How to make a few words count
Working within any service industry acquiring the ability to deal with difficult customers is a required skill.
Throw some alcohol into the mix and workers within the hospitality industry experience uniquely challenging situations.
Last Friday night we welcomed a particularly unpleasant example.
Quite early on he was flagged up as a potential problem.As the wine flowed his voice increased in volume until eventually his conversation was conducted in permanent UPPER CASE.
Being moderately offensive to the waitress throughout the meal the behaviour peaked as The Blonde accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on to the lap of a diner seated at an adjacent table.Though not entirely to blame ,the diner having failed to notice her approach knocked the drinks tray from her grip in a particularly extravagant hand gesture(no doubt in an effort to make himself heard over the continual din from the next table).
The problem customer witnessed the whole incident.Quick as a flash he gestured The Blonde over.
'EXCUSE ME MISS,I'VE SPILLED SOME OF MY STEAK SAUCE ONTO MY LAP HERE WOULD YOU MIND JUST RUBBING IT OFF FOR ME PLEASE???'
(Legs splayed and pointing at his crotch)
His wife muttered quietly 'I cant believe you just did that'.Then sat with the tired look of someone who is resigned to witnessing a lifetime of similar tastelessly lairy displays.
The Blonde reiterated the conversation to the kitchen.Including the information that he had undone his trousers to allow his swollen stomach to escape the grip of his ill fitting raspberry corduroys.
'Do you want me to go out and slap him?'said Chef helpfully.
Later he diverted his attention over to the bar area,leaving his companions contentedly alone at the table.
'LOOK AT ME!I'M HAVING SOME BANTER WITH THE LOCALS'
I'm not sure where he was from,but he was calling everyone 'John' in a misplaced attempt at feigned familiarity.
It transpired they were all en route to a village around ten miles away.
As he had by this time consumed copious amounts of alcohol and was incapable of driving the party to their lodgings,he was soliciting directions to enable the wife to assume driving duties.No doubt a regular occurrence.
At this point he turned his attention to myself asking if it would be possible to arrange a taxi if need be.
Great.He wants to go.
'Yes of course what time shall I ask them to come for you?'(soon please)
'WELL NOT ...YET WE MAY STILL DRIVE..'
'Well it is Friday I will need to give them notice or you might have a long wait'
'DON'T WORRY I'M SURE WE CAN THINK OF SOMETHING TO DO TO AMUSE OURSELVES.....'
In your dreams mate.
I moved behind the bar in order to put a substantive obstacle between us.
A regular at the bar,a man of few words, witnessed the unfolding drama,glanced at me and raised his eyebrows in disdain.
Another local directed the stranger over to the man of few words advising him that he could give him good directions coming in fact from the particular village he intended to travel to.
The stranger made the mistake of adding the tagline 'John' to the end of his request for help.
'How did you know my name was John?' said the regular thoughtfully.(His name wasn't John BTW)
'JUST A LUCKY GUESS' Guffaw.
'Well I tell you what' said the man of few words...'Why don't you just guess your way over to the village'
With that, he necked the remnants of his pint,turned and strode purposefully to the door without even giving the stranger a cursory glance.
In the background I'm sure I heard a ripple of applause but it may have just been in my head.
Familiarity does breed contempt...