As a restaurateur, I serve food to several hundred people each day.
My restaurant is what we call “fast casual,” which is a fancy way of saying “I don’t have to pay servers,” and “you don’t have to tip anyone.” You just come to the line, order your food, we make it while you watch, and you pay and sit down. Easy enough, right?
Yeah, you would think so. But apparently, it’s harder than it seems.
I’m surprised some people make it through life without accidentally diving headfirst into a wood chipper while chasing after a stray Skittle. The lack of common sense, adherence to social norms, and consideration for others, is on full display in the act of dining out.
Disclaimer: I make my living serving others. I am empathetic, caring, and kind (a) because it’s who I am, and (b) because people pay me. This is just a funny article, so pre-emptively unwad your underpants, please and thank you.
I’ve figured out that there are five types of less-than-sensible people who come through my restaurant. For a fun, jot a few of these down so you can play along when you go out to eat. Watch your fellow restaurant patrons. Take diligent notes on their behaviors. Wear an overcoat and sunglasses. Talk into your sleeve occasionally. Speak in a Russian accent. If you’re convincing enough, you might get a job in the White House!
Okay, that’s not fair. Everyone knows merely seeming like a Russian spy won’t get you any influence in the White House. You need to either be an actual Russian, an actual spy, or be fabulously wealthy – preferably all three – to get that. You also get bonus points if you’re related to the President. The sketchy Russian stuff is just to get you a meeting with Don Jr. Once your foot’s in the door, the rest is up to you. I love it!
Focus, Rickey! Sorry, I ate too many Skittles. I found them just sitting right next to a woodchipper. Can you believe it?!
Okay, back to the 5 types of annoying people at my restaurant. Rather than hit you with a double-barrel onslaught of words today, I’m breaking this into a series of posts. Today’s post is the first in that series (obviously), unless you are from the future and reading them out of order.
Restaurant Patron 1. Mr. I’m Too Busy To Be Bothered.
I work in our nation’s capital, meaning there are lots of people with criminal records. Well, some of the criminals don’t have actual “records” because they got off with the classic “But Your Honor, I’m rich and white!” defense. Works every time! But convicted or not, the criminals that live here are busy, important people.
Multitasking is de rigueur in DC. That’s why I looked up “how to spell de rigueur” while I was also eating an apple fritter and petting my dog with my foot so as to not get apple fritter on him. It’s how we busy, important people roll.
If you want to make sure the people around you know how busy and important you are, there’s one tool that is indispensable: your cell phone. If you’re not busy and important enough to be on the phone 100% of the time, do you even hustle, bro?
I get it. I, too, get nonstop calls on my cell. I keep politely telling the bill collectors that I’m simply not interested, but they don’t take the hint. Rude, right? But I did apparently win a cruise! I sent them my social security number and mother’s maiden name, and I should be getting the vouchers soon. Bon Voyage, suckers!
I have a rule for myself, though. It’s simple:
I do not answer my phone if I am actively talking to another person.
It’s mostly for my own sanity, as I have apple fritter all over my fingers 62% of the time, and if I answer the phone, I’ll get glaze on my pocket AND my phone. Unlike petting Lemmy, I can’t answer my phone with my foot. But refusing to answer calls when I’m already talking to someone has the added benefit of making me appear like less of a sphincter than I actually am.
Now, in the interest of Moochian-level full transparency, I also don’t answer my phone when I am not talking to another person. And I also do my best to not talk to other people in general. I’ve been known to tell people, “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak English,” in perfectly enunciated, neutral Californian American English. The key is to blankly stare at them if they say anything after that. Try to imagine their head is transparent and look at something 100 yards off in the distance. Let your eyes start to dilate and water. Usually it only takes 30 seconds of that and you’re scot-free.
Fact: The term “scot-free” comes from the early days of American immigration, when neighborhoods would label themselves as such to trick unwitting Irishmen into buying homes. The witting Irishmen, of course, were not so easily fooled.
Notwithstanding my asshattery, I certainly never answer my phone when I’m (tricked/forced into) talking to someone else in person. That would include while I’m engaged in an arm’s length business transaction, such as buying a burrito, Skittles, or illegal drugs.
Apparently, many people in my town do NOT have a similar rule. Often, people walk into the restaurant on their phone, and stay on their phone all the way to the front of the line. Our restaurant is one where you go through the line and we build your bowl for you. Translation: we are about to play “20 questions” with you, and that requires you to answer us at each step.
Such a silly requirement is a massive inconvenience to important people like the Fukkistani Ambassador to the US, the Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Labor for Catchy Protest Chants, or the temp receptionist from the National Association of Hastily Bred and Random Objections (NAHBRO).
Here’s my warning to anyone who values his or her phone call over common decency: do not be surprised if we screw your order up. Why? Because you’re a douchewaffle and you deserve to get cucumbers when you thought you said no cucumbers but we, the undistracted workers who have NOTHING to do other than wait for your answer at each step, know you surely didn’t.
Unless you’re on the horn with Romeo Niner Actual calling in air cover for the rice paddy you’re defending against Charlie, my guess is you could hang up and call back in a minute. Just a guess.
Feel free to try it sometime, once the grave situation over in Fukkistan calms down.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry where you’ll learn about people who are stunned to learn that they, through their engagement with the staff in the restaurant, have entered into a financial transaction. It’s a fascinating study, really.
Okay, it’s just me making fun of people, you caught me. You’re still gonna read it though, right?