Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Free Will Astrology

Ask Anyone

the golden tray

I worked with a friend who temporarily held a supervisor’s position. This was in a hotel as banquet servers. The job entailed carrying drinks, and a bar tray was treated as gold.

One night there was only one bar tray left to be had. The supervisor, my friend, gave two of us each a task to perform, and the first one done would get the last bar tray. The other girl stopped working before finishing but she was given the bar tray.

The supervisor looked at me and admitted she knew the other girl didn’t do the job and that I did, but she asked me, as a friend, to look away.

Now, I knew there was nepotism involved, being that the girl was engaged to a family member. And ironically, the engagement ended. Was this out of line for the supervisor, my friend, to reward someone who failed to perform the task?


Smart Money says: Nepotism? Get fucking used to it. I work in a world where every manager had a father who was a manager before him (or her). Seriously. It’s disgusting. Fuckers. I only appreciate nepotism when I benefit from it. And I never have. So the rest of the useless bastards can suck it. I’m not bitter. No, not at all.

Seriously, though…your friend is a piece of crap. I’m sure you still love him (or her), but really? The ex-fiancee of a relative? I’ll say it again (and I’m sure you’ll agree), that useless cow can suck it.

I’d also like to state, for the record, that you need a new job. The prize is the tray? Seriously? Get out of that pit of despair!

Strictly Classified says: Oh, how I feel your pain. I have worked in the service industry for many years, and I have seen it all. I see a few problems:

The hotel should have more cocktail trays. You cannot be expected to do a job without the necessary tools.

Good employees need to be rewarded and bad employees need to be held accountable for performing poorly. I don’t know if your friend has picked up a newspaper, listened to radio, or watched the news on TV lately, but it’s an employers market. There are plenty of people who are willing to work; a good majority of those people will be more than happy to execute a job correctly. Failure for management to follow this simple principle leads to problems with morale. Instead of striving to give the best possible service, employees may boil things down to the lowest common denominator.

Finally, we all know the old saying: “Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining.” It seems that your friend has no trouble asking you for a favor, and changing the rules mid-game. Sounds like someone needs a lesson in friendship (and it’s not you).

The Practical Cogitator says: Absolutely out of line. Nepotism is not a unique situation, though it may be new to you. I see a couple of simple solutions, first of which is obvious. It seems like the hotel’s bar manager should put in a requisition order to the purchasing department for some new bar trays—problem solved. These “mini challenges” for “tray use” cannot be good for employee morale. The second suggestion is that you bring a tray to work with you. In the real world, bartenders bring their own bottle openers, construction workers bring their own hammers and tool belts, musicians bring their own instruments, servers bring their own wine openers, accountants bring their adding machines. Bring your tools to work with you. That will keep you out of these unfair work challenges.

The Straight Skinny: I feel like we are missing an essential part of this question, namely that the supervisor offered to award the golden tray to whoever was the first one done. Well, done is as done does, and frankly, that other server was done as soon as she stopped doing her task. The way students are done with a paper even though they’ve not yet proofread it. The way I was done with The Bridges of Madison County after about four pages. The way you would be done with your job if you untied your apron in the middle of a busy Friday night and walked out the door.

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Send your questions for our panel of experts to

blog comments powered by Disqus