Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cater waiter no more.

The end is near. My catering days are numbered and I think the timing is perfect since I'm very ready to go. Summer isn't so bad when you're outside in people's gardens, but when the fall comes, HR starts doing lots of events and our staffing service provides most of the catering staff for almost all of the events. These HR events all full of pointless work for us, lots of waiting around with nothing to do and finally serving clientele that are being lured in to pay for over priced "fashion" that is all about label. Who cares. Well, HR does.

When I started doing these gigs I was curious and interested by the overwhelming amounts of wealth and waste that I saw around me. Now I've done enough of these events to just be irritated by the complete absurdity of such displays of wealth. I view HR as a place that is all about celebrating the culture of the rich and works to remind that culture that they are loved because they are the upper echelon of society. Yes, I know it's a store and they want to sell, sell, sell but some events seem so fabricated and false, especially when they conceal their marketing scheme under the title of "thanking the shopper."

Today's event was no better. Once again HR had transformed a corner of the store with a mini runway and little soft cube chairs for a kiddy fashion show for one of the designers. These poor kids were trotted out, some of them quite reluctantly, all trussed up in designer kiddy wear. Did I mention that by that point they were full of sugar from the cupcakes, cookies and rice krispy squares. Parents? Most parents didn't care how much sugar their child consumed. There were sandwiches and fresh veg, but they were barely touched. The parents mostly ate the non sugared food. were these kids on a mini runway approaching the photographers flashing bulbs and the ecstatic smiles of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and who knows. They were all vying to get their little darlings attention as s/he shuffled down the runway. It reminded me of Donnie Darko for some reason. I suppose the importance placed upon the moment of the show so that it comes off like everyone is happy and having fun, but few really are.

Me? I was stuck behind the sandwich cart. Yes, the crusts were cut off and I haven't felt this ridiculous since the lemonade stand this past summer. The cart was just an inch too short for me so I had to stoop a little in to push it. At least we could wear a black t-shirt today. I'll give HR credit for that, sometimes they let us wear t-shirts for the more "casual" events. Anywho...after several rounds around the parents and after dodging children, watching them break into tears for what seemed like nothing, I parked the cart and stood their like an idiot. Do they really need me to stand next to the cart? Their finger sandwiches! Grab and go. I could tell that the events manager was distressed by seeing us like this too, but it wasn't her feeling bad for us but rather irritated by our presence. I had little patience for her since I had gotten up at 6:30 this morning for this kiddy show after having worked until 1 am last night for another overblown party that didn't have to be the top.

You can see that the move is very conveniently lifting me out of that world. I hear the catering state of affairs on the lower Mainland in BC is quite pathetic and the pay is awful. A co-worker once lived there for a year and worked in catering. He said I'd easily get hired since my "training" has been here in whoville and they'd know I was good, but he also told me that the wages are bad and there is a lot of extra heavy work to do that we would never do here (like unloading trucks, picking up rentals, and working way understaffed). He had to negotiate a higher wage for himself and it still wasn't even close to what we're paid here. So bye bye catering life. It's been swell.

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