Monday, 28 July 2008

Chef does the cooking, you do the eating, I do the drama...

I didn't have a fun weekend. I never really got my groove on at any point. It felt long and it felt more arduous than it should have. It was like being forced to watch Adam Sandler playing that one role he has, you know the likable dim witted hero who fucks up for 85 minutes but wins the girl/the trust of his father/the game for the team in the last five minutes. It was that shit of a weekend and I yearned for it to be over. Much like watching Chuck & Larry.

But we all love a little drama from time to time, whether it be in films, books, TV, even online. Oh yes a little drama is a good thing. But drama has it's place, particularly amateur dramatics. And a restaurant is no place for amateur dramatics. Such things should be left to the professionals, professionals like me.

boo fucking hoo

Amateur dramatist of the weekend, and there was stiff competition, was a 65 year old gentleman. I know he was 65 as he told me whilst sulking at the end of his meal. He ordered a particular meal but wanted it without the chili infused sauce. "Fair enough" says I advising him that to do so would alter the dish quite considerably.

He insisted.

I ordered it.

I headed off to busy myself with other waiter type activities such as small talk, drink fetching, ego stroking, plate clearing and cigarette smoking. I'm highly skilled in all the dark arts of waitering. The ego stroking itself takes years of practice but once you can live with how dirty it makes you feel it becomes both easy and lucrative. Saying things like "Oh and don't we look fine tonight" at the guy in cheap suit and slip on shoes or complimenting people for choosing the second cheapest bottle wine instead of the cheapest can bring tears to a newbies eyes. But you have to push past it, see only the wallet not the nasty man with breath like dog food, I tell them.

But by now the birthday boys food was ready. I collected the food and went to the table. I performed all my waiterly duties, as I am required to and as I like to do, in a happy and convivial manner. I wished them a happy meal, not a McD's, and off I popped again to look after my other lovelies.

After a while birthday boy and his charming wife were finished. I strode with confidence to their table to pick up the plates. I had enquired as to their happiness during the meal and whilst he wasn't gushing with praise, not that sort of chap though, he hadn't indicated any dissatisfaction. Hence my confident stride.

"So folks did we enjoy that this evening."

There was a prolonged pause as he exhaled some wind and pushed himself right back into his chair. He was adopting a fighting position. Crikey.

"It's my 65 birthday today...."

"Oh congratulations sir." I was hesitant, this could go either way and right now it was veering towards unhappiness.

"...and in 65 years I have never had such a worse meal. Not one other meal in my 65 years on this earth has been that bad." He started it in a low rumble but was announcing every word with considerable gusto and fortitude by the time he finished speaking.

Fuck, fuck this wasn't good. I considered for a moment, whilst he blathered on about living through post war rations and tins of dried fruit, about what to do. In our defense he had done it to himself, removing the chili infused sauce was a mistake, a mistake I warned against, a mistake he insisted upon. But it was his 65 birthday. But then again he was making dramatic claims.

"Sir, I did advise against having the sauce removed."

He ignored me and carried on his hymn for the evening of, "Worst meal in 65 years you know?"

"Yes sir, you said. I'll let chef know. Would you like to see the sweet menu sir?"

"I suppose we'd better. Maybe the sweets will salvage something from this disaster of an evening." He said as he sat forward whilst putting his hand over his eyes, his wife clutching at his arm.

Yeah as long as you don't want your ice cream with mustard, I thought. Sweet Jebus, give me a break. I was waiting for a round of "I survived a war you know?"

A while later he called me over to settle the bill. He was annoyed that we had made appropriate deductions to his bill. I was as confused as a dog with a bag on it's head.

"Sir you clearly weren't happy so we reduced your bill by way of apology." I explained. Personally I would have charged the old goat for everything, fuck it, he did it to himself. But again he insisted we charge him fully. I stood firm this time and told him we wouldn't be. This was weird, it's normally the other way round. I think he had another plan, letter of complaint. Letters of complaint pay off better than discounts received at the time. Again he was beside himself with anguish and there was more rubbing of the head and wifely arm clutching.

Worst customer in 20 years, or is that just too dramatic........?

30 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

If it was so awful, why didn't he send it back and order something else? What a drama queen.

Manuel said...

medbh: my point entirely......something didn't add to me......

Ed said...

weird. Very weird. Sounds like he was just looking something to whine about, since he didn't want the discount (wtf?) he clearly just wanted to be a seen as a martyr

bendersbetterbrother said...

