12 hours at Ritz Carlton

To my huge surprise, you guys seem to love reading about my utter veneration of Raffles Hotel, I mean, I had always thought nobody is really interested in knowing about people’s job.

Boy, how wrong was I!

I also got people asking me to hurry up and write about Ritz Carlton experience, which I have been putting off till now because I really don’t know how to write it in a politically correct way so that I will seem nice whilst I complain about it.

In the end I decided to heck it.

Because on the hind sight, it was still a wonderful experience despite many glitches here and there. I mean, even in life we have a lot of horrible times and horrible people who want to make things difficult for us, but things will always seem so much better if we filter out the bad parts and just hold on to the fun and heart-warming parts right?

All right, enough said, here is my Ritz Carlton (RC) experience.

I worked on Ritz Carlton on a Wednesday, from 8am to 8pm. I had to wake up at 5.15am to get ready and travel to Promenade station to meet the person, Shu Hua, who was going to take me there.

Ritz Carlton made it compulsory for all their banquet waitresses to wear light make-up, so I did mine at the Promenade toilet bwahahaha. ^^|| Anyway, I thought that the concept of light make-up is pretty vague, I mean, light to what extent? To the point of non-existent? Just BB cream and powder? I found out about that later.

Anyhoos, Shu Hua was damn nice. She is a Taiwanese, much older and more experienced than me, and seemed really shy but easy to talk to. She immediately became one of my favorite co-workers at RC because she is just so sweet!

We reached RC at around 7.45am or so and we had to sign in with the security guard, traded our IC for work-pass and then went to report to the office. Unlike Raffles, RC doesn’t provide lockers, so we kinda just dumped all our items onto the bookshelf they had in the sign-in office and it was pretty much unguarded. Later on in the evening, when all the evening workers came in, they had to put their stuff ON THE FLOOR next to the shelf because it was that full.

The person who sat at the table in the office is quite an attractive lady, in her mid twenties I think, with grey looking contact lenses. But the way she spoke made me like her much less than before she spoke. You see, because it was my first day there, they had to make me a name tag, which is really just a clear name sticker stuck onto a golden looking (I say looking because there is no way that can be real gold) name taggy thingy.

That thing cost 8 dollars, which is the amount I am paid every hour.

So I was basically “working” for 10hours that day despite me being there 12 hours, because 1 hour deducted for name-tag, one hour deducted for lunch and dinner (each session was half an hour). Boo me.

Yeah, I edited out my name.

Yeah back to the Grey-Eye lady. Can I just call her Grey-eyes? Okay I shall do that. She had to make me that name tag, so she was like “Can you wait for ten minutes?” to me in a very impatient and annoyed tone (even though I hadn’t done anything to annoy her, I swear!). I was like, “Okay, sure, thank you so much.” which she didn’t reply to and she said to Auntie Shu Hua, “You want to wait here then you wait aside. Or you can go. Just wait at one side.” in the same impatient and slightly rude tone.

See, I am saying that her tone used towards Auntie Shu Hua is rude but I didn’t say it was rude to me, simply because Auntie Shu Hua must be almost 10 years her senior (and I am not), so the tone that she is justified in using with me is so much less justified in using with a senior. I mean, even if you are a higher-up and a superior, there is still a need to show respect to the seniors in terms of age right?

So I didn’t like her that much after that incident.

The day began relatively well, and I didn’t see anymore of Grey-eyes till later. I felt that all the other managers were really really nice, so I will say that Grey-eyes was pretty much the black sheep in the fleet or the bad egg in the basket. Why would I say so? There is more to it, but I am going to tell you this in a chronological order.

I made friends really really fast. The RC part-timer banquet waitresses were really friendly, especially those under TCC (the agency I am under) and we became good friends really fast. The people who were harder to get along with were the in-house banquet waiters/waitresses which were usually older and thus, by extrapolation, more experienced.

They didn’t seem to like any of the agency-based part-timers.

That was what Auntie Poh Siew (is that her name? I can’t remember so well) told me anyway. Auntie Poh Siew was one of the nicest people there, and we had so much fun talking about banquets and experience that it felt like there was no age-gap between us at all, even though she was almost 30 plus years older than me!

Anyways, Auntie Poh Siew said that the in-house banquet waiter, this Grumpy old man, had this “chou lian” which means unfriendly look all day like someone owes him money like that. Which was quite true, as I observed Grumpy for a while and he really did look very grouchy. Auntie said that it was because he dislikes all the agency based banquet workers as he find us inexperienced and thus annoying. I can’t confirm that, since I just steered clear of Grumpy after that and tried not to get in his way. At least for me anyway, he didn’t tell me off or anything, just gave me a few grumpy stares every now and then, which I totally didn’t mind, since, despite all, looks can’t really kill. Not grumpy ones at least.

