Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Heart melting.....

It was a weekend of customer sob stories due in part to having been let down by other restaurants. It seems that not all was well in some of the city's newest restaurants. The first tale of woe was from a six top that arrived into the restaurant late on Saturday night. There is nothing I love more than a late six top on a Saturday night especially when you've done the best part of ten hours by the time they arrive.
him again?
yup
I really am a sucker for a sob story...

Now normally a six top looking for a late table on a Saturday night would be told to go play a game of hide and go fuck themselves but they managed to slip through our tightly managed communications system, ie don't let a manager answer a phone after 8pm. And on this occasion we did manage to keep the management hands occupied with coffee and clipboards and away from the phone. But the person looking for the table was a chum from another restaurant who we assumed was looking for the table for herself. So it was with a welcoming voice we said, "Sure! Come on over, we'll have a table ready for you in ten minutes."

So you can imagine our horror/confusion when we were faced with an obviously high maintenance table of six who nobody recognised. They were seated with all the enthusiasm of, well with all the enthusiasm of a waiter who has been working for ten hours and still hasn't gotten over the Woody incident. They were warned that the kitchen was seconds away from closing and that they needed to order immediately. But rather than get huffy, which is the normal reaction to such treatment, they seemed really pleased and even grateful.

This was unnervingly odd.

It's easier to be a bit rude and grumpy with a table when they are doing the same. But being nice really really pulled the rug from under our rather sore feet. (Back away from the shoe stories again there fella -LMM) And the reason they were so happy and grateful? Well in turned out that they had been booked into another restaurant for dinner that evening but twenty minutes before they were due to arrive they got a call from the restaurant saying that they had to shut for the night and that their booking was cancelled.

Crikey! There's a phone call you don't want to have to make let alone receive.

Turns out that this particular restaurant is only accessible by a lift and that lift had broken down. I know how it feels. I was close to one of those on Saturday night too. So there they were lost and without reservations at 9pm on a Saturday night. This is a middle class crisis on a par with a raise in mortgage rates. And to make things worse they were celebrating a chums birthday. So that's how they ended up with us. But they had a great night after relaying their sob story. Damn my conscience, it makes me weak.

But there was more...

Another late booking, this time on Sunday. Late bookings on a Sunday are the very very worst. I was busy with a table when the phone went and I knew I was about to get shafted when I saw the manager at the booking sheet, a place she knows nothing about. But there she was writing in a booking for a three top at exactly closing time.

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck fuck. Was I bummed or what?

Very bummed actually.

In they strode all happy with life in their lovely clothes looking relaxed after a lovely weekend of fun and frolics. I grunted and sighed and told them what we didn't have and assured them that I would return after a short tantrum to take their order.

I did return after a short tantrum which involved swearing and the banging of glasses. This of course resulted in one broken glass. I did not feel better after. I took their order in almost complete silence. This is difficult for me at the best of times, I like commenting on each item ordered. "Ooooh the bread, how nice. Ah the fish, good choice." and what have you. As each course was ready I served them, again adopting a passive aggressive stance. That was until I knocked over a glass of wine.

Bollocks, fuck, shit, and more bollocks. This would mean a break in my communications embargo.

It wasn't a particularly full glass and thank fuckity it was white and not the forever staining red. I sprung into action dabbing at the offending liquid with napkins and then my service cloth. The lady, of course, took the brunt of it. Once the table was tidied and the woman had dried off I replaced the wine and made a hundred thousand apologies.

"We've had the worst weekend." Said one of the men.

I needed to hear that. I was mortified. Soaking a customer is not generally welcomed in the restaurant trade.

"Sir, I cant apologise enough." I was ever so humble.

"Oh no, I didn't mean the wine. We were out for dinner last night and the restaurants kitchen went on fire. Needless to say we didn't get any dinner!"

Fire trumps spilt wine in almost every situation. Hearing this I went into overdrive to ensure that they remained dry for the rest of the evening and I gave them the best service I could possibly muster considering I was shattered. It was a combination of wanting to make up for the wine incident and because they had been let down the night before.

Still that's a crap weekend, your chosen restaurant goes on fire on the Saturday and the waiter throws wine on you the following night.

