Recently some friends and I were staying in a wee tourist town and were in need of some dinner. I had been to a restaurant there some years ago and it was really good, so we decided to give it a whirl. I rang, just to make sure they were still feeding people and and they said they were - as long as we were there before 8.30 p.m.
We rock up at 8.15 and duly ask for to be shown to a table.
'We're only serving only soup and chowder,' says the waitress.
'Oh really?' says I, 'you didn't say that when I rang.'
'Oh, you're the people who rang.'
('No, they're on their way.') 'Yes.'
'Here are some menus, you can order here - now.'
'Could we possibly sit down and at least read the menu?' (Isn't that the fun part about going out for a meal, meandering through the menu, deciding what to eat?)
'Oh, sure. Come this way' Clenched grin.
The waitress was like she'd been dipped in cow shit and then sprayed perfume on herself to disguise the eau de merde. While she smiled, she clearly didn't want us there.
We sat down and approximately a minute thirty later she was back at our table.
'Can I get you anything?' She said perkily, but it sounded like, 'The chef's in a filthy mood, the owners aren't here and I want to go home early.'
'Some more time.' I think but, like the waitress, keep it on the inside.
'A bottle of wine.....when we've had time to read the wine list.' Says another member of the team.
She gave us a pinched smile and left us. (I hate customers.)
Two minutes later.
'How are you going with your menus?' (Pimp my Ride is on at 9.30. )
'We'd go a lot better if you would leave us all alone to contemplate them.'
No, I didn't say that, either.
I won't continue with a blow by blow,but you get the picture of the evening. They could have got a whole lot more money out of us as everyone was keen for coffees and a round of puddings, but the Arctic wind that blew from the waiting staff was not worth enduring.
And when you realise that you're actually paying for the privilege of her and her colleagues' bad service, it kind of makes the whole situation kind of ironic.
And then you think of the restaurant owners who have employed this team of people who are merrily trashing their restaurant's reputation.
There are some days I am really pleased I don't own a restaurant, and that day was one of them.
That, and the fact that I would be really rubbish at it.