I went home, ranted and raved and swore, then sat down to write a more appropriate letter. This is standing up for the rights of good servers everywhere. I've eliminated all identifying information because it's both impertinent, unfair to all parties involved, and ... well, it was just the right thing to do. |
what do you think? i made sure to keep the letter very educated-sounding because we all too often get treated like the kids we're not, and i get very, very sick of it. don't you?
~~ another server in paradise ~~
Dear XXX (GM),
Before I begin my letter, I want to apologize for not yet having met you in person. However, I'm a transfer from XXXX, and I only work a few shifts per week because of another full-time job.
I'm hesitant to introduce myself on a negative note, but after what happened to me after my shift today, I had to speak up about something I feel is just not right.
The situation I'm referencing took place at approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7.
I had just come out of the bathroom after changing into street clothes from my day shift. I was off the clock. As I was packing up my things to leave, I began making small talk with another in-uniform server standing nearby. Directly behind us was a fairly large group of uniformed servers, presumably chatting with each other because there wasn't much business in the store. Just as I was about to wrap up my conversation and exit the restaurant, manager XXXX came by. The first person he looked at was me. He said, loudly, angrily, and forcefully, "You." (pointing) "You're off the clock, you need to get out, now." He then proceeded to "break up this party" by telling the servers to get to work. I was still standing there, in shock at what he'd just said to me. When I asked why -- admittedly a bit timidly -- and whether I'd done anything wrong, he looked at me again. He then said, again loudly and angrily, "GET OUT."
I am very upset at what happened for several reasons. First, there were customers nearby and I'm concerned they heard the unprofessional exchange. Secondly, I was offended that I had simply been chatting in a friendly manner to a fellow server on my way out the door, and was so severely reprimanded. Thirdly, I was embarrassed that it happened in front of numerous other servers. Finally, I don't believe I did anything to precipitate the use of such angry, abrupt language. I understand that XXXX didn't want the servers looking lazy. But because I'm off the clock, it is no longer my responsibility to know who is supposed to be working, who has just finished for the day, and who is not yet on the clock. That, I believe, was the responsibility of the server I was speaking with.
I have worked for XXXX nearly four years now and have overall very much enjoyed my experience. Since I've worked for the XXXXXX location, I have come in early to work for every single shift. I am helpful, respectful, and courteous to both coworkers and management (in fact smiled and said, "Hi, XXXX" when he came in tonight), and I don't think it's too much to ask to be treated with the same level of basic courtesy and respect. I very much DO NOT appreciate being called "You," being pointed at, and being thrown out of the restaurant for no legitimate reason.
On my way out the door tonight, I asked several servers whether they thought I had done anything wrong. They all told me, "Well that's just the way he is." To me, that answer is an unacceptable excuse for plainly unprofessional words and demeanor. It's merely allowing such behavior to continue negatively impacting a working environment, an environment in which we are constantly told to be always "on stage."
If XXXX felt it prudent to tell me that his servers should not be distracted (even though I clearly had no idea whether this person was on the clock), I believe he could easily have used my first name, and followed that by language and tone of a more appropriate, adult, and professional manner. Or, he could have done what I've seen other managers do, make a point through a joke and be done with it.
I am aware that many people tend to see servers as immature. However, every server that works at XXXXXX is a legal adult. Many of us have graduated college, are attending college, or are working toward other personal and professional development goals. As adults, we should continue to be treated as such, especially while we are off the clock and not directly affecting the normal course of restaurant business. The one obvious exception, of course, would be completely wrong behavior such as getting intoxicated and causing a scene, fighting loudly with someone, stealing, lying, etc. But not for chatting and a friendly good-bye.
I'm not asking for any major action with regards to the situation I have previously noted. In fact, a very simple, sincere apology would suffice. I've had no reason to dislike XXXX or any of (Location/Restaurant Name) management/team so far, and hope that can continue!
Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to read this letter. I look forward to meeting and talking with you soon.