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In The Weeds: Chocolates, Champagne, Roses . . . Weasels

February 16, 2010

Creeper. Conniver. Non-planner. Weasel.

Creeper. Conniver. Non-planner. Weasel.

“These are they which are unclean to you among the creeping things that creep on the earth: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard.” – Leviticus 11:29

I don’t normally go around throwing out Bible verses, but Valentine’s weekend got me to thinking about weasels, which got me Googling weasels, which got me to this verse, which is just Old Testament awesomeness.

Before I begin my rant on weasels, here is Wikipedia’s contribution:

“Weasels have long slender bodies, which enable them to follow their prey into burrows. Certain species of weasels have been reported to perform the mesmerizing “weasel war dance”, after fighting other creatures, or acquiring food from competing creatures.”

Sounds about right.

Those of us in the restaurant/hospitality industry deal with weasels all year long, but they seem to slink out of their holes in droves around any major holiday. If hospitality/restaurant types were asked to define a weasel, it would probably go something like this:

“Weasels come in various genders but are more often males with an inflated sense of self-importance. Despite their lack of dining experience and only venturing out on high-demand holidays, they rely on their perceived sense of cunning and conniving to secure tables for which they have no reservations. They follow their prey (hostesses) into burrows (busy host stands and/or crammed phone lines) and attempt the mesmerizing “weasel war dance,” which involves talking in circles, shifting blame to the blameless, elevating their voices and outright lying. Their goal is simple; to acquire food and coveted booths from competing creatures.”

Some typical weasels and their techniques:

  • The Bully Drama Weasel (often assisted by his pouty female weasel) – Insisting that their reservation has been lost by an incompetent hostess, he makes a huge scene at the host stand on Valentine’s night at 7:30. His wife stands a few feet away in her best Fashion Bug dress with arms crossed and tears trickling. Favorite phrases include “I can’t believe your incompetence! I can’t believe you are making my wife cry! I made this reservation months ago! I want to speak to the manager!” He works the waiting crowd with legit resos into a nervous frenzy until the manager caves just to shut him up.
  • The Counting-On-You-Being-Stupid Weasel – He calls with less than 48 hours until a high-demand day and says, “Hi, um what’s your name? Heather? Hi Heather, how are you? Well, yeah, I was just needing a reservation for May 9, mmmmmkay? Right around noon or 12:30.” “Oh, yes, I guess that is a Sunday. Oh. Really? Oh, it’s Mother’s Day Brunch? Hmmm, gosh, I guess it is. So I’m still going to need that reservation.” “What?!?!? It’s booked????” (Nice guy act vanishes and Bully Drama Weasel emerges.) “Well, listen here, I’m a really regular customer and I absolutely must have a table at that time. I’m friends with the owner. And I need a booth. Now let’s make this happen because I don’t have a lot of time.”
  • The Straight-Up Dickish Weasel – I couldn’t think of a great name for the type of weasel that I encountered almost every single day while working as a concierge at a Five Star hotel. But straight-up dicks is what these guys were. They would want a table at the most popular restaurant in Chicago at 8:00 on a Saturday night and they would ask me to make the reservation at about 4:30 that same day. When I would tell them that the restaurant usually books up a month out and proceed to make equally fabulous recommendations, they would inevitably say something like, “Well, if you are a talented concierge, you should be able to get me in anywhere I want to go. I’ll check back in an hour on that reservation. Don’t let me down now.” Then they would hand me some limp ass $5 bill. Riiiight. You fail to plan and you ask the impossible and then imply that I suck at my job?

The absolute most god-awful night in Chicago for a concierge is not Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve. It is the night before the Chicago Marathon. 45,000 runners want to eat pasta. And they want to eat it at 6 o’clock. And they don’t ever think to make a reservation, say oh like…ANYTIME before the night before. And they were the biggest mass crowd of pansy-ass wussy whiny babies. “But I waaaaaant to eat at a nice, sit-down Italian place. I haaaaaave to eat pasta or I caaaaaan’t run. I’ve been traaaaaiiiiining for a year! YOU ARE RUINING EVERYTHING!”   They couldn’t eat before 5:30. They couldn’t eat after 8:00. They wouldn’t venture outside the one square mile around Michigan Avenue, even though that’s where the best Italian food is found. Seriously, these weren’t freaking Kenyans who had a real shot at running a respectable marathon. These were mid-level finance managers who pictured themselves all Chariots of Fire and accomplishing their life goal (which they only formulated as their life goal 9 months prior). Their spiritual journey of self fulfillment usually involved browbeating some concierge because they hadn’t thought about dinner in all those months of slapping Vaseline between their pasty thighs.  Weasels.


2 Responses to “ In The Weeds: Chocolates, Champagne, Roses . . . Weasels ”

  1. Jacki Lenners on February 16, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Oh my God…I was totally that Chicago Marathon person! Except, we didn’t bug our concierge….we just roamed around the City, putting more miles on the feet that were going to run 26.2 the next day, until we finally found a mediocre Italian joint that would give us some spaghetti! Of course, no amount of pre-race pasta would change the fact that it would be nearly 100 degrees and 100% humidity on race day. Good times.

  2. nativenapkin on February 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    You’d love to be able to say “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine…” but we are in the friggin’ Hospitality Business. And that means we have to be hospitable, to all. Even if it kills us.
    I had a Bully/Drama and Straight Up Dick Hybrid on one of our tables last night (complete with porno-tube-dress wearing girlfriend with eye make-up that made her look like a tropical fish with a hangover). Mr. Culinary, when asked which dish of the Chef’s Tasting menu was his favorite said that everything tasted the same because they were all covered in Beurre Blanc (no Butter sauces anywhere on this menu) and then complained that the server didn’t offer him coffee with his Cheese Course. Why didn’t we? Well, because, just ew-w-w-w… Then he complained that we put an 18% service charge on his bill (we do for everyone, every table) so “I know you don’t give a shit”. This is precisely WHY we put the charge on, for S.U.D.’s like this. I removed the charge, gave him his check and said goodnight. Gone until next year…