Very good night at Carney’s. Walked with $269. This was partially on the strength of a $100 tip ($140 check) Jacqueline received, but we also had some pretty good wine drinkers, good spenders, good tippers, and an employee celebrating her birthday with her husband and another couple. Add it up and you have great revenue.
Don’t know if there’s some trend at work here, with the busy Friday. Actually, hopefully there isn’t a trend, as the earlier part of the week was extremely slow.
Michael’s was nothing much at all. I had but one table – an 8-top. But they left me $60, so I walked (a little earlier than normal, which was nice) with $51. That put me at a respectable $98 average per shift for the week. The only problem of course, as written last post, was that I only worked two shifts instead of my historical four.
Update about my knees and ankles. Previously mentioned in this post. It’s obvious now that in addition to my old habit of cracking my ankles (as you might crack your knuckles or your neck), the shoes have a lot to do with aching ankles. As I recall now, I got a new pair of work shoes, and shortly thereafter, my ankles became sore and creaky. The same time as I decided to quit cracking the ankles, I also ditched those shoes. The ankles improved.
Well, that ‘good’ pair of shoes finally wore out. So I went to a new pair. And guess what? Absent my cracking habit, the ankles have started to ache again. Nothing like before, but there have been similar twinges. Nevertheless, I’m going to ride this out for a bit and see what happens. The shoes I have now are high quality (as compared to the Payless-quality of others in my past). I actually feel like they’re supporting my ankles and foot better than most I’ve had. As I’ve recounted earlier, I played a lot of basketball in the old days. I remember having ankle aches at times when I would break in a new pair of shoes. Maybe that’s what happening here.
About the knee, it has improved a lot. I’ve been paying attention to my gait, my balance, my hips. I feel that I had somehow adopted a funny way of walking, and then when the knee pain started to appear I modified it to be even funnier. I’m back now to my regular balanced walking.
Remember I said I had developed the habit of planting forward? This puts undue weight and inertia on your knees, compared to keeping your center of balance above your hips which spreads the impact throughout your body as it should be.
A funny thing happened when I started correcting myself. I noticed a lot of other waiters and bussers walking the same way, planting forward, their torso leaning slightly ahead of the rest of their body. Why in the world would so many of us walk like that? And also, why had I started to walk that way, when I never used to in the past? Waiting tables must be bad for your health.
As usual, I’ve come up with a theory.
I blame management.
This should be no surprise because waiters blame management for everything. But hear me out.
Have you seen people walking with their upper body pitched forward, ahead of the rest of them? What does it look like?
I think it looks like they’re hurrying. Of course it doesn’t mean they really are, but that’s what it looks like.
That’s why I blame the managers. Restaurant managers over the decades have a penchant for instilling fear in their employees. One way they do this is the stated or implied judgment that workers aren’t hustling. If you are concerned about what your manager thinks (and who of us isn’t?), you want him to think you’re working hard.
It may well be that you are working your ass off, but just like an elegant and efficient centerfielder in baseball, you are making it look easy. A bad manager can’t see that you are creating an aura of calm for your guests (and the rest of the staff, incidentally), by remaining collected and not hurrying. The bad manager just sees you aren’t sweating, hauling around at a breakneck pace.
You find yourself under fire, if only because you know in general management wants ‘hustlers.’ So at some point you subconsciously notice another waiter who looks like he’s hustling. And, subconsciously, you begin to emulate that person – the pitched forward, foot-planting guy.
And of course it works. Someone leaning forward looks busy and fast. You are taught, again subconsciously, that this is right because you will feel the negative attention about your lack of hustle disappear.
This is what happened to me. Once I started walking normally again, the pain began to disappear. God knows how long I was walking that way – probably about as long as I have been at Michael’s, which is a testosterone-charged, competitive, typical multi-manager corporate restaurant. It just took this long to wear down the natural padding in my knees. Now I’m having to rehab.
I recommend: Don’t fall into this trap. Walk normally – like you would cruising the mall on Sunday afternoon. You can still walk fast with a good center of balance.
And damn those idiots who might say or imply that you’re not hustling. If the issue comes up, just ask them to assess your performance, not your appearance.