For @THEMILLIONAIRES

Allison and Melissa Marie Green (MILLIONAIRES),

I remember the first time I fell in love with you. 2007, the summer before I started high school, my best friend’s Myspace page. Alcohol played on a hidden media player and I could not for the life of me figure out how to find your music page to steal you from her. She told me who you were eventually, and after that it was over.

The first time I saw you was in Pontiac at the Crofoot, ninth grade, the first concert I begged to be apart of. That was the night that really hooked me. I had been jamming to your tunes for about a year and you girls were everything that I wanted at the time. Being in the audience made me happier than I can remember being before that night. Allison grabbed my hand while she crooned to me, and I died a little inside. Then, by some magical stroke of luck (in my inexperienced concert-goer eyes) you decided to hang around and meet-and-greet. I remember Allison in her then-signature jersey, Melissa in that red dress, Dani was in a fedora. Melissa snuck away before I could meet her, but Allison and Dani and I took pictures and spoke for a while.

Since, I’ve been to every show that I could (every single one in Michigan) and I’ve religiously kept your music on my numerous phones/iPods/computers. I’m subscribed to your Facebook and Twitter updates because I’d hate to miss anything important… And then you announced your final tour.

Your music has never been just about partying or sex or alcohol to me, it’s always been about being free, being who you want to be. ‘DGAF’ was more than an acronym or a slogan, it was a lifestyle I adopted. I’ve told you both numerous times how important that was for me. I grew up in a small, republican-heavy, judgemental town as a genderqueer anomaly. Listening to you, seeing you be/do what you wanted without ever once stopping to think what people thought about you was absolute inspiration. And it never stopped.

You were the people I needed to carry me through my formative years, a constant reassuring voice telling me I could be what I wanted without fear, even if I was afraid. And when I needed someone to be there, you both were. I remember once on formspring Allison offered your backyard and a fort after I sent in an ask telling her I had been kicked out. It obviously wasn’t a realistic offer, but the fact that she took the time to show that she was supportive meant the world to me. Back when you guys were working with Marialia, Melissa contacted me to make sure I wasn’t upset after the feud because I had befriended her. What other musicians do that for fans?

I’ve never really been the best fan, I don’t send things to you or do the kind of promoting that I should. I had some drama with other fans that I’m sure you never appreciated, but even when I messaged you guys to make sure you didn’t hate me you maintained that there were no harsh feelings… And honestly, I’ve never felt like a fan. After the numerous birthday wishes, @ replies, the ease of conversation and the mutual happiness when we meet after every concert has made me feel like a friend.

Not to mention the friends I’ve gained in your audiences. So many people united by your voices. I met the only person I’ve ever truly loved at one of your shows. I never would have encountered him if it weren’t for you two, and whether it worked out or not, that piece of my heart would never have been filled without you.

And now, after eight years of backing you, you’ve decided it’s time to end MILLIONAIRES. I’m absolutely heartbroken, and yeah, I feel a little betrayed. But I don’t want you to ever feel like I’m angry about it. I want you both to know that after everything you’ve done for me, after making me feel like part of a family, after inspiring me and leading me to become the person I am today, I will forever be in your debt. And whether you need me or not, I will always, always be behind everything you girls do.

I know you have good reason to call it quits, and I have no right to question that decision. But, I love you both, and I will sincerely miss seeing you at shows, waiting for new music, bringing new friends to see this part of my life up close and personal.

So, I want to say my goodbyes to MILLIONAIRES. You will always be present in my ears and in my heart.

To ‘my’ girls : please continue to do amazing things. Together or separate, you are incredibly intelligent, strong women. I will never expect anything less than great from you. And don’t disappear altogether, I don’t want to lose the music AND the geniuses behind it.

I love you both.

Forever Yours,

Tucker.

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Just Sick About The Whole Thing

I’ve recently been sick, hence the lack of posts by yours truly. My illness, while exhausting and completely gross, did however make nice subject matter for this post. One of the most frustrating things about working in the service industry is that you have to be physically present to make money. There’s nothing I’m more jealous of than paid sick days and paid vacation time.

When your income relies on daily take-home cash, more than one day out of commission can be incredibly crippling. This is why you’ll often find your server with a case of the sniffles or surreptitiously coughing into their elbow as they bring you your coffee. We don’t like being there when we’re sick, only in very special cases is it rewarding to sneeze in the general vicinity of a customer’s food. Not to mention trying to keep yourself bouncing around from table to table with a smile on your face is a million times more difficult when you feel like your brain is wrapped up in cotton. Unfortunately, your measly 10% tips make up a vast portion of our rent so in we trudge, armed with painkillers and Mu***ex.

