Monthly Archives: May 2009

Cake: $50,000. Wedding: …Priceless?

Sometimes, when we emerged from the depths of the employee basement dungeon, we would find ourselves in a ballroom decorated to look like a fairy tale.  Most of these overly decorated events would be weddings. 

I always appreciated a highly decorated wedding.  It was beautiful to look at, and besides, they usually rented glasses and plates, so less work for us.   Honesty.

But one particular wedding stood out more then most.  It was in our biggest ballroom, the one that used to host the 1,000 people lavish open bar fillet Mignon black tie employee Christmas party pre-recession.  That sadly, was taken away from us.  We all took a day of grieving.

I’m not bitter. grrrrr…

Moving on.  This wedding was decorated to the 9’s.  It had a full stage set up for  a band performance, flower arrangements that probably cost more then my entire wedding budget, and of course, a cake.

It sat in the back under its own spotlight, illuminated like it was some sort of god or shrine.  It had white flowers covering the entire thing, made completely out of sugar. Edible.  (Yet they tasted like cardboard.)

Meh. O.k. cake, I thought.  I have seen prettier.

Well apparently I hadn’t.  My supervisor walked by and told me under his breath how much it cost.

Fifty. Thousand. Dollars.

That is $50,000. Or fifty thousand dollars. Or you can write it FifTy ThOuSand DolLarS.

I almost choked.  I could not believe it.  Suddenly, the cake became a person.  I person I could glare at, talk bad about, and even envy.

I hated that cake.

All night I would walk past its illuminated sugary self, and I would glare.

I was glaring, at a pastry.

But all I could think about was how that pastry, was the same price as my student loans.

And the best part about weddings like this is, by the time you get around to serving the cake people have already eaten 5 courses, and hardly ever take a bite of the wedding cake.

AH!  Do you know what it is like throwing away $50,000 worth of CAKE!  All I could think as I scrapped each untouched piece into the garbage was $100, $200, $300….sigh.  Insanity.

At a similar wedding, there was a cake for $25,000.  I served the brides family all night, and took note that the brides father was not in the best mood.  Finally, as the night ended, and he saw his $25,000 worth of sugar flour and frosting being dumped into the trash, I heard him grumble…

 “I cant believe we got that cake.  We should have just gone to COSTCO.”

I ate a piece of the cake.  It was good.  But so is Costco cake…

Enough Scallops for Everyone… I swear.

I grew up in Minnesota.  There, you often hear the term ‘Minnesota nice.’ Everyone is polite for the most part.  So, in the spirit of making up catchy sayings to describe geographic locations…lets call Palm Beach “Palm Beach Evil.”  Now I assure you,  many of the people I met from Palm Beach were very, very nice.  However far too many I encountered made me taken aback and wonder how on EARTH can people be this ridiculous.  I saw first hand again and again that money can not buy you happiness…however lets be honest, it can buy you a smaller butt. Sigh.

Anyways.

Early on I realized that these people were not a people common to man.  For example, I would walk around with a tray filled with gourmet, delicious   hors d’oeuvres that I could not stuff into my mouth behind curtains fast enough.  But when I would offer these decadent treats to guests, instead of a nice ‘no thank you,’ they would turn there head and pretend like you were invisible. 

Eventually after years of experiencing the classic snobbery brush off, my co-workers and I pretend like we just thought they didn’t hear our polite offering.  So, we would repeat it, louder and louder until the guest SURLY heard our question and saw our smile.  To this I would get a down turned mouth that murmured no thank you, and another head turn.

Mission accomplished.  Teaching the rich manners one guest at a time….

But the prime example of the Palm Beach mental illness came one sunny day, poolside.

We were working an event where everyone was asked to dress in white.  The entire pool deck was a sea of white linen dresses, fake boobs, and Palm Beach boat shoes.  Some guests, not being familiar with the event, asked if it was a cult meeting. Close, I replied.  Charity event for the rich.

I was serving scallops. Delicious scallops.  I offered one to a very nice lady and after plopping one into her mouth, expressed how delectable there were and asked kindly for another.  “Of course mam!” I said, eager to get rid of them anyways and happy to encounter a nice human being.

But then, as her manicured nails reached in to grab another scallop, a man with a canary yellow sweater wrapped around his shoulders went in for the kill.  The man wanted…a scallop.

His hand slides over the plate, and he quickly notices the other woman reaching in as well. 

He gasps.  Looks at her and says… this is a quote.  A real quote.  I am a journalist, I would not make this stuff up.  Back to the quote.

He said, no, he yelled ” Excuse me!  Before you put your grubby hands all over those scallops again do you think I could have one!  Hmmph.!” 

And he SLAMS down the scallop on my tray, turns sharply and walks away in his clean, perfect boat shoes and canary yellow sweater.

Oh. My. Goodness.

People like this exist.

After apologizing to the nice lady on the yellow sweater mans behalf, she muttered “I bet he beats his girlfriend at night.”

And with that, she popped another scallop in her mouth and walked away.

Just another day on the job.

Making a Tuxedo look sexy takes skill…

And so it begins.  I travel down to South Florida to attend college.  Ah…the college years.  I was just a blond girl raised in the Midwest with hopes of becoming a big shot journalist.  Spending my first year living in college ignorance and bliss, I held off on the part time job hunt.  But then, reality sets in.  Your out of money, you begin having these weird things to pay called bills, and you realize that if you want a new outfit from Forever 21, you are going to need some dough.     Luckily, I chose to go to a college that is one mile from the most wealthy area in America, the wonderful island of Palm Beach.  Now for some, this may mean glamour, high society parties, and couture shopping.  But for us college folks…it is a place to milk the millionaires for all they are worth.  Basically, you can get a serving on the island that pays more then the real life adult job that my honors bio chem cousin graduate got out of college.  So…even though I was loving the college freedom and ignorant bliss, it was time.  Time to Get. A. Job.

I had heard a lot of stories about a certain hotel on the island.  How they pay 9000 dollars an hour, and sometimes, you see famous people.  Sign me up.

Little did I know what I was getting myself into, or that I would stay there for the next three years of my life. 

This blog is an outlet to share some of the ridiculous experiences I had serving the most wealthy people in the country. 

Lets just say, sometimes money makes people crazy.  And boy…we saw crazy.

And there were also the times when I got to meet some pretty important people, and see some pretty amazing things.

However, none of these meetings or occurrences happened without the my trusty sidekick….the tuxedo.

I am a woman.  I swear I am.  But when I first went and picked up my $170 uniform, I quickly realized that my place of employment wants my femininity to be kept secret. 

As I first zipped up the black tuxedo pants that went up over my belly button and far too often fell above my ankles, and struggled to tie a necktie, I realized that at work, all bets are off.  Let the ugliness reign free.

My husband also supported himself through college working the same job.  Do you know what its like getting dressed for work, tiring your necktie in the mirror, and looking over at your handsome spouse and saying “Hey. Nice outfit. We’re Twins.” BAH.

But, like I said, the hotel paid 39483948 dollars an hour, and for a college student, a rented tuxedo is not going to defer you from chasing after that cash.  So, polyester clad, and with my white mickey mouse michael jackson serving gloves on, I started my adventure as a Palm Beach waitress.