Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Planning a late supper?

Now that's a late supper
Lamb and mash are not...


I served eight people on Monday night. Four tables of two, eight whole customers. It wasn't that I was being a lazy waiter, slumped over the bar reading the random flotsam that ends up there, no there just wasn't anyone in! Nothing booked, nothing to do. It was duller than an Adam Sandler movie but less annoying, but only just. I was on my own with nothing to do.

Now I could have cleaned the bar shelving, but I couldn't have been bothered. I could have written out the booking sheets for October but I couldn't have been mithered to do so. I considered re-stocking the napkins, but the thought of all that folding made me queasy. The fireplaces could have been polished, but weren't, the same goes for the window ledges. If there had been a pillow to hand I would have snuggled up (or something more manly) and gone for a few zzzzzzzzzzzzz's. Having 2 blogs under a year old and a third (yes a third) on the way takes it's toll on the older blog-father. But alas there was no pillow anywhere to be found.

So instead I paced the floor like a caged tiger (or something less macho) looking for someone to talk to. The first table of the night were Belgians and as a result dull. Trying to start a conversation with them was like trying to start the space shuttle, that is to say, very difficult. There would be no Irish/Belgian waffle tonight.

The second table started well, two ladies in Belfast on business. One was English the other Russian. We seem to attract a lot of Russians for some reason. They flirted with my attention for a while asking all the right questions about the food and post "troubles" Belfast and how lucky we all are now. Once they had sucked all the "feel good" information out of me they went back to their own conversation and I was back to being their camel again. I have to remind myself sometimes that they didn't come in to have a chat with the waiter.

Luckily enough the next table arrived a few minutes later. Again business types, one American lady (k-ching, good tip), her dinner partner was a local chap. Again I recanted the specials and had the usual conversation about how wonderful life is now that we don't blow things up anymore, "building up, not blowing up" is my usual line. And again I was cast aside in favour of various faxes and e-mails that were produced before I could even get the wine glasses off the table.

Let me in people. Let me amuse you with funny anecdotes about stuff and things. I can be more than your camel.

Then the last table arrived. I, without fail, always hate the last table of the night. Especially when they book 20 minutes before they arrive. Twenty minutes isn't a booking, a-hole. The last hour before last orders is normally the most tense of the night, but even more so if it has been quiet. You could be home in an hour drinking tea and checking your stats for the day or you could be storming home 3 hours later to crack open the Bombay Spice. The kitchen monkeys hang around the bar area making threats to ensure that you let no one else in. There is some sort of shitty karma that takes place in the last hour because the more you fret about someone arriving the greater the chance that someone will.

Arriving just before last orders doesn't make for a great meal. Let me fill you in on what happens if you arrive just before closing.

Everyone hates you, from the waiters to the chefs to the kitchen porter. And we are calling you names, we are calling your dinner partner names. You are now Mr & Mrs Cuntish Mc Latey. If you can, you should check the booking sheet on the way out to see it written on it. It will have the time you arrived beside it and will be circled very heavily so that the person in the morning can laugh/share in the waiters pain.

The waiter wont make any effort to talk to you. You can make all the jokes and wise cracks you want they will fall on deaf and uninterested ears. You were late because yo were at the hospital visiting your sick grandmother? We don't care. Car broke down? We don't care. And don't even dare to remark about being the only people in the restaurant. This will just wind the waiter up more and that's not smart. The waiter right now is at Defcon 2 (out of 5) and you really don't want to push him over the edge.

Forget about enjoying a wonderful meal made with equal dashes of love and flavour. It ain't going to happen. If it can be zapped in a microwave it will be zapped in a microwave. And if it has to go on the char-grill it will have about 2 or 3 very heavy pans put on top to speed the cooking process. The chef had planned to be stoned, naked and playing X-box live with someone in Tulsa by now and you are delaying this.

If you are in any way smart or intuitive you will have picked up on the negative waves (Moriarity-name the film). So when the waiter asks you if everything is okay, you should swallow whatever is on your fork and say "Yes". By now the chefs have gone and everything in the kitchen is switched off save for the dishwasher and the radio. The kitchen porter is still there so if you need something changed or decide you want another portion of vegetables that's who is going to do it. He doesn't wash himself, he doesn't really know what he is doing and mopping the floor is his greatest skill. So think wisely before you open your mouth.

When the waiter comes to clear your plate, which he will do the moment you put the last bit of food in your mouth, he will ask you if you enjoyed your meal. You can say anything you want it doesn't matter as he doesn't care. You could reply be reciting the opening lines from "THE HOBBIT" and the waiter will still say "Great, you want anything else?" If the next words out of your mouth aren't "Check please" then you have just pushed the Defcon 1 button and opened the secret door to waiter hell. Well done you.

Defcon 1 is when the waiter doesn't care about getting sacked. He has just given up and is planing his next career move. As you sit there imagining your hot chocolate cake and double espresso listen out for things getting kicked and smashed and lots of swearing. That's your waiter throwing a massive tantrum. You want some pudding? No problem the chefs have all gone so the waiter has to do it. Your chocolate cake will reach a temperature not thought possible outside of a nuclear facility. Your coffee will be made from the scrapings from the inside of the bin. They will almost literally be dropped on your table with the bill at the same time.

And if you think by not tipping that you will have got your own back on the waiter think again. He just wants you to leave. You were the table that held him back from a lovely cup of tea.

So the moral of the story is threefold, don't arrive 15 minutes before closing, don't out stay your welcome, and if you do arrive for a late meal ask what the quickest thing to make is and get the check as soon as you are done.