Giving him the discount pulled the rug from under him. And he knew he deserved at least some of the blame. Did he enjoy his dessert?

And what level of discount does the worst meal in 65 years merit?

Manuel said...

ed: yeah for sure.....whinging "victim" syndrome.....I know cos I do it too....at home...

bbb: rule of thumb being if the punter doesn't eat we don't charge for it....within reason......and he ate hid dessert...he was hungry though

Medbh said...

If a waiter advises you not to get something, only a fool would order it anyway.

sheepworrier said...

Oh, I see you've met my Dad...

jen said...

Think you took the wind out of his sails with the discount. He was definitely composing that letter of complaint in his head and you knocked him for six.

Have you ever read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Nail Gaiman? There's a top-quality letter writer from Little Whinging in there.

Conan Drumm said...

Ah, I think you've met the passive agressive punter. He wants to complain and pay the full price since it is his own fault, OBVIOUSLY.

Then he could indulge his victimhood forever more, at your expense.

Manuel said...

medbh: ah but these are the people that dont listen to their doctors....

sheepo: i've met yer ma too.......hehehe

jen: no but i'll check it out......

conan: yes but that's what we waiters do!!! if the punters do it too then it's all going to get a bit silly!!!

BethanytheMartian said...

My Sunday was bloody awful as well. Woke up with a migraine from hell- felt like someone had put a spiked iron ball behind my right eye. I swear I wouldn't have been surprised had my eye just popped out of my head, there was so much pressure. Then, when I took some Excedrine to try and beat the evil migraine up, I immediately puked.

I'm gonna go with 'the weekend sucked' and hope this week turns out better for you as well as me.

Manuel said...

bethanythemartian: oh god yes.....but I'm not so confident....saying that I do have whisky training tomorrow.....which is nice.......

harried_dad said...

Perhaps you should have brought out a McMuffin [still in its wrapper] with a sparkler on it. Sung the Happy Birthday to him and told him to blow out the candle.

Then not only would he remember you for the food, he'd also remember you for the cheap cake.

But the main question is, did he tip well ? If not, could you have pointed out that he had left you the worst tip in 6.5 years ?

Manuel said...

dad: he didn't tip......but I didn't want to go on about it. There's been enough of that recently....

Nick said...

Was it actually the sauce he was complaining about or was it some other mysterious defect only a wizened 65 year old would be privy to? Like lack of spam or tapioca? Indeed, did he tip well or did he leave half-a-crown thinking that was dashed good lucre, wot?

Nowt so queer as folk.

Nick said...

Oh, crossed comments there. He probably didn't tip because he was clean out of pre-decimal coinage.

Manuel said...

nick: bwahahahaha maybe that was it! nowt so queer as folk is indeed accurate....

Kitty Cat said...

Christ, talk about emotional. Maybe he was going through a late menopause

Conan Drumm said...

"whisky training" sounds good fun... have you read JC Skinner's take on the various whiskies - http://skinflicks.blogspot.com/2008/03/jc-skinners-guide-to-irish-whiskey.html

AnFearbui said...

Manuel, are you familiar with a late eighties british horror film called eat the rich? I don't know how you put up with it.

Manuel said...

kitty cat: well he was sweating a bit.....

conan: hmmmmmm I'll pop over....

anfearbui: no but I'll check it out. Ah it;s only one or two a week....but they do stick in your mind.....

AnFearBui said...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092944/

Manuel said...

anfearbui: cheers!

Maxi Cane said...

Worst customer in 20 years? Peh, I get them everyday.

Not just one, but one per shift, one per waiter, one per section.

They don't even have to give out about the food, one person wanted a discount because "The hand soap in the ladies doesn't smell right".

Some people don't want discounts because they think it lessens their complaint.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Note to self: Age gracefully. Do not make your shit some poor Waiter's problem.. he's just trying to make a living and bring joy to his Blog Readers.

The guy just wanted to be toxic. What a waste.

c.watson said...

Some old men just love to complain. I think the complaining brings them a bit of joy in and of itself. My grandfather was that way, if everything was perfect it seemed like he would get depressed.

Manuel said...

maxi: oh the world is full of shady motherfuckers.....

boxer: grumpy old git!

c.watson: welcome! I truly agree......he did seem to be reveling in his moaning....

problemchildbride said...

Lordy, if you deem the whole evening a "disaster" just because you didn't like one course, then you are a big fat baby.

Manuel said...

sam:no if you change the meal beyond recognition and then bitch about it that makes you a baby......

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