Monday, December 7, 2009

Unreliable waiters 11/06/09

Last night il cameriere shows up after 8pm, leaving la cameriera to do all the rooms by herself. The same happened last Sunday, and I had to prepare the tables alone.

I went in to work at 8.30pm to find il cameriere happily eating his pasta along with la cameriera. She turned to say hello, but he hardly moved to say ciao making out to be so engrossed in her and his dinner. Mio suocero later told us that il cameriere had hardly arrived when he started saying to la cameriera, ‘Come on, let’s eat something.’ She said no several times, that she didn’t feel like eating, but he insisted on ‘sharing’ some pasta with her.

Upstairs I noticed the tables weren’t ready; they hadn’t been cleaned, the chairs neither, and some place settings were missing and wine glasses too. So basically, as mio marito said later, he had spent the day shacked up on Lipari island with his current lover and then showed up late for work, starving after the day’s ‘activities’, to tuck into dinner laid on by us.

So I said to him, reasonably (as I thought), ‘You show up at 8.30 and have dinner straight away without finishing off the preparations … it’s not on, you were late last Sunday too and we didn’t say anything…’ He immediately got agitated and defensive, and said he had called mio marito to say he would be late, and I said quietly that my husband would say the same as me; it’s all very well to call, but we trust that you are going to turn up on time and sort out the restaurant for us. Last week I had to do it alone, this Sunday la cameriera had to do it alone. You need to get an earlier boat back form the islands (he takes the last one which arrives in at 7.45 at the docks, so it is not that the boat is late, he simply needs to take the one before). He continued to back away from me and defend himself and go on as if he was in the right and I had no right to say such things, that he has always worked for my husband’s family. He stormed off aggressive and angry, to set the table, all stooped over and set in the face.

Later as I came up the stairs I could see he was moaning out about this to la cameriera. I don’t like this mutinous attitude. I can imagine him saying this around town to all his mates; and, as I said to mio marito, he won’t slag YOU off, because you are from the family and everyone knows you, but he will say, ‘His wife is foreign and rigid and full of rules.’ But in the end it is not just that I am FOREIGN. The problem – is that I am a WOMAN: they can’t deal with female authority. It isn’t as if I ask much. Just turn up on time and do your job responsibly.

Il cameriere then told mio marito how I had offended and humiliated him: he got all overexcited, ‘Lei mi ha offeso e umigliato …’ Humiliated? When? I could have said a lot worse but I just kept to the facts in a fair way. Mio marito also got annoyed with him because he started on what he had tried to say to me – ‘I am doing you a favour coming to work for you for after my office job …’ Mio marito said, ‘in the first place, we pay you fairly and on time, and in the second this is a proper job and so we expect you to turn up on time and take it seriously. There are loads of people who would want to work here, so if you can’t make it on Sunday night, we can find someone else. It is YOU who has been asking me to give you more shifts.’ How stupid to slag me off to my husband! Only a buffoon could do that. Mio marito actually had to tell him that I had every right to say what I did. I bet the waiter will be back next week all pally with my husband again but cool to me; he gets away with putting him in his place and suggesting that we could let him go, but I can’t even tell him to show up on time and do his job properly!

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