Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jane's Fist of Karma

Dear Internets,

I thought I should tell you that I have possibly lost my marbles.

Tonight I went to a fun local restaurant with a friend with every intention of eating my quesadillas and minding my own business. As we ate though, I couldn't help but notice that the table next to us was getting kind of... loud. The woman (Loud Lady) shouted orders across the room to a waitress in another section. Her boyfriend yelled at a busboy who didn't speak English, apparently because he thought if he JUST TALKED LOUDER AND MORE SLOWLY THE BUSBOY WOULD MAGICALLY UNDERSTAND HIM AND REFILL HIS DRINK. At one point, Loud Lady went into the kitchen and grabbed a fistful of lemons with her grubby bare hand. (Bless his heart, Loud Lady's three-year-old son was the most well-behaved person at their table.)

Despite the fact that Loud Lady and her boyfriend seemed intent on causing a scene, I was doing a fairly good job ignoring them. They weren't drinking, so I figured they wouldn't get any worse. Then the restaurant manager came over to ask the family, if they could possibly help it, to avoid going into the kitchen to get lemons directly out of the lemon bucket.

Loud Lady completely lost it. Didn't the restaurant manager know that they were *regular* customers of the restaurant? Didn't he want their business? DIDN'T HE KNOW IT WAS THAT TRAMPY BLONDE WAITRESS' FAULT THAT THEY *HAD* TO GO GET THEIR OWN LEMONS BECAUSE SHE WOULDN'T BRING THEM MORE LEMONS???

I watched the manager go through the various steps of attempting to reason with a crazy person (the waitress isn't serving your section, your own waiter brought you more lemons several times, that waitress isn't out to get you because you're not tall and thin and blonde, she's just busy) before giving up. I felt bad for him; I've been in his shoes myself. It's the sad reality of customer service that the customer who insists s/he is always right is usually nuts. It's the even sadder reality of low-level management that there's little or nothing you can do to satisfy the nutty customers, except admit responsibility for everything that could possibly be wrong in their lives at the particular moment you happen to be talking to them. (Sometimes, if you denigrate yourself completely, you can even shut them up until the next time they visit your establishment.)

However, emasculating the restaurant manager was not going to be enough to satisfy LoudCrazy Lady. She set in on the sweet, dreadlocked waiter as soon as he came to refill their sodas and iced tea. How DARE he 'tell on' her to management? Didn't he know it was because he and that blonde slut couldn't do their jobs that they had to go get their own lemons? Why didn't he tell that blonde slut he worked with to do her job? WHY DOESN'T HE GO ON OVER AND GET THAT BLONDE SLUT SO CRAZY LADY CAN GIVE HER A LESSON IN HOW TO BRING PEOPLE THEIR DAMN LEMONS? CLEARLY THE WAITSTAFF IS JUST STUPID AND RUDE.

With the manager off licking his wounds, there was nothing the poor waiter could say or do to defend himself, and Crazy Lady knew it.

At this point, Internets, I am embarrassed to say that I lost my cool.

"ACTUALLY, