Sunday, February 26, 2006

shake it loose

What a week.

It started out to be a pleasant one -- see the pics below for proof:

Then it started.

So as the GM for three (soon to be two--explanation later-later) restaurants, I'm in charge of staffing. Most of our staff has been with us for years, and problems are fortunately few and far between in an industry plagued by high turnover rates. But every once in a while the shit really hits the fan, as it did this week.

Part of the problem is that we have quite a few folks related to each other working for us, and this is where the problems usually arise. In this case, the husband works at store #40 and the wife works at #51. Store #51 has been slow, so I decided to cut hours across the board. I knew there would be a problem with this husband and wife set, because we're in the final stages of selling store #40 and we're nearing the end of the close of escrow period. The problem is, the new owner will be bringing in their own team of employees and not need our staff, including the previously mentioned husband. In other words, if I can't find another store to put him, he'll be out of a job in a matter of weeks. I obviously knew this situation going into cutting hours at #51, but business is business, no matter how "tight" my staff thinks they are with me.

So Tuesday I go in and meet with the staff at #51 individually and tell them about the sluggish business lately, and by and large they understand. I mean, most of them would rather have a job with reduced hours and the promise of those hours returned than not have a job at all. Plus, they're not stupid, they see how it's been slow lately. I also let the staff know individually that I'll be giving their biannual raises in the next pay period, so that helped to soften the blow.

I meet with the wife half of the husband/wife pair and go around and around with her, she's disputing the whole thing, and after 30 minutes of this, my patience is wearing thin. We end the conversation simply with her saying, "My husband is going to have something to say about this," which, of course, I already knew. He's quite outspoken.

The day progresses, and I'm on my way home in the evening to meet up with some friends when I get a call from her husband, completely up in arms about everything, so much so that he's not speaking clearly or intelligibly. I explain over and over again the situation but he's not hearing me, apparently, and is shouting over me to get his point across. I keep telling him I want to speak to his wife, not him, because she is the person that this about, not him. This goes on for several minutes until he says, "Okay, well I quit and so does she." I wasn't thinking clearly, obviously, when I said, "Fine," because I was so heated at this point. I can often do without one staff member, but two is pushing it as far as floating back-up staff members around.

Plus, he's the cook.

Did I forget to mention that?


Long story short (too late) a call was made to grovel so that he'd come back at least until store #40 is sold. Because I'm fairly close with the staff (a mistake sometimes) I know that they can't afford to have both of them be out of work. I mean, who can, really? So a compromise is reached whereby he'll return to work and his wife will too, at decreased-but-not-so-dramatically hours, and the condition that I'm not to speak to the pair, his terms. WTF?!


So even though it was a short week, by Friday I'm feeling like I need a stiff drink, and I don't even drink. Instead, I get a call from the folks I used baby-sit for, and I haven't seen them in so long that I haven't met their youngest, a two-month old girl.

The evening went well, even if the little one spent most of the time screaming her little head off. I stopped at the drugstore on my way home to pick up some film I dropped off earlier (can I just say the highlight of my week was getting film from my new Lomo developed?!) when I dropped my cell phone. I guess it had been dropped one too many times (I'm hard on phones) and the screen went completely dead. I figured it was no big deal since I have the insurance, so I head to Cingular first thing Saturday morning, only to find out that, yep, it's gone beyond repair. I decide to buy a new one, cause it is my work phone after all, only to find out that we're on a national business plan of sorts that has to be dealt with differently to get promotional pricing, and the earliest I can get a new phone is Wednesday.

Let me break it down like this: this is my work phone, home phone, cell phone all in one. I absolutely cannot go incommunicado for that long, if only for work purposes. The idiot at the Cingular store suggests I buy a prepaid phone to use temporarily until the new one can be sent from the business headquarters.

What.a.friggin.idiot. Yes, let me buy TWO phones, please! So I cave and buy a phone on the spot for the full price, a ridiculous amount of money equal to a good portion of my Christmas bonus. But! (Of course there's a but.) It needs to be "unlocked," so the idiot at Cingular sends me to some shady place two towns away to pay another $40 to have the phone unlocked for use, then tells me to come back so he can extract the numbers from the old phone. I do as I'm told and go to the shady phone guy, return to Cingular only to find out they cannot extract the numbers I had stores because they were stored on the actual phone, not the SIM card. (You knew that was coming, right?) Beyond frustrated, I go back to the shady phone guy who offered to extract the numbers for a mere $15 after I talked him down from $25 only to find out it really cannot be done.


I'm now trying to contact all the folks I think were stored in my phone to have them send me their numbers. More importantly, I lost all of the phone numbers for my employees that were stored in my phone! That'll be a bit harder to trace, since half of them change their numbers with great frequency.

On the plus side, if there is one, every time I answer the phone it'll give me a thrill to guess who is calling, since the caller ID will simply show a series of numbers that I won't recognize! I mean, c'mon (COME ON!) who memorizes phone numbers these days?! ;) Oh, and I have a cool Razr (ridiculous spelling) too.

Other than that, not a whole lot is new. Heading up to SF today with the fam for some dinner and other family related goodness. My uncle (mom's brother) is moving from the O.C. (don't call it that) to Northern California (today, actually) so it should be interesting to see how it all plays out since they don't get along very well. If anything, I figure my cousins might come up for visits frequently and that'll be rad, since we get along well. He and my aunt got divorced last year, and everything just got sorted out...

If you've made it this far, I congratulate you.

This verbal diarrhea is why I don't write very often.



  1. Sorry to hear about all your difficulties. Sounds to me like it's time for a S.O.B event (Save our Bianca)! I mean come on! Let me know if there is anything I can do!

  2. Got through it all-must be nice to be able to still blog *slow tears rolling down my cheek*

  3. Wow... this is the most I think you have ever written. Get it off your chest girl! :) Beautiful pics, BTW. Does sound like you may need a girls night out! Treat yourself!

  4. When it rains it pours. Glad to know though that you still have your great sense of humor!