water in hours, my stomach grumbled when I realised I hadn’t eaten.
I quietly cursed myself as I wondered why the hell I was doing this – realising I was my own worst enemy for signing up for an extra job and working 70 hour weeks. I was motivated every time I thought of the extra money. I felt nauseous from drinking too much coffee in an attempt to trick my body into not thinking it was so tired.
I felt sad when I got a text from a friend inviting me on a day trip to a nearby forest and felt annoyed that I couldn’t go to yet ANOTHER social outing.
I smirked when I saw someone walk past completely red and sore from sunburn and I couldn’t help but think ‘serves you right’.
As it got busier and busier and my feet started to ache more and more, I was relieved when a customer told me what a great day they’d had – reminding myself why good customer service is so important and feeling glad that my hard work was paying off/being recognised. I laughed when I shared a look with someone who rolled their eyes at the rudeness of another customer.
I was grateful to the awesome team I had working with me over the weekend, and I was happy to see the business did so well.
I was incredibly overjoyed when the clock struck 5pm each day and filled with rage when my alarm went off each morning and I realised I had to do it all over again.
I was grateful to see my husband’s face at the end of it. I was proud to have a pocked full of cash at the end of the day yesterday. That first glass of wine yesterday afternoon went down just a little too well!
It certainly gave a new meaning to the term ‘long weekend’!