The glamorous world of hotels, wining and dining, A-list celebs, meeting and greeting. If only this was the world I find myself in. Unfortunately it is not…… I spend my days (and evenings) serving food, dressed in what can only be described as cowboy attire. Each day I ride the bus into town dressed in an odd pair of slightly flared jeans, and a rolled up shirt. My H.R. manager reliably informs me that the colour is oatmeal, although I would say ‘maggot brown’ is a better description. For someone as messy as myself, a light coloured shirt and white apron are probably not the best option. Last week I found myself cowering in a corner, painted with the remnants of a raspberry pannacotta. Silently I slid out of the kitchen to find someone who could help me, whilst avoiding the wrath of the chefs. Luckily for me I am part of the outcast crew, a rag tag bunch of casual dining staff that escape the formal dining rules and regulations.
However, I must say, quite oddly, I am enjoying working at a hotel. We stand behind the bar munching biscotti and abusing the privileges of free milk. Those of you who wish to dine with us would have to pay £1.40 for a cool glass of ‘moo juice,’ whilst we chug it back by the jugful. I can whip you up a latte in no time at all, and if you are lucky, I might even get it right. As each customer comes in our faces light up with excitement, then change to one of judgement as they use our restaurant as a thoroughfare out of the hotel. In a quiet corner we stand and wait, bitching about who said what, and what that lady on table 8 is wearing. Perhaps my favourite part is ‘room service,’ allowing you a little peek into the lives of those you serve. The suited and booted who live out of a suitcase, and never leave the room, even in an emergency. The stag nights, and hen dos that sprawl themselves in a drunken mass of bras and pants, trying to avoid throwing up on the white carpets. Then come my favourite…the couples. You knock on the door…the awkward shuffle and hushed voices as they wrap themselves in a bed sheet; then the door opens and YOU are ushered in, never knowing where to look. Head down I drop the tray down and leave like a naughty school child, perfectly aware of what you were doing, and the obvious fact you are naked! I am sorry people, but if you order room service, you know someone is coming up. Save your sexual antics for dessert!
This week came the Chester races, or as I will now refer to it, Liverpool’s day out. Tangerine women sardined into red dresses, back fat spilling out, as their bald husbands scratch their heads and grunt an order at you. I lost count of the number of times an order came accompanied with the prefix ‘fucking’ or the suffix ‘mate,’ but it is all part of the job. Bearing in mind I have never worked behind a bar before, I found it odd that my new manager would place me behind one on the busiest day of the year. Putting the newest (and admittedly) most accident prone member of staff in this position, is like putting Jedward in charge of the Titanic. Like a whirlwind of chaos 4 of us whipped up and down the bar; I fumbled, stumbled, and groped my way for two hours. In this situation you are too busy to apologise for accidently grabbing another staff member as you squeeze past them, and half hope they didn’t notice. I will await the results of the sexual harassment case, and keep you posted.
The repetition of people complaining “this is an expensive pub you’ve got here MATE” was met with my poshest rendition of “actually sir we are a hotel.” Then I would straighten my apron and move on to serve the next drunken slur. As the evening wore on so did the customers, a small welsh woman literally stormed off in disgust that we didn’t serve crisps. Apparently she was in such disbelief she continued to ask everyone else if we did crisps….seemingly she thought there was a great crisp conspiracy and I was hoarding boxes of McCoys to make a fort for myself. Finally 11 and a half hours later I was tired, sticky, and had a back tied up like a sailor’s knot, but I survived. Like Edmund Hillary I collapsed through the front door and made the epic climb to my bedroom….at the back of my mind the ever nagging thought that in 2 weeks there are 2 race days back to back.