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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mr. Potato Head Wants Potato Skins

You know what's really annoying about customers? I mean other than the fact that they are there in the first place. It would be so much simpler if they cooked at home and just mailed my tips to me. I hate when people ask for something that is not on the goddamn, mother fucking menu. The menu has one purpose and one purpose only: it tells you what the options are in that particular restaurant. If it's not on the menu, it means you can't have it. Plain and simple.

This couple came in last week on a busy night. He had a big ol' head and stubby little arms, not unlike Mr. Potato Head. I greeted them at the door and informed them that we only had one table left and it was on the patio. He tells me, "Oh, well it's just the two of us. We only need one table." I laughed thinking he was making a joke but I saw in his face he was dead serious. Uh, Mr. Potato Head, I was just letting you know that the only table I have available is outside and making sure you are okay with that. They followed me to to the table where I handed them menus. You know, menus? Those things that will tell what you can order for dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head asked for two glasses of champagne. I imagine they were celebrating that they found her missing ear or Toys R Us was having a sale. When I came back to the table, they were ready to order.

"Do you have potato skins?" they guys asked. I looked around to make sure I wasn't accidentally working at T.G.I.Friday's or Hooters. Once I confirmed that there were no televisions playing sports and no other guests were eating huge plates of nachos, I knew that I was still at the same restaurant I had punched in to three hours before. Then I looked at his menu to make sure I hadn't accidentally given him a Bennigan's or Houlihan's menu by mistake. Nope, he had the right menu; the same menu that everyone else was given that offers appetizers like curry mussels and baked goat cheese with mesclun salad.

"No, sir. We don't have potato skins." My eyes resisted their urge to roll.

"Oh, that's too bad. Can you make them?"

Is he for real? Can we make potato skins? The cooks don't even like when I ask for the french fries to be well done and he thinks I'm gonna ask them to make potato skins? Sure, sir. Let me just run to the kitchen and grab some potatoes. I will then scrub them, bake them, slice them, hollow them out, grate some cheese, fry some bacon, fill the skins, bake them again and then add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle it with scallions. I'll be back in an hour and thirty minutes.

"No, sir. We can't make potato skins." Maybe there's another appetizer on the menu that you and your spud of a wife would enjoy and do not ask if we have a fucking Awesome Blossom. We don't. Nor do we have Buffalo wings, fried mozzarella, spinach artichoke dip, popcorn shrimp, sliders or quesadillas, so don't ask for that either. Look at the menu. Choose something. Order it. I will bring it.

They settled on mussels and a side of fries. As they ate the fries, I couldn't help but look at them a little bit like they were cannibals. Seriously, this couple looked so much like Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, that every time they put a french fry in their mouth it looked like they were eating one of their own kind.

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ChiTown Girl said...

OMG, you are my hero! I would have SAID all the things that went through your head, and been fired in a hot minute!

I'm really impressed with how you always manage to use your God-given filter. The older I get, the less my filter is engaged. Then again, I don't care that much anymore. I think I'm going to embrace being a crabby old lady. ;)

Angela_Baker said...

I got that kind of shit back when I used to work at a Dunkin Donuts and people would ask if we sold fucking hamburgers. You have to be a special kind of moron to head into a donut shop and expect to find burgers, but by god those morons existed and they all lived in my town. Then when I would tell them that no, we do not serve burgers at DUNKIN FREAKIN DONUTS, a lot of them would look all pouty and be like, "But I really wanted a burger." Um, ok? I would suggest you march your ass over to the McDonalds down the road, because I can't help you there, darlin.

Anonymous said...

Even worse is when you accomodate a special request and they complain about it was made or are totally happy, but still tip really badly (10% is a bad tip people.)

We frequently get asked for grilled chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches, and BLTs- none of which are on the menu. Because we also have grilled chicken and burger buns, fish and chips and cheesteak buns, and club sandwiches- we accomodate, but for pete's sake do not complain when you find out they toasted your damn bun with butter! Or that the bacon isn't crispy enough, or you wanted shredded lettuce not leaf lettuce. It wasn't on the menu!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was only in the 'food industry' for awhile, enough time for me to learn to hate it, but I also learned to always appreciate my waiters, and the cooks, even the dishwasher. I am a very patient customer, even when I have waited too long for service (you never know what is happening in the kitchen, they could have killed each other !)I always say 'thank you' for each item that is brought to me, tip well.. oh but could I have that salad with no onions or cucumbers or green peppers, and dressing on the side, fat free, organic ..and when you come back get me a glass of water !!

Noelle said...

This ordering items not on the menu is a peeve of mine as well. We make a few of substitutions but otherwise go find another restaurant. My husband blames the food network, "everybody thinks they're Bobby Flay" he says.

Mary A. said...

Potato skins are yummy though.

I want some.

Rachel said...

I had a couple on Thursday night, who wanted nachos, which are not on the menu. The guy started whining, and told me how easy it would be, and that the kitchen would probably do it easily, and that we could agree on the price the middle of the fucking rush. It was all I could do to not scream FUCK, NO!!! In his face.

Anonymous said...

I worked at a restaurant once where they would only let us modify up to 2 things per dish. If you have an allergy and can't have onion, that's one thing, but if you try to completely redesign a dish on our menu just because you don't feel like eating what's on it...well then, maybe you should pick something else. You're destroying the flavor profile and the integrity of the dish, and anything you invent yourself is not going to taste anywhere as good as what the chef designed. Order it as intended, or don't order it.

itswhatiam said...

I used to work at a fast food restaurant that had served over a million customers by the time I started working there. By now, they've had over a billion served. With that many burgers sold, people are damned well aware of what is sold on that menu.

It never failed that some smartass would come through and ask for a Whopper, or a Whataburger with cheese. I never said a word, and simply punched the "Quarter Pounder with cheese" button. Then I'd read the order back, just the way they'd asked for it. One Whopper, one king sized fry, and a large Pepsi (because Burger King used to seel Pepsi products). When they'd get to the window, I'd hand them their quarter pounder with cheese, their large fry, and their large Coke and wish them a good day.

Not one of them ever came back and complained that they didn't get what they'd ordered.

California Girl said...

I'll try to remember NEVER to order off te menu again. EVER.

fmcgmccllc said...

I went to Stanley's in NOLA (a fabulous diner by the way once and they had great sounding homemade corned beef hash with poached eggs on the menu. I asked the server if I could substitute, at this very moment I could see her go rigid and her eyes glaze over, scrambled eggs for poached. She was okay with that and gave us great service. But you could tell she had been asked one too many times for bullshit requests.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

A summer spent at the Olive Garden under the tutelage of a woman who took God's lunch order while he was creating the world taught me one thing. Prevaricate. If that fails, give them some extra bread sticks. Bread always shuts them up.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! fucking hilarious from the first line on.