We get to pick the music when we are the lead on a shift. Right now I’m in the restaurant as a customer for lunch. I took the day off in case my second vaccination shot plays havoc with my innards, but the ever charming waitress has chosen a station called vocal jazz. It’s pleasant.
With the exception of one waiter who played Gregorian chants and Soviet propaganda music just to see if any one noticed (they did) we set a pretty good mood with the music we play.
If you come in before we open on a day when I’m on, you’re likely to hear a semi-punk or hardcore band blasted at an obscene level. I’ve been on a Replacements kick lately and their album Pleased to Meet Me is just distilled happiness. But I cut that nonsense out when we open. When it’s time to entertain guests I ask Alexa to play the Otis Redding Station.
Restaurant crews are usually pretty attentive about, if not obsessive on, being mannered but notably lax in their attentions to societal norms. I’m not impugning anyone’s character, and not just because I’m lax in my attention to societal norms. It’s just that we inhabit a slightly more off-kilter timeframe than most. We work when most eat and play, and we eat and play when most work.
I spent years as a real estate agent working a nine to whenever I needed to but mostly five job, but previous years of working at meal times left me unable to eat when everyone else did. You develop habits. I eat lunch at the time of day when the lunch crowd leaves, and have even when given the opportunity to be part of the lunch crowd.
It gets insular. Restaurant industry folks become friends if for no other reason that when we have free time, the only others that do are other restaurant industry folks. A mindset sets in. It’s not us vs. them, but there is definitely an us. We’re the ones you can call at one am because we are just making dinner.
Some of us opt out of that. I only work in the daytime now. You get kids of school age and you want to see them. That doesn’t happen when you are going to work when they are getting home from school. But those without kids have cash and no reason to get up in the morning. There are bars that exist on late night post-shift restaurant patrons.
We’re not all that piratical at DeVinci’s. I’ve mentioned on these electronic pages that years ago we caught a beer delivery guy trying to cheat both us and his company so we blackmailed him into providing a regular keg to the employees at his cost. That was about the most criminal I’ve witnessed here, but that was in the nineties. That was a different group. A really fun group, but a different group.