Tuesday, 20 January 2009

It's hard to see the love sometimes....

I love working in a restaurant. No honestly I really do. I realise that this love I have for the schlepping of plates to and from tables may not always seem obvious through the bitterness, anger, sardonic commentary, and general loathing that emanates from these pages. But it's there, you just have to look really hard.

table for two?

But that said sometimes you just wanna smack them, the guests, right upside their heads before they have even ordered so much as a slice of bread. Take this pair of fork fiddlers from last week. In they shuffled shaking the rain from their coats and umbrellas and hats and trousers and gloves. Now this was understandable as it was lashing down outside but still they had created a rather large pool of water or as we call it a claim waiting to happen at the front door. Narrowing my eyes and pursing my lips I indicated to Waiter Chum the Vegan to get them seated, quick sharpish, so that I could dry up the pool of potential broken ankles. Obviously this just involved putting out a big yellow warning sign and dabbing round the edges with some white roll.

Mop?

Me?

Pfft....

"Best of luck", whispered Waiter Chum the Vegan with far too much glee in her voice for my liking. She had decided against seating them in her own section as indicated on the booking sheets. Non-adherence to the precious and all knowing booking sheets upsets me. I'm anal like that. But more importantly than this carefree flouting of the rules she had seated them in my section which meant I had to deal with them. And I didn't like the look of them already. Too much pomposity and there is only enough room in the restaurant for one inflated ego.

Ahem.

I had been stiffed. Hmmmm - the student has learnt well. But revenge is a dish best served cold, and with bacon. Ha! I adopted a fairly conservative smiley happy face on the way to their table. These sorts don't like too much happiness or perkiness. They rail against what they consider to be vulgar displays of emotion such as smiling.

"Good evening madam, sir and how are we this evening?", I asked by way of an icebreaker.

"Well we are wet and cold. I couldn't possibly know how you are."

Ha! That's quality cuntage right there.

I was momentarily taken aback at the savagery of his opening remark, a remark that was delivered in an almost perfect monotone voice without him ever having looked up from his menu. Which was of course a simply heartwarming way to set the tone for the next couple of hours.

He had a face that only a plastic surgeon could drool over what with all it's many bumps, lumps, protuberances and random hairy bits. It was like he shaved in the dark during an earthquake with the garden shears. Brutal is too kind a word to describe this particular chap's mask. In fact the last time I saw a face as offensive as his it was made of stone and was perched on top of a castle. But yet his face was warmer and exuded more love than his chilling opening line.

"We shall have a bottle of Chianti and a jug of water. Tap. Water." This order was conveyed with an equally monotone voice by The Gargoyles wife. She was lovely, in comparison to The Gargoyle that is. Compared to anybody else she was the very essence of darkness, in a Laura Ashley frock. A charmless skeletal woman with piercing eyes and a wispy moustache, she peered right through me to give me their drink order. I figured that on the very rare occasion that they kiss they must come together like a velcro patch. I would hav giggled but for the fear that gripped me.

"Eh actually we have it, maybe something else?" Why the hell was I shaking?

"Which don't you have? Tap water or Chianti?", snapped the Gargoyles wife. The Gargoyle himself managed to tear himself away from the menu to peer over the top of it at me.

"Eh the Chianti." This was met with a sharp intake of breath from her and tut tutting from him. They both managed to shake their heads in disapproval in a very unnerving moment of synchronized whinging. But why was I fretting? We don't bloody list Chianti!!

Metaphorically grabbing my balls I hit back with, "Maybe you should check the wine list. I'll be back in a mo with your water. Your tap water."

Cheeeeerist on a bike were they snappy and just plain difficult and all for no reason, well no reason that was obvious to me. I brought them down their first course of port and stilton parfait and bread and tapenade and as I was about to beat a hasty retreat from the table they both started to polish their cutlery with their napkins.

I and my chums spend an eternity polishing and buffing the knives, forks and spoons so I am pretty damn sure that there was no need for them to be polishing them again.

"Eh is there a problem with your cutlery? Shall I replace it for you?" says I indignant at their actions and I reached out to lift it from them.

"No no....", says The Gargoyle recoiling from my child like hands in horror.

"...it's what we do", added The Darkness

"I'm sure they are fine", finished The Gargoyle as he polished himself into a little frenzy.

And on and on it went just like that for the rest of the meal. They ate most of their food, but not all. They drank most of their wine but not all. They poo pooed the sweets menu saying, "It's not to our taste" and pushed it away like it was a used copy of Razzle magazine. They took every opportunity to verbally stab at me, stick their pointy snouts up at my recommendations and look for all the world like they were on the verge of walking out.
Now here's the fun bit, they left me a very handsome tip, more handsome than your average James Bond, and a note saying they had a wonderful evening.

Bonkers, clearly.

And that's why I love my job, you don't get that sort of mentalism in an office, or do you?

36 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

Some folks go through life as if someone just shit in their cereal.

What can you do?

Manuel said...

medbh: bwahahaha I'm using that...!

B said...

all my tips in the shop were peter seller's of the james bonds.

...if that makes sense.

I agree entirely, office job sounds terrible to me now. unfortunately i don't have the manner for say... any other job?

Manuel said...

b: i get ya....I always wondered what I'd be like working in an office environment.....hmmmm

B said...

I'd wind up trying to turn it into office space

ninetyninewords said...

..."you don't get that sort of mentalism in an office, or do you"

Yes. Opened a can there.

