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.
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.