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Bitter Beans

This is totally out of left field, but it’s fresh on my mind so let’s talk about it.

I’m going to say a lot of things as we meander down this “truth” river that everyone in my position thinks but should never say out loud. I can only cross my fingers and hope that my readers hear my message with an open mind and a let’s fix it attitude. Let’s face it though, words ruffle feathers, and in this case perhaps a few feathers need to be ruffled.

Is your attitude hurting your mission?

I’m always surprised to confront a negative attitude in a group of positive people, but sure enough they are there and they demand to be noticed. I’ve catered for nearly every service organization in my town as well as many others in every other town I’ve lived in. For the most part these organizations are a delight to work with, and their goals are always commendable. I see it as an honor to be able to participate in any way that helps them further their agenda, even if it’s just providing a good meal to chew on while they chat. Many good ideas have been cooked up over a good plate off bbq! But every pot has at least one bad bean. I always wonder if the other members notice the bad seed, or is their patience and politeness so much stronger than mine that they truly only see the good will of that person. If that’s the case, perhaps I’m the one perpetuating the problem. Don’t worry, this is probably only harmful in my own mind. Aside from this blog I submit my complaints to the walk in gods, a little whine and cheese if you please. Let me disclose an industry secret here, every bite of produce you’ve ever enjoyed in a restaurant at some point has taken a verbal beating by one or more of the kitchen employees. When shit hits the fan we unload therapeutic profanity at an impressive level inside the safety of our cool rehabilitation shelter. So be kind to your carrots, they’ve suffered enough.

Now where I do get my revenge is in the ballot box, and I take this stand of rebellion and revenge proudly. I am absolutely baffled as to why people running for office treat service industry workers poorly. Candidates are so focused on trying to earn the vote of the person sitting across from them that they forget the person refilling their drink gets to vote too. I can assure you that many people have lost their elections due to the negativity they leave in their wake in restaurants and office lobbies. A good server manages your table with little disturbance, but don’t forget they’re there. Because while you’re paying zero attention to them, they are giving you 100% of theirs.

And stop fighting with your spouse at the table. It’s not the server’s fault that your husband doesn’t pay attention to you or your wife won’t stop nagging. Quit acting like the restaurant sucks just because it’s easier to throw dirt at us than it is to fix your bad relationship. Oh that’s a whole other blog for another rainy day!

Focus Mo… I’m only on coffee cup one after a night of sleep roulette with a 12 week old. It’s going to take at least 8 more cups before I’ll be able to force this brain train to stop at one station at a time. Be gentle with me friends, this ride is bumpy.

Anyway, back to the bad bean in the do good pot.

So my question is, if you’re bringing negativity into a room filled with positive potential, why show up?

That leads to my next question. If someone only brings No to your table, why save them a seat?

Now I totally concede that it’s easy for me to point fingers from the cool comfort of my throne of celery. Clearly we do not get to pick and choose who we work with, especially when they are volunteering. But I have to admit that I, myself, have declined invitations to participate in missions that I totally agree with. I declined not because I lacked motivation for the effort, but because I lack the patience to bite my tongue around the nay sayers nor the energy required to organize some people onto one page. I am lucky that I have my own venue to host fundraisers in and to serve as my own platform to raise awareness for the causes that are near and dear to me. It’s a control freak’s public service dream! While I do appreciate suggestions and ideas from my employees, ultimately, I am the committee. I get to do things the way I want to do them, and I haven’t come across any person or organization that hasn’t happily accepted the charity. But I do wonder, how many more people like me choose not to volunteer for the same reasons I have declined in the past. And how many people are suffering because others like me don’t have their own avenue to spread good will.

So here’s the million dollar question…

Is reserving a seat for the negative costing you the possibility for more positive?

I suppose this question could be asked for any aspect of life. Is your significant other position currently filled with a bad candidate? If so, you might lose the best person for the job to another job opening. Is your work fulfilling? If not, what will it take to get the job you want? Education? Confidence? And is it really a whole other job you need? Is something about you making your daily life difficult? Attitude? Choices? Lifestyle? If so, I can assure you that you will experience the same dissatisfaction no matter where you go. You can leave a view, but the obstacles you make for yourself will hinder the next horizon too.

Keep in mind friends that no person can move a mountain alone. I pay employees to help me pay it forward, although it must be said that my employees are more than willing to help. I’m lucky though, I get to do it my way. But if your charitable acts rely on the productivity of many, you must protect the reputation of the group as a whole. And even though every one of your member’s intentions may be good, if they are treating those that serve them poorly, I can assure you they are hindering your ability to move forward. Not only is this going to have a negative effect on recruiting new members, it may also have an effect on how high of a hill your group will have to climb. Who then really suffers?

I think we all have to ask ourselves sometimes, are we part of the solution, or are we part of the problem? Your road may be paved with good intentions, but if you’re creating havoc for fellow travelers you may find your future to be a lonely place. May I also urge you to consider the company you keep. You can learn a lot about a person by the way they treat a server. So look at your neighbor the next time you eat out, and ask yourself,

Are you’re in good company?

If not, perhaps it’s time to make new friends.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. It is my true belief that we make the world a better place and our experience in it richer if we share our experience together. I do that through food at my restaurant, Smoking Mo’s in Shelton, Washington, and through my story telling here. I deeply thank you for joining me on this adventure, and for giving me the love and encouragement to keep moving forward.

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Following my heart, Daring to dream, Living without regrets



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