I had a customer tonight who came in with the express intention of getting a rise out of me. Clearly he had no idea who he was messing with. Don’t you just love it when people underestimate you? Sorry, guys, but most of the time it’s men. I’m not certain what drives their behavior, Mommy issues? Breast envy?
I knew what he was about the minute I approached the table and he refused to make eye contact while interrupting my greeting. (Folks, it’s rude to speak when others are speaking!) When people do this I know I’m dealing with an asshole. He demanded a Coke with “lots and lots of ice”. He repeated this request several times in the space of about 38 seconds. I just nodded, smiled, and continued to take his order. Normally I would have just gone ahead and gotten his drink, but he demanded that I “not move a muscle because he wasn’t done”. Okey-Dokey. So, I remained his prisoner while he instructed me as to how soft he expected his butter to be — “Not melted, but soft enough to spread. Am I making myself clear?” — (Crystal! And thank you for confirming my earlier suspicions about you! I will now be adding “condescending” to asshole when I think of or refer to you!) and how hot he expected his bread to be — “Hot enough so that the softened butter melts when it comes into contact with the bread, but not hard and crusty so that I break a tooth” — (Oh, if only! If only!) What am I? A physicist? He then repeated that he wanted “lots and lots of ice” in his drink. Wow!
There are a couple of ways to deal with an asshole like this. Most of the time I fuck with them, you know, for shits and giggles. Often when I am confronted with this kind of creature, I will deliberately adopt a vacant look and act as flaky as possible. I will repeat their order several times, deliberately getting it wrong each time. I find this exasperates them. It’s the highlight of my day.
Adopting the “ditzy waitress” persona is highly amusing, but it takes time. And it was late. So I opted to go into “Super Waitress” mode. I raised my energy level to exuberant, plastered on the smile, and “Yes, Sirred” him to death.
I went into the kitchen and set about warming the bread and the butter to his exact specifications. I also filled a glass with ice and poured Coke into it. Being “Super Waitress” requires a fair amount of proactivity. In this vein, I also filled another glass with just ice. When I brought these items to the table I could tell that he was annoyed that I had not only gotten his crazy ass order right, but that I had brought the extra ice that I am certain he was planning to send me scurrying back to the kitchen for. For the record, “Super Waitress” doesn’t scurry. She anticipates.
He ordered the soup. Before he could even annoy me with the inevitable, “make sure it’s piping hot” request, I enthusiastically said, “I have a feeling you’d like it piping hot! I’ll take care of that for you.” He was really getting worked up now. I could tell. He so wanted something to go wrong or to have something to say about my “attitude”, but “Super Waitress” never gets guest complaints! I fetched his soup, but not before I had microwaved and stirred it. The soup was still steaming when I brought it to the table. When I put it down he gave me a finger wag, to indicate that I needed to remain exactly where I was until he tasted the soup. I took his grunting noise as an indication that he was satisfied with the temperature, texture and taste.
He refused to order his dinner until he had finished his soup. The second the soup spoon left his hand and hit the plate I was there to remove the empty bowl and all of the soup accoutrements. He now wanted more bread. I was instructed to bring it exactly as I had brought the first loaf. He was, it seemed, cleansing his palette with bread between courses. I also noticed that his soda was half empty. So, when I brought the bread I also brought another soda. As I placed the bread on the table, he proceeded to actually shove what was now an empty glass about a millimeter from my face to indicate that he needed a refill. A refill that I had brought with me. It was in my other hand, but he couldn’t see it because his obesity interfered with his range of motion; he couldn’t turn his neck to see my other hand. (I took note of this. Because if he was going to drive me to bitch slap him I wanted to be sure he wouldn’t see it coming!) I took the empty glass that was practically touching my nose and immediately put the refill with “lots and lots of ice” down in its place. I could see that my efficiency was clearly pissing him off. Yay!
He then pronounced his readiness to order. And it was a pronouncement. He delivered the line, “I am now ready to order” in a tone and manner one would normally associate with the guy who announces that we should all “Please stand for the playing of our National Anthem” at sporting events. He then began to order, except the passive-aggressive fucker decided to whisper his order. Whisper. I swear that he thought that his whispering would force me to get very close to him. Not on your fucking life. Not in your dreams. Not even for a minute. But the game, clearly, was afoot. Instead of getting closer to him I just kept saying, “I beg your pardon, sir, but I can’t seem to hear you. Can you speak a little louder?” Like in your big boy voice? Finally, after I had repeated this phrase no less than six times, he became so exasperated with my refusal to bend down and let him whisper in my ear, that he began to bang his fists on the table and stomp his feet while he practically screamed the order at me. He was, I swear to God, shaking. And he kept saying over and over, “Medium well. I want it medium-well. Make sure it’s medium-well.” Okay Little Lord Fauntleroy, medium-well it will be.
Of course he returned his (perfectly cooked) medium-well steak. I wasn’t surprised. He needed for something to go wrong. We cooked it up for a couple of more minutes and the manager delivered it. Whatevs. By that point I no longer cared. Because I had won. I had driven him to a temper tantrum. He thought he was going to break me? BAHAHAHAHA! He’d of had to get up pretty early in the morning to do that because no one, and I mean no one, is a bigger asshole than I am.
photo credit: temper tantrum