Crabs in a Barrel, Baby

I had to have a meeting yesterday afternoon with the hostess with the leastess and the general manager (GM), per the GM’s request.

Another, more minor confrontation had occurred. “Can you work together?” he wanted to know.

I looked at her sad, bassett hound expression across the table. She wiped a tear. “No need to cry,” the GM consoled her. Oh brother.

But the GM is cool, and he cuts to the chase, telling the sad one she has got to get it together with her work habits. She whines on and on about how she never cursed out the other hostess on that one day, there were no customers around, all she wanted was her $30 back, and the other managers know this.

GM explains he could care less about the reason she came in, it was that she came in during work to confront the other hostess. And there is much back and forth on this from her.

Now, I am thinking several things at once to myself:

–I have kids this age. If I EVER thought that one of them behaved this way at work, in public, I’d turn in my parenting credentials and apologize to the world! After I let them have it.

–Why am I sitting here with the GM and this girl, listening to this as though I am somehow part of the problem in the “Can’t you two girls get along?” sense? I really have no desire to participate in stupid 19-year-old drama. And doesn’t the GM have more to care about on a busy Friday afternoon?

–Calgon, take me away.

And then I remember what the upstairs maitre’d–a seasoned veteran of the biz–said early on when he saw I was about to melt down about the incredible lack of professionalism of some our junior host staff: “It’s like crabs in a barrel, baby. The sick ones on the bottom always try to pull the healthy ones down. Don’t let ’em drag you down.”

So, after watching this hostess turn on and off the tears and constantly interrupt when I or the GM try to speak, I decide I just need to make my point.

In my best, now-you-listen-to-me-and-listen-good voice, I say: “I have chosen this work as my profession. I am too old and work too hard for you to come down to my podium and disrupt what I have worked so hard to make one of the most professional in town. This is work–just work–and you need to decide if it’s work you want to do.” I said some other things, but that’s the gist.

When the meeting is over, I go to collect my stuff. I have never been so happy to see my work week come to an end. The GM apologizes to me on my way out, “For bringing you in for that,” or something to that effect. Okay, fine. Just want to go home, now.

You might be wondering, am I ready to call it quits?

And miss the cute babies who smile at me, the gaggle of office workers celebrating a birthday, the business executives who I pity have to go back to an office,
the always-funny banter between me and the wait staff, the rush of juggling pagers and greeting hundreds of hungry faces?

Leave this microcosm of the world that unfolds in my foyer every weekday?

Hell, no. ‘Cause it’s just crabs in a barrel, baby.






6 responses to “Crabs in a Barrel, Baby”

  1. Mandy Avatar

    What a bother. Brushing it off your shoulders is the least you can do. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and will be coming back to visit. In the meantime, keep your head up.

  2. skye Avatar

    He’s right. The crabs in the bottom won’t last long. You can outlast them. And who knows, maybe a little of what you said that day will get through to her. If not at this establishment, maybe the next or next or next.

  3. jules Avatar

    Just wanted to let you know I love your blog,, I got it off waiterrant, and have added you to ” my favorites”,,,, as a server in a very busy restaurant, i enjoy reading another person’s take on this kind of work,,, you are a great writer,, thanks for taking the time to keep your blog current

  4. jeyadev Avatar

    hey Gal… i know how you feel… been there and gotten yelled at. May I use your line at work?

  5. Archie Avatar

    Hi Gal,

    Thank you for giving me a new mantra that fits so well with what I am seeing at work right now and unhappy about :


    I will personally come and kick a%% for anyone who gives you a hard time….

  6. dalia g Avatar
    dalia g

    Thank you. I am an older worker that have devoted at least a quarter of a century to my work…now I am being challenged by a tight market and many young wannabees…If they put in the time, pride, commitment, and passion that I do in my job, then more power to them…otherwise THEY ARE JUST CRABS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, BABY.