In the Weeds: For Reelz, ya’ll
I can’t make this shit up.
I was serving a six top in a private room. They had driven more than three hours for dinner because they had heard such great things about us, and I was looking forward to making it a night to remember. Regardless of what most server blogs say, servers really do care about the guest experience. I have never seen or even heard of a server messing with someone’s food as punishment. So relax. We just seek revenge in other ways (oh, you needed more water so badly you had to snap or tap or whistle? I’ll be right back…in 10 minutes).
At any rate, the group ordered a few starters and wine, and the show was underway. In our restaurant, we French serve the appetizers (server holds the app and two large forks while serving each guest individually). So I was working my way around the table with the hot plate, serving the food, and talking about the menu highlights.
I was about at guest 2 when I realized that something was wrapped around my right hand. I took a peek without drawing attention, and I see it’s something thin and white. Seems like a string charged with static initially. On to guest 3, and I realize it’s warm and kind of sticking to my serving hand. I point out the lovely oil painting as a distraction and keep talking without pause while moving between guest 3 and 4 and trying to wipe it on my apron. I double check once more that it’s not near the food and only on me and try to finish serving. I get to the last guest when someone notices it. “There’s something stuck to your hand and the bottom of the plate,” she says.
“Haha. Yeah, I noticed that. It seems to be just some melted cheese that must have come from another dish,” I say. “Sorry, I’d be happy to bring you a new appetizer.”
“Oh, no,” they all chime in. “It’s fine! Food looks great, thanks!”
I leave the plate on the table with the remaining appetizer and make a hasty exit while now rubbing my hand vigorously on my apron down the dark hallway toward the kitchen where I finally get a good look. And I take a sniff. It’s chewing gum. I’m mortified.
I go dashing back towards the room to retrieve the plate before they get a chance to make the same realization. I open the door. It’s too late.
Five people with wide eyes and open jaws look up at me while the sixth is busy rubbing his tongue with a napkin. Apparently, he had picked up the plate and the mysterious stuff strung from the plate to the tablecloth. He took this opportunity to TASTE IT and to….wait for it…..see what kind of cheese it was. WTF? Who eats mystery food from the bottom of a plate?
Lots of busyness on my part quickly ensued. There were apologies, a free vodka martini to sanitize his mouth, retrieval of a manager to come do a “manager” apology (you know, server apologies just don’t count because we’re only half human), and my armpits were sweating. The guests were lovely and gracious, and we ended up buying the entire dinner and both bottles of wine. It turned out to be the best night I’ve had in a while financially. They were so overwhelmed with our response and their embarrassment about their friend’s decision, they left me an ungodly amount of money. I’m now looking for gum that looks like havarti every night.