Five o’clock, I show up, that depressant David is at the door and I ask him about where I should go and he takes me back to the office, where that girl that was at my orientation happens to be. GM Steve and his, I’m guessing, assistant manager is there. GM Steve has his assistant take me into the kitchen and she gives me a hair net and an apron. The guy training me is Troy.

Troy is a short guy who reminds me of a guy Jason knows named Smurf, but shorter. The whole process feels rather unorganic, no one seems to know what’s going on. I know I’m supposed to be on fryer, and aside from that no one seems to know what’s going on. Troy tells me about how he’s been training people for a couple months and Red Lobster has been dicking him around on the extra dollar per hour he’s supposed to get while training people. The initial hour that I was there was pretty much the only “training” I got from him, but it seemed to be enough.

Before today, I had no idea how much shrimp comes out of a Red Lobster. It wasn’t uncommon to see a ticket with thirty or more pieces of shrimp on it.

I think I picked up pretty fast, got what I needed done, didn’t really spazz out or anything.

GM Steve backed me up on the fryer twice during the night, which was good, but I got the feeling that the other guys on line didn’t really like him being back there, like it was messing up their system. I can’t blame them, the same thing happened at Maria’s. Ryan and me had a system that worked fine, and we didn’t like anyone else helping us unless we were totally and unarguably swamped.

At Maria’s, the kitchen is driven by the chef. Tickets come in, they’re called, we cook the food, it’s held. Chef calls food, we bring food back up to temp and send it out all at once. At Red Lobster the kitchen is driven by the broiler machine. Yes, seriously. The ticket comes in, who ever is running the broiler stocks his broiler with the meat items and puts the ticket on the rails on the broiler. As the meat goes through the broiler, the ticket slides with it. There are minute increments marked on the side of the broiler that explain what needs to be called out to cook (mostly my fry stuff) at what minutes. This system wasn’t really used tonight, because we weren’t super busy. Apparently this is a weekend thing.

Red Lobster also starts shutting down a lot earlier than Maria’s. As soon as the board was cleared after 8:00pm, the cleanup started.

I think the biggest concern for me right now is that well over half of the fry items cook in fourty five seconds, and have little margin for error. Six diffrent baskets to keep an eye on, and if something (namely coconut shrimp) cook for sixty seconds, it looks burnt to hell. That makes me nervous. The pace at this place is so much faster than at Maria’s. I’ve got to get a system down or I’m going to choke tommorrow night.

After I got sent off the clock, I bumped into that girl that I was at orientation with in the parking lot. During the night I had kept checking to see if she wore a name tag like all of the other servers, but she didn’t. She told me about the “test” that she didn’t pass, so she’s still in training. She talked to me like I knew all about this “test”. She seemed curious about the bike situation.

So, your biking today?
Nah, I got a flat yesterday.
So, your walking?
No, I’ve got my Ranger. Oh, that red truck is yours?

Here comes a thing that initially I had thought would be a way to increase the friendship level… Want to increase your friendship with someone? Establish common interests. What I chose to do in this situation is, superficially, a good idea, but how I actually implimented it probably sent out the wrong signals. She asked me why I rode my bike if I have a truck. I try to be clever and use a quote from a popular movie, I chose “American Beauty”. Everyone has seen it, so this is a common interest, right? I say, “I want to look good naked,” (See American Beauty) This was a mixed message. As soon as I said this, I knew it was received completely diffrently than I had intented it and she took it exactly as any normal human would have taken it. Dammit. Now either she thinks I’m “interested” or she thinks I’m a total perv. Ugh.

At least this exchange didn’t happen on the clock, should it have been an offensive exchange to her.