I’m lucky enough to work for and with people that are very understanding and would much rather you felt better than showed up to work dripping with snot. But we’ve all heard horror stories of people getting fired for being sick for a couple of days. There’s a surplus of people wanting your job, if you’re not there to perform it why bother keeping you around? And there’s always environments where your coworkers cherish their days off far too much to cover for you.

When I went from being a full-time student to being a full-time server this change in attitude toward being sick was a little disorienting. Never before in my life did I dread getting sick. And of course, as a nice little taunt from fate, never before in my life have I gotten sick so often (although that may have something to do with the fact that I’m young, dumb and full of…well…point is I don’t take care of myself very well yet.) When you’re working on a final project and you need a work day, you can fake being sick. When you’re on the verge of giving up the ghost, you need to go into work because you have to pay the water bill this month.

The other problem is that if you’re a server, your work probably doesn’t offer health insurance. Unless you’re a young ‘un like me and your parents still have you on their plan, chances are you’ll have to pay exorbitant fees for medical services (there’s a can of worms Arina doesn’t need to get into, health insurance and attitudes toward illness in this country.) Which sets you back on your money situation even further.

This is getting a bit repetitive. Suffice to say that illness and working in a restaurant are not the world’s best couple. If you’re a new server and haven’t had to deal with this yet here’s a few quick tips:

  • If you feel yourself getting sick, immediately shut down your social life and go to bed early
  • Fluids are your best friend
  • Make sure you have the phone number of everyone you work with, get your shift covered as far in advance as you can
  • Don’t take pain killers on an empty stomach and switch out your coffee for tea
  • Don’t get sick if possible

Very basic stuff, probably not very helpful, but there it is. Essentially, the job where you’re exposed to a million germs a day is the same one you can’t not go to if those germs start taking over your weak little body. If you have awesome coworkers like I do, they’ll bring you soup and send you nice texts with kissy face emojis. That’s pretty much the only upside to being a sick server.

Thanks for bearing with me,
Arina

Brown Jug

The scene: Memorial Day in Ann Arbor. Two renegade bloggers wander the eerily deserted streets in search of an unsuspecting restaurant to review. Their quest leads them to the corner of South University and Church Street. The sky darkens above them and unleashes a relentless downpour, urging them to make a dash for the nearest enclosure. As if the weather itself was on their side, they find themselves in the Brown Jug, a staple among the University students.

Although we had not planned on critiquing Brown Jug, we slipped into review mode effortlessly and automatically. There was no sign indicating a seating policy, but an informal holler from the bar maiden hinted that we were to seat ourselves. Squelching our way over to a booth by the window, we waited patiently for someone to tend to us.

A server popped up and dropped off menus, but scurried off to take care of tables that had entered before us. We took the opportunity to escape to the paper towel dispenser, attempting to dry off from the sudden rain. Upon returning to the table, however, we remained untended. A second server was visible on the floor, but they moved at incomparable speeds. The Tortoise and the Hare racing before our very eyes.

Eventually the Tortoise arrived at our table, slow and steady and losing the race. Tucker, hungover and in desperate need of water and coffee (also an orange juice, he was feeling needy) had to wait for what seemed an eternity to re-hydrate. The orange juice lagged behind the coffee and waters, along with a prompt for food orders. Moderately unfocused and not at all ready, we requested another minute. He gave us five. A quick glance over the restaurant gave us no indication as to when he would return, as he was nowhere to be found. Once he did reemerge, we burdened him with any and everything we felt we may need in case of another prolonged absence. Our forethought proved necessary when he vanished until the pre-meal soup was delivered.

Tucker’s coffee running low, a cloud of impatience engulfed our heroes (or villains, depending on which side of the story you’re on). The kindly bar maiden seemed to sense the toe tapping, as she appeared to check on us in place of our Tortoise. The obviously more adept Hare swiftly rectified our worrying lack of caffeine and hopped off with the empty soup bowl. The Tortoise ambled along with our entrees, dropping them off with a smile and politely accepting our request for a box and silverware. The silverware appeared in a flash, but the box arrived fashionably late.

As seems to be the unfortunate trend, the food was good but our server had no idea. Our penultimate meeting with him featured the disappearance of our empty plates and our check. The check was presented together and to Tucker, the “man” of the pair who should obviously be paying. Obviously. The rest of the experience was short and sweet. A quick parting with the Tortoise, a pleasant exchange with the bar maiden (the Hare was busy stirring up wind as she sped through the restaurant), and we were on our way.

