A Day in the Life of a (Laid Off) Restaurant Employee

A Day in the Life of a (Laid Off) Restaurant Employee

I’d like to thank Danny, one of our readers, for sending in this slice of his life. Danny is a bartender at a brewpub in Southern California. He was laid off when the restaurant closed its doors due to shelter-in-place orders. This is his own story in his own words.

Morning comes and there’s no alarm, but I don’t usually wake up to an alarm anyway, so there’s no change there. I worked brunch shifts on Sundays - those were the only days I actually needed an alarm to get up, unless I had a morning appointment or something.

Sometimes it takes me a few minutes after I wake up before it hits me that I’m out of a job for the time being. I’m used to bringing home cash tips throughout the week, so it’s weird to know that, if my finances are running low, I won’t be bringing in $100 to $150 in cash on Friday night. My bank is probably happy, though. I’m getting way more use out of my platinum debit card than I ever did before.

Thankfully the weather has been kind of drizzly lately. We’re not really allowed to go to the hiking trails or the beaches in San Diego right now, and I think that would be more painful if it was a beautiful 70-degree sunny day.

The owners of the place where I work - and I still more or less consider that I work there, because I’m optimistic that they’re going to open the doors again once this all blows over, and I’m going to have my job back - have put together a few food packages. They order grains and dried beans and toilet paper and all kinds of stuff from their suppliers, and so I’ve been able to get some really good use out of that. The day they announced that they were going to close, they divided up all the perishable foodstuffs on hand among all of the employees who wouldn’t be working during the layoff, and so we were sent home with pizza dough and all kinds of food.

Some people ask why the owners decided to close down altogether instead of doing curbside pickup or delivery. It was a tough decision, but I think they felt like it was more important to protect both the employees and the customers from the exposure to the virus. Before we closed, we had already been taking major precautions. We stopped taking cash early on, and switched to credit card readers that only the customers touched. So we weren’t touching anything on the customer side of things, and we were washing our hands any time we touched anything that wasn’t basically sterile. It was a good system, but then it seemed wiser to just close. I believe the brewer is still making some beers. He probably wouldn’t be making any hoppy beers because you want to drink those when they’re super fresh, but there are other styles that do well from aging. Other breweries in town are delivering beer, but I guess the owners opted not to do that right now.

On most days, I watch a lot of Netflix. I read a lot, too. I had just bought the Lord of the Rings trilogy with the hopes of having time to sit down and read it one day. I wasn’t expecting that day to come so quickly, but it did, and I’m burning nicely through that. I also have a few other books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet but have been meaning to, so there’s that.

I’ve also been working on trying to stay fit without leaving the house. And I try to do a video chat happy hour a few times a week so I don’t feel isolated. A few months ago, I left an apartment with roommates and moved into a one bedroom on my own. Part of me is bummed, because I would have had a lot more human interaction if I hadn’t moved, but the other part of me appreciates not being stuck in a small living space with multiple humans.

My landlord is being really cool about the rent for right now. Basically my whole stimulus check is going to go to him, but I’m okay with that.

Mostly I’m just trying to be optimistic, though. I mean, hey - I always said I needed a nice staycation!

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