Wednesday, 28 January 2009

It was a day of meh.....

only for good, non-grumpy waiters....

So Friday was back to work day after having been off for four days. I didn't take the alarm clock's whingesome wake up call with good grace. Instead I slapped the snooze button, farted and rolled over for another nine minutes of sleep. But I was forced out of my bed almost immediately. Ironically it was my early morning trouser trumpeting that done it. That's the last time I treat myself to late night chickpea and chicken curry.

"Going til yer work then are yus?", asked the taxi driver in a good spirited and friendly way.

"Well what the fuck do you think then big fella? Eh you think I would dress like this if I wasn't? You think a lot people go to restaurants two hours before they open?", I replied with sarcastic venom.

Okay I didn't but I wanted to. I just said, "Yeah" and stared out the window to indicate my unwillingness to be drawn into a conversation about crunchy credit, the difficulties of parking within Belfast city centre or "that blonde" he had in the car the other evening . My mood was grumpy bordering on petulant. I am such a slapped arse in the morning.

Some time later I found myself standing, alone, in the restaurant. It was about ten to opening and everybody else had nipped out the back for a smoke. I didn't get an invite. Not really a surprise as I had managed to alienate almost every last one of them, the larger chefs excluded (you don't bite the hand that feeds your tables), with my surly demeanor and snappy answers to simple questions. That's snappy as in annoying dog and not as in how Humphrey Bogart dressed.

I finished my bitter tea of loneliness and slung my apron on and sighed to myself. They, my work colleagues and waiter chums, returned a few minutes later laughing and making plans for the upcoming staff party.

"Ha ha ha ha ....yeah you're right......we should totally meet up beforehand......cocktails n all that"

"What's this?", I asked adopting a meeker tone. Ten minutes alone/without attention is long enough to make me see the errors of my ways.

But I was dead to them now. I've been here before, many many times before, and I can spot the signs of a freeze out from a thousand icy paces. So instead of answering me she just stared right through me and turned to her chum, my former chum, and said, "Yeah....lets talk about it later."

"Fuck you and fuck your snidey cocktails then, because I wasn't gonna go anyway. Huh.", I thought to myself adopting the disposition of a sullen teenager. But I didn't mean it, the Fuck You bit that is, I'm still not going to the Staff Party.

Right on schedule some guests arrived and this broke the tension or at the very least removed me from it. I rushed to greet them, which is unusual. "Twelve of you? No reservation? Superb, come with me." I was just delighted to have someone that wanted to talk to me rather than someone who was wishing I would fall down some stairs.

They were all from the same office and they looked like they had endured a tough morning in the trenches. Or it could have been just because it was dress down Friday and they had decided that the clothes lying on the floor beside the laundry basket would be the best way of saying, "It's Friday and I don't care." Whatever the reason they looked rough.

I cracked some jokes, that died. I made some suggestions, that were ignored. For a first day back this was hideous. I was the ever so cheery waiter but they just ignored me. I got their order, delivered their drinks, brought extra water without having to be asked and then waited patiently and silently for their food.

"And who is having the steak sandwich?", I asked holding aloft a plate of beefy goodness like I was an auctioneer at Sotheby's. But no one was buying, or claiming it. The one guy with the empty placemat looked at me and just shrugged his shoulders.

"Are you having a steak sandwich sir?"

"No? You ordered the pie.....right.......and you don't want a steak sandwich instead? No of course you don't"

And off I went in search of pie, not for first time it has to be said. Ten minutes later he got his pie. Most of his work colleagues and I assume friends were nearly finished and he was less than chuffed. It was my fault. I rang up the wrong order. This day was starting to suck harder than Black Friday. Not only did I ring his order up wrong but I left a portion of wedges sitting at the pass and forgot to get another guy his pint. They could barely look at me by the time I finished clearing them off. I swear one guy was holding back tears. Most didn't even say goodbye as I waved them off.

But here's the odd thing, they tipped me and handsomely at that. Now from time to time I might make out that mistakes were not my fault, we all do it. That's right we blame the kitchen, I'm not proud of the fact but hell it works. But I didn't this time. I ponied up and admitted my mistakes. But the amount they left me was way too much for such poor service. So I gave it back.

I gave them back the tip.

I told her that I wouldn't have tipped me. First time I have ever done it. Took some convincing for the woman paying the bill to take it but she did in the end.

So from the moment I got up I managed to piss off everybody I came into contact with. That's a new record for me. Whilst it was horrible giving the money back, horrible like having to buy work shoes or paying the dentist, I felt better after it.

Doesn't pay to go to work in a bad mood.

Meh.....

27 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Boxer said...

I heart you for this post and I'd always include you for cocktails.

Manuel said...

boxer: hahaha thank you.....I'd serve your guests with glee.....

ninetyninewords said...

I'm hoping they were all politicians or civil servants and that they learned something from it.

Then again, they probably completed the evening with a whinge, despite having finished the week off as they started it...cross subsidised by the private sector and still in a job despite doing their job half as well as it needs to be done but in twice the time.(Bitter? Me?)



Please also encourage the less talented of your occupation to follow your lead. I think you've set an important precedent for which I thank you.

Medbh said...

You NEVER give money back, Manuel. It's karma paying you back for the shitty tippers.

Manuel said...

99 words: they were almost certainly civil servants........you could see the bitterness in their eyes....as for setting a precedent, if I ever find myself in that situation again I will quit....

medbh: I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW! But I was really shite....and the tip felt sort of like a pity tip....

Maxi Cane said...

So that's why I always made more money in tips than my colleagues!

Native Minnow said...

It's official: Hell just froze over.

Ruodnane said...

Foreign guests of the MPs I used to serve would always offer a tip - sadly this would vanish when the delightful MPs informed their guests that "we don't do that here"...and after the meal and drinks had all gone on government accounts anyway!

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Manuel never give back a tip!!!! You are a human being capable of making a mistake. How many times have you served someone perfectly and received fuck all! Don't be hard on yourself. If they tipped you still it is probably because they thought you handled the situation perfectly. Take it from experience. Forgive me if I have seen to blatant.

LadyTerri said...

hahah your funny!!!

Manuel said...

maxi: why? you must have been a right treat as a waiter.....

minnow: watch out.....flying pigs

Ruodnane: welcome! that's fucking shocking......shady motherfuckers.....ooooohhhhh

steve: wow.....I am surprised by some of the reactions......

ladyterri: Welcome.....why thank you.....

Red said...

"horrible like having to buy work shoes"...there are very few things that annoy me more than having to spend money on work clothes...but work shoes ae just a WASTE!!! (i feel quite strongly about this issue!!)

Trekkie said...

Just as well I was sitting down when I read your post - I'm truly shocked.

P.S. You were grumpy when your work colleagues didn't invite you for a smoke? Why would they? You haven't........backslid?

Conan Drumm said...

Hah, not sucking at the over-filled trough that is the NI civil service is a lapse that will come back to haunt you. Aren't they phasing them out through natural wastage, you'll ne'er see their number again.

The Hangar Queen said...

Fair dues man. You followed through your thoughts with action.

Rest of yiz.Leave Manuel alone.He's suffered enough for this.

Simon said...

Thought you might like this:
http://www.cracked.com/article_16994_8-customers-everyone-hates.html

TheChrisD said...

I'd comment but... meh, couldn't be bothered.

Crispy said...

First of all Civil Servants don't have dress down friday...everyday is like that, secondly they wouldn't have tipped well to begin with and thirdly and most crucially they woulda been steam boats by the time they left and would have insisted you keep the money. No I say these people were in the insurance game maybe even worked in a bank!!
Don't be so hard on yourself Manuel, you are lovely and worth every tip that comes your way!!!

savannah said...

what hanqar queen said, sugar...sometimes you HAVE to go with your gut feeling! now, just breathe xoxoxo

daisyfae said...

a bad day. chalk it up to "january", "PMS", or random signals from the waiter planet. tomorrow is new...

MJ said...

What was this post about?

I've been distracted by the image of your slapped arse.

Jenn and Den said...

Ha. Brilliant!

Dennis

Kelly said...

Lovely!

MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

I have always had a point of view that I would rather make a little less and feel good about it than to make a bunch and feel bad about it.... sounds like that's what happened to you today ... but remember that tomorrow will be better.
peace, mTw

Manuel said...

red: oh I hear you...

Trekkie: no, not at all but I do still hang out the back with them when they are smoking....it's the best craic......!

conan: oh they'll be back......they always come back.....like herpes...

The Hangar Queen: cheers! I needed someone to step up there.,....

simon: heh.....nice one....may adpat and post

The Chris D: that's the spirit...

Crispy: awh that would have been sweet if you weren't my sister....

savannah: ta ta....

daisyfae: yes but today was the gathering.....THE GATHERING....!

mj: you would swear I put those in there just for you...

jenn and den: you shoulda been there......it wasn't so brilliant

kelly: as above!!

mike: is that a guarantee? hahahaha

BizTone said...

(@ Red) I couldn't agree more about the work shoes.

Manuel... you're a stronger man than I. I'd feel bad about it... but I'd keep the tip (then pass it along to the power company or cell phone company).

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