Sorry that pushchairs/children seem to be a recurring theme,but we've had another situation which has resulted in the introduction of a 'Pushchair Policy',or to be more precise a pushchair ban.
During the week we'd a family with a baby booked in for dinner.Now usually parents bringing very young children tend to extend a bit of consideration to other diners and book early doors ie coming under the category teatime trade.This lot managed to book themselves in at the prime slot at 8pm.As you know an 8pm dining slot is the most coveted and prized by the majority of diners.
When they arrived it was noted immediately that the infant was proudly displayed in a trophy pushchair and heading fast for entry.The Blonde attempted to deflect access suggesting that the carriagework and wheel arrangement be left in the porch and the chair bit be brought to the table and placed on a chair.The parents were pretty dammed determined and having none of it,finally playing their ace card the cheap Health and Safety trick,affirming it wouldn't  be safe for Junior to sit in an unsecured car seat placed precariously on a dining chair.Yeah well you will all know the speed a souped up dining chair can reach these days..
The dining table was pulled out towards  the centre of the room and the carriage parked sideways next to Mother,wheels extending out ideally providing an handy trip hazard for passing customers and staff alike.
The relocation of the table also providing a very slim passage through which to pass between the adjacent table which happened to be sited directly underneath the blackboard displaying tonights menu.This had the unfortunate result that any more senior person wishing to read the blackboard and needing to be closer to such, was channelled in front of the poor diners on Table One trying valiantly to trough on their meals whilst a random procession of assorted of Marksies slacks were ramrodded at the end of their table.
It was awful.
To add insult to injury the infant was held by the mother throughout the course of the meal with the trophy pushchair remaining annoyingly vacant.
Any booking bringing babies is now being informed prior to arrival that we welcome children but unfortunately don't have space for pushchairs.
Perhaps we should focus more on our primary purpose i.e.  the sale of intoxicating liquor with on occasion squiffiness being achieved and the suitability of this as an ideal environment for the child element.Yes, we are definitely not a creche..

Last Friday night ones patience was tried to the hilt.
There were a couple of children in the party,aged around 5-7years old.The elder of the two banged her fists on the table and started chanting 'I want food'
The parents tried to ignore the display but made no attempt to restrain or discourage this behaviour.It was becoming a tad noisy so I approached to secure the order.'In and out' was the phrase at the forefront of my mind.
Predictably they asked for the Kiddies Menu.Once the shock and disappointment at the lack of a Chicken Nugget was grasped,I suggested that Chef might make up some batter and do the little darlings a couple of small portions of battered cod with chips.I was feeling particularly generous as they were the first booking in and I though best get them through with as little fuss as possible and vacate the table in time for the later booking that we'd already taken in anticipation of an early exit.
In due course the meals were ready and I took them proudly out to the table,what a treat for them a nice piece of fresh battered cod with homemade chips.
As I placed the childrens meals down the older and more boisterous of the two announced in a much louder voice than befitted her very diminutive stature :
'That doesn't look like fish Mam.. Im not eating that..'
There then followed an uncomfortable few minutes whilst the parents tried to extract a polite pleasantry from their little angel on the lines of:
'What do you say to the lady???'
The child folded her arms with intent,the intent clearly being not to eat the meal,nor to exchange any pleasantry,polite or no.
'Probably expected fish fingers' sighed the Blonde wistfully.
I placed a familiar bottle of Heinz ketchup on the table and decided to leave them to it.
As it happened when I returned to clear the table both fish and chip suppers had been completely cleared.
'Did you enjoy that?' I was unable to disguise my self satisfied tone.
In front of my eyes the angelic looking 7 year adopted the hardened manner of a forty five year old market trader.
'AYE, its was all right, but it wasn't proper fish'
'The ungrateful little shit' said Chef.
One can just imagine the havoc that individual might wreak once achieving adulthood.

And so on to the next instalment of Bank Holiday Capers.
The first table in were already queuing orderly outside prior to doors opening.
Once seated and having secured a prompt order prior to mayhem being unleashed I happened to earwig the conversation.
'Yes I'm surprised its not busy,I would have thought it would be on a Bank Holiday'
Did they not notice they were the first customers through the door??One wonders if they think we keep a rowdy crowd waiting in the wings from the night before-dont they realise someone has to be first??

