By Brittany Bronson
THE OPINION PAGES
First published on August 21, 2017 on nytimes.com
My former co-worker once drank so much during a waitressing shift, she stumbled through the restaurant with her intoxication on full display to guests. Even the chaos of the service rush couldn’t hide the state she was in. By closing she was fired.
After work that night, a group of us consoled her at the casino sports book, where we often congregated for an after-hours ritual. Over drinks, cigarettes and video poker, we traded our best war stories. Together, our minds and bodies recovered from the physical exhaustion and emotional stress of service.
We told our friend that everything would be fine. After all, she wasn’t the first employee to be under the influence on the job. One manager regularly arrived to work with alcohol on his breath. Some bartenders taste-tested enough cocktails to maintain a steady buzz throughout their shifts. We knew which servers, cooks and managers relied on cocaine to get through the long hours that restaurant life demanded.
For anyone who has worked in food service, these anecdotes are likely familiar...
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