Service with a smile | The Gap Life Diaries
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Service with a smile

Unsurprisingly, people here are relatively unwilling to hire people for jobs they have never done before. How one is supposed to get any experience as a result of this remains a mystery to me, but that’s perhaps another rant for another time. In any case, the solution to this seems to be slave labour, and as such, I’ve been doing a three-day trial as a waitress at a pizzeria right in the centre of town.

The sign on the door said they were looking for a cameriera with buona conoscenza of English, and given that mine is not too shabby, I popped in with my CV.

I was promptly quizzed by a lady bearing a more than passing resemblance to Cruella DeVil about whether or not I speak Italian, which I thought would be relatively clear given that I’d come in, asked about the job, handed over my Italian CV with a big line about my languages degree on it, but had to go on to tell her that yes, I think I could deal with speaking Italian, given that I have actually been studying it for six whole years. 

She seemed to buy this and offered me a couple of days of prova to see if I’m up to the challenge.

My first day was thankfully not as shambolic as I’d anticipated. Although there were a lot of things to learn and remember, and if we gloss over the sorry sight that was my attempt to peel fruit to put in the macedonia and the chunk of hand that I am now missing as a result, there were no real disasters, and in all honesty it felt good just to not be searching for jobs all day.

Cruella aside, the other people who work at the restaurant were super nice to me, showing me how to do everything and frequently telling me not to be spaventata. What’s more, despite the fact that I was left alone for a very busy hour at dinner time, even Cruella was calling me by little nicknames and not acting like she hated me by the end of the evening, so I went home feeling absolutely exhausted but not entirely useless.

I did also come across a couple of eccentric characters over the course of the day, meaning that at least boredom wasn’t a problem. To mention just a few, there was the American man who came in demanding a take-away pizza with “MEAT! What meat you got? I just want meat! A pizza with meat! Like, all the meat you got, what meat you got?!”; the French man who came over to me after his meal, spoke at me in very fast French for quite some time whilst I nodded cluelessly, then went downstairs to sing my praises to the boss, despite the fact that I’d really not done anything at all; and the table full of Australians who got very pissed and spent a good couple of hours making vile attempts at flirting with me every time I went near their table, and then waiting until we had officially closed so that they could insist on buying us all some (very unwelcome) grappa.

I only did the morning shift on day two, which was fairly uneventful, but the final day was not to be so. Lunch went well, I went home to rest my weary feet for a while, then returned to set up for dinner. Once again I was on my own for the first couple of hours before the lovely Gianpi turned up to help (read: save) me, but all was going relatively smoothly until I heard the dulcet tones of the Aussies making their way up the stairs… That’s right, as I’d feared, that lot were back, and they’d specifically not sat outside because they’d found out I was working upstairs. Nightmare. They proceeded to spend the best part of three hours calling me over by shouting “hey, hot British chick!” and making horrendously inappropriate comments the entire time before finally leaving, but not before they’d promised to come back yet again before they go back home…

I have to wait and see if I get the job as the boss needs to speak to the commercialista about contracts, so unfortunately I’m still officially unemployed.

But, despite the occasional run-in with a tasteless Australian, the whole experience has actually been quite fun, especially considering my love of talking and the largely English-speaking clientele, so my fingers are crossed.

Oh, and having assumed that I’d be used as a slave during my trial, a surprise payment arrived after my 3 days there, along with a handful of tips. Success.

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