The Good, The Bad and Those beaten into submission by a bit of rare beef...

Serving the public is a constant battle of wits and a daily struggle to gain the upper hand
Its true that most people come out with the intention of enjoying themselves,but there's a minority who will do everything within their power to make life difficult for you,their sole purpose being to catch you out ..
I've mentioned before how regularly people arrive prior to opening time yet still expect you to open the door and serve them.If the front door is locked they will leave no stone unturned in their search for an alternative means of access.We even had a couple find their way around the back through a bolted gate and were on their way through the kitchen door before entanglement in the fly screen finally halted progress.
I have more conversations akin to a Fawlty Towers script than any normal exchange.
Anyway,just before 12 (thats opening time to me and you) there was a couple repeatedly trying the front door.Feeling in a generous mood and it being only a minute or so before 12,I thought I'd let them in.As I approached the door the woman tapped impatiently on the window and mouthed 'I can't get the door open'
I refrained from quipping 'thats because we're not open yet' and proceeded to open the door.
As I unlocked the first of the two mortice locks the woman impatiently rattled the handle again.
'I'm just unlocking the door' I shouted.
HINT:If anything's going to make me take my time,let me tell you *that* is. I've even known the lock to become 'stuck' on similar occasions..well you have to get your jollies some way.
As I pushed open the door I was greeted by a stern looking woman,hair as inflexible as her attitude,set in purple broccoli florets and held like concrete with a generous layer of Elnett. The apologetic looking husband was tagging along two paces behind,muttering sorry in her wake.
At this point I thought I'd offer her a bit of helpful information,for future reference if you get my drift.
'Just to let you know,we don't open until 12' I beamed my most welcoming smile just to deflect any possible forthcoming aggression.
'But its 12 now..''she frowned.
'Yes' I said slowly 'THATS why I'm opening the door...'
There was a faint whiff of Yardley Apple Blossom and mothball as she pushed past shaking her head in disgust as she went,intent on bagging the best table..

Last Saturday we had someone turn up one hour before opening and demanding access..She was tapping on the window and wouldn't take no for an answer 'But Ive a table booked...'
Yes Missus but you're table's not until 12.15...
As Chef says 'You wouldn't turn up at Marks and Spencer and expect them to open the doors an hour early would you??
Then you get the late comers.The ones who turn up way after you've finished service yet still demanding food and getting angry if they cant get it.
Last Sunday a couple arrived about 20 minutes after we'd finished Sunday lunch and with an elderly and infirm relative in tow.I don't know how old she was but I wouldn't have been surprised if theyd started the ascent from the car park at sunrise,just as Chef had put the roasts in the oven.OCD boy had already told them we'd finished serving,but I could see from my lookout point next to the coffee machine that they were giving it big lips..
I went over to see what the commotion was.
The 'son',probably in his Sixties and doing a good impression of an over enthusiastically Brylcremed son of Reg Varney,was dripping in gold chains,and wearing a three piece plaid check suit with overcoat on top.
Moderate Brylcreme usage
His companion was a heavily botoxed,bleached and beshoulderpadded 80's moll who would have made a great ventriloquist as her lips barely moved when she requested a straw for her large Chardonnay.
I felt a bit on edge.He had a bit of a look of a Kray twin or at least a distant cousin twice removed.He was as welcome Chez Nous as a drunk at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve..
And Reader,in addition,it was duly noted that the ear lobes were barely perceptible and obviously its a well known fact that convicted cons all have teensy weensy ear lobes.

(Ray Winstone voice):''S'cuse me darlin. ...can we get some food here..I don't care what it costs..?'

This came across as less of a question and more of a statement of fact.Not wanting any trouble I decided to incur the wrath of the kitchen and offer him a starter.This idea was not received with warmth...Lets be honest they didn't look like the sort who went out to nibble on parma ham and shrimps.
They looked more pie and mash sorts.
He pulled a thick wad of elasticbanded  tenners from his inside pocket, displacing a distasteful cloud of pocket fluff and stale crumbs,then waving the prized bundle a smidgeon too far within my personal space
That did it.
'Ok let me just check with the kitchen..'
'If you would please,I've just caught a plane and FIVE TAXIS to come here for lunch today'

'And you didn't think to ring ahead and book......??'



I didn't bother hanging around to wait for the answer to this particularly ill conceived of questions,The bar fell eerily silent as the theme music from a famous spaghetti western came on the CD player and OCD boy grabbed the whisky bottles before scarpering into the cellar, a ball of tumbleweed hot on his heels...

I wouldn't say the air in the kitchen was blue, what with the weekly deep clean already being well underway but at least the London mafia were going to get their grub,which was the lesser of two evils as far as I was concerned.I grabbed a probe wipe and gave me ears a quick flick over and lived to fight another day.

I was relieved to impart the news that two roast beef dinners(seemingly the corpse wasn't eating but  being kept alive instead though an intravenous supply of Malibu and coke),would be shortly forthcoming,I triumphantly slid two fingers of red eye across the bar to Reggie as the pub miraculously sprang back to life.

Later,when the meals were sent and the required condiment 'red sauce' had been delivered,I hung around at a safe distance just to keep an eye out in case things kicked off,you never know what these London sorts keep under their overcoats...
Presently,I could see they were gingerly pushing the food around the plate..prodding the meat almost as if they expected a reaction..I sensed all was not well..they looked a bit..well... erm..frightened...
*Lightbulb moment*
Reader,in the excitement I had forgotten to warn them that the bloody(did you see what I did there?) beef was rare.

Northumbrian beef-fighting crime since 1842

OCD Boy was glancing furtively at me,nervously fiddling with the tea towel in his hands and polishing the same wine glass for the twentieth time,when simultaneously the three of them downed their drinks,slamming the empty glasses on the table in unsion. There was a collective sharp intake of breath as we all anticipated their next move.
Reggie did that weird and incredibly annoying air handwriting thing.The bill signal.
For some reason I expected a large gratuity due to the trouble we'd gone to and the previous glimpse of the available funds.
There was none forthcoming.

We waved them out the door to their sixth taxi of the day and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

 Who'd have thunk it eh?Beaten into submission by a bit of rare beef.

Next time I might tell you about the ones who don't bother to turn up at all.....


Susan said…
Spat good wine out reading this LOL
Wally B said…
VERILY, may the blood run red.
Expat mum said…
Can't believe Reg didn't order it micro-waved for five minutes.
Alison Cross said…
I would have been quite terrified by those customers. I honestly don't know how you do it *takes hat off to The Snippet*

Ali x

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