It is a great line — and one that I picked up from a waiter friend. Alas, I cannot use it in my place of business, not if I want it to be my place of business any longer, anyway. My friend gets away with it where he works. I would not get away with it where I work. It is a great line, though, don’t you think? Still, I wish I had never heard it. Because it is oh, so tempting to use it.
On several occasions this weekend I found it on the tip of my tongue, but was able, in a rare show of self-restraint, to stop myself from uttering it aloud. That there was more than one table where, seemingly, no one was happy with anything is an indication that someone should have stayed home this weekend — perhaps that someone was me. Considering that I work there, that I had to be there, and that I needed the money, my staying home was not exactly feasible.
Customers have choices, though. Oh, yes. They do. What they also have are opinions. About everything.
One of the most grating things that people complain about is the temperature in the restaurant. For the record — and because I was forced to check it no less than a hundred times in a three-day period — I know that the thermostat was registering an ambient 72 degrees Fahrenheit ALL WEEKEND. It was, in other words, PERFECT. I think that even Goldilocks, that pesky little fairytale trespasser, would have agreed that it was JUST RIGHT!
Still, I had to listen to the barrage of complaints regarding our HVAC system. “It’s FREEZING in here!” (Seventy-two degrees is NOT freezing. That’s just science, kids.) “Oh, my God. It’s so HOT in here!” (No, it was not.) “Am I sitting underneath a vent? There is air blowing directly ON me!” (The fan was off, so there was NO air blowing directly ON anybody. Again, science.)
And then there were the complaints about the seasonal menu items that we no longer offer, as it is now a DIFFERENT season. Several tables wanted the corn on the cob. When I explained that we no longer had any corn on the cob — but that it would likely make a return to the menu NEXT summer — you would have thought that I had told them that we would no longer be offering oxygen in our too hot/too cold atmosphere. Many were befuddled by this news, a few were actually crestfallen — by the absence of corn. Corn!
We were also out of Blue Moon on tap this weekend. I had a server come up to me and tell me that a customer was “demanding” that he be provided a Blue Moon on tap. And so I did what any bartender in a similar position would do. I poured a bottle of Blue Moon into a glass and slapped an orange on the rim. Problem solved.
As the server walked away, I just shook my head in disbelief. Who “demands” an item that we are out of? How did this guy think I was going to produce a keg of beer for him when I could not produce it for anyone else? Did he think I had managed to formulate and ferment a batch in the back room? Did he think I had The Belgian Brewmasters on speed dial? Why did he have to have Blue Moon? Who allowed this idiot to leave the house?
When he finished his meal and as he was leaving the restaurant, our Blue Moon enthusiast stopped at the bar to thank me for “finding” the Blue Moon on tap. (As if it had been “lost”.) He went on to say that had he been unable to have a Blue Moon on tap that he might have gone “ballistic”. “Well”, I said, “as entertaining as such a thing might have been, sir, I am happy that we were able to avoid THAT!” It was a good thing that he didn’t want the corn. I don’t know how we could have pulled that one over on him.
As if the customers were not annoying enough this weekend, the cooks got in on the act, as well. Of course they did.
I don’t know what-all was going on with them this weekend. They behaved as if I, personally, had pissed in their Cheerios. I had not. I was not the one eating from the gluten-free menu or insisting that we butterfly a bone-in steak; I was simply the conduit for the people who were. That I had to continually remind them of this added an element of difficulty to my weekend that I, for one, could, very easily, have lived without.
In spite of all that went on down at “The Annoying Bar & Grill”, some good things did happen this weekend. The New York Mets managed to win their division for the first time in nine years! I enjoyed a lovely hibachi dinner with some friends. Oh, and, my daughter decided to get her septum pierced. That last thing, on the surface, may not seem like a good thing, but if you were the person on the other end of the thousand text messages concerning this decision, you might feel otherwise.
The reality is that I don’t care what my kid pierces — as long as she gets it done in a sterile environment, as long as I don’t have to pay for it, as long as she just does it already, I honestly do not care. Other people will care far more than I will.
Last Thanksgiving she came home with a nostril piercing — an event that caused some people to question my parenting skills. This year’s piercing may well bring about similar conversations. To tell you the truth, I hope that it does. I am thinking that it may afford me the opportunity to use that line — the one that I love so very much, but dare not throw at my customers — as I defend my hard-working and bright progeny’s decision to put a ring or a bone (I so hope it’s a bone!) through her nose.
To my family I can ask, without fear of repercussion, “Is ANYTHING alright?”