Yes indeed, time for another round of facepalming fun. You know, I used to write and perform stand-up comedy. I couldn’t have written some of this stuff and have anyone buy it.
“We are interested in dinner at your restaurant one of the nights while we’re here. According to your website you’re not open on Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays. Please put us on your waitlist for one of those three nights next week.”
“I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. We’re only open Wednesday through Saturday, so we don’t have a waitlist for Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, as we’re closed.”
“Yes, we know, it said you weren’t open those nights on your website, but are you refusing to put us on your waitlist?”
“Umm… okay, you know what, I’d be happy to put you on the waitlist for one of those nights.”
“Just let us know which night to come.”
“Again, we’re closed those nights. I’m happy to put you on a waitlist, but we’re not going to be open.”
“Our niece and her husband ate with you last year and raved about the experience. We’d like to attend, but given what we think about their tastes, it remains to be seen whether we’ll enjoy anything you have to offer.”
Seriously, do I even want these people here? Is this just a generally grumpy or misanthropic person, or was that a sort of throwing down of the kitchen mitt in challenge? … We took a chance and accepted, they came, they enjoyed.
“We have no food allergies or dietary restrictions. My girlfriend isn’t overly fond of mussels, but it’s no big deal as long as they’re not a whole course.”
[We have a seafood sauce on a pasta that evening that includes calamari, shrimp, prawns, cockles, clams, and yes, mussels. She eats all of it but the three or four mussels, which she pushes to the side.]
“It would have been nice if you’d have bothered to read our email in the first place. We made it clear that my girlfriend is deathly allergic to mussels, and yet you served her a plate of them. You could have sent her to the hospital and should have offered an alternative.”
“My apologies for the misunderstanding, I was under the impression that she just didn’t like them very much and since they were just a small part of a mixed shellfish sauce, and you’d said it wasn’t a big deal, I didn’t think it would be a problem. She did eat the entire dish but the few mussels on the plate, no? This is why we ask about allergies, but not dislikes, as we couldn’t possibly plan menus that fit everyone’s preferences each evening.”
“What’s the difference? Allergy or dislike, we made it clear that she couldn’t eat them, no matter what.”
Umm, no you didn’t. These are the kind of people who cause problems for people who have actual allergies, when restaurant teams get tired of bowing to every whim of a customer. All it leads to is either restaurants that end up saying basically ‘no substitutions, no special requests’, something that’s becoming more and more common, or, and far more dangerous, chefs who simply decide to ignore requests that think are bogus.
This whole thing about people wanting to come when we’re not open mystifies me. Not that it happens that they want to come on a day or week when we’re not open, but the level of insistence on some people’s part (as above in the first email exchange). With a schedule where we’re not open all the time (what restaurant that isn’t something like a diner is?), and that it may not coincide with theirs, but…
“We’d like a reservation for two for tomorrow.”
“Unfortunately for your timing, as noted on our schedule, we’re on vacation this week and next. Perhaps some time in the future on another visit?”
“We probably won’t be back, we want to come tomorrow. Make it happen.”
“Sorry, but we’re away, I’d be happy to recommend some alternatives.”
“If you had a fucking clue about hospitality, you’d make this work instead of giving me shit. We’re not interested anymore.”
…didn’t bother to respond. I’m sure a nasty TripAdvisor or Yelp review is in the offing.
Have to give points for honesty to this one – a newspaper travel writer contacts me for an interview about Casa S…. this is a paraphrased and much shortened conversation:
“Let’s do the interview on Monday, around noon if that works.”
“Sure, that’s great.”
“And you’ll be preparing a five course meal for myself and two friends who I’ve invited to join me, free of course.”
“No. Sorry, first, we’re not open for lunch, and second, that’s not part of the deal for an interview. You can make a reservation for dinner one night when we’re open if you want to try our food and experience a dinner here.”
“Fine, for the following night. Again, free for all three of us.”
“No, sorry, first off we don’t offer free meals for reviews, and second, we certainly wouldn’t also offer them to friends you happen to invite. Don’t you have a budget from your newspaper to pay for meals?”
“Of course I do, and I’ll need a receipt for the full amount for three of us, but I’m keeping the money – if you want a review, you give me the meals for free.”
“Sorry, but we that’s not an option. Do you still want to do the interview? If not, I fully understand.”
“Yes, I’ll still come for the interview.
Didn’t show up, never responded to followup email.
Nothing like folk who are confident in their own worth!
“We’d like to reserve for two for Saturday evening. We’re both highly intelligent, perceptive, and witty people who will bring a level of conversation to the table that it’s unlikely your other guests are capable of. The format of your dinners, the whole concept, and the ambiance will be a quaint choice for us over the sorts of high-quality restaurants that we normally frequent. However, we do prefer that sort of food, so we’d like your permission to bring in food from a top restaurant for ourselves rather than pay you for your efforts. We’ll of course pay you a corkage charge for the wine we’ll bring and tip the waiter. We await your reply with much anticipation.”
“No, sorry, we don’t have spaces available for you.”
“Your website says you still have spaces available that night.”
“Yes, we do, I’ll leave it to your highly intelligent and perceptive abilities to re-read my first response.”
“The three of us are highly allergic to mayo and there can’t be any in any of our food.”
“Which part of the mayo is it that you’re allergic to, in case we have to avoid one of the ingredients – the egg yolk, the mustard, the lemon juice, or the oil?”
“We’re not allergic to any of those things, just to mayo. Why would you bring those things up?”
“Because that’s what mayo is made out of… other than salt and pepper, there’s nothing else in it.”
“No, mayo is something else than what you’re thinking of, maybe you don’t have a word for it in Spanish.”
“It’s not, and we do, but I’m guessing that one or more of you simply doesn’t like the texture of mayo and you’re not actually allergic to it?”
“Well yeah, it’s disgusting, but that’s like an allergy.”
No, no it’s not at all like an allergy…. “Okay, got it.”