Thursday, October 27, 2005

My shit year

I've been meaning to write a post about this for ages, although I try to put it to the back of my mind as much as possible, pretending it didn't happen.
Halfway through 2002, Richard and I had the opportunity to buy a cafe. We went spent all our hardearned money, everything saved, to take this opportunity, that really should be described as a whim. Big, big mistake!! Firstly, neither of us had made a coffee in our lives. My background is in libraries and he's an engineer. We decided that it would be best if he keeps his job (thankfully this was the brightest decision through the whole mess), and I consequently handed in my resignation where I was working and embarked on what I thought was going to be a great adventure.
At the end of six months I began to think, mmm, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. At the end of eight months, I was literally crying, saying I can't do this anymore! At the end of eleven months, I couldn't wait to get out of there, especially as by then it was up for sale, and I just wanted it over and done with.
To make matters worse, I also had staffing problems. My cousin's girlfriend (now fiancee as of last weekend), has worked in hospitality all her working life, and I thought it would be a good idea to bring her on board. Someone experienced who knows what they are doing. There were a couple of other part time staff members I also kept on, after buying the business. A few weeks into it all, I noticed that these two girls were getting irritated with, (we'll call her) Amy.
After spending a few days watching Amy, I noticed that she was extremely slow. Just before she started working for us, she confessed that she had a hearing problem. Knowing this, the penny suddenly dropped, it explained quite a lot over the years. Why, when you would be talking to her and she would have this blank look on her face. Well, this was what was happening at the cafe. Customers would ask her for something, and she wouldn't hear and stand there with a blank look on her face. I know that it's not her fault, but it was very frustrating to watch. Also, the set up we had was very different to where she had come from. Previously she would take down an order, give it to the chef, get people's drinks, and once the meal was ready carry it out to the patron. We had a sandwich bar, as part of the cafe, so if you took an order you had to make the sandwich and give it to the person. She was taking one order after another and not making anything! I think she expected the food to appear out of thin air.
As well as the problems with her work, I found that I was spending much more time with her. She began to tell me things. That she had a whole lot of money and in the next year she was going to buy a car for my cousin, her boyfriend (now fiancee!). What sort of house she was going to have. What sort of wedding, once they got engaged. That she could play the piano, as in she just has to listen to a song and could immediately play it by ear.
Now, I have always admitted to being gullible. If you tell me you have a yacht on the harbour, I will believe you. Why the hell shouldn't I. I ask you this, why the hell do people lie?
The way Amy talked, it became obvious to me that she must have quite a lot of money stashed away. One day, I said to her, if you don't mind me asking, how much money have you saved? Do you know what she told me? $200 thousand. I was flabberghasted! My response to her? Congratulations I told her. It's very hard to save that kind of money. You must be very disciplined. And on I went.....even now writing it, two years later, I sound so bloody foolish!
Anyway, the working situation didn't improve and we consequently had to let her go, especially as one of the other girls we had kept on was proving she was worth her weight in gold. At the same time, I happened to mention to my aunt, (her future mother-in-law) that Amy had all this money and was going to buy her son a car next year. You know what my aunt's response to that was? Bullshit! Yep. And then, I began to see the light. I felt like an absolute goose. I began to think of all the conversations that I'd had with her - everything that I believed, and then I got angry. Well, the shit hit the fan, so to speak. As well as the problem regarding her work at the cafe, she now had to deal with my family, as to everything she had been saying. And, she became belligerent about it. It's none of your business is what she would say when questioned. I had a phone call from her where she ranted to me that she didn't know that I was that kind of person. Hello?? That kind of person? She's the one going around telling porky pies!!
I've fully digressed from the rest of the story with the cafe, but now, in my retelling, i'm getting angry all over again! I think that the worst part, is that she didn't come to any family events anymore, and went on holiday with her family soon after. As a result I didn't get to vent. To tell her off and get it off my chest and then move on. Well, I'll have to do another post to continue the story about my shit year, because Amy was only part of it.


Beau said...

I can understand now why you would be compelled to leave a comment on a post where coffee is mentioned (thank you by the way). Sorry to here about your travails in the cafe business. I was intrigued by your reference to the large, Italian community in Melbourne, as I am an aficionado of most things Italian, my wife being foremost in that department. I have heard other things about Melbourne, and I would love to visit there.

scribeswindow said...

I have to admit that Melbourne is pretty good. I prefer it to other states in Australia - however you could of course accuse me of being biased! BTW I decided to blogmark you!

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