Tuesday, 6 March 2007

The customer that broke this camel's back

The story of Fat man and Thumb stubber.
Another quiet Monday night. Not much happening, a table of three, a couple of two's and a few phone bookings for the weekend. After a long ball busting weekend this was a good result. Enough to keep me awake, not so many that I break sweat. I wasn't going to earn much, tips wise, but the joy of getting home at a respectable hour would make up for that.
I was hungry too. The second chef was on and I never ask him for a staff meal. He puts little effort into staff meals. And by little I mean none. I extinguished the candles, emptied the bins, broke down the coffee machine and polished the last of the cutlery. Ten minutes to go...

... and an unbooked table of two walked in! It's the law of sod. What can you do? I didn't greet them with open arms but wasn't as abrasive as I could have been. I resisted the urge to swear out loud. The order process was as painless as you could hope. Two fillet steaks, his medium rare, her's well done. Breaks your heart! I served their food and after a while checked on them, all was good. I had chilled by this point and had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't getting home early after all. As soon as he stuffed the last scrap of steak into his chubby little mouth I was at the table with sweet menus. And this readers is where the fun began!

Our gracious host's companion had just sucked her first draw from her Superking cigarette when I informed her that the restaurant was non-smoking. She apologised and put it out with her thumb, classy. It happens and most people just suck it up (no pun intended) and go to the bar for a smoke instead. Our host wasn't so understanding though.

Manuel: "So folks did you enjoy your food?"
Thumb Stubber: "Oh yes it was lovely. Compliments to the chef"
Fat Man: "No I bloody didn't! We want to have a smoke after our meal. We ARE the only people here."
Manuel: "Like i said sir we are a non-smoking restaurant. But you are free to smoke in the bar"
Fat Man getting very loud and irate: "I DON'T WANT TO SMOKE IN THE F@@@@G BAR. I WANT TO SMOKE HERE"
Manuel, also getting rather irritated and still holding sweet menus, plates and side dishes: "Sir, like i said, we are a non-smoking restaurant. You are more than welcome to smoke in the bar."

At this point fat man gets up and attempts to punch his fat little arms into his fat man jacket. He fails in the first attempt. Thumb stubber is already up and ready to go. When you got to smoke, you got to smoke! I headed to drop the plates off, fat man and thumb stubber right behind me. Fat man muttering to no one in particular.

At this point I decided they wouldn't be getting sweets. Fat man was heading out of the restaurant at a rate of knots. When I cut him off with the bill in my hand he really lost it.

Fat Man: "Bill? Bill?"
It was as if I had approached him with a spanner such was his surprise.
Manuel: "Yes sir, i'll need you to settle your bill before you leave the restaurant. Unless you are coming back for sweets?" I replied with a large hint of sarcasm.
He lost it. Really really lost it. With his chubby, and by now sweaty, little hands clasping the bill he pulled his fat man jacket off and threw the bill, including comment card and pen, at me with full force. And off he stomped, in that fat man way all wobbly and indignant, cursing and shouting. I stood there for a moment. SHOCKED. Lost for words. But i found them. They were nestling behind a ball of frustration and fury.

Manuel "Is that right sir? (You have to maintain some decorum) Let me tell you chum, your paying the bill and then your out."
Fat Man: "I'm going to the bar for a drink and a f@@@@@g smoke!!"

I yelled to the barman not serve him and to get the manager.
He duly arrived and I retreated to a safe distance, out of punching reach but close enough to hear. Fat Man yapped on about his right to smoke. The manager countered with the staff not having to take such abuse. All seemed to be calming down until Fat Man cursed again. The general rule being that when the customer curses at you their argument is lost. Period. Thumb Stubber was trying to calm him down between pulling draws on her extra long cigarette. The manager had had enough at this point and demanded the bill be settled and in a moment Fat Man and Thumb Stubber were gone.

Enough is enough. I can stay at home and be abused, I don't go to work to get it too. I have had worse abuse from customers over my eighteen years in this business. But this guy really pissed on my apron. Zero tolernace from now on.
Oh and he did't leave a dime. The tight ....

2 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Anonymous said...

Who gives you abuse at home!?

Manuel said...

who doesn't? But it's mainly self abuse........yeah I said self abuse what of it?