Before I go into today’s entry proper… it’s week 10 already! WTF where has all the time gone! Anyway I just submitted yet another term paper proposal for yet another history module which I dreaded. Almost wanted to give up halfway during the semester but realized it would not be worth it to retain for another semester just to clear one module.
And guess what! Of all people who could be biographed, my proposed biographee ended up being the same as one of my module mates. And if the Toa Payoh ritual murders in 1981 wasn’t ghastly and horrible enough, imagine my horror when I read her paper proposal which was on the exact same person, and the exact same books referenced! Well I approached the topic differently from hers but still…I swear this was all co-incidental. Why would we plan to do the same topic and fuck everyone’s minds anyway?
Back to topic. People may say that cashiering can be done by everyone. But if you don’t have the caliber to handle the stress and impatient hungry customers, I won’t say that this job responsibility is an easy one.
To cut the long story short, I applied for a job as an executive in a F&B SME after finding out we share similar orientations and aspirations. But as a condition discussed during the seemingly informal interview, I had to try out on-the-ground operations for 3 days before expressing my commitment. And so I took up the challenge 2 weeks ago.
I am never a good at counting money – Whenever I eat out in a group, I will always be the one telling my friends “You all calculate already then tell me how much I have to pay”. Sometimes I even give the wrong amount to the cashier when I buy things. Yadda Yadda.
Imagine my reaction when I reported to the company for my first day of the work trial… to be assigned at the cashier! WHAT?! I have never felt so unprepared before, especially when I have to count money fast (both on the receiving end and giving customers change) during peak periods.
So I had a crash course on how to operate their point-of-sale system, which the company just recently upgraded a few days ago. Only a few staff were trained in cashiering, and even so, are not really familiar with the interface. Come to think of it, I wondered how my brain entered auto-pilot mode during meal times, where I just endlessly selected the meal options, attending to customers’ orders one after another.
Here’s what I have learnt, and what I learnt to be grateful for.
1.Even when you screw up and your badly want to sit down in a corner and sulk because you are angry with yourself, you still have to put on your brave front and smile at customers.
2.I finally realised the importance of telling the counter your table number when making orders. Our point-of-sale system is programmed in a way that we have to key in the table number before we can proceed on to anything else. Seriously customers, if you are reading this, please just us this small favour of letting us know your table number. After all, those number tags aren’t put there/designed for fun. Help us, help you!
3.I am thankful for patient colleagues who willingly put down whatever they are doing at the moment and stepped in to help whenever I needed assistance at the cashier. The working culture is one of care and everyone just treats each other like family, even though I only knew them for barely 3 days. No one competes for productivity. Basically just call for help and someone will save the damsel in distress without complaints.
4.And I am thankful for understanding customers who didn’t take their anger out on me whenever the queue got quite long, or when they were held back by another customers’ requests. Thank you for not shouting/fuming at me, because I am already trying to keep the queue fast and moving as perfectly as I could.
5.And I learnt how to appreciate cashiers in general! I admit that sometimes I do get a bit impatient when the check-out queue is damn slow, but after this stint I realised how challenging cashiering can get.
Anyway apart from that I did manage to upsell their promotion items, buzzed tables (when the cashier is less busy and I wanted to help the team clear the flow food being served), learnt quite a bit on how their food is prepared, helped this lady carry her drinks to her table yadda yadda.
The 3 days were short but it was one of the most humbling things I have ever learnt.
Generally F&B jobs aren’t well-sought after here because the environment is never on par with the comforts of the conventional 9-6 desk job. You have to be constantly on your feet, get busy, learn how to cope under fast-paced conditions, pacify customers (because a hungry man is always an angry man) etc etc. But at the end of the day, what is most satisfying is when you see customers enjoying the meal they ordered, eating under a pleasant atmosphere, and with nothing cocked-up during their entire time spent at the restaurant.
Honestly I felt quite sad when the trial ended. Which meant that I am now back to writing essays and chasing deadlines one after another. Basically submitting work for the sake of doing so lol.
Wonder when I will be starting work. Can’t wait for my days of being an essay machine to be over.
And last but not least…
I am going to be enlisted in SAF Volunteer Corps! Would have to stay in camp for about 2 weeks in June for basic training, and another 1 week in July for additional training for Infomedia staff.
Luckily I got accustomed to showering in cold water while I was in pinoyland. Well I admit that there was a period of time after I returned, I reverted back to hot showers. In fact the first thing I remembered after getting home from the airport was to turn on the water heater to bathe. But for the past few weeks I changed back to cold shower again. Doing this because the camp won’t have hot showers!
Holy shit its 3.12am now. Time to sleep.