Ponder a Day In My Life

For over 30 years the food and beverage industry has paid my bills. Years spent operating my own catering company, running back stage and suites at the stadium/arena, F&B management at a major hotel. The last 5 years, making parties fabulous for a major catering company. No two days alike, no two parties the same – I thrive on little more than “thank you” for a job well done.

Top dollar for exemplary service, attention to detail, problem solving and my undivided attention. So much more than food – we take success seriously. Bat shit expectations, unrealistic timelines, “little Miss know it all” executive assistants , hysterical brides, in your face hot heads – all walk away with smiles on their faces, skillfully dealt the appropriate measure of expertise and common sense.  Hospitality has taught me to more about Psychology than years of schooling ever could.

Much as I enjoy what I do, at times I shake my head in astonishment. Next time you’re at a party, think about a day in my life.

Take a look around – every table, chair, tablecloth, fork, candle, bar, morsel of food – came from someplace else. We began hours ago, loading trucks with heavy equipment. unloading and hauling it into place. We didn’t have time to whine over the blocked loading bay nobody bothered to tell us about – we had a party to pull off. Never letting on how monumentally behind schedule we were, finding a painfully arduous and slow load in – all with a smile on our face. Why should it be any of your concern the rented china, glassware and cutlery languished on the wrong floor of this one elevator building because the event rental people messed up. We’ll deal with them later, we have a party in an hour – get to work.

Tables set for 250 people, bar open, buffet ready to go, a free drink ticket each plus a bottle of red and white wine on every table – enjoy yourselves, the food is lovely – what a great way to end your conference. For the 40 Vegetarian and Vegan guests – don’t worry, we’ve prepared lovely meal options for your dining pleasure – please identify yourselves at the buffet and one of my staff will plate your dinner. Hold on a moment, I’m confused. You stipulated your lifestyle choice, we went out of our way to make sure you had a spectacular dining experience, but you were hedging your bet? The chicken and salmon look pretty good so you switch teams and load your plates with proteins meant for your associates? Didn’t cross your mind this might create a problem? Quick calculation as I eyeball the buffet line – only 10 “special meals” taken, 30 inconsiderate guests now scarfing down dinner meant for someone else – we made plenty of food but 30 lifestyle imposters has taken a toll. I wonder if you even noticed the tables still at the buffet line – did it cross your mind they might not be thrilled to eat your Vegan meal?

No I can’t “slip” you another bottle of wine – your host paid for 2 bottles per table and your free meal. This is the third time you’ve asked me, please stop embarrassing yourself. Time to go home now – the bar is closed, no I won’t make an exception. 25 tables to roll out, 250 chairs to stack, a one ton truck to fill, drive back to our headquarters, unload a one ton truck, write a report, and finally limp home.

I need my head examined – like childbirth, if able to remember the pain I’d never do it again. Miraculously, my mind resets, I wake up ready to take on the next party – a spring in my step and smile on my face.

 

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12 thoughts on “Ponder a Day In My Life

  1. Canadians are courteous and good natured, by and large. I pity the poor bastards who have to cater here in Brazil. People (ordinary people, mind you) can be utter assholes to hired professionals here.

    • A few years ago I was in Food and Beverage Management at a Hilton hotel.I won’t say what country they were from but a large tour group descended on the restaurant for breakfast.They were loud, demanding and obnoxious – snapping fingers in the air for immediate service, believing they had the right to receive an omelet before those seated ahead of them.One of my staff asked me to take coffee to a table. I was dressed in business attire, no uniform and obviously management (not that it should have mattered). I set the coffee down, the woman slapped my arm (hard enough to raise welts) and hissed “I said steamed milk” Excuse me! Suffice to say – the entire tour group was immediately ejected from the hotel.The woman in question protested her innocence, demanding I pick her out of a line-up. Holy crap.

  2. I feel for you. And I gotta tell you that brought back other but oddly similar memories of trucking on the U.S. East Coast. It’s not a job filled with as good food, (although once I had a load of Oscar Meyer meat that was 150 lbs heavy on Bacon — which I took home and put in my freezer and enjoyed for months) But I could not believe how rude and crude and even cruel people were to anyone in a service industry — trucking included.

    I think it’s good that we only ‘work’ (for a living) for so long. Comes a time when the desire / ability to trudge on through with a smile just evaporates and you / I just want to be left alone to do what you want to do. (There’s some undercurrent here, I’m sure you appreciate)

    I’m glad you’re still able to put on a smile and do it again. That’s wonderful resilience not to be ignored. But to be treasured and pampered and taken good care of.

    May today be a better day. 🙂

    • I find it astounding to think how others view what I do.I’m a professional earning a decent living providing memories and/or success to others. People take so much for granted. All I can do is laugh – anyone can have a bad day, not everyone can say they love their job, and learn something new each day 🙂

      • It’s always been my belief that any day when I didn’t learn something new was a wasted day — and I really go through the day LOOKING actively for some new thing to learn/tackle/get into. So I can appreciate that for sure.
        You are ever so right about the degree to which things are taken for granted. And the corollaries to that — at least to my mind — are
        a.) the increasing sense of entitlement
        b.) the active de-humanizing of others caused by electronic communications. — electronically people say things to each other they’d never have the nerve to say to someone’s face — but the more you act that way electronically the more likely your electronic persona is likely to become your real one — and you mis-treat people around you.
        It’s a sad state. Fo Sho….

  3. I have stepped i your shoes on more than one occasion…never choosing to do it on a regular basis…you must have the patience of a saint.

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