Tales from a Burger Bar: The Mop

Recently I got my first job as an under-paid under-appreciated waitress in a local burger bar and I felt that I had finally become ‘an adult’. I was ecstatic to be getting into the job market and earning a wage even if it was at £6 an hour. I bounced in on my first day ready to be the best damn waitress London had ever seen.
It arose, pretty quickly, that I am a terrible waitress.

Picture this but with far more humiliation 

From the off, I seemed to get everything wrong. When someone came in to enquire about the offers, I happily told them about the lunch deal…that wasn’t available that day as it was a Sunday not a weekday. When someone ordered a drink I promptly forgot their order as I turned to get it from the fridge and had to waddle back with my tail between my legs to ask them again. I took a very long and complicated order at the end of the day, only for it to arise that the kitchen had run out of most of the ingredients and had failed to tell me, meaning I looked like the plonker that had to go back and take the entire order again… spoiler alert: the customers left when they realised they couldn’t get onion rings.

However, none of these faux-pas on a first day are really that bad. The thing that made everything seem so much worse was the presence of my arch rival and simultaneously my role model: The Super Waitress. A stunningly beautiful thirty-year-old from Romania, The Super Waitress was able to be everywhere and do everything. She did it all with a little smirk that just said you are way out of your depth, leave the waitressing to me. Every time I got something wrong she was there to correct me and sort it out. Every time our boss gave us something to do, I’d jump up to do it and find Super Waitress already finishing it.

The first time I walked in, I found Super Waitress drying the cutlery and putting them back in the drawer.
“Can I help with that?” I said beaming my ‘Helpful New Waitress’ smile.
“If you want.” She replied, keeping eye contact as she dried a knife. We stood there for a few minutes, her clanking away with sharp utensils, blocking them from me, and maintaining a stare without blinking.
I reached for another towel and then attempted to get to the wet cutlery, only to find I wouldn’t be able to reach them without manhandling Super Waitress to get her out the way.
Needless to say, I left her to it.

I think it became clear pretty quickly that Super Waitress thought I was the most inept species of human she’d ever encountered. One time I cleaned a table for about five minutes, surveyed my face in the reflection appraisingly, and sauntered away, only to turn around and find Super Waitress re-cleaning it. I didn’t ask her why but I’m sure she’d found a speckle of dust somewhere that didn’t meet her Super Standards.

On my second day there came my Ultimate Challenge when our boss asked us to mop the floor. I’d seen Super Waitress do it flawlessly (of course) at least three times so I assumed she’d take this one. When there was a pause, she rose her eyebrows at me and lifted up a pack of cigarettes.
“I’m going for a smoke.” She declared.
Right, so that left me and The Mop.
Listen, I’ve done house work, okay? I’ve washed dishes, made my bed, vacuumed, swept, mowed the lawn… Just me mopping the floor has never really occurred.
I wrestled the mop out from the back. Realising how heavy the whole bucket-and-mop thing was, I just took the mop out, and dragged it across the floor to the door of the restaurant.
Super Waitress had resurfaced to watch me standing at the front appraising how I’d begin. She rose her eyebrows again and I realised it was now or never.
(NB: Not to scale...)
Taking a deep breath, I whooshed the mop around me.
“Now how are you going to get out?” Super Waitress asked.
I looked down to see I had mopped the floor into a little rectangle around me. I was stuck with a moat of soaking wet water surrounding me, with my back to a wall.
Super Waitress marched over, grabbed the mop from me, and whilst I stood for two minutes waiting for my moat to dry so I could escape, she cleaned the entire burger bar.

I wasn’t asked to mop the floor again.

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