With many diners having had the foresight to ring ahead and secure a table prior to arrival,within forty five minutes of opening we'd serendipidiously turned away in excess of forty would be diners.Including a party of twelve,two tables of eight and a six.Turning up with twelve people on a regular day without a booking never mind a Bank Holiday is optimistic to say the least.How many pubs actually have a table that accommodates twelve without rearranging the furniture, as it were?
The leader of one of the parties of eight ignored our advice and proceeded to make a full reconnaissance of the pub in search of a table that we'd already explained didn't exist.Spotting a vacant table for six he pointed over triumphantly 'what about there?'
'Im sorry that table is already booked'
The clue was in the reserved sign placed prominently in the centre of the table.
The woman behind him interjected:
'but we've just picked the children up from camp and they're really hungry..'
And your point is? Give away a table reserved for a booking arriving in 20 minutes and try to explain to them that the children were about to eat their arms....
Presently,a booking for two arrived with an extra guest.As the table which we'd set aside was quite snug it wasn't possible to add an extra person so we fiddled around with the table plan and managed to swap them to a bigger table.
The woman didn't like the table.
'Can we wait 20 minutes for a better table?'
This is puzzling.
How the feck did she know there would be a better table available in 20 minutes? Glancing around it was obvious no one would be vacating any time soon and no other tables were free other than their originally allocated table.
'Can't we just pull up an extra chair on our original table?'
Hmmm.... its a tricky one...what does one advise these poor people to do?????
"im sorry the table just isn't big enough for three'
She then played what she thought was her trump card.
'Well in that case we'll just pay for our drinks and leave'
It was pretty obvious that this was a threat designed to effect the required relocation to a table of her own choice.Despite there being none available.
Im not sure the Blondes 'ok' response was entirely expected,with the son having already chosen what he wanted to eat and much harrumping following.
The wife stood her ground,refusing to back down so the husband resignedly approached the bar to settle the drinks bill.
I feigned no knowledge of the table shenanigans.
'Oh' I said innocently 'did you not like our menu??'
'No,my wife didn't like the we're leaving'
His doleful look expressing more than words could,the anticipation of a further search at another venue on a Bank Holiday Monday, for an elusive table that probably didn't exist.

During the height of the rush I was called over to a table of four.
'Excuse me-this ketchup bottle is FULL and I cant get the ketchup out'
The Ketchup bottle was full.
I kid you not.
This is not a valid complaint.
I was momentarily floored.
In a moment of true inspiration I grabbed the Ketchup bottle,apologised and returned from the kitchen with a half empty one which pleasingly had a few snotty deposits around the rim.

One wonders how these people manage to fend for themselves at home. .

Later in the day when things had quietened off a bit and Chef had lost the will to live,I was able to exchange a little idle chit chat with a couple from Derbyshire.

The wife was very gushing about everything, but the Blonde was not impressed:
'I mean I like to smile but  CHILL OUT woman,you're about to bust a blood vessel..'

Its always good to find out how your customers found their way to you so I enquired how they'd chanced by.
'We saw you in the Good Food Guide' said the wife.

'Oh' I say 'thats good to know'
'Yes' said the wife 'people are far more educated and discerning now about food,particularly places serving locally sourced food,we always refer to the Guide when travelling about the country'

'Yes' I say nodding in mutual respect and agreement 'TOTALLY..'
'Now what can I get for you???'
Then this:
'Well,I know its not on your menu but I really fancy some Scampi,do you by chance have any?'

*Cats bum face*


Nicky said…
Snorted tea down my nose TWICE! What the hell is wrong with these people??
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Wally B said…
i think sainthood might be in order.
PS, i got hit by this madsolutions shit too.
I had a mother who was similarly and quite randomly averse to some tables in pubs, cafes and restaurants. It was so embarrassing to sit down for a while and then randomly have to leave with her in a barrage of her perceived complaints about a very ordinary and inoffensive table. My sympathies are with you.
Ginandcrumpets said…
On the upside, no one demanded custard.
What is this mad solutions?????

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