My first paying job (as far as the government knows) was hosting at The Olive Garden. (My older brother, who was a waiter there got it for me.) It was a decent gig. Sadly, I don’t even remember what minimum wage was at the time. I have no idea how much I got paid. I’m sure it was a paltry sum. It was a lot of standing around and a bit of high drama during the dinner rush (6.30 – 8.00).
Are you familiar at all with the music they play in the lobby at The Olive Garden? Things may have changed in the last 10 years, but when I hosted there, that music was on a 45 minute loop and I could hum the whole 45 minutes within a few days of working there. In a six hour shift, I would hear that loop 8 times. After a week, I had complete lyrics to most of the songs. The lyrics usually involved lampooning one of my pinhead managers.
One specific pinhead manager was famous among the hosts and hostesses (all five of us) for screwing up the dinner rush (hence the high drama). It would usually unfold thusly. We’d be hosting smashingly as the dinner crowd started to surge. We’d take names, remember special requests of certain parties, know the status of all the wait staff…in short we had The Bead on the restaurant. Usually around 7 o’clock, Pinhead would get kicked out of the kitchen because he was making a mess of the situation in there, so he’d wander out to the host station and demand to take control. Not surprisingly, he’d make a right mess of the dinner rush. He’d seat families out of order, he’d give one waiter four tables all at the same time, he’d promise anything to any customer, no matter how outlandish. (“Oh sure, we’ll seat you now, even though you just walked in and the wait is an hour!”) In short, he’d ruin everything we’d built up all night in about 10 minutes. Then realizing he created utter anarchy and crazy angry patrons, he would promptly ditch us and move on to screw up the bus boys and dish staff. What a chode.