Taking a Drive Back to the Country Club

Thought it would be fun to resurrect an old post via 2009 from my former blog culturepie.wordpress.com. Enjoy!

Life At The Country Club

October 5, 2009 by wlharrod

Grin and bear it. That’s what I’ve been told all my life, especially when it comes to working at jobs which have nothing to do with your intended choice of career. I’ve worked as a server at Ryan’s Steakhouse, a hostess at Cracker Barrel (in which you smell like burnt fire place dipped in a bowl of dumplings), and more recently a server at a country club. For my safety, this country club will remain nameless. Working for the last few months or so, I’ve noticed much more than just tarnished silver spoons. On my first day, I heard the story of the member who demands his toilet seat warmed up by a staff member. He’s the same retired man who requires guidance to the restroom by hand. He’s the same man who makes one of the waiters park his luxury car. This is just the beginning.

The Uniform

If only my uniform looked something like this:

NOT my uniform

(photo courtesy of uniformwizard.com)

But instead, it looks something like this:

Tuxedo Man

(photo courtesy of miamitux.com)

Three days a week, I’m dressed as a human penguin in full tuxedo pant, collard shirt, vest, and the cherry on top – the bow tie. When I was fitted for this unflattering uniform at the local bridal store, I was not a college girl being fitted for her (required) work uniform, but rather a lesbian bride-to-be. Quite an unpleasant situation. $100 later (all of which was deducted from my paycheck), three buttons on my vest mysteriously fell off thanks to poor factory craftsmanship. Temperature in the dining area remains at a nauseating 75 degrees, which is perfect for thinning, senior citizen skin. But when you’re wearing vest, and suffocating penguin attire, it’s not fun. It’s also not fun when you squirt mayonnaise on various regions of your black, already greasy apron. The apron, nice for storing straws and spare pens and non sharpened pencils, is designed to fit my waist properly. But when I’ve exhausted my energy locating a frosted glass and bottle (never can!) of (must be caffeine-free) diet coke, my apron is practically twisted down to my knees, thus requiring an extra 30 seconds for readjusting when I could be scavenging the extra skim milk for that one mom that freaks out if her three-year-old drinks 2%. (Here’s a trick I learned on the job. Don’t have skim, but ya got whole? No problem. Just add two-parts water and shake. Baby will never know the difference.) Don’t feel like washing your tux? No problem. Just dab some carbonated soda water on the stains. The unwashed armpit areas provide natural perfume for guests to enjoy.

Rule 1. Know your customers

The Old Man Golfer

Old Man Golfer

(photo courtesy of http://acontinuouslean.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/mr6.png)

He’s picky, decisive. You secretly admire these traits and want them for yourself. He sits at the same table every day for lunch. He likes half a tuna sandwich with one slice of tomato. Mayonnaise on the side. (You chuckle because you hate mayonnaise and the thought of having to prepare it). He also likes his top piece of rye bread not toasted and his bottom piece of rye toasted. He orders fruit on the side, but insists on retrieving his own fruit from the salad bar. There better be enough watermelon up there, or all hell breaks loose. Like you’re going to get germs on it or something.

Please don’t get his order wrong, or he’ll tell you your brain is a size of a pea and how astonished he is that you remembered to spell your name correctly on your name tag. You get his order wrong. He’ll also be quite shocked when he asks where you go to school. And when you tell him YOU got into graduate school he’ll politely ask you to repeat this, because he didn’t think he heard you correctly.

The Friendly Old Woman She goes glam at the club … plasters herself with cake-like foundation, bright red lipstick and cheetah print on her belt, her scarf, her shoes, and her blazer. Typically very sweet. She likes to play bridge with her lady friends and take bridge lessons three or four times a week. She drinks her decaf coffee black, and requests extra lemons for her unsweet tea, so don’t bring out extra creamer because it will just go to waste and the kids in Africa will continue to starve. Her bacon on her BLT must be extra crispy.

She loves the muffin assortment you bring out to her table. You, however, have sampled the muffins a time or two and think they taste a little burnt. However, that first day you discovered the muffins, you stuffed three in your pocket and forgot about them until you stuck your hand down into the muffin mush. She wants wine at 12:30 in the afternoon. White wine. Or she may want a Bloody Mary. You laugh because older people aren’t supposed to drink, and definitely not at 12:30 in the afternoon. She also recently began dating a man friend at the club, so you remember to charge his tab, not hers.

The New Member She asks you where the powder room is. She inquires what days breakfast is served. She asks you a lot of questions you’re surprised you even know the answers to. She tells you the food is wonderful, how crisp her bacon is. How warm the ham and lentil soup is. She wants dessert. No one orders dessert. You enjoy charging her $4.50 for a chocolate ice cream pie that would take you three days to burn off. You chuckle. But then she sits in the corner, gossiping with her friend, also a new member, about how her ex-husband wants to reconcile way past 2 p.m. – when lunch is officially over – and you can’t finish your chores because it’s not etiquette to finish your chores in front of a member.

The Underage Member

Little Boy

(photo courtesy of littlebigmagazine.com)

Mannered, basically how you want your kid to turn out. He drinks skim milk, but really drinks the watered-down whole milk you prepared because you were too lazy and too busy to locate. You like to watch them talk, watch them tell stories of their family vacations and how cool the sailing in Nova Scotia was. They’re articulate for their age and must take the gifted and talented classes at the private school. He wants to grow up and play professional golf. Already works on his swing at the driving range. You notice a lot of these kids are adopted. You want your kid to turn out like them. You want to flash forward through graduate school, adopt a goldendoodle.

The Normal Member You hunt them. You fight for their table. Never complaining. Quick to give tips when really tips are included in membership dues. They don’t drink much water or coke, so you rarely have to make more than two refill stops. They read your name tag, and call you by your name. They rarely order from the menu, usually just get the cold lunch buffet. Easy enough.

Easy enough.

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