I have to share with you the latest insanity that I was forced to deal with down at “The Annoying Bar & Grill”, my most recent encounter with, yet another, “Needy Numpty”. Before I do so, though, I want to assure you that every single word that I say will be true; that even I, serial embellisher that I am, could not make this stuff up.
A couple of nights ago a man wandered in looking for a manager. One was fetched for him. Why did he need to see a manager? He desperately needed to impart his neediness. This is what “Needy Numpties” do. To that end, he claimed that he had called our restaurant on Monday evening — in the middle of a snowstorm — and was told during that conversation that we would be open.
He claimed that he then, operating upon this information, proceeded to get into his car — in a State of Emergency — and drive approximately forty miles (passing up two of our establishments and countless other restaurants) to get to us, only to discover that we had closed our doors early, which we did based upon the forecasted “Snowmageddon” that was hurtling toward us. (Thankfully, it missed us, but no one knew at the time that it would.)
Everyone involved in his little escapade called “Bullshit” immediately. This guy, as most “Needy Numpties” are, was also, what is known in the business, as a “freebie seeker”. Much like the folks who visit emergency rooms making claims of phantom pain in order to be prescribed painkillers, this guy and people like him — of which there are far too many — enjoy making up stories so that they will be handed a free meal. And someone’s undivided attention. Guess what? We are “on” to them.
He was told that he would receive some sort of discount, which is more than he deserved. He had already wasted enough of the manager’s time, now it was my turn to have my time wasted.
First, let me just say this: EVERY idiot who called during the snowstorm — and there were plenty of them — was told that we were open at the moment, but that we could not guarantee that we would remain open. In a rare display of exasperation with one of these morons who, apparently, was willing to risk life and limb for one of our delicious steaks, I overheard our host — a fellow that is almost always polite and patient — even with idiots — tell one such potential patron, “Sir, I cannot predict the future. All I can tell you is that we are open now.” Yup. That was about the size of it.
After telling his tale to the manager, “Needy Numpty” decided that he would repeat it for my benefit. Let me just mention that it was, at this point, approaching 9:30 PM. I had been there all day. Even if I hadn’t, even if it was early on in my shift, I wouldn’t have given a rat’s ass about his cockamamie story. I have little sympathy for storytellers on my best day. Still, I had to listen as he lied through his teeth. I had to be nice. I also had to answer approximately seventeen inane questions about the menu. By the time he ordered it was 9:45 PM.
Of course he ordered one of the biggest, most expensive steaks on the menu, no doubt because it was being discounted. I know this — FOR A FACT — because he asked me the price of EVERYTHING before ordering it. I kept turning his menu around to answer his questions, as I DO NOT have the prices memorized. I don’t need to, as we have computers. And customers have menus that list the prices for EVERYTHING, if only they could focus their attention and spend their time reading it. If only.
For FIFTEEN MINUTES he badgered me with questions THAT HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT HE WAS ORDERING — questions regarding what type of oil we use, whether our kitchen is nut-free, and how much salt is in our butter. Canola. No. And, are you fucking crazy? No one knows that. The ingredients for salted butter are cream and salt.
While it is possible, had I not left my slide rule in my other pants or if I was another sort of person, that I could have gone into the back refrigerator, located the butter, checked the sodium content, and done some per serving calculations, there was a better chance of a meteor striking us than there was of me dragging my ass to the walk-in box to do math. A meteor. Striking us.
When he FINALLY ordered he asked for “plain” butter. I looked at him quizzically. Did he think I could remove the salt from his butter? He did. I just shook my head and said, “No can do, sir. Would you like margarine?” Did I look like a dairy farmer? Did he suppose that I was going to go into the kitchen and churn him some fresh butter?
He did NOT want margarine. His reason? “Too many preservatives!” The guy who was eating half a cow and had ordered two carbohydrates as sides, was concerned about the contents of margarine. (“Salad? No! I don’t want salad! Can I get the macaroni and cheese? Oh, it costs extra? That’s fine. What kind of bacon is in it?”)
Who asks “What ‘kind’ of bacon” is “in” something? What does that even mean?
