Working on a day of major celebration, like Christmas, is a bummer, whether you’re religious or not. Most people don’t work, of course, because most places of employment are shuttered for the day. However, Denny’s customers need their Moons Over My Hammy. Enter waitress Mary Glick: She’s served tables on plenty of holidays.
Describe your typical day at Denny’s.It never fails: When we get busy, we’re short-staffed. And when we’re not short-staffed, we’re not busy. People come in groups, big groups, so … it’s hard to tell, especially breakfast groups, but we’ve been having consistency, you know—Christmastime, people shop, we get busier here. A typical day is sturdy, the same thing all the time.
So how do you figure out who has to work the holidays?We used to have, when we were corporate, we had Rick. He was our GM. He was GM for 10 years at the store, and he made everyone work on Christmas, no matter what. If you didn’t show up, you had to have a doctor’s note—or else. That’s how it was. And now every general manager of the restaurant, it’s kinda their choice how they want to do it. For Thanksgiving, I know the new GM did it different; they kinda did it for everyone who’s scheduled that day, added a few extra servers, ‘cause we’re usually busy those days.
Do you have any interesting holiday stories?Well, people are more generous, so it’s nice, so you get sympathy tips. … I know the last Christmas that I worked, I made good money, more than any other day, not Thanksgiving.
What do people order on Christmas?The majority of people order our Grand Slam. It’s the most inexpensive, too, and you get a lot of food. I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten at Denny’s, but it’s way too much food for your money. That’s why we stay so busy: People come out and eat food.
How long have you worked here?Since 2001, so that’s eight years.
Do you have any holiday traditions?Everybody dresses up, so that’s kinda fun. We get dressed up, we can get out of uniform. … They let us put little Christmas stuff on. Larry, who used to work here—he worked here for like 13 years—he used to wear these little light bulbs, and he’d make vests for every holiday, little stuff like that.
Do people get bummed working the holiday?I’ve always missed Christmas with my kids, but now they’re both in college. And now I don’t have a problem working, and I’ll probably end up not working. But they’ll come home now, so that’ll be nice. But that’s the only thing that’s kind of sad, I think, for the servers here that have smaller children, because they’re not with their kids. They used to make it so you had short shifts.
Got any other plans?My son’s in the Marines, he’s 25. He wants a Christmas tree, but I won’t get one. I wish I could wipe that whole day off the calendar. I wish there was no Christmas.
Hmm.Yeah, I stress out on holidays, that’s why I don’t like ’em.
Is it the shopping?Yeah.
How’s that going so far?Well, we pull names, $50 limit. Every year, I get a gift card. Thank God for gift cards; they make Christmas a little less stressful.
Why do customers choose Denny’s on Christmas?Because there’s no other restaurants open, first of all. On Christmas, a lot of people have family over, and they’re already going to cook Christmas dinner. And we’re really busy for breakfast, because if they have company, they come to a restaurant. Breakfast and lunch are the busiest.
Why did you start working as a waitress?At Denny’s? More than any restaurant in town, we get more hours here, I know that. We definitely get more hours, make more money. Even people that work at the nicer places, they get short hours, not as much time. I moved here in 2000 from Southern California, and my son worked here, part time. He works two jobs. I came over here, and my other two boys came over here, and my sister and my nephew, so it’s a family affair.
Why do you stay?It’s because I make good money. I’m not going to lie, or else I wouldn’t be here. I did like waitressing, and like the hours because I like to do breakfast, lunch, and then I have the rest of the day. I’m not a dinner kinda person. You’ve got your nicer restaurants, they’re mostly dinner; they’re not open for the rest of the day. I get here at 5 o’clock in the morning. It makes a difference.