Wednesday, January 19, 2011

So you don't want to eat. Or drink. Or wear pants. That's fine, but you can't hang out in this restaurant.

Tonight, I was standing behind the bar in the midst of the dinner rush just as open mic was beginning, when a woman walked in wearing a bathing suit, with a towel wrapped around her.

Her hair was wet, as was her towel. Her feet were sandy. And she wanted a day old pastry. Which is all well and good. But it was 7:15pm, we had a full restaurant, and she wanted to stay and eat it there.

I explained that I had to save the tables for people ordering dinner. I asked her if she wanted to stand at the bar to eat it, or take it to go. She looked at me for a moment. "Oh." she said.

As she counted out the dimes, nickels and GOD HELP ME WHAT THE FUCK pennies to cover the $1.32 pastry, I had to walk away.  I really needed to get back to my customers, who were waiting for their food and drinks. She was eating, she seemed to be understanding of the situation, and hopefully she would just eat and go. Her friend, on the other hand, wasn't taking it so well.

Her friend came out of the bathroom (for customers only) and was dismayed to hear that we could not offer them a table. I am not sure why she needed a table - she was not even buying a pastry. "We already ATE dinner!" she exclaimed. "We don't want to eat. We just want to sit and maybe have something to drink and listen to the music. This is an open mic night. How can you only allow people to come in if they are eating dinner?"

I looked around at the crowded restaurant.
"Um." I said.

"You should put that on the sign out there" she insisted, gesturing to the dry erase board propped up by the entrance with the specials written on it. "You can't limit this only to dinner customers! I invited people to meet us here."
"Oh." I said. "Do they want dinner?"

"No, of course not! They just want to hear the music."

While she argued with me, I remained calm. Her friend (in the wet bathing suit) had eaten the strudel standing at the bar (which was standing room only), and had settled herself into a booth that a couple had just vacated, content with letting someone else fight the battle.

"I would be happy to let you sit until I need the table" I offered......but no.
"Well, that's not going to work for me." she insisted.

"But it's dinner time. I have customers who want to eat dinner. We have reservations. If I need to seat them, I need to offer them a table."

"This is ridiculous." she sneered.

I decided that I needed to walk away. This was obviously not going to end well.

So I went back to my customers, while she loudly complained to her friends that that woman over there (insert nasty glances and vague hand gestures in my general direction) said that the tables were for dinner customers only - which was clearly the most outrageous, aggregious thing she had EVER heard. They gathered up their grocery bags and walked outside, still complaining. She stood on the sidewalk, complaining. They stopped people who were coming inside, and complained to them about how horrible I was.

Within minutes, a man walked in and said "There's a group out there that wants to come in - they have 12 people."
I stared at him for a minute. Sweet Jesus. Was this guy serious?

"Well, they don't want dinner," I said uncertainly. I hoped we were talking about the people I thought we were talking about. But there hadn't been 12 of them.....what the FUCK was going on around here?

"No, I explained that to them. She wants to go home and get her flute and come in and play."

"She? explained that to them?" I was confused. Were we talking about the same people? Was she going to play the flute in her wet bathing suit?

"Yes, I told her you had a full restaurant, but she says she has 12 people in her group."

"Well, I don't have 12 seats" I explained calmly. "Would you like to order something?"

"I want a vodka and orange juice and soda water."

"Soda water? OK. Vodka, with OJ and club soda. Coming right up."

I made his drink and set it down in front of him. He drank about half of it. I returned with menus.

"Here are some menus. Do you want to order dinner now, or just wait for a bit?"
Two tables were signalling me frantically.

"I'll wait a bit, you made me the wrong drink."

I looked at him steadily.

"This was supposed to have cranberry juice in it."

"Um." I said. "Sorry. Shall I make you another?" He was already pretty much done with the first one. The one that I had made incorrectly. Apparently.

"Yes, please."

"Okay, vodka, orange, CRAN and soda water?"

"Yep. That's what I ordered. The cranberry is good for my stomach."

I raised an eyebrow, but didn't argue. "Okay, here you go." I slid the drink across the bar.

He ordered a few more drinks over the next hour, walking in and out of the bar, socializing and making small talk, and then sat down for dinner. After he had eaten, he stood up and walked out the door.

Without paying.

But at least he didn't leave a wet spot on the bar stool.

No comments: