Years ago, the accountant I used to use told me something I value to this day, regardless of the numerous things that made me decide to change to the accountants I adore: “Trust,” he said, “but verify.” Having survived, all these years later, a dining room manager who embezzled about $24,000, and sketchy, predatory contracts with a grease collection company (one I didn’t even sign- one of the staff did,) a linen company (curse you, fine print) and plenty of other businesses and people who simply didn’t do what they said they were going to do (upholsterer, I’m still waiting for you to get those last eight chairs that you missed,) the jury inside my head is still out: if you verify, *do* you really trust? I used to think I did. Lately, I’m not so sure.
I was ecstatic when people started applying for jobs again- we’d gone months- months!- without a response to a single ad we placed, and in the past two or three months, maybe, they’ve been filtering back, a few at a time. First, they were ridiculously unqualified. Landscapers, warehouse workers, a postal worker, a professor- people looking for kitchen work hadn’t ever worked in a kitchen, and people who’d run a fast-food cash register felt they should be servers despite not knowing how a sit-down restaurant works. Even people who’d waited tables before proved themselves to be inadequate bussers- I just got a phone call from a someone checking a reference on someone who’s worked three jobs since she left Feast a few months ago.
Now, though, I was given hope, admittedly false hope, that our worries were over. People who’d worked in real restaurants were applying to work in the kitchen again, restaurants where you didn’t just open a can or a freezer and heat up what was inside to put it on a plate. I checked references. I even heard good things. We interviewed. We hired, even. And then? Nothing. In the past few weeks, we’ve had at least six people not show up for interviewed scheduled as recently as four hours before, and at least four accept an offer to come and work a stage (stahj- say it with a thick French accent,) only to abandon us the day of. Two more are scheduled to interview this Tuesday, but at this point, when we all sit down at a table in the dining room, I feel like we’re seated at a poker table, jealously guarding our respective hands. I’m asking questions about work history, but I’m really trying to suss out whether it’s worth devoting another fifteen minutes to the conversation if the person across the table from me is doing what the last three did.
I want to ask during the interview: Have you agreed to a job before and not shown up? Can you explain to me why in a way that I could understand the answer?
I’ll picture us inching toward people who follow through on what they say they’ll do, and I’ll picture us reopening on Sundays (no, we’re still not there yet,) and I’ll picture myself back at work come Tuesday- I was hoping for today, but I’m continuing to play it safe for now. You’ll still see me at the wine tasting, but only on the screen today. I know many of you have done this for twenty-eight months now, but today is novel for me: my first day ever of working remotely. The tasting, for which you can still sign up, can be seen here:
and your way into it, if, like me, you’ll be participating remotely, is thus:
Topic: Quatorze juillet
Time: Jul 9, 2022 02:00 PM Arizona
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 840 1876 6214
It’s a sneak preview of four of the scores of French wines we’ll be offering, corkage-free (that means drinking at retail price in a restaurant, which is unheard of except at Feast,) if you choose to join us on Thursday to celebrate Bastille Day.
We’re beginning to fill up, so I’d suggest making your reservation sooner than later- the number to call is (520) 326-9363, and we’d love to set you up with a table.
There’s still summer wine bargain time going on for another month and a half as well, so stock your cellar or your fridge,
and if you’re not interested in the madding crowds, we’ll be subdued, I’d reckon, the rest of the week, Tuesday through Saturday. The only caveat is that you’ll be ordering from our regular menu rather than the Bastille Day menu, which I still don’t regard as a hardship.
So I’ll tell you something I’ll never tell any of our interviewees: come join us, when it suits you.