All in all, our time at Brown Jug was not harrowing, but it certainly wasn’t mind-blowing. Our server was kind and of good intent (he even let Tucker charge his phone at the POS station!), but obviously serving in between semesters or while searching for a job in his chosen field. Everyone was pleasant, and we’d recommend stopping in for some good food and the chance to interact with the more impressive staff.

Your Humble Servants,
Arina and Tucker

Our Retraction Policy

We would like to make it known that we will not accept free food, or any other form of bribery, to remove or alter a review. As we’ve stated before, we intend to be fully honest in all reviews to give the costumers of Ann Arbor actual insight into where their money would be best spent in town.

However, we will return (of our own volition and without informing said restaurant) to give a second chance. The restaurant industry is known for heavy turn over rates and notoriously bad management, so we understand that perhaps a restaurant was understaffed or just poorly scheduled.

If you own or work in a restaurant we’ve reviewed, please feel free to let us know when things have improved and we will be more than happy to give you another chance to impress us.

We would like to stress, however, that when/if we decide to re-review, we will NOT be informing prior to our return visit. Giving any sort of heads up will only taint the experience and result in a biased review.

Thank You for Your Time,
Arina & Tucker

Meet Your New MisManager

Today’s rant is brought to you by poor management!

 

But, seriously. We’ve all dealt with it, service industry or otherwise. We’ve all had that manager that just completely ruined a job for us. Personally, I’ve had more than my fair share and I’m about tired of it. Is it really that difficult to hire a manager that doesn’t just generally suck?

 

I didn’t encounter my first awful management experience until I had my first serving job. The restaurant was owned by a local dude, and he did most of the managing himself. He had a couple of lackeys, but they served the sole purpose of dealing with floor problems (discounting, taking complaints, closing shifts, etc.). This particular owner/manager liked to attach emails to our schedules that listed the many, many things he disapproved of over the previous week. Sure, I understand trying to let everyone know what they need to work on. Is it impossible to add some reaffirmation and back-patting amidst the blatantly rude, negative commentary? As an employee that directly handles the people paying your bills, you probably shouldn’t piss me off too much.

 

“Oh, wow, all of these servers look so miserable!”

“Hi, I’m not telling you my name and I’ll be handling your business today……Do you want something to drink? By the way, I hate my job.”

“Goodness, I won’t be returning to this establishment, everyone was so disgruntled!”

 

Like, why would you make it your personal goal to make sure the faces of your company were consistently painted with disdain?

 

After about a year of this, the restaurant was sold to another family. Hip-hip-hooray! Oh, wait, here comes THEIR version of bad management. Get this. The manager they bring in has never worked in a restaurant. Ever. Not as a server, cook, busboy, nothing. At least the last guy used to work in a kitchen.

 

So, new guy, never been in an eatery except to eat, promotes someone under me to manager. Great first impression. Next comes the overall disregard for the fact that I’ve been there longer than anyone, combined with the piling of meaningless tasks to quell my anger. No, running the Facebook and creating the specials menus because you’re a.)lazy and b.)unable to use proper grammar or even spelling (PEOPLE SEE THIS PAGE!!!!!!!!!) are not promotions, and sure, I’ll do it for free to make myself feel important. Meanwhile, said manager is standing in the kitchen eating a quesadilla and distracting the workers from the fourteen tickets waiting in the window. Oh the tacos for table twenty-three? They can wait another half hour, whatever. Keep joking with the line cooks. And the table that had to wait an hour for cold tacos (because instead of running food like a decent human you decide ringing the bell incessantly will get the job done) doesn’t need their meal comp’ed. Good thing I have to wait for you to finish your meal to void it out.

 

And, like the rest of us on the floor, you’re wondering why this other manager he promoted isn’t helping. Wanna know why? Because she is also the acting bartender and her rail is full. Not to mention I’m also waiting for her to muddle my lime and mint for that mojito I put in twenty-five minutes ago. Why, why, why would you make literally the only person not able to leave their post the floor manager? What the hell is wrong with you?

 

Moving on to the next restaurant. Three managers, plus the owner’s over-involvement. Wow that sounds so efficient I can’t wait for this! Wait, I have to wait until Sunday to find out if I work Monday morning? Oh my.

