Hello, and welcome to the second Bitter Empire posting of Off The Menu, a series you may recall from its time on other websites where we explore the craziest stories about food from my email inbox. This week, we’re doing another old favorite: the dumbest customers to ever darken a restaurant’s door. As always, these are real stories from real readers.
“I work as a server in a fine dining restaurant in a major US city. One evening, I was talking with the hostess when a group of five women arrived. The hostess greeted them and I offered to show them to their table, since it was in my station anyway. As four of the women settled into their seats, the fifth woman took the wine list from me and told her friends she would like to select the wine for the table. I watched her run her finger down the list of prices, then land on $25, close the wine list, and announce to her friends they would love her selection, as she often enjoys it at home. She turned and looked at me, and in all confidence and in her best imitation French accent said, “We’ll have a bottle of the Courcage Fey.”
I know our wine list thoroughly and was a bit confused, as that didn’t sound like any wine we offered. Thinking she had just mispronounced the name, I asked her to show me her selection on the list. She opened the wine list and pointed to our corkage fee — the fee we would charge to open a bottle of wine you’ve brought along with you.
Trying not to laugh, I turned away and went into the kitchen almost in tears. I didn’t want to embarrass her, so I returned to the table and informed her that, unfortunately, we were out of “Courcage Fey” and recommended another budget wine for her to enjoy.”
“For a while I worked a part-time job at a local Ingles. One evening, my manager asked me to go and straighten up the produce section.
I was working there when a very, very, very short woman marches up to me and announces: “You are incredibly rude!” I was trying to figure out why my replenishing the broccoli was so awful, and said a sheepish “uh, sorry?” She then said “You keep all the produce bags up high and people like me can’t reach them!”
I then pointed to the stand with bags at a level someone in a wheelchair could reach that she had walked right by to tell me how incredibly rude I was.”
“I own a Mexican restaurant in a busy southern city and inevitably every year as I invite new and old customers alike to join us for Cinco de Mayo, some always ask ‘oh, yes we’d love to, what date is that?'”
“Overheard at the next table of an extremely fancy resort on the coast of Rhode Island:
Server: How would you like the eggs?
Woman: Well done.
Server: Certainly. Scrambled?
Woman: No. Well done.
Woman: (annoyed and enunciating every syllable) No. Well Done. Both sides.
Server: (total deer in the headlights look) Absolutely, ma’am.”
[Editor’s Note: It will never cease to amaze me how many people fail to understand the concept of cooking eggs. This isn’t even the only egg story this week!]
“I run the trivia night at a neighborhood bar known for its Greek menu. The founder was a Greek immigrant who passed it to his son, a burly but pleasant guy, when he died.
As I’m setting up this one time, this woman walks over to the boss and gets up in his face. I find out later from the regulars she had ordered a Greek salad on Sunday (it’s Tuesday now) and received only iceberg lettuce, instead of iceberg and leafy greens. She’s very adamant that she does not eat iceberg. The owner is apologetic, but since she apparently ate the salad (TWO DAYS AGO), there isn’t a whole lot he can do in that situation. She immediately goes to the nuclear option and threatens to call the cops. Go right ahead, he says.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, in walk two of the county’s finest. She called 911 over a salad from two days ago. Of course, the cops do nothing — this place is an institution, she’s an idiot, and as it turns out, one of the cops is a regular at my quiz nights. She quickly gets the boot, and now first prize at trivia includes a free side salad in her honor.”
“I was standing in line at a deli behind two teenage girls one morning. One of them ordered an egg white omelette. The other asked why she only wanted egg whites, and the priceless response was, ‘Because I’m a vegetarian, so I can’t have the yolk.'”
“While I was in college, I worked in the dining hall. I went to a pretty prestigious school, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that a lot of my fellow students stopped recognizing me as soon as I put an apron on. One day, I was refilling the milk dispenser, which, for those of you who have never done this, involved hauling an enormous bag of milk into a large metal bin, snipping open the nozzle, and then inserting it into the machine. It was a test of arm strength and dexterity, and usually the regular kitchen staff did it so we student workers wouldn’t mess it up. However, that day for whatever reason I ended up on milk duty, and all three dispensers needed to be refilled.
The first two went off without a hitch. Bag heaved, nozzle in, door shut, not a drop of milk spilled. One the last bag, though, the latch that secured the nozzle wouldn’t close, spewing milk everywhere. All over me, all over the dispenser, all over the floor — I felt like Carrie, if her classmates had been more into dairy. I managed to reach in and pinch off the flow, but then I couldn’t move from my spot.
As I was standing there, dripping, elbow deep in the guts of this machine, one of my fellow students came up holding a bowl of cereal. “Could I just…?” She gestured with her Lucky Charms at the faucet I was holding closed with my slender undergraduate fingers. I gaped at her. A bead of milk ran down my arm. I realized that she wanted me to open my fingers just enough that I wouldn’t turn her into an extra from a bad bukkake film, and then go back to my post at the floodgates.
The best part? There was another milk dispenser right next to me.”
Do you have any food-related stories you’d like to see included in Off The Menu? Feel free to submit them to WilyUbertrout@gmail.com. New submissions are always welcome! (Seriously, you don’t need to ask if I want you to send them in, the answer is always yes). If you’d like to stay up to date with OTM news, my twitter handle is @EyePatchGuy.