mali ficos non vendemus.

Alison was born and raised in the seaside city of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. Showing her leadership qualities even in her youth, she was Head Girl of Collegiate High School for Girls in 1985. Alison achieved an international reputation as a banjo player by pushing the instrument out of its familiar Appalachian settings and into new musical territory.

Name:Alison Byrnes

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Write down your memories before they've disappeared...(chronicles of a jerky boss)

Memory #10 by Alison
That's the only coffee shop that doesn't allow employees to drink all the coffee they want. I've asked every person who mentioned working in a coffee shop I've run into, and they could drink unlimited while working, and usually free brewed coffee (at least) when they weren't working. One drink per shift - I've had other jobs actually give me tylenol when I had a headache which I later found out also contained caffeine because it makes for more productive, happy employees.

Memory #9 by Alison
I would be working with him alone in the morning, and he would try to hang out in the back creating the mystical soup (which when you started making it, or when I did it a few times, does not actually require 5 uninterrupted hours of labor). I would eventually get a rush up front and he would have to come up, until a regular he vaguely knew placed and order and it was his turn to engage that person in some topic, usually Bush. Five people would be lined up behind them, and I'd have to ask to start their drinks, until Gary just finally moved over to his little chatting nook, the doorway between the customer area and our work area. He also liked to stand in the middle of it when it was a really busy lunch, talking, so it was more difficult to deliver food.

Memory #8 by Helen
The employee tests and evaluation. Gary made me carry around a clip board and watch everyone make a latte and a sandwich and score them on their performance. Not to mention the written test you and I came up with with obscure employee discount questions. I don't think he ever followed up and asked for the results but I'm sure he would have failed everything but the pricing questions, cheap bastard. This brings me to the employee discount situation. 50 cents for every EXTRA olive, I think?

Memory #7 by Helen
Gary is trying to be funny in the back by doing a poor imitation of Dave Chappelle and I am force-laughing politely, but pretty obviously not amused. After an uncomfortable 6 minutes of "Shit man, I like the chronic" he says, "see, I'm funny - you're laughing, I know I'm funny. Do you think Atlas will let me go onstage before they perform so I can do some stand up?" Picture Gary onstage doing his "bit" that is so NOT funny and watching people stare at him with blank looks on their faces and then slowly walk out. How awesome would that have been! I would have hooked it up except that Maria was in Atlas and I couldn't bring that kind of shame on the improv troop.

Memory #6 by Alison
I only got a raise when things had gotten so bad that I was brought to tears. And, after 3 whole years, I was still making only $7.75. I bet that Anthony already gets $8.

Memory #5 by Alison
Adrienne let a woman who had just gotten into a minor car accident or something, and was sobbing. Gary censured Adrienne for being such a weak pushover who was not looking out for his best interests as a small business owner and pointed out that it wasn't his job to waste all that money on other people's problems who were probably just taking advantage of him anyway, and why couldn't they go to the bank or the gas station to beg for the phone.

Memory #4 (inspired by Maria because I forgot it until she reminded me) by Helen
Picture a busy lunch rush, Someone is working the register (I want to say Ari) and I am working the sandwich station with Gary. Gary insists on trying to make all the sandwiches assembly-line style, where he puts on a few of the ingredients and then pushes the sandwich over to me where I have to figure out what he put on, what is missing and what ticket it came from. He is also running a constant commentary on god knows what - probably the government. The sandwich orders are piling up and I am getting a little stressed and ask him 3 times in a row what he is working on so we don't make the sandwich twice and he stands back, pauses, and says, "Do you know what I wish..." I say, "What?" he says, "A million dollars." pause... I realized at that point that I cared much more than Gary about the success of the E and that he was the worst EE employee to ever man the sandwich counter.

Memory #3 (inspired by #2) by Alison
That other time that Gary was threatened to be sued by a black woman who happened to be a law student on charges of discrimination or something. She ordered the White Bean and Kale soup, and then didn't like it and wanted to return it (as usual, on the charge of not enough beans). The official store policy, of course, is NEVER actually give any money back, but spend hours negtiating some sort of deal which allows us to keep the $2.64 (the cost of a cup of soup after tax - remember?) So she wanted one of those little carrot bundt cakes that we charged $3.50 for and everyone else with the same generic bakery items charged like $2 for. It just blew up from there. I was hiding in the back after loud bad words started being used, but the last thing that happened was that she stormed off and we got a call from the police later asking about the incident. I never did get to hear the conclusion of that one though, because once the law is brought in, everything was kept on the down low (see the Leila incident).

Memory #2 by Helen
I remember when Gary waited on a woman who happened to be black and misunderstood something that she said. He came to "the back" in stiches because he was sure she had tried to order a "bowl of black-eyed peas" and asked me if he should inquire whether she would also like some collard greens. He spoke in his "I'm a brotha" voice.

Memory #1 (in no particular order) by Alison
All of the Grateful Dead bootlegs. I recall one day "I just downloaded a bunch of new Grateful Dead bootlegs. Now I have San Juan 1982!" They are always the length of an entire concert, so they last for hours, and have really bad sound - usually produced by someone holding a dictaphone in the air (it was 1982 after all). Then the inevitable, "Man, Jerry is a genius. How can you NOT like this stuff?! Just LISTEN."


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