Tuesday, April 12, 2o11
We last left our hero running from the Sunset and Gower Studios having recently vanquished Obnoxious Woman and having proved successful in remedial trivia.
Now, he must make it in time to the “Skills Assessment” test at what might be his new job. He’s not sure.
5:48. I’m on my bike pedaling as fast as I can. I still haven’t figured out if I have the job, or if the Skills Assessment is my final step to getting the job. As I jump from the street to the sidewalk and back, I try to replay the end of my interview.
Interviewer: Do you have any questions?
Jeff: How often would I expect to work?
Interviewer: It is really up to you.
Interviewer: Well, I’d like to invite you to our Skills Assessment Test. It’s our way of saying we’d like to…
I can’t remember what he said next.
6:04. I’m a sweaty mess as I throw open the front door and run up to my room like a ‘tween who’s had a bad day at school. I put my head under the shower to try to cool off a bit. I scrape some deodorant on and look up the address of where I need to go. I throw on my white button down, black tie, black pants, satchel, and borrowed shoes.
6:11. I’m back on my bike looking as much like a Mormon missionary as one can look.
Fancy man: Names please.
Jeff: Jeff Houghton
Guy I walked in with: Brian
Fancy man: Jeff, we don’t have your name on here.
6:18. I sit down. I’ve arrived and I still don’t know if I’m supposed to be there. The Fancy Man starts by going around the room and asking people their experience and what they hope to get from night. I said I was hoping for a refresher. Lie.
6:25. The Fancy Man begins to explain everything from setting a table, to carrying glasses, to napkin folds, to how to treat people professionally.
Here are the highlights from his training:
-Four people had to go up to the front and set a table without saying a word to each other. Teamwork!
-We learned the napkin folds of the claw, the drapes, and the crown.
-We learned how to walk quickly without looking like you’re hurrying.
Favorite Quotes from the Fancy Man:
-“Notice everything. You have to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2. You know when he enters a room and scans everything. That’s what you have to do.”
-“Serve from the left, so your back is not to the guest. Make it a personal experience.”
-“Having breath mints is the most important thing you can do as a server.”
7:45. We are granted a 15 minute break.
8:00. The Fancy Man and the others who went to feed their meters are not back
8:18. The indie girl from the front row speaks up.
Indie girl: “It’s been longer than 15 minutes.”
Middle aged woman (who I learned used to play poker professionally): “Yeah, you’re right.”
Motherly woman: “Oh boy, maybe they got locked out of the building.”
Jeff: “What if we have to spend the night?!
Indie girl: “We can’t go down the elevator because then we’ll get locked out.”
Poker Lady: “Oh yeah.”
Jeff: “I get the comfy chair in that office!”
Motherly woman: “I’m going to head down.”
Jeff: “Guys, look! There are little bags of chips and Cokes. We can survive off those!”
None of that conversation was embellished.
9:12. The Fancy Man and his Merry Band of Parkers arrive back upstairs exhausted after having walked up the stairs. The Motherly Woman had rescued them. The Fancy Man tells us we don’t have much longer.
9:14. Weariness is setting in. I can’t take anymore details about how to properly address the Chef. I haven’t met him, but he sounds egomaniacal.
9:16. The Fancy Man informs us that we now have to take a test. It is the same test that I took last week. I did slightly better.
9:23. We are handed our certificates of completion. The Fancy Man has to handwrite one for me since I wasn’t on the list. I’m still not sure if I was supposed to be there, or if I am, in fact, hired or not. However, I now have a certificate that I can put next to my Bruegger’s Bagel Bakery Bagel Baker Certificate I got on a field trip in fourth grade.
9:29. I slowly ride my bike home in the dark as people stop me to ask about Joseph Smith.