Trash Talking Guests

"Does Barry Manilow know you raided his wardrobe?"

One of the more difficult things about writing humorous posts for this blog is that I have a very biting sense of humor.  I am not an angry or aggressive person.  I mean no harm by it.  It is just very difficult for me to see a joke set up and not make it.  Most people who know me will tell you I am an incredibly kind and thoughtful person.  They will also tell you that I have a vicious sense of humor.

If you are going to set it up, you have to expect me to follow through.  I can’t see it there and not jump on it.  I can take it as good as I give it.  When the opportunity presents itself I have to take advantage of it.  How can you expect me to just leave it sitting there?  It is like asking Michael Scott to not say, “that’s what she said” to any of the previous sentences in this paragraph.

At the same time, serving requires you to pass up all of these opportunities.  It has taught me a great deal of restraint.  I save my remarks for the side station.  Co-workers have many times stepped away as I spouted four different biting remarks to a comment made by a guest.  Once out of my system I can return to the regularly scheduled routine.

If talking trash were a sport, I would be the roided out Barry Bonds.  Throw whatever pitch at me you want, but expect it to be retrieved by someone in McCovey cove.  They wouldn’t let me in the Hall of Fame, because I would make everyone cry with my acceptance speech.   I have over 15 years of dealing with drunks, line cooks, and drunk line cooks under my belt (twss).  Bring it, but bring it hard (twss).  You will probably not be able to go for round two (twss).

Yet still I have tables that look at the smiling face in front of them and want to take a shot.  I will never understand the sport in this.  What fun is it to talk trash to someone who is working and can’t fire back?  Do people really get a sense of satisfaction out of this?  Knowing that they can take shots, but still complain to my boss if I fire back, gives some people confidence to lob them at me.

The worst part is that the people who take the most liberties with the ability to fire off these comments are the ones most likely to complain.  They are also the people with the least ability to hold their own.  They will be the first ones to slash your tip if you make them look foolish.  Generally, they are some sad people who find sport in mocking someone, but lack the ability to take it back.  They are the guys who make crude comments to flirty cocktail waitresses only to be pissed off when they find out she isn’t interested.  Then they blame it on her being a lesbian instead of their awful approach.

I recently had a table with a 22-year-old guy who wanted to take some shots at me.  He was meeting his girlfriend’s mother and aunt for the time.  He led off with a crack from the initial greet.  I knew he was going to be one of the people described in this post.  He ordered our cheapest bottle of pink wine for he and “his lady.”  Then he proceeded to ask for an ice bucket to keep it chilled.  He butchered the name of everything he ordered.  Even simple words like “tempura” seemed beyond his reach.  Each visit was a new crack followed by the eye roll from everyone else at the table.  I took each one in stride, until the final straw.  After perusing our dessert menu, he asked if we had a hot fudge sundae. I looked at him and said, “we do on our kids menu, I can get you one if you like.”  The older women erupted in laughter.  He didn’t say a word the rest of the meal except to wave the check presenter in the air at the end.

He left me 5% on his portion of the check.  The ladies more than made up for it by leaving me 30% on their portion.  In the end, I think his actions cost him far more than the extra $10 I could have expected from him.  He embarrassed everyone else sitting at the table.  He walked out in a huff, but they walked out smiling.  Next week I expect to see him back in looking for love with a flirty cocktail waitress.

When you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

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