That day was less of a banquet and more of a buffet (yeah, buffet again) for this atas conference that some company was doing. I can’t remember the company and I can’t remember the name of the conference, all I remembered was that amongst the people who went, there were roughly 30% Caucasians, 30% Chinese, 20% Indians and Malays me thinks, and the rest must be Japanese.

I also remember them eating a lot.

Like when I started work, they were having this tea session thingy for breakfast, where they were served this delicious table full of expensive looking pastries, bread, jam and cookies. I swore that the sight of the greasy looking pastries made me so hungry that it felt like the banana wrap I ate that morning just vanished from my stomach.

Then after a couple of hours, they had a lunch session.

I suppose after that they might have another tea session, but I can’t really be sure since I was allocated to another floor by then.

Anyway to cut my extremely long story short, I learnt something, and that is the fact that as a worker, you are always wrong.

Why do I say that?

It is like in the banquet, there felt like there was this slight lack of coordination between the many different banquet managers. Like the first one would tell me to stand by the door and open it whenever someone wants to go in.

Whilst I was doing that, another one came to me and told me to remove the side barricades so that the people can sit down. So I did that.

When I went back to my door post, the first one came to me and asked me where I went, which I told him honestly. He was like, “Which guy? Who told you to do that?”

Which was quite an annoying question because how would I know which guy? Seriously, I hadn’t been there for more than 2 hours, and there must be 100 over guests and some 20 plus waitresses not counting the managers, how could I remember?

So I was like, “An Indian man with some tag around his neck.”

And the male manager now interrogating me went like, “Bring me to him.”

We went to the spot where the Indian dude was last spotted, and obviously he wasn’t there. I mean, he won’t just be standing there all day, would he?

So the male manager, whom I shall affectionately call Sherbin (not his name), told me skeptically, “Okay…but now you stand by the door and don’t go anywhere okay!”

“Okay.” I said, shrugging.

Haha, so actually this kind of things didn’t just happen to me, it happened to Auntie Poh Siew too and she was also grouching about it to me. She was saying something about the managers giving different bits and pieces of instructions and when things don’t turn out the way they want, they just scold her. Which is like so poor thing, because she is really hardworking, responsible and cheerful.

Anyways during this briefing that we had, manager Sherbin pointed out that my bun and hair was too fluffy, like it had too much flyaways. And then he also pointed to this girl called Su Hua (from China) that she never did her make-up. The conversation is mildly hilarious, I mean, if you were to picture this 20 plus years old man trying to tell girls to do their hair and make-up. Hee.

Sherbin: Why you never do your make-up?!
Suhua: Huh? Oh I do later.
Sherbin: No, go do it now, go to the toilet.
Suhua: Later.
Sherbin: No! Now! It is compulsory to do make-up you know! *gave her the once-over* Go do it now. And you! (referring to me) Go and do your hair!

BWAHAHHAHA~~~!

It was freaking funny heehee.

Anyways, me and Suhua went to the toilet, where I found out that she DIDN’T have make-up apart from a lipstick, so I lent her my powder and eye-shadow, only for her to tell me she had NEVER done make-up before.

OTL.

I did her make-up for her, a simple one, and she was complaining about how her eyes felt so strained from that little bit of eye-shadow and mascara and “can I please rub it off?”. See, I knew that my make-up lessons in high school would come in useful someday.

It was also funny when she started complaining non-stop about how having to make-up is absolutely dumb because a lot of hotels like Pan Pacific and whatnots did not need their waitress to make unnecessary investments in make-up, but too but it was RC and RC liked people looking good.

And then whilst I was trying to glue my hair to my scalp using water, she told me about how she had to gel her fly-aways down the previous day using Sherbin’s hair gel (I almost typed hell gell, HEE), and she had to pay him FIFTY CENTS.

Lesson learnt: everything in a hotel costs money.

So Suhua and I became really close from the hair-and-makeup experience and we formed this clique thing with this other Chinese girl called Yanan (who also didn’t look like she wore make-up), Aunty Poh Siew and Aunty Shu Hua. It was fun to have a clique, even if it was just for that day.

