My best friend and I like to get together and head to a restaurant for a quick bite and catch up on the latest goings-on in our lives. We did just that a few days ago.
Not wanting much in the way of atmosphere, we headed to a local chain restaurant, where the menu is the same from New York to Los Angeles. Dull, yes, but it is comfort food, nonetheless.
Providence smiled upon us when we were served by a waiter whom we have had several times in the past. I will call him Drew.
He is a lively one, a guy who is “always on” – that is, he is a constant Wit Machine, a clown, a comedian. One must listen closely – very closely – because he will twist questions around and comment about nearly everything during the time the orders are placed, delivered, and the check proffered.
I placed my order but was told that it was not available yet in the kitchen. Waiter Clown Drew asked if I would like to leave and return after 6 p.m. “No, I’ll have the –” and I placed my order, opting for something lesser. I asked for ice water. “Bottled?” “No, thank you.” (This is not the type of restaurant that serves bottled water.) I asked for a slice of cherry pie for dessert, too.
My best friend ordered, and all was well. Until Waiter Clown Drew asked again what Best Friend would like to order, and if we would like separate tables.
My meal was served piecemeal, Best Friend received his at once, then all seemed normal and peaceful once again. Until Waiter Clown Drew returned to our table.
“Anything else?” he asked.
I once again re-ordered my slice of cherry pie, and when that was brought to our table, it was served in a Styrofoam® box. Best Friend received his pie à la mode on a china plate about seven minutes later. The ice cream on the pie was all of two or three tablespoons’ worth.
Check was presented, but not without the question, “Still want separate checks?” Waiter Clown Drew then asked if this was “one check?” (“Yes.), and he asked me if I wanted the last two bites of my burnt sandwich bread bagged to take home. “No, thank you,” I answered.
Looking at the check, we were charged wrong; too much, in fact. Best Friend and I decided that instead of arguing the bill, we would deduct the overcharge from Waiter Clown Drew’s tip.
And that we did.
Several months ago, we were seated, but never served. We had Waiter Clown Drew as our waiter before that, and we were served the wrong meals. Another time, he gave us the wrong check.
And when I can tell when Clown Waiter Drew is thinking about something witty to say instead of our order, I can only believe he is in a world of his own on-stage comedy act rather than the job at hand.
So maybe it is time to find another place to eat.
©2022 Colcannon Metropolis, excerpt from “Dining is at Chez Erstaz”