“Where are the mints?”
I stared hard at the stumpy little man asking for–demanding, actually–a breath freshener. People ask for mints all the time. And, an equal amount of times, I take a rather out-of-character, sadistic delight in telling people, “Sorry, no mints.”
I grin an evil grin as I say it. Usually, no one notices.
Stumpy did, however–from the tops of his multi-colored crew socks, to the hem of his too-long cargo shorts, to the tip of the collar of his aloha shirt. He noticed. And he fumed.
“Why no mints?”
“Sorry.” Evil smile. “But we have matches, toothpicks, postcards, business cards.” Bigger evil smile.
“I want mints.”
Still evil smiling. “We just don’t have them, sir.”
“Yeah, well where do I get them?”
Evil smile now hurting cheek muscles. “Next door at the pharmacy?”
One of our ace hosts, who is only on the job for another week before he heads back to college, wasn’t paying the least bit of attention to this exchange. Rather, he was performing another of the key host duties that keeps our place humming–spritzing Windex on the glass panels of the front door. These would be the glass panels that almost EVERYONE uses to push the doors open, despite an ample amount of wood framing, handles, push bars, and other assorted surfaces that civilized people could use to push open the doors. We clean them 796 times a shift.
Stumpy glared at me, clearly not amused at the suggestion that he purchase a mint somewhere else.
So, I replaced the evil smile with my I’m-bored-with-this-stupid-conversation-move-along-pal blank look.
Might have made a mistake with that.
Stumpy tried to stare me down, failed, and then turned his mint-fuled anger on my seater. Just as my seater finished polishing a pane of glass, Stumpy pressed his hand on it, rubbing his fingers around every so slightly.
My seater stared at Stumpy, a quizzical look on his face that adroitly pondered: “What the f— are you doing?”
Stumpy then proceeded to press his meaty hands on both sides of every pane of glass in both doors, inside and outside. My seater continued to stare, but said nothing.
Stumpy silently dared him to say anything.
I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing aloud.
Finally, a really, truly, annoying, AWFUL customer was in my midst!
These picky patrons who demand everything and thank with nothing. These noble nuts who view all restaurant workers as their hand maidens, and treat us accordingly. These arrogant asses who puff themselves up in feeble attempts to put us in our places.
God, how I have missed them.
In the midst of seemingly nonstop coworker dramas, I have allowed them to slip in and out, unnoticed.
I am happy to report–they’re back!
And so am I.