 

Finally quit the first restaurant due to the manager forcing us to serve people that had been kicked out (for good reason) and went for broke(r) at the second place. At least I like the managers on a personal level. And they treat the staff like family. But, wait, families don’t run businesses. Again, for good reason! Cue dysfunction, constant spats and still no schedule until Sunday! What is going on, seriously?

 

Now it’s time for the new general manager to take over. We imported him (from Chicago!). He used to work in restaurants, works in advertising or something of that nature. Actually has good ideas and a relatively high level of motivation. So, why did nothing change? Let’s revisit the owner’s overinvolvement. Did you not hire people to run this business for you? So why are you not letting them run it? Sit back and collect the cash like a real business owner! Ugh. Oh, wait, you’re gonna fire our promising new GM and replace him with the manager I quit my last job because of? Bye!

 

In short, the last two years of my life have been managed very poorly, and if that doesn’t taste like soy sauce I don’t know what does. It’s a ‘salty’ reference, laugh. I need it.

 

I Quit,

Tucker

A Bit Behind

Hey, guys, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t think we’d abandoned you.

My birthday was Monday, so I’ve been taking a break from…well, doing anything at all. Besides discovering that I do, in fact, want to pay a monthly fee to play WoW.

Regardless, I will be back with a post tomorrow that will (hopefully, but probably not) be worth the wait! Arina has, of course, been being the amazing roommate/best friend/co-blogger we all know and love, so my couch surfing and much-deserved relaxation was in good company. She, too, will be back very soon with another great addition to our blog.

In the meantime, prepare yourselves for some exciting new developments on our side, including a potential guest piece or two(!!!!!). And since none of you got me a birthday present (no, Aunt Katie, you don’t have to do this since you got me something) I’d really appreciate some extra sharing! You know we’d do it for you!

Alright, sorry again for the lack of posting this last week/end.
Your FAVORITE Server,
Tucker

A Lesson in Virtue

This isn’t a majorly salty rant. It’s more of a quiet “ugh.”  But this week’s griping is brought to you by the people who just can’t wait. I understand that when you go out to a restaurant, you expect to be served and greeted promptly. And Lord knows, in our reviews we focus on greeting times and serving times to an excess. But sometimes, and this is something Tucker and I both understand, it’s just not possible for a server to get to a table in a timely fashion.

When you go out to eat on a weekday, there’s a good chance that there will be only one server on the floor. This is just a fact of the industry. Weekdays are not generally a busy time and having more than one server on is just a waste of money for the restaurant and cuts down on tips for the servers. Generally, this works out okay for everyone.

Sometimes, however, the gods look down upon us and feel like having a little fun. Those are the days when several tables come in at once, and somehow they’re made up entirely of the most impatient human beings ever to walk this Earth. They all have to get to the airport (which, by the way, is ridiculous. If you have somewhere to be please do not go out to eat at a sit-down restaurant, you’re setting yourself up for failure) or are on a lunch break or are the VIPs of their own minds.

In cases like this, do not doubt that your server has seen you and acknowledged your presence and is trying their damnedest to scoot their poot over to you. But if you take a look around you’ll notice that there are several tables already sitting down, there’s food in the window, and your server is running to the computer with eight books under their arm. Once your server does get over to you, snide comments about how you’ve been waiting for someone to get around to you are only gonna piss them off and the chances of you getting top notch service will drop. Just keep that in mind.

The thing is, even with fantastic supporting staff like hosts and bussers, a server is one human being. Being a server does not give you three extra arms and the ability to move faster than the speed of lighting (roar of thunder). Just as I’m sure you’ve felt overwhelmed when you have three projects dropped in your lap at once, or when all four of your kids need to be taken to separate soccer practices in different parts of town, our brains get overloaded when it’s busy.

Personally, I get really stressed out when I can’t attend to a table on time. I want my customers to have a really good experience no matter the circumstances. And when I apologize profusely for making you wait, I mean it. I take pride in my work and doing it well. But sometimes it’s out of my control, the only way I can make up your wait to you is by saying “I’m sorry”. Please don’t attack me and make me feel like shit about holding you up. I already feel like shit about it.

Quick shout out to the people that understand though. You don’t understand how much of a relief it is when you trot over to a table breathlessly excusing yourself and receive a smile and a quiet “don’t worry, you’re busy, I understand.” Props to those human beings. Karma has your back.

In conclusion, I guess I just want to say patience really is a virtue. When it’s busy I want to be at your table but I just can’t be. Please understand that and don’t take it out on me. I’m a mushy little human with feelings and you’re hurting them and that sucks.

Much love,

Arina