Pardon My French

April 6, 2006 at 12:43 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Well, I got a personal, private email from someone who shall remain nameless, but she is Envious.. . .
As well as having a conversation with my wife. The gist of that conversation was, "But YOU are French, you Gallic turd."
Well, not in the literal sense. But I get the point, Aurora, about nationalism and patriotism. Americans are as guilty of it as anyone, if not more. So we shouldn’t begrudge the French for being patriotic and loving their country as well. Like I said, I have French in me. But I am more Finnish than anything. My grandmother was an orphan from Finland, the only one of four siblings to have any progeny. Track that geneology.
You think the snotty attitude of the French is endearing? Well, then, you should fall in love with me.
I have been in the restaurant business for 20 years, which is equal to 140 years at a regular job. I have had my share of "encounters" with that most curious of species, the customer. This is only the most recent. Oh–Oh–then I will tell you my FAVORITE encounter, so you get two-two–for the price of one. The most recent:
Guy calls and orders a couple of steaks for delivery (that’s what we do.) Calls back about 20 minutes later. Wants to cancel, says he’s going to come up and dine in instead. This was relayed to me by the girl who took the call. We don’t HAVE dine-in, we only deliver. So I call him back. I explain that, and also tell him, the food is ready to leave right now, it’ll be there in a few minutes.
He says, "Well, my buddy just showed up, and we were going to go out. Is there anyway I can cancel?"
I sighed, audibly. The first sign that I am about to be a prick. I said, "Fine. Whatever." Thinking the conversation was over, I hung up. What else is there to say? "Thank you for cancelling, is there anything else I can do for you?" Pfft. (that is the universal onomatopeia for a scoff.)
So the guy calls back two minutes later, I pick it up. He says, "Didn’t I just talk to you?"
"You hung up on me, motherfucker!"
You need to realize, at this point, he drew first blood. When he curses at me, that gives me a free ticket to do whatever the hell I want to him.  Scientologists call it "open season," or "fair game," or something like that.   My own personal rule. This is not a way to get any help. And what, exactly, is his purpose of calling me back? To have the last word and hang up on me? Fuck that. Basically, I told him the truth.
"Look, the shit costs money. This is steak, it’s cooked, it’s ready to go, and you cancel. Am I supposed to be happy about it? Kiss my ass." Exact words. I have witnesses. I hung up.
So, yeah, I could be a French waiter.
Second story. Halloween, 1998, I think. Last time I managed for Dominos. I was managing Berkeley, a rough suburb of a rough part of the rough side of town. Hard to get employees, hard to keep them, hard to train them, hard to keep them from stealing from you. Hard to get them to show up.
Halloween is a notoriously busy night. Early in the evening, I am running about an hour and a half on delivery. But I am letting the customers know, and they are okay. Later, about 10 pm, someone calls wondering where their pizza is. We are only running about 45 minutes now, which I considered a tremendous victory.
"Yeah, where my pizza at?"
"Well, sir, it is on it’s way. We did say about 45 minutes. The driver should be there any minute now."
"Why’s it taking so long? Do I get a discount? This is bullshit."
Sigh. (And so it begins.)
"I agree. It is bullshit."
"What?!" He couldn’t believe what he heard, apparently.
"I said, it is bullshit. I told you how long it was going to be when you ordered, and you agreed to it. I wasn’t lying. I wasn’t making it up. Nothing has changed since you ordered. The pizza will get there exactly when I said."
"I dont have to take this. You cant talk to me this way. I am the customer. I’ll call the head office. I’ll have you fired!"
"Pffft. Don’t do me any favors. But I do want to tell you something, to take into consideration. Any time you have to wait in line, or wait for a delivery, or stand and wait for anything: You’re not the only cocksucker on the planet, and you can easily be replaced by another cocksucker. Happy Halloween."
"You motherfucker! How about I come up there and kick your ass." He sounded pissed. I wondered why.
"That would be great. I would love to see the cops beat you to the ground when I call in an attempted robbery. Want some more, asshole? I’m leaving this job, real soon. I could care less if you live or die, or grow mushrooms out of your ass. Don’t piss off the pizza guy, he knows where you live."
Silence on the other end, long pause. "Is that a threat?"
I laughed. "After what you said to me? That’s pretty funny. It is what it is."
Long pause, he says nothing. I ask, "Are we done now?" He hangs up.
The driver came back, said, "that last asshole didnt tip."
But he did buy the pizza.

Yeah, I’m French.

When I read this, to me I sound like a real asshole. In my defense, a) they started it, and 2) in the case of the second one, I knew I was getting demoted, moved and shuffled out the following week, after working my ass off to keep that store afloat. And, d), I have dealt wtih thousands and thousands of customers over the course of 20 years. I can count on one hand how many I have been ignorant to. Next time, I’ll do it with a French accent.
Viva la Customer Service!


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  1. BAHHH.. two french frogs. how… green. and you sound like south french to me. somewhere from Nice or Grasse, and they have that italian accent too 😛
    You know, it takes me to make dinner like an hour at least. and i hate ordering…
    p.s. if you visit my space any time soon, copy the notice i left in coments, please. it\’s kinda important i think

  2. lol @ \’a\’  \’2\’ then \’d\’…  
    you\’re not an ass hole
    you\’re Bryan, and you are who we expect you to be
    easy as that

  3. You are like the Simon Cowell of waiters–saying what everyone is thinking, but are too afraid to actually say it.  Bravo!!

    In the steak case: How come the girl who answered the phone didn\’t know that your restaurant didn\’t have dine-in service? Does she actually work  there?
    In the pizza case: Could you please teach me the gift of the instant, appropriate comebacks? I probably would have said all of the things you did — in my head, AFTER we\’d hung up, or when I was telling the story to my friends later.
    But while on the phone? It would\’ve gone something like this:
    "Ummmmmmm. I\’m sorry, did I tell you 45 minutes? And it\’s been 45 minutes? Oh, I\’m sorry. Well, how \’bout I send you out a few coupons for free pizza…" followed by MORE groveling and mincing because I\’m such a pansy-ass sometimes. I really AM assertive, but when people start right off being mean to me, I tend to cry.
    Not one of my more redeeming features, I\’m afraid.

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