Thursday, March 18, 2010

Talkin' bout your generation...

It’s been said, probably to the point of nausea, that every generation thinks it invented sex. (Half of you are racing to reach the “browser back” button while the other half is thinking, “Hot damn! More internet sex!” Not to worry. As the younger generation will point out, I am too old for sex and learned everything I may know about it from cave paintings and hieroglyphics. Hmmm, wait, what was I thinking about again?)

I would also add that every generation thinks it invented drugs as well, which leads the younger generation to the following conclusions:

A. Older people don’t know anything about drugs
B. Older people are afraid of drugs
C. Older people cannot tell if I am high or not

(for purposes of this post, “older” is the young generation’s definition which translates to anyone 30 or older)

This leads to an enriching and eye-opening experience when you own a business primarily staffed by people in the age range of 18 to 25. They will try to take advantage of all three “facts.”

Unfortunately, the restaurant industry is notorious for high drug use. As one employee once said, “If you start drug testing, I’d be the only one that would pass. That’s because I’m on parole.” But you don’t worry about what you can’t control, so you focus on whether or not people are effectively doing their job.

At Good Eats we had a server who told me one night, “I’ve been invited to my first tailgate party tomorrow afternoon.”

“And you’re supposed to work tomorrow night? Maybe you should take the night off.”

Shocking as it may have been to him, I knew him well enough to know that he wasn’t going to the Omega Theta Pi ice cream social. (And I wasn’t assuming he’d be high, just drunk.) A week later, he managed to serve a table’s dessert before their entrees. Was he high? Totally irrelevant. Because of that and some other missteps, he demonstrated he could not do the job he was hired to do.

Other servers knowing that drugs are a hot button with us old folks would tell us drug stories about co-workers they wanted fired. In one incident, a server said, “I know some people that tell me Biff (a co-worker) is hanging out around crack houses. I’ll have my peeps look into it and get back with you.”

Your peeps? You’re a middle class white college kid who wears a cowboy hat and giant belt buckles on your off days. Your only peeps are your Facebook gangsta friends. Besides, if your peeps are telling me to fire Biff, why shouldn’t I fire you for hanging out with these peeps who know people in crack houses? I never did hear back from his investigation.

Then finally there are the brazen and/or stupid employees who think we can’t distinguish between a joint and a cigarette much less what marijuana smells like. So they leave their joints laying around in the alley, the parking lot or maybe even the walk-in cooler. (Tangent: For the love of God, it’s bad enough you can’t clean up your trash, can you at least clean up your illegal trash?)

This reminds me of the former employee who stole some cash, an autographed picture and a plant that had been chained to a wall outside. It was the picture and the plant that made me angriest, just the sheer gall and stupidity of stealing something so trivial. Doing drugs on company property is the same thing because now you’re just flipping me off. And that deserves unemployment as well as jail time.

So for all you youngsters out there, with the exception of technology, you aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before. You did not invent sex and drugs; my generation did.

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