“When life gets a little too crazy; when the special orders come fast and furious, how do you keep from losing your mind?”
Why, I am glad you asked. Allow me to present:
Ways of Surviving Life in Food Service (Without Getting Fired)
(Cautions and hits provided in parenthesis for your safety and continued employment)
- Take an expired box of strawberry sauce to the back room. Cut it open. Let the sticky residue pour over your arms and hands until a filmy coating occurs. Come back out to the front with a stunned look on your face and mutter things like, “there was so much blood”, “he wouldn’t stop bleeding”, and for that historic take, “Oh, the humanity.” (If you have no sense of the dramatic, this is not for you.)
- Ask as many questions as conceivably possible to ensure you get their order right. “What kind of sugar did you want with that?” “Was that for here or to go?” “A sandwich and a coffee; got it. Now, do you mind if I put the sandwich on the side, or did you really want it in the cup?” (Know from the furrowing of their brow when to stop.)
- Save the bubble-wrap that fragile items come in. Keep hording until you have just enough. Then, go to town. If it takes less than twenty seconds, you have not popped enough.
- Wear your shirt inside-out.
- Walk around the cashier area calling out, “Fluffy! Here fluffy!” (If you can concentrate on tiny little nooks and crannies that nothing bigger than a mouse could squeeze into, this only adds to the fun.)
- Take expired chocolate sauce to the back room. Let the sticky residue pour over your arms until a mild coating occurs. Come back out to the front with the palest look on your face you can manage and utter things like, “See, I told you I was special”, “Um, I think my latent mutant genes are starting to take over”, and, “Did we happen to keep that moth that bit me?”
- After asking, “Would you like your receipt today?”, follow it up with, “Did you want your credit card back?”
- After asking, “Did you want a bag for that?”, follow it up with, “And did you want a bag for that?” (If they can double bag in grocery stores for durability, surely we can double-bag for entertainment. I have never triple-bagged. But one day…)
- Play “Cups”. A lot.
- Write little notes on the bottom of their cups, bags, and plates that they will never see. Some suggestions: “Actually, -I- am the walrus.” “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.” “Help. I am trapped in this cup and I can’t get out. Don’t swallow me with your drink!” (No obscenities. And c’mon, don’t be a jerk about it.)
- Go to the back room. Grab some of the uber-soap and watch the back sink fill with it. (Put some dishes in there too. Practicality demands it.) Make a messy beard out of all the soap bubbles. Come back out to the front with wide-eyes and say things like, “I’m not mad! You’re mad!”, “Snarrrrr, crrronnnnng, sphurrrrrk”, and perhaps, “Alright, who took my toothbrush?”
- While you are playing with soap, grab an empty cup. If you can find a tiny one with a wide brim, go for it. (The smaller the cup, the more comedic the effect. But you need one that has enough of a mouth to hold a mass.) Pile on lots of soap bubbles. Ideally, at least a foot tall. Take your cup and its mountain of foam out front and call out, “Who had the cappuccino with extra foam?”
- Put a false order in line. Tell the server it is for Soze, Kaiser. Wait expectedly until they call out, “Kaiser Soze? I have an order for Kaiser Soze.” See how many of your coworkers will yell the name out, ideally more frustrated as time goes by. (And, of course, should a patron actually try to take said order, you are required to come out and arrest Verbal.)
- Dab a bit of wasabi on the bridge of your nose as close to the nostril as you dare. Walk around in plain sight. (DO NOT INHALE! You will die, or wish you had. Ow.)
- Dance on the countertops and bars. (Not that kind; keep it suitable for family establishments.)
- Approach the most expensive piece of machinery you have (espresso machine, sanitizer; the more public the better) with the biggest wrench you can find. Start opening hatches and panels, banging around and making noise. (Hit areas where you cannot possibly break anything.) If you have a plumber’s wrench (at least a foot and a half long), grumble that you need a bigger wrench and go to the back. If all you have are normal tools, grumble that you need the hammer for this. Disappear into the back.
- Find a ladder or stepstool. Go to the nearest light fixture and get as close as you can; nose touching the casing. State that you just wanted to make sure that it was on.
- Make your way through work testing all the smoke detectors. Twice.
- Flip breakers seemingly at random. (Note, make sure you are not flipping important ones. If you crash the cashiering computer, well… just don’t.)
- Go to the backroom. Put whip cream on your neck, cheeks, and face. Poke your head out. “Alright, who took my razor?” (If you have fun coworkers, one of them will make a comment about using it to shave their legs.)
- Hide timers around the store with different times (I like 8:15, 23 minutes, and 108 seconds). If you have the skills of a pickpocket, slide them into your coworkers’ apron pockets. Otherwise, simply place them behind/ under machines.
- Intimate that you will shoot people with whip cream. If you have that kind of relationship, go for it.
Now get out there, have some fun, and try to reinstate a sense of mirth in the workplace. But allow me to offer one last suggestion. Pace yourself. You will have something to look forward to. And your coworkers will be less likely to turn on you as a rabid mob. (You don’t want someone foaming at the mouth for real.)