Manuel said...

b: heh

99 words: that was the plan now spill with the details.....definite email tomorrow

Ms. McDermott said...

"He had a face that only a plastic surgeon could drool over what with all it's many bumps, lumps, protuberances and random hairy bits. It was like he shaved in the dark during an earthquake with the garden shears. Brutal is too kind a word to describe this particular chap's mask."
Hilarious, Manuel! You have a way with words. Love, love love.
Now, I'm going to scold you - I HATE it when I'm asked,
"And how are WE, today?" Please purge those words from your greeting list.

Manuel said...

ms mcdermott: no can do I'm afraid.....tried, really tried...but it wont shift....plus I dropped, "you guys" last year so I need something! ta for the sweet remark

Ms. McDermott said...

Well, there you have it, Manuel. Why don't you ask your fearless readers for their sample greetings? Now, open your mouth for a wee taste of this Lifeboy soap...

Manuel said...

ms mcdermott: no no no no....! we waiters don't bend, unless there is money at stake......is there money at stake?

Ms. McDermott said...

Hmmmmmm...

Let your readers decide...

Manuel said...

ms mcdermott: boo hoo hoo I hate democracy

ninetyninewords said...

Years ago a boss I worked for imported his younger, useless fuckwit of a son to be my new boss. Discovered pretty quick that he had a nervous twitch. By twitch I mean that his whole head jerked violently to the right when he got wound up.
What laughs we had. It was possible to work him to a point where you really weren't sure if he would survive the next one.

Before you start feeling sorry for him he had a bum-fluff moustache.

savannah said...

i work from home for a reason, sugar! i swear i no longer have the patience to deal with office politics! as it is, i start thinking very, very dark thoughts when people act perversely or like dumbignorantasswipemuthafuckas... ;)

xooxoxx

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

My opener most of the time is, How is your day so far? It really opens up a can a worms which I put to an end immediately by asking for their drink order. I only allow a one word answer. Oh yea the generous tip is the only way to say thank you for a waiter. A note is nice but if they really want to say something good go tell my boss.

Old Knudsen said...

I have this bloke who keeps cuming into the office and demanding reports of last weeks sales figures.

No wait I think that was a film I saw.

MJ said...

I hope you didn't give them the floor show from behind the velvet curtains.

They don't deserve it.

Jenny said...

I can't believe you didn't break! I immediately become condescending and/or drop their check while they are still eating their entrees. (They being the clan of assholes that roam this planet, looking for waiters and waitresses to torment)

Tuesday Kid said...

I bet the reason it was lashing outside was because a big rain cloud just follows them around.

Sharon said...

I love it when you get freaky customers.

Manuel said...

99 words: the cruelty! you could be a chef with an attitude like that....quality

savannah: I'd work from home too if i could get another 20 tables into the house.....!

steve: yeah they should write nice things on the back of£20 notes!

old k: dream? don't you mean wank?

mj: not often....for obvious reasons

jenny: at first i was intimidated but then it became like a challenge.....

tuesday: ah you're really quite sweet when you're off the crack

sharon: they are all freaks.....some are just freakier than others....

Babycakes said...

What I can't understand is why people like this go out to eat? Can they possibly be having a good time? Doesn't the tension they create affect their evening too? It's a treat to eat out - act that way!

Manuel said...

babycakes: welcome! honestly....i think they get off on it...

Red Leeroy said...

They poo pooed the sweets menu saying, "It's not to our taste" and pushed it away like it was a used copy of Razzle magazine

Coffee just came out my nose reading that one. Hilarious.

But offices have their own mentalness. indeed its all backstabbing managers, sick petty co workers, insane demands, quite like a restaurant only you never get tipped.

Conan Drumm said...

Ah, the pain-in-the-arse punters who know they are pain-in-the-arse punters and tip accordingly.

But the "We" greeting has to go. What's wrong with saying "You"?

Michelle said...

I don't know how you do it, and not just want to go postal. As for offices...yes, I learned a lot working in offices. Mostly how to play the game...I can now pit people against each other without anyone knowing it. I learned how to drive crazy people crazier by moving a couple of things around on their desks. I learned whose ass to kiss to get what I want, who to stay away from but yet be "friends" and a whole bunch of other useful things I use in dealing with school PTA members and neighborhood beyotchery. Yup, my naive self got quite an education working in offices.

Native Minnow said...

I am amazed at how annoying your customers seem to be. I assume it's like my students. Most of them are alright, but there's always someone. . .

Boxer said...

wouldn't you love to know what they do at home?

Wait. No, I don't want to know. Super creepy.

TheChrisD said...

Bet they're the life at parties (!)

That is, if they even go to any. From the way you describe them, it's almost as if they were Dementors straight from sucking out Harry Potter's soul...

MJ said...

Obama thanked the wait staff for their service at the inaugural lunch.

Darragh said...

"I don't know how you do it, and not just want to go postal"

I'm with Michelle on this one. C'mon, tell the truth. Did you gob in their food? Get someone else to? I think I'd have been tempted.

Kitty Cat said...

Ha "quality cuntage" indeed! (Love that by the way, I'm robbing it) Maybe it was a test, and you passed!

Jec said...

Hi,
Great insights.
You have nicely written.

EvaMaRie said...

I love how you can almost do anything to a waiter but as long as you tip gratuitously all is forgiven.
However, becasue tipping comes at the end of meal it can be risky.

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