This summer Iworked for the first time.
Unlike my freelance job, which allows me to stay at home as long as I want and at the computer as many hours as I deem necessary, in July and August I was hired by a third party for something completely different.
I admit that at first I was very scared because I was afraid of messing up, but now that it's over (my contract expired at the end of August) I can say with certainty that I am happy to have put myself in the game. Mine was an overall simple job, but that doesn't mean I didn't sweat seven shirts to earn my salary (the first of my life, too).
In one of the restaurants in the seaside town where I go every summer with my parents, they were looking for a person who would take care of customer reception and table reservations in the evening, who in general had a nice presence and who could speak English. A room hostess, in a nutshell.
It sounds easy, but it's not like that at all.
Even though I have never had any experience working in catering, it still seemed like a good idea both for my cultural background and for earning some money. At first I thought I had to do only two things ... but then I realized that I too, in my small role, had to take into account many other things: there are customers to support, waiters to guide, the kitchen to inform, etc.
In short, a lot of stuff.
In the days I did the internship I was immediately catapulted into the chaos of a restaurant in full delirium of its evening service, that is, on the weekend when everyone is resting and wants to leave the house. The confusion and managing so many things at the same time scared me to the point that I no longer had the faintest idea of what to do, so much so that I was stuck in the middle of the room. Like deer when they get stuck with car headlights.
The owners apologized for letting me start in the most difficult time of the week. But in hindsight; I told him it was good, because I immediately understood what I was going to meet, as in August this experience would be repeated almost every day.
That's how it was.
However, initial "trauma" aside, I finally managed to juggle those hot weeks.
I learned a lot of things in that period and above all to respect more those who do that job.
Really, only the waiters would deserve a medal for all the effort they put in.
As I said before, as a hostess I learned to manage teamwork and also to solve different situations. Dealing with customers was probably an important factor.
By being in contact with customers, I was able to better understand the type of people a restaurateur comes into contact with and how many of them actually respect this category of workers.
At least 90% of the work evenings I was lucky enough to welcome patient and friendly people, who were able to wait for their orders without making a fuss and who even thanked for the good food. Those who have made special requests have always apologized for the inconvenience and many of the people came without booking a table, and not finding it in the evenings of "full capacity"; they left without protesting and complaining about a simple "patience".
A Foreign customers from Greece were so happy and satisfied with our work that they returned the next day to give us a box of sweets typical of their country, thanking everyone for the great experience we offered them.
I was more than touched.😊
How nice is it to receive certain satisfactions?
And then there is the downside ... where instead of compliments you receive criticism and even insults. There have been a couple of occasions when we have dealt with angry people. But what can we do about it? It happens to any restaurant that goes wrong. In my case, personally, I had the unfortunate luck of having to confront (only twice, fortunately) with individuals who would not have hurt both a chamomile and a kick in the butt.
A small premise linked to both situations: the restaurant where I worked overlooks the sea.
Part of the structure is covered and on really hot days it boils down there. In fact, customers always ask to be able to sit in the outermost parts or outdoors.
There will be at least twenty tables in total, seven / eight of which will be arranged on what we called "sea side". Precisely, this sector provides both the beautiful view of the sea and fresh evening air at the same time.
Precisely for this reason, many want to settle there.
And it makes sense, with the heat that you suffer in those parts.
But not everyone can be satisfied.
Due to the high demand of that corner, those lucky enough to book in advance asked to be placed right there. Those who came later, on the other hand; they had to make do with the other seats.
Returning to my experiences ...
In the first case, a gentleman who had made a specific request for a table in the outdoor area turned very badly to me when he realized that he did not have the requested table.
As it happens, there was no note in my reservation and we others, having tight times to set the other tables, placed it where there was room, thinking that it could be satisfied.
Nope! He was so angry it seemed I had insulted his mother! I tried to explain the situation to him but he didn't let me speak for a second, too busy complaining, except when I told him we could fix it better.
With a very false smile I wished him a good dinner, but in my head I hoped it would go wrong.
The second situation, however; he had to deal with a client who could not take "no" for an answer.
We were finishing the preparations quickly because we would have a full house that night. One of the owners (who works as a pizza chef) was next to me to count approximately how many seats there would be when, at that moment, a family consisting of father, mother and teenage daughter arrives. The guy asks us for a table on the sea side, but I reply that it is not possible because the whole area is reserved and I can only make them sit inside. Did he get the message? No. He continued to insist for a little corner in front of the sea, even though I explained to him that it was absolutely not possible in any way (meanwhile, his wife and daughter behind him laughed for no reason. Bho?).
Only the intervention of the owner put an end to this nonsense, harshly confronting the man, who is as annoyed as I am by his attitude.
Owner: << The only free tables are inside. It is useless that you insists. >>
Customer: << If I can't sit outside, I'll leave. >>
Owner: << You're welcome. You can go as well. >>
That's how it was.
I admit I felt guilty about the situation, but the pizza chef reassured me by saying that I shouldn't, since I wasn't wrong and that I was following the rules.
I was very lucky to find myself working with smart people and above all with employers who know how to defend and listen to you… as well as having free pizzas for dinner.
I hope that in my search for a new job to find a similar environment, even if Florence is completely different in terms of environment and people.
This newly written article is a summary of what my summer 2022 was like.
A beautiful summer, no doubt
Between good and bad surprises, ups and downs, but above all many memories and experiences to keep in the heart.