“French Onion Soup” Guy


bowl_of_steaming_soup_01In my line of work I run into any number of people who, on a good day, I like to call “garden-variety” idiots; on a bad day, I call them other things. Luckily, yesterday was a good day.

To distinguish the particular idiot that I’d like to discuss today from some of the other idiots I encountered yesterday, I’ll call him “French Onion Soup Guy”. While some of you would undoubtedly get a kick out of the antics of “Hamburger Bun Boy” or “Rare Steak Lady”, their stories will have to wait for another day — today we’ll be talking about soup — both in its larger context and as it pertains to “French Onion Soup Guy”.

It has been my experience that soup, unlike revenge, and unless it’s vichyssoise or gazpacho, is a dish best served hot. Generally, this is how we serve it — especially soup of the French onion sort. That being said, once in a while, folks will ask me to heat up their soup, as the temperature is not to their satisfaction. That’s fine. I have NO problem with making someone’s soup hotter. There is, however, a way to ask for such a thing to be done. Really, most requests for ANYTHING — in any aspect of our lives — are more likely to result in the desired outcome if we ask nicely — if we employ something as simple as manners.

You’d be amazed at the number of people who DO NOT know this — or, perhaps, they have abandoned the concept altogether — you know, for expediency or because they’re idiots. Whether their decision regarding the employment of polite behavior is a conscious one or one borne of having been raised by wolves, I’ll never know. It’s appalling, though, I’ll tell you that. I don’t know why this is, but I am especially irked when grown men behave this way — worse is when they do it in front of their children. I often wonder, if they feel comfortable with boorishness in public, what must they be like at home? Luckily, I’ll never have to find out.

For the record, I was the one who brought “French Onion Soup Guy” his soup. It was hot. So hot, in fact, that I was concerned that his young child — the one who was practically crawling on the table — was going to touch it and hurt herself. So, I said, “This is very hot, Sweetie. Please don’t touch it!” (I was, honestly, concerned for the kid. Because in a world where no one — except for me — seemed to notice that she was licking the salt shaker, I wasn’t convinced that her safety was of any real concern to the many wolves disguised as adults that were seated around her.)

About ten minutes after I delivered the soup, “French Onion Soup Guy” called me over to the table — and by “called me over to the table” I mean that he snapped his fingers as I was walking by — I was amazed that he had hands, rather than the paws one normally associates with animals of the Canis lupus species — he then shoved his soup at me, and said, “Hey! This is cold! I thought you said it was HOT! It’s supposed to be hot, right?”

As my hands were full of food that was making its way to another table, I shook my head in a positive manner. I was planning to say something along the lines of, “Yes, Sir. I’ll be back in a second when I can take the soup from you.” “French Onion Soup Guy”, perhaps thinking that I had another arm that sprouted, when necessary, from somewhere else on my body — wouldn’t THAT be handy? — continued to rattle his soup bowl at me while he said, “Hey! I’m talking to you. About my soup! About it being COLD!” At that point I just looked pointedly at my full hands, hoping he would get the message.

I should have known better — nuance, as it would turn out, was as lost on “French Onion Soup Guy” as it would be on a wolf. After depositing what was in my hands at the table behind him, I turned around to take his soup. He asked me why he was “still holding his soup?” Why I hadn’t “paid him any attention?” I explained, as briefly as possible — because I really wanted to limit my dealings with this idiot — that I had, indeed, “acknowledged” both him and his request, but was unable, owing to my lack of another hand, to remove his soup on his timetable. I assured him that I would rectify the problem. I promised him that he would have a hot soup as soon as possible.

What I wanted to say, but did not — as I have bills to pay and, thus, a job to keep — is that the very first rule of soup eating is that it should be consumed immediately upon presentation. If it is not, one of those laws of thermonuclear dynamics, put forth by a guy named Charles or Boyle — do I strike you as a woman who even vaguely remembers Chemistry 101? — acts upon the soup in such a way that causes it to LOSE heat. It’s shocking, I know, that people fail to grasp this very basic concept when it applies to something as simple as soup, isn’t it?

As a result of “French Onion Soup Guy’s” failure to consume his soup in a timely fashion, I had to endure his lack of manners, return the soup to the kitchen, have a conversation with people who have a limited grasp of the English language — our cooks — and who also get a little “tetchy” when they have to remake things, seek out and alert “French Onion Guy’s” server — no easy task, as this particular server has the uncanny ability to “disappear” whenever anyone is looking for him, particularly his customers — so that, together, we could try to get the soup back out to “French Onion Soup Guy” PRIOR to the arrival of his meal.

Unfortunately for ALL involved, I failed. Actually, that’s not entirely true, because I tasked the server — the one who had a real vested interest in getting the soup out — with making sure “French Onion Soup Guy” received his soup BEFORE the main course was ready to be served. Still in all, I consider it MY failure that I brought the entrees to the table without insuring that he had, indeed, consumed his replacement soup.