Anyhoos, later on, we had to clear all the pastries and cookies from the morning tea and bring it in the kitchen (where I was told that it would ALL be dumped, yes). We weren’t supposed to eat any, so I didn’t dare to (yet) and Suhua stole one, ate it…and was caught by the houseman (let’s call him Sam) who asked her if she was tired of working and wanted to go straight home.

Suhua was damn pissed off because she says it was just one cake and they are all going to be thrown away anyway, so what was the difference? But oh wells, Sam might either be really telling her off or teasing her because…

The next moment he asked me if I wanted to eat it.

Like the food.

That was before Suhua told us about him telling her off for eating, but thank god I was really busy at that moment and I just shook my head.

Auntie Poh Siew was discussing with me and Suhua why the difference in treatment and Auntie’s conclusion was that he “kan wo shun yan”, which basically meant that he didn’t find me annoying. Then Suhua whined, “More like she (me) is pretty and I am not!”

To me, she said, “You are so pretty, see that’s why he treats you nicely! Hrrrmph.”

Auntie Poh Siew said something that mirrored her opinion that I was fairly good looking. By then I couldn’t hear anything else they were saying but the fact that HEY I WAS PRETTY!!

I was happy and bounced around for the rest of the morning.

Before that delightful morning ended, Suhua or someone came to tell me that our dear manager Sherbin praised my make-up, asking the others why they can’t do make-up like me to look good like that. Which of course was interpreted by me as a praise of how good looking I was, because, yunno, I am just that shallow. Puhahahah.

I felt pretty happy till after lunch, where I became really sleepy.

And also for the fact that Grey eyes made a come-back.

Post-lunch, I was assigned to level two, where I was very very alien to. When I reached there, I was relieved to see some of my previous comrades (but not in my clique) there and I quickly went over to ask them what I had to do.

That when Grey-eyes came.

The moment she saw me, she glared and me and went, “Don’t stand together and don’t talk to each other. Go clear the dishes.”

Which was like, okay, but the only problem was that there was no dishes to clear because no one had came out from the meeting yet, apart from one or two.

So I stood by a corner to see who was finishing their food. Grey-eye came over to tell me off again,

“Don’t just stand there! Walk around and look around!”

Okie. I get the general feeling that she is very buay song with me (meaning she doesn’t like me) but that wasn’t confirmed till much later.

That evening was probably pretty bad, partly because I was so extremely tired and exhausted, and partly because it was my first time wearing my new court shoes, so the area where the feet and the edge of the courtshoes met were swollen from friction. My toes were badly pinched and my legs were cramping from the long hours of standing.

In total, I sat down for less than one and half hours that whole 12 hour.

I wasn’t that upset because I was so tired. I was more upset because I was repeatedly blamed for not knowing what exactly to do when nobody told me anything. I was especially disgruntled with Grey-eyes because she had this skill of distorting my words to make me seem lazy, horrible and EXTRA.

It was like that:

That evening I was super extremely happy to run into Kieran, who is Sluggy Sophia’s classmate from our JC. I was staring at him all the way through my dinner because he looked bloody familiar, to the extent that whilst I was concentrated on staring at him, I accidentally dipped my thumb into my bubur hitam.

Yikes.

I supposed at some point Kieran probably felt this creepy stare (me!) that kept following him around, because he seemed ill-at-ease. But again, it might be uh my active imagination.

Later on, I was assigned to this group that was all GUYS and hohoho! Guess who was there? Kieran!

I managed to glimpse his name tag this time and I finally decided to ask him:

“Are you from HC?”

Kieran: *surprised face* “Yeah!”

Me, “Are you from Sophia’s class? S79?”

Kieran: *eyebrows went even higher* “Yeah! How did you know!”

Me, “Coz she told me lots about you!” *starts laughing uncontrollably because I remember all the funny things Sophia said*

Yeah, so the evening became more fun after that because finally! Someone to talk to and someone who knows what I was yakking about.

You are probably wondering why I am saying all this, and how is this even relevant to Grey-eyes? Don’t worry, that is coming, like now.

There was this point of time where I had finished doing everything I had to do, and no one came to tell me what to do, so I thought I would make myself useful by seeing what the others were doing and helping them so that I don’t just slack around, you know?

I went over to the adjacent room where all the boys from my group were moving chairs from one room to another, and I asked how I could help. They said thanks, but they were almost done, apart from the last stack that Kieran was moving. So I just kind of helped him to steady the chairs because it was stacked a little high and wobbled a bit when it was wheeled around.

Fine, that wasn’t doing much, but hey, I was really trying to be helpful right?