33 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

Honestly, I have no idea how people can eat a full meal that late at night, Manuel. I try my best not to eat after 7pm.
They should be thankful coming in at closing and not getting a plate of feces and piss.

angela said...

i don't see why people don't understand that restaurants have closing times just like any other place...you don't go to a grocery store ten minutes before it's supposed to close and try to do 200 dollars worth of food shopping.

or maybe you do and i'm just the crazy one. hahha.

The Hangar Queen said...

Ummm..so that's what all the fuss was on Thursday night.(We were in Belfast looking for you)

Anonymous Boxer said...

"You are now Mr & Mrs Cuntish Mc Latey"

Bwahahahaahahahahah.

ellie said...

Too late to comment? Hope not! Can I have a quick word and the bill please?

sheepworrier said...

"negative waves" - Kellys Heroes?

Conan Drumm said...

I see, Mr Waity Uppity!

Mudflapgypsy said...

I like eating late at home. Eating somwhere late when you realise that the tumbleweed is drifting round your feet would never be a pleasant experience.

I'll stick to eating late at home.

Manuel said...

Medbh: "a plate of faeces and piss" sometimes they do sometimes they don't....

Angela: Yes you are the lone nut job! hehehehehe

The Hangar Queen: Thursday eh. Where did you go? Maybe you did find me....

Anonymous Boxer: They are very regular customers

Ellie: We stay open late for our favourite customers...

Sheepo: One of my favourite films. Donald Sutherland is genius I say, genius...

Conan Drumm: Allow us our tantrums.....

Mudflapgypsy: Well done you. Now teach the rest of the world......

fatmammycat said...

I don't get the late eaters either, in fact unless I am 'going for diner' which should be no later than eight-and let me go a bit country about this- I prefer my main meal to be at about 1 oclock PM. and then a light tea. The paramour thinks this is utter tom foolery (and also thinks any meal that is not mostly meat based cannot be considered a meal at all).
But I digress, you're right Manuel! they should be killed.

Manuel said...

FMC: Killed? Did I say that? Probably implied it at least. The paramour is man of very certain wisdom, 1pm is not dinner time, and to describe anything as Tom Foolery shows a certain class if not a certain confidence....

Conan Drumm said...

I knew this git (an unmitigated bollix) who used to go on about us having 'supper' together sometime (on his public sector expenses). It was a tactic he had for currying favour and it was surprisingly effective. I never supped with him. You must see a lot of those oily types about their business. Serial suppers they'd be?

Manuel said...

Conan Drumm: Let me make this clear I fucking HATE the word SUPPER, add to that the word LATE and you are really gonna piss me off. People who have late suppers are cunts, people who use the phrase are double cunts with vaginal warts...

I get lots of mid week business warriors, but mostly they don't go for the late supper. They prefer to be cuddled up in the Holiday Inn with a hooker. Most people who go for a "late supper" are the "jumpers over the shoulder" types who have just been to the theatre, some pish concert, or something similar....twats...

sheepworrier said...

"jumpers over the shoulder" types

- ahh the pink jumpers with argyle print? very jim grey.

Manuel said...

sheepo: That's the look....Jim Grey, what a cad..sorry did I say cad, I meant cunt. What a cunt.....

livesbythewoods said...

Um. We use the term supper out here in the sticks. But if we eat it after about 7.30 pm then we grumble. AND we've cooked it ourselves at home, usually. Sorry.

When I was a mere slip of a girl I had a job as a waitress in a little chi-chi tea shoppe (yes I know) that had ideas above its station, and started serving "the theatre crowd" with "light suppers".

I left. It was a disaster waiting to happen, believe me.

Conortje said...

What time is last orders just out of interest? You'd want to be an extremely thick and insensitive person not to notice you're holding everyone up - sadly there are lots of those kind of people about.

Manuel said...

LBTW: Supper is a quick sandwich and a glass of milk or a cup of tea. Anything else is just bloody wrong...

Conortje: It can be a bit of a moveable feast, but half 9 during the week and ten at the weekend. Some people see only themselves....

Is it just me? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Is it just me? said...

Its a lack of manners.Plain and simple.If people want to sit down and have a meal, they should arrive at a restaurant at a decent hour.If they want the extra three pints, McDonalds open late.

Porter prep is too good for them.

finn said...

what i heard:
buzz buzz buzz buzz HOT CHOCOLATE CAKE buzz buzz buzz buzz.

yes that sounds lovely, i think i will thanks.

Manuel said...

Is it just me: "Porter pre" hahahaha using that....

Finn: One track mind.......you want raspberry ripple ice cream with that?

Anonymous Boxer said...

You know how I love the use of foul language.

hyperhan said...

Don't suppose your last customers of the evening were of the teaching profession, were they Manuel?? I just saw the cunt word being used and automatically thought of them for some reason...

Manuel said...

Anonymous Boxer: Fuck hell yeah.......

Hyperhan: Not to my knowledge but now that you mention it......

bendersbetterbrother said...

That explains a few things then. It also gives me an idea for a new game next time I'm drunk, bored and not very hungry.

Manuel said...

BBB: I very fucking dare you........

savannah said...

note to self: eat dinner early in belfast...and tip well!

Manuel said...

Sav: I'd stay open for you, and I'd smile and mean it.....

Joe said...

Sorry to be the odd one out here but if the doors of a business are open, then the customer that comes in 5 minutes before they close should be treated the same as the customer that comes in 5 minutes after they open.

Great site Manuel. Keep up the good work.

Manuel said...

Joe: You are of course right, but just don't try and tell me that at the end of the night.....

Nica said...

We had people like this last night. Managed to talk the bartender into seating them for "apps" at 10.30, and were still there at 12.45. The owner was gone and we tried everything, including putting the chairs up around these people, but they just wouldn't leave. Even the bartender was gone, but the busser and I were still there until way past 1. It was on a double too. Jerks.

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