Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just the Manager at This Olive Garden

Column by Charlie Mihelich

Olive Garden billboard at night

Hey everybody, gather ‘round. Rough day today, guys. Roughhhh day. You all really stepped up during the dinner rush, and we got through it. Go us! I think I can speak for all of us when I say "No more minestrone soup!" am I right? It’s fun sharing a joke with you guys. We’re all in this together.

Alright, time for the evening announcements. This is being passed down from corporate, so hey, don’t shoot the messenger!

I don’t want you to think there’s some sort of barrier between you and me. I’m the manager, sure, but I’m also a person. It looks like, from now on, let’s see here…we’re going to be pooling tips. I know, I know. Hey, look, Karen, this isn’t coming from me, remember? It’s just my job to read ‘em. Remember "No more minestrone soup!"? Remember how we laughed? I wouldn’t make you pool your tips if it were up to me. Sometimes, though, when you run food out to a table or you refill a table’s drinks and then the person who took the order gets the whole tip, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it? Seems a little unfair. In those situations, maybe it makes sense to split them up?

No, I’m totally not saying I agree with it. Not at all. I mean, I guess I’m not paid to think, that’s just how I’d do it if it were up to me. But it’s not up to me. Remember that.

Olive Garden servers

Next, looks like there is an update to the company issued uniform. The old uniforms may no longer be worn, and you’ll be issued new ones before the start of your next shift. The cost will be deducted from your next paycheck. Yeah, yeah, it sucks, I know! I feel like we just changed the uniforms a couple months ago. Seems like it, anyway.

Hey, Zach, you look mad. Are you mad? You’re not mad at me, are you? Because you know I’m not the guy who changed the uniform policy. God, if only that were within my power. I’d let you guys wear whatever you want. Well, within reason. I mean, I kind of get the whole uniform thing, because it looks kind of sharp to have everyone wearing the same thing, but as long as you guys had, say, a white button down shirt and black pants, it wouldn’t really matter to me where you got them! I feel like I’d be pretty sensible in my decision making.

But again, not my call. All I can say is "No more minestrone soup!" Sigh.

Next, well, oh boy, you’re not going to like this one. Corporate, and I emphasize corporate, has decided to open the restaurant on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, and all employees will be required to work. No exceptions. Man, that really sucks. Where do they get off?

Courtney, c’mon. I have to be here, too. This isn’t coming from me, I’m just the one saying it. I feel like that’s the part that’s not getting through to everyone. One minute I feel like we’re cool and I can hang with you guys, and the next it’s like you guys don’t like me and you’re pissed at me for all these decisions I have no control over! You guys like me, right? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. Just know that I like you. I like you guys a lot.

You think I want you guys to have to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas? Man, if it were my call, I’d let you have any day you want off! I mean, as long as all shifts have coverage, and it wasn’t like, excessive, I’d be totally cool with all that. Just as long as you didn’t take advantage and people weren’t, like, never here. Within reason, though, no prob! And holidays, man, it’s like, duh. They’d be just like any other day. As long as we have the coverage. No, I’m not saying my restaurant would be open on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m just saying that IF it were open on Thanksgiving and Christmas…you know what? It’s a hypothetical, ok?

Why’s everyone freaking out on me? I have literally no control over this, so I shouldn’t have said anything. Other than the part corporate required me to say. I had to say that part. You guys know I had to say that part.

Look, I’m just going to level with you. I don’t want you to think there’s some sort of barrier between you and me. I’m the manager, sure, but I’m also a person. I know you’ve all gotten pretty close and you meet up after work at Darren’s house to party and all that. Oh yes you do, Sean, don’t lie to me. Don’t lie to my face. I hear you talking about it literally every shift. But every time I ask what everyone is up to after work, it’s like, "Oh, just going home," or, "Oh, just gonna watch some Netflix." Why don’t you want me to come? You think I’m some kind of narc? I can hang. I’m down for whatever, and I can get just as weird as the rest of you. What happens at Darren’s house stays at Darren’s house, am I right? I mean, as long as what you guys are doing doesn’t violate Olive Garden’s drug and alcohol policy, we’re cool.

Oh, c’mon. I’M A MANDATED REPORTER, GUYS. I HAVE TO REPORT IT! I could lose my job for not reporting it! Believe me, if it were up to me, I’d be cool with everything. I mean, I AM cool with everything! It’s just, there’s a manager-subordinate relationship there, and those boundaries have to be respected. No, yeah, I know I just said there weren’t any barriers. No, I don’t think I’m better than you. I don’t know what I’m saying. Believe me, you guys are cooler than I’ll ever hope to be. I’m just the manager.

Honestly, I wish to God I wasn’t the manager. Just for one day to be with you guys. Today, when we were just crushed with customers, and I had to jump out there and get my elbows dirty in the trenches with you all, I’m telling you I felt alive, truly alive for the first time. You’re all very, very lucky to be servers here.

No, Nick, I will not go fuck myself. That’s a pretty hurtful thing to say.

Alright, one last announcement to get through, guys, and then those that don’t have any side work left can get out of here after they do one last sweep.

Due to surging popularity, we will be doubling up the amount of minestrone soup we cook up during the day. Looks like there’s going to be more minestrone soup, guys. Much more minestrone soup. Well, I guess that joke is officially dead, and in a perfect world, I would be too. Really push the wheat pasta, guys, c’mon.

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