So whilst Kieran and I were happily wheeling the chairs into the next room, Grey-eyes came around. I knew that nothing good can ever come out whenever I see her, so I tried not to make eye-contact.

Too bad that didn’t help.

She saw me helping with the chairs, and she said in this loud, carrying and very shrill voice,

“WAH BOY YOU NEED SOMEONE HELP YOU MOVE THE CHAIRS? YOU CANNOT DO YOURSELF MEH?”

So I was like, “Oh, I saw the chairs wobble when it is being moved so I thought I would steady it.”

Translation: I really didn’t know what to do, since no one tells me, so I just tried to make myself helpful.

To that she gave me this really really annoying glare, and continue to say in this shrill voice of hers,

“YOU VERY FREE IS IT?!”

So I hurried to explain myself, “I am trying to help out because I haven’t been assigned to the next task yet.”

Guess what she screamed next?
“EH SHERBIN! YY SAYS SHE IS VERY FREE LEH! SHE IS SO FREE THAT SHE HAS NOTHING TO DO! GIVE HER SOMETHING TO DO!”

Whaaaaaaat!?!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTT?!?!?!?!

I am sorry, but whaaaaaaaaatttt?!?
Which part of my statement stated that I was “very free” and “so free”?!? It would have been fine if she just told me what to do, or she asked someone else to tell me what to do, in a professional manner. 
Not in that screechy, word-warping manner.
I think Sherbin must have ignored her because I couldn’t hear his reply to her screechy statement. Good for Sherbin.
Anyways, I just get the feeling that Grey-eyes cannot see eye to eye with me, which is perfectly okay since I don’t like her that much either.
Later on, around 8pm or so whilst I was setting up some function room, I heard Grey-eyes behaving loudly and unabashedly outside the room, which of course added to my irritation.
I felt like for that evening, Kieran was probably the God-sent salvation because it would have been a hundred more times more terrible if he wasn’t around to distract me from Grey-eyes. It was super fun to gossip about other people, even if the person I was gossiping with is a guy. Unlike most other males, he was easy to talk to and honestly quite funny.
When my shift ended at 8pm, we went to the cafeteria to chill out and complain more about Grey-eyes. Bwahahaha. That was really fun.
Kieran said that Ritz’s cafeteria was good, at least better than Mice Sentosa because unlike Ritz’s whole array of drinks, Mice only had bandung and something else. I can’t remember, arghs. 
The things I liked most about my Ritz Carlton experience is probably in the list below:

  1. My coworkers are really damn nice
  2. My managers are generally really nice and friendly, Grey-eyes aside. I don’t think it would be fair to label my experience as bad just because of one person, and besides, our lives will always have such people, right?
  3. Ritz Carlton is very luxurious and beautiful, so the environment is awesome.
  4. I liked some of the guests, they were really polite, friendly and nice to serve.
  5. I actually rather liked the banquet uniform, despite it being a little large for me.
  6. I was called pretty many times. HAHAHAHA! YEAH MAN!
All right all right, so in all, it wasn’t too bad, now that I think about it in a more impartial light. I heard from Auntie Poh Siew that Grey-eyes was like that to almost everyone because she also used to be a banquet waitress (full timer), and she switched to sales/marketing and then got promoted. So I guess her un-nicety was just because she was really proud of her promotion? Oh wells.
Anyhoos, if you guys are considering being a banquet waitress/waiter, my tip to you is the following points:
  • You will always be blamed for things that may not be your fault. Live with it, really.
  • Your superior is always right, even when they may not seem so logically.
  • When different superiors give you different bits of instruction, try to clarify. If you can’t, then listen to the one who is more aggressive (HA!), so if you get scolded, at least it won’t be that bad!
HAHAHA I am a genius! ( Β΄ β–½ ` )οΎ‰
All right maybe not. But I know you guys like reading about my experiences in banqueting, don’t lie! I have so many people asking about it and asking how to sign up! I will write about the benefits of waitressing more in my next post!
Have you read my post about Raffles Hotel yet? If not, catch it here!

Till next post, toodles!

kiraknightyy

One Comment

  1. Congratulations on finishing your 12 hour shift! I'm sorry it was pretty harsh on you, but at least you got through and there were some pretty enjoyable bits. It's the experiences like these that make you a stronger person. Persevere and keep up the good work πŸ™‚ It wasn't really a bitchy post, those mean people are really asking for it. It's all behind you now ^^ AND HOLY SHIT, KIERAN PILLAI

    Best,
    MxIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *