Friday, February 20, 2004

45 Rich People's Coats = $7 in Tips
It’s Okay To Smile

Last night I worked another party as coat
check girl. This time it was in the private
residence of the uptown, east side family
-the Blumenthals. As a kid, the closest thing
my parents had to coat check was my childhood
bed where inevitably I’d be forced to sleep on
someone’s denim jacket leaving an imprint on
my face until the drunk adults called it a night
and I could finally crawl into the comfort of my
own sheets.

It was the first time I worked with this particular
catering company renown for their high quality
of service. While most companies I’ve worked for
catered bar mitzvahs or retirement parties, these
guys were responsible for openings at the Met.

The staff was a nice but a serious bunch. Instead
of the idle chit chat I was used to like, “When did
you get back from Lion King?” people instead
walked around and did what they were told.

The captain was smart and focused. He wore
an expensive suit and a silver skull ring which
I found odd but intriguing. His language was
way out of my usual catering league. At times,
I felt like I was on a cop show with all the
mysterious lingo:

“I’d like everyone to nest their bread, ok people?”

“For guests that are Veg or Veag, there is an alt
to the main although I’d like you to refrain from
the solids if possible and rely only captain’s signal
since I’d like to sweep those out pre-mackeral."

And finally,

“Has everyone been rolled? I’d like everyone
rolled please.” (lint brush)

After all the details were discussed I approached
the captain about coat check. The team seemed
charged up with their long list of responsibilities
and I was eager to hear what I needed to do to
get set up.

The captain handed me a sheet with my name
on it. It was only three lines long. It read,
“6:15pm-coat check in place. 11:15-guests
retrieve coats. It’s okay to smile.”

Coat check turned out to be a glorified extension
of Mrs. Blumenthal’s storage closet and sadly
located on the lobby floor to their penthouse-
two floors below the party. It was a cold room
with a nasty breeze that made the metal hangers
clink on the rack like wind chimes. To make it
worse, my bag with snacks, my phone and any
reading material was locked upstairs although
I did end up finding an old New Yorker under
a box on the floor. To top it off, the closet
was directly below the kitchen where all night
I caught waves of roast lamb with rosemary,
rutabaga puree and warm chocolate bread
pudding.

Out of 45 guests there were 15 minks. Cinzia
Rocca. Clement Ribeiros. Burberry. Hartnell of
London. At the end of the night out of 45 coats
I received two tips-a $5 tip from one man and
$2 from another. By the time the last couple
(#333 and #332) came to get their jackets,
my eyes were blood shot tired and my fingers
frozen to the bone.

I overheard their convo:

“Did you enjoy my toast? Was I a fool?”
“Yes I did enjoy it darling. You were stunning!”
“Really? But I have such a terrible smile.”

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