The Server’s Code: Cover Catastrophes, Part II

When you work in a restaurant, there are different types of coverage.  There’s standard shift coverage, covering your ass, covering someone else’s ass, covering a section…you get the idea.  But all these forms of coverage have one thing in common – the law of reciprocation.  And that’s where things get complicated.

Let’s start with standard shift coverage.

Now, shift coverage is something that can be applied to almost all jobs.  Someone can’t work one day, they ask if you can cover, you say yes, they owe you a favor.  More often than not, that favor is usually returned.  If the favor is not returned, you learned a valuable lesson in whom you can and can’t trust and you save yourself the trouble next time.

But at every job, there is that guy.  You know him/her – they’re at every job.  But sometimes it’s hard to spot that person.  At first you tend to think it’s a scheduling issue because, as any server knows, no matter how awesome your managers are they ALL suck at being able to put together a decent schedule.  It’s like they’re stuck in a permanent state of Opposite Day when you’re looking at your availability.

Yet as the weeks go on, you begin to notice a pattern.  Everytime the schedule is posted, this person is running around hysterical looking for coverage to the point that you begin to wonder, “Why does this person even work here if they can never work?”

You cover a few shifts because, let’s face it, you wouldn’t be a server if you didn’t need money.  And then, something happens:  your friend gets a flat in a bad neighborhood, the guy/girl you’ve been hoping to boink is finally single…something comes up and you need to call in your favor because you’ve covered for this person a bajillion times.

And then you get the standard, “Oh man, I’m sorry I can’t.  If I could I totally would.”

Translation:  I don’t want to.

So, the second rule of The Server’s Code is thou shalt cover the server that covers you.

But wait, when we talk about coverage, we’re just getting started.

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