“So, how are we doing now?” asks my GM when he knows I am on the edge.
I usually want to slap him when he says these words. Today, I wanted to tell him how awful it was. But he had his own awfulness to deal with. So I dealt with it on my own in a way I normally don’t–I was a complete and total bitch (at least in my own mind) to every jerk guest who spoke rudely, nastily, and snidely to me. And trust me, they spoke aplenty.
I know from arrogance in D.C. But this–this renders me beyond incredulous, beyond angry, beyond…anything I have known. This, the “season’s best” of my geographic locale, they are–and this is an enormous understatement–jaw-dropping horrid. And I only had to listen to them berate me over the phone. One has to wonder, would they be so bold in person?
“I need a special pre-set menu so I don’t go over budget. Come on and help me out. You can, and you know you can. All your competitors do, you know?” Well, sir, now that I can get a word in, a pre-set menu is usually not a big deal, unless you are requesting one within hours of your reservation and we are booked with numerous other private events on top of the other numerous regular dining reservations. Oh, and I believe you have called me every two hours over the past two days to change the number of people in your party, always begging for the private room I keep telling you is booked, and then wonder why, as you put it: “You can’t just work with me like everyone else does–your competitors. I fail to understand why this is so hard for you to grasp.”
So I got you your pre-set menu, I could care less if you go over budget because it’s not my problem, pal, and you should go back to my competitors next time, because you don’t want to get me on the phone again, as you order me to “just do it like I’m asking you to, because, please, it’s not difficult now is it?” Oh, and I loved your final touch, when you asked, “Can I speak to your manager?” Yeah, I’m scared. Believe me, you’d rather deal with me.
Thank you for calling. This is RG. May I please put you on hold for a moment?
“No, I won’t hold.”
I think, Are you joking? I have two other lines ringing and I am the only one answering. I say, I am sorry, sir, may I please ask you to hold for just a moment?
“No, don’t you put me on hold, damn you. I don’t care how busy your phones are.” Now shouting into the phone, “You talk to me now. How busy you are is not my problem, it’s yours!”
Well since you put it THAT way. What night and for how many, you sorry ass excuse for a human?
“Just put it in for four. I don’t know how many, might be two, might be six. And I’ll come in sometime between 6 and 8. Just do it like I told you, if you are even listening! Maybe I should talk to your manager.”
I am certain, sir, my restaurant does not need the business so badly that it needs to serve the likes of you. Another guest so noted. And sure, let me put you through to my manager’s voice mail, you prick. Oh, never mind his voice mail? Right, you got what you wanted.
“I want to book your small room, the one with the lower F&B minimum. But really, we will be six over the capacity of that room, so you can just deal with it, you know, at an overflow table.”
Actually, I can’t take a private dining reservation knowing the party won’t adequately fit in the room. I say to him, “I do have our larger room available on that evening, and it will certainly accommodate your guests quite adequately.”
“Maybe you didn’t hear me.” And that is exactly when I stopped hearing him.
“What the hell do you you mean, you can’t take a reservation for 15 at 7:30?”
“I know both your owners very well, young lady. Maybe I’ll just call them and see if THEY can take my reservation when you can’t.”
“How long have you worked there? There must be someone else who will get this done for me.”
I usually can see the partial good in every guest. I honestly respect that my guests–both difficult and wonderful–pay my salary, and that without them, I am a pathetic FICA score. I get all of that, okay? But these…these recent ones…good God!
So many of you warned me, so many of you tried to tell me how “challenging” the seasonal birds could be. And I told you I could deal with them, that I knew from the toughest of the tough in D.C.
Guess what? I DO know from tough. I also know from self-entitlement and self-importance and puffed up arrogance. But I admit it, I don’t know from this. These folks push limits in their own very special ways, and few even give me a chance to take a breath in order to try to work with them. They are angry with me before I answer their calls. And it’s not just their words, it’s their acrid tones, their sneering innuendoes, their stinging disrespect as they hammer away at me to get their way.
“So, how are we feeling now?” smiles my GM.
No kidding. Talk me down, or I’m two seconds away from hiding in the Keys, where no one will ever find me. Actually, make that a rocky beach in Maine in the dead of winter, where no one in their right mind will be.