The worst restaurant where I've ever worked in London was a black leather, mirrors and chandelier joke. At first I thought that fancy would mean more money in my pocket, how could I be so wrong? Not only this place paid shameful wages, but they also treated people like idiots.
To be accepted in this nonsense I had to go through an obsessive recruitment program during which they brainwashed the newcomers into their stick up their ass steps of phoney service. Nobody would believe this, but there were actually 20 steps of service to be memorised and followed.
Although I had to go through this pathetic training week not everything was bad, considering I had the opportunity to try quality wines and food while I was vaguely learning how to act in a pseudo-posh environment. I scored ridiculously high on their 600 questions test, I was groomed as required and even wore the recommended lipstick colour. In the end I was awarded special cufflinks for being such a bright candidate, nonetheless I was employed as a mere back waitress.
When I started working I understood immediately that the whole training was a facade. My job was based on cleaning duties among other tasks such as serving food and drinks, clearing tables and set them up again. If a customer asked me something I would have to go to someone else, so basically I was a useless puppet that was there to do what others didn't want to.
At the restaurant where I was placed there was a filthy room which everyone called "the black room" because it was all black, ceiling, walls and floor. In this place the waiters' masks would fall off and they complained about customers, the job itself and everything else. This room also served as a cleaning station, to scrape plates and gather dishes and cutlery that would later be taken to wash in the kitchen. Very often the waiters would bring the food remains from the main floor and eat them in the black room as vultures would eat a dead animal in the jungle.
This ritual made me feel sick, but i felt so miserable in this job that I eventually lost my pride and turned into an opportunistic feeder, just like my fellow servers. At least I was operating at the back of this dark and twisted circus that seemed fancy on the outside but was putrid on the inside.