Enough to melt the heart of even the grumpiest waiter.

32 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

savannah said...

you've a good heart, sugar! xoxox

Manuel said...

savannah: occasionally.....but not after 9pm

eguinan said...

You're just a big ol' softie really, aintcha?

Manuel said...

eguinan: no.....no I'm not.....okay a bit......but don't tell anyone.....they'll take advantage...

bendersbetterbrother said...

That fuckin' oul' temper of yours. Chucking wine round a paying customer? Shame. No use trying to take it back.

Manuel said...

bbb: I just clipped the top of the glass with one of my fat hands.....i was more embarrassed than i had been grumpy....and i had been pretty grumpy

bethanythemartian said...

heh, you ARE a softie- and a reflexively good waiter. can't be mean even when you want to...

heh.

Manuel said...

bethanythemartian: and i reserve the right to be grumpy at any time...without warning or reason

Green Ink said...

I still can't believe you didn't see the Woodie one coming. Ooo-eerr missus.
And after the kitchen fire the wine spill must have seemed like a preemptive action on your part.
Fuck it you should have tipped the wine cooler over the manager just to be on the safe side.

Manuel said...

green ink: I'm very innocent what can I say!? Bwahahahaha yes I should have finished with a bang!

Green Ink said...

Slippery customers eh?

Manuel said...

green ink: slippery managers more like.....

Medbh said...

Manuel, they were probably happy with the wine spill because at least it's the opposite of a fire.

People who book at closing should inhale their food, leave quickly and tip large.

Manuel said...

medbh: actually both those tables did tip very well, especially the wine spill people.......I may do it again tomorrow.....

daisyfae said...

Psssst - unplug the phone 2 hrs before closing. Shhhh.... don't tell anyone i told you to!

sheepworrier said...

Haha, ba mizu eh? They honestly weren't missing much - service in there is atrocious, tho the food is decent.
So if I end up in your place some nite with a sob story, you'll serve your little heart out for me?

Manuel said...

daisyfae: get behind me satan.......aaarrggghh!

sheepo: you'd have to be really really sad with eyes like a puppy for me to serve my little heart out. Or of course I could just spill wine or food on you......whatever....

jen said...

Managers, eh? They really don't realise the effort that us minions put in to making sure they don't do stupid things...

Manuel said...

jen: it's a daily struggle......

Maxi Cane said...

mwah ha ha ha haaaaa!

I love it, I had the best weekend, I even closed early.

There were some incidents I suspect but being that it was my last weekend ever to be working I couldn't have cared less!!!

Manuel said...

maxi: you'll miss it......life will never be this exciting again......I worked in a restaurant in the blanchardstown shopping centre once. The back of house weren't in the mood for work so one of them sneaked out and tampered with the gas supply. We had to close. People got sacked......

Anonymous Boxer said...

I always look at my competition f-ing up as a way to get new customers and I'm sad to say I've benefited from an EARTHQUAKE.

But.....working so close with the public doesn't give us much room to keep our true emotions concealed and I had a very similar incident yesterday with someone and it makes me feel better to come here and read that I'm not the only one pouring "wine" on people.

Manuel said...

boxer: I hate that I get so grumpy sometimes.....must be old age.....but it;s funny how one thing can switch your mood either way in almost an instant...

MJ said...

I'm with Daisyfae on unplugging the phone.

I've been known to "accidentally" switch off the phone before closing time.

Manuel said...

mj: yeah but there's about 5 phones!

T Dog said...

those poor people they prob felt awful too arriving on at a late hour at least they weren't demanding or anything

T Dog said...

by the way love your "hide and go fuck yourself" comment

problemchildbride said...

Unlucky, toots. I bet there are some customers you just itch to spill wine on though.

MJ said...

I've also been known to set the clock a few minutes ahead near closing time so I could get out of there faster.

carine said...

nightmare. i once threw a bowl of hot soup into the lap of the owner's wife. that was not cool. needless to say, they did not tip.

am so on board with the unplugging of the phone idea. genius.

x

belfast plate carrier said...

It could have beenmuch worse. Imagine a fire in a restaurant where the only access is via a broken lift. Think of the carnage - it would be like the Great White incident only with more chinos.

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