We are not a health food restaurant nor are we an Italian eatery. The bacon we use is not going to be made from turkey, nor will it be pancetta. It’s “regular” bacon — the “kind” that comes from a pig. JACKASS!
I am sure that you have realized by now, as had I very early on in my encounter with this idiot, which is a direct result of my long-term exposure to this sort of needy numpty, that he was not really interested in the “ins” and the “outs” of the menu, as much as he wanted to be the center of someone’s attention. Sadly, that “someone” was me.
Unsurprisingly, “Needy Numpty” returned his steak. Our idea of “medium-rare”, though it was described to him, in painstaking detail, and his idea of “medium-rare” were two very different things. Of course they were.
When he had received his properly cooked steak and two fresh sides, he decided that it was time to pepper me with several thousand more questions, which he asked merely as a springboard to share with me his views on anything and everything that came to mind. For example, he asked me how I felt about basketball. He didn’t really care how I felt about basketball, but I knew that. What he wanted was to tell me how he felt about basketball.
I wish I could tell you how he felt about basketball, but I can’t. Why? Because I wasn’t listening. I did not care. I just wanted to clean up and get the hell out of there. I answered his self-centered behavior with some of my own. I won’t apologize. I’m sick to death of these time-wasters.
More to the point, I have grown awfully weary of being required to suffer their insanity. I’m tired of wasting my time for two dollars. I have grown far too jaded to even pretend to have any patience for these crazies anymore.
When he received his check he asked me if “we” couldn’t “do better” on the discount amount. I explained that “we” could not. (Of course we could have. Of course I could have asked the manager to give “Needy Numpty” a larger discount. I was NOT going to do that.)
When that request failed, he began to kvetch about paying the sales tax, which amounted, just so you know, to a measly $1.40. I explained that if I couldn’t do anything about the discount, that I certainly couldn’t do anything about the sales tax.
This is when he decided to tell me that he was “disabled”. I told him that, as far as I knew, our State does not consider individual disabled persons worthy of a sales tax exemption. He said that he knew that but felt that it was unfair. He continued to lobby for me to lop off the buck-forty by telling me that he is often given an exemption by other restaurants and retail establishments when he asks for such. I said, “Oh, how nice of them”.
There was no way in HELL that I was going to give him an additional discount. No way. No how. He asked me to get the manager. I asked him for his tax exempt form. I explained that the manager, who was very busy AT CLOSING TIME, would only be able to remove the tax if he had a State-issued tax exempt form from which he could enter the tax exempt number contained therein into our computer. “Needy Numpty” admitted that he could not provide such a thing — a fact that we both were well aware of at this point. I explained that I could not provide him with a manager.
The entire time we were engaging in this nonsense — for $1.40 — he was holding his credit card aloft. He then put it back in his wallet and told me that he would pay me when he returned from the men’s room. Yeah. No.
It was now almost 10:30 PM. The kitchen guys were almost finished. Despite “Needy Numpty’s” best efforts to distract me from my closing duties, I, too, had long been cleaned up and ready to go. I explained that I needed him to pay me then, as there was no one else left in the restaurant and the manager needed my cash drawer, so that he could complete his closing duties, of which he has many. “Needy Numpty” asked me if I thought that he was the kind of person who would run out on his check.
Of course he was EXACTLY the kind of person who would run out on his check, but I couldn’t say that. Nor had I intimated such a thing. I honestly did need his check in order to turn in my cash drawer. “Needy Numpty” was, essentially, holding me — and my coworkers — hostage.
As nicely as I could, I told him that it had been my experience, based on thirty-plus years in the restaurant business, never to assume that a customer was not going to pay his or her check. I assured him that, given that this had long been my policy, I wasn’t going to start suspecting people of such a thing now. I reiterated that my need for his payment was so that I — and my coworkers — could go home.
He gave me his credit card. Still, we had to wait another fifteen minutes for him to come out of the bathroom and make his long, slow way out the door. It was pretty fun to spend that time with my coworkers, though. What “Needy Numpty” could be doing for FIFTEEN MINUTES in the men’s room came up once or twice.
You cannot make this stuff up.