Would you believe it the complainer mentioned in the previous post did indeed do us the 'favour' of coming back again.The Cynical One and myself clocked her immediately as she walked through the door,docile hubby in tow,disconcertingly wearing some kind of floral bandana type headgear.
Our hearts sank,people like this can physically drain the life force out of your body in two seconds flat.
The odd peculiarity about these two,which we hadn't immediately noted,was the fact that they always order duplicate meals,so true to form they studied the board then predictably ordered two identical meals.In this case slow roast duck leg.
The Cynical One glanced at me and sighed,checked the ticket on,at the same time forewarning the kitchen they were in.
In due course the meals were sent and we kind of forgot about the two of them as the lunch service kicked off and our attention was diverted elsewhere.We had a couple of tables booked but people tend not to book at lunchtimes so you can never predict how many will rock up on any given day.There was a four booked in midway through service and were directed to the table we'd chosen for them.It doesnt matter which table you decide to reserve, it wont be the right one.People have lots of requirements in terms of which table they want to sit at.This four eyed the table disdainfully but with most of the other tables now taken their options were kinda limited.They reluctantly sat down,shuffling irritably in the seats.The Cynical One shot me a surreptitious eye roll and headed over the extract the drinks order.Presently the 'leader' called me over.
'Excuse me do you have any seats suitable for bad backs?'
Now,not being in possession of the aforementioned bad back nor being an effing chiropractor, I had no idea what kind of seat would be suitable for a bad back ..I decided to put the ball back in her court.
'What type of seat would you like? We have lots of different chairs as you can see'
The woman looked annoyed then scanned the immediate area for a bad back chair eventually
swapping her chair with one at an adjacent table then continuing to fidget.
As the drinks were delivered the chair problem was again raised.
'I'm sorry we're really not comfortable here,can we move to another table please?'
As it happened a table had just become available in the dining room and OH JOY with six different mismatched chairs to choose from,I invited the party to follow me.
The leader was having none of it.
'Stay where you are and I'll go and check out the table out first'
I smiled encouragingly,placing my hand on a high backed chair with a wicker seat.
'I'm sure this one will be good for a bad back,its nice and firm and will give a lot of support'
I patted the seat like some over eager salesman at DFS on the last day of the 14 day permanent sale.
The woman stared at me as if I was an absolute nutter then turned away.
'Its ok we'll stay where we are'
'If seating arrangements are such a bloody deal breaker,why don't they just effing sit at home in their orthopaedic armchairs' said Chef helpfully..
Just then I remembered the serial complainer sat with her duck by the window.I glanced over.Her arms were folded,and in an odd but increasingly popular trend, with the husband sat beside her.
As I approached the interview panel,I could see that both plates were empty(hurrah) but on closer inspection all was not jolly.One plate was COMPLETELY empty and I mean COMPLETELY-no sign of the bone.
I went to grab the plates.
'Was everything ok for you?'
The woman was visibly shaking.
'No..no.. it was terrible,in fact it was only fit for the farm cats so I've wrapped it up and put it in my bag to take home for them' and then almost as an afterthought and pointing at the husbands clear plate 'and he didn't enjoy his either'
|I like duck|
I observed the husbands very empty plate, duck bone as clean as a whistle displayed prominently.
The husband sat and said nothing,less life in him than a dead granny.
'Well I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it-would you like something else instead?'
'No No No'
She was shaking her head in disgust.
Thank God for that.
I retreated from the table and planned my next move.
As I cleared the table adjacent to the table with the bad back and they requested the bill, the very pleasant woman leaned in towards me and nodding toward the problem table in a stage whisper uttered 'That lot are going to ask to move to this table'
Which was a problem as the table was booked out for another party in five minutes.
Sure enough I was waved over
'Excuse me would you mind if we moved over to that table-we really aren't comfortable here'
'I'm sorry that's just not possible as a table for 5 five are booked here shortly and unfortunately I cant give them your current table as its only for four'.
They were already on the up in a presumptive table move but stopped dead in their tracks on receipt of this information.
I noticed the duck woman heading over to the bar.I'd already told the Cynical One not to accept any payment for the meals.
I sidled over to watch.
The woman was insisting on paying.
'No thats fine' said the Cynical One 'but just to let you know,if you had let us know earlier we could have offered an alternative meal'
The woman stood there looking embarrassed,the balance of power neatly shifted in our favour.
That's going to take the wind out of your complaint with the bulk of a meal that you haven't paid for tucked up neatly in your handbag.In fact I'd call that THEFT.
I haz the upper hand.
I smiled a smug smile as they shuffled out of the door sheepishly,her with the stolen duck breast in her handbag and him with a very full tum,just as a couple of Irish fellas at the bar were having a very loud and much more entertaining conversation about a mutual friend who had 'pinched their MOTHER'S arse'
I've already briefed all staff with our policy for dealing with them on their next visit:
'Are you absolutely sure you'd like to order food? You've already tried fur,feather and fish and it appears our food really is NOT TO YOUR TASTE..'
And rest assured the fuckers WILL BE BACK..
Further portions of the farm cat duck continued to 'fly' (groan) out for the rest of the week,despite this with no sign of any outward feline activity or miaowing from the customers.
Next day we had further seating problems.
The Actor motioned me over to the bar.
'See those two booked on table 2? Well the woman is the size of two houses and she just isn't going to fit on that table so Ive had to move her to table 3 but it's booked out for three in 45 mins'
'God yes I can see what you mean,at least a metric tonne, should be another table free by the time the next lot in come in.Good call'
All of the above delivered through well practised fake smiles.We'd all make great ventriloquists... I nervously eyed up the chair she was about to sit at, a pastime I'm increasingly finding myself occupied with.
Later that night just as snifters were in sight the phone rang.I'm constantly surprised at how late people ring and make bookings sometimes even after 11 at night.'Oh I'll just ring the pub before I finish my cocoa and book a table'..
I picked up.The male caller had a deep guttural voice,I couldn't quite place the accent but could have been Mackem.
'Can I speak to my Dad please,his name's Peter'
What's his surname I enquired.
The caller sounded muffled,I couldn't make out what he was saying so passed the phone over to the Blonde.
'Here, can you hear what he's saying' I passed the phone over disinterestedly.
I could hear the Blonde trying to establish the fathers surname as she headed over to the remaining five tables in search of the Dad.
I thought I heard her repeat the word 'file'.
I watched in amazement she approached each table in turn asking each if anyone at the table was called
At the last table unfortunately there was indeed a chap named Peter.I was rooted to the spot as I heard her then politely enquire was his surname "File"
The chap looked momentarily stunned then smirked nervously shaking his head.
I kid you not.
The Blonde headed back over to the bar.
'Please tell me you didn't ask that fellow if his name was Peter File..'
Now normally The Blonde is very quick on the uptake but it'd been a very long day..
'NOOOOO..Why didn't you stop me??'
She grabbed the phone and dialled 1471.
We have the comedy callers' number and are already planning a late night call for next Saturday.The options are endless:
Brothers Warwick and Mike Hunt
And of course our old friend Pat McCrotch.
'I bet that was the Actor' said Chef who was nearly crying into his well earned Fosters 'ringing up with one his Actory voices'
Next morning we were still giggling about the comedy call.The Actor (I swear to God it wasn't me) denied all knowledge but did arrive laden with Sunday chocolates for the girls..
Watch this space.