Well, I’m sure you can imagine the greeting I was met with when I brought the entrees to his table AND he still had not had his soup. I apologized. I took all of the blame. I assured him that some type of monetary compensation would be forthcoming when he received his bill. I asked him if he still wanted the soup. (When things like this happen, some people do still want the soup or whatever “starter” was forgotten — mainly, I think, because they know it will be free!)

“French Onion Soup Guy” did NOT want the soup. Was I “some kind of an idiot?” “Who would want to eat soup WITH their steak?”

It was really all I could do at this juncture in our relationship NOT to ask him if maybe he didn’t want it for his daughter, who I’d come to think of as “Little Wolf” — the one who was now, as far as I could tell, nibbling on the table leg. She appeared — even after having polished off an order of chicken fingers — to still be slightly peckish.

photo credit: bowl of steaming soup

14 thoughts on ““French Onion Soup” Guy

  1. Too bad you need the job. If that had been me the FOSG might well have ended up weraing it. Snapping fingers? Oh please…

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    • javaj240 says:

      It’s not just about needed the job — there’s always another job to be had, after all. I always look at it this way, when people treat me poorly, I COULD seek some sort of revenge, but then I’d be just as bad as them, right? Stooping to other people’s levels is beneath me — both literally and figuratively. 🙂

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  2. Oh, I should add…you know who the rudest, most boorish customers can be? People who organize meetings for a living. Somehow they think of themselves as “hospitality experts” and therefore think they should have license to critique every aspect of the meal. I’ve sat with people who’ve sent wine back multiple times (in the same meal), rejected food because it wasn’t “presented right” (you want it should be on a gold platter, lady?), or wasn’t the precise degree of doneness they’d requested. Because “just a little shy of medium rare, but a bit more rare in the middle” is totally a valid level of steak doneness, right? Fortunately, I no longer need to eat meals with these people, but it used to be excruciating.
    ^K.

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    • javaj240 says:

      OMG, Karen — I cannot imagine the person that you seem to be even being in the same room as these people, let alone dining in their company. Very, what we call in the biz, “high-maintenance”! That steak doneness is called “rare plus”, by the way. (Who says waitresses only TAKE tips?) Of course, those donenesses are terribly problematic — when anyone asks for them, I know immediately that they will be a PITA, though, usually by the time we have arrived at this juncture in our relationship this is information that is not news to me, LOL!

      Thanks for the great comment… I really appreciate it!

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      • You’re welcome–and I wasn’t hanging out with them socially. It was a work thing, and thank God it’s done. 🙂

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        • javaj240 says:

          Oh, I know it wasn’t BY choice!!! Really, I’m so not a fan of most of the people I work with — the last thing I would ever want to do is go out to eat with them, LOL! When I worked in an office I used to avoid eating with my coworkers like the plague — I used to really resent their birthdays because we were always forced to go out to lunch with so and so… ugh!

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  3. My dear, you are a saint. I am not sure I could have kept my cool in that situation.
    ^K.

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    • javaj240 says:

      I look at it this way — these people are going to be out of my life in an hour — I feel terrible for the people that have to go home with them, although in the case of a spouse, they picked ’em, right? LOL!

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  4. conniemcleod says:

    My daughter is a waitress, I now tip much better than I use to. It’s a hard and often thankless job. I hope he left a decent tip, instead of “God Bless” written on the ticket, which is what my daughter got this weekend (and no tip).

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    • javaj240 says:

      I abhor the people who did that crap and have the nerve to bring God into it. It is so insulting — as if they are somehow above paying for services rendered simply because they believe in God? I call bullshit on that one — it’s just another excuse used by cheapskates. Horrible.

      I have no idea what type of tip he left, as I was not the one waiting on him, LOL!

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  5. Paula Cavalier says:

    Daddy is that you? I hope you never have him as a customer. Take comfort in knowing that for all the rude customers you get that their are twice as many timid people afraid that if they complain their wait staff will spit in their food. Urban legend has it that this happens all the time. I’ve tried to break this legend with my own experience explaining that this doesn’t happen but I don’t think I’m helping. A public service announcement should be made that lets customers know that they should get what they want and asking politely is the best way and that big brother is watching us all so spitting in food would not be worth the revenge.

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    • javaj240 says:

      I’ve been in this business for over 30 years and I have NEVER witnessed anyone spitting in anyone’s food — it is an urban legend — thanks for doing your part to stop it…

      I have tons of great customers — writing about THEM isn’t funny, though — LOL!

      I’ll be on the lookout for your Dad… Thanks for the warning!

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  6. First of all, did the guy actually ask if you were some kind of idiot? Yikes! My son has now had 3 jobs that deal with the public (McDonalds, Five Guys and AMC) and he always comes home talking about all the rude people out there. At McDonalds he said a lot of people would return the fries saying they weren’t hot enough. That one surprised me! And of course fast food is never FAST enough!

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    • javaj240 says:

      Yes, yes he did, Janice… LOL! Nothing is ever fast enough! My daughter says that people complain constantly about the snack bar prices at AMC — like it’s some kind of new thing that they charge exorbitant prices, LOL! She tells them that she “just works [t[here.”

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