UnderCover Waitress: How I Became Public Enemy No. 1

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How I Became Public Enemy No. 1

Really, I never meant to make enemies. Was just trying to do my job. Restaurants, however, are funny places and some customers are royalty. Or, at least, they think they are and the restaurant employees are expected to treat them as such. Place this type of restaurant culture in a close-knit community and the problem intensifies.

In a small and tight-knit community, there is a resident I shall call the "Emperor." The Emperor happens to be good friends (surprise, surprise) with the restaurant owner. Many a night the tickets of paying customers get pushed back to make the Emperor a kid's size pizza or bowl of mac'n'cheese. Being royalty has its privileges.

Extremely busy, hot summer night while I am hosting in the manager's absence the phone rings and a voice barks at me "Do you have room at the counter?"

People are piling in the door and I have to tell the guy that we don't. We have a full reservation book and I am juggling keeping people waiting at the bar for a place to sit, greeting more customers walking in, and answering the phone. The barking voice on the other end is pushy, however, and to get him off my back I tell him that the only way there will be a seat is if he arrived in 5 minutes or less. He slams the phone in my ear. I hang up and don't give it another thought.

More people come in and I seat the counter. Later, the Emperor and his (current) wife come in and he demands to sit at the counter, which is full. He accuses me of reserving the counter for him?!? It takes me a moment to realize that the unidentified voice who hung up on me was the Emperor. Really, I have never taken a reservation without at least a name (and usually a phone number and a time.) And most people both identify themselves and hang up politely. Most people.

Emperor's wife looks terrified (of what?) and Emperor storms out, with her on his heels. So, being royalty does not always get you anything and everything you want in a restaurant.

Emperor hated me from that point on and came up with numerous complaints trying to get me fired which I may save for other posts. Suffice it to say for now that he never succeeded. Being royalty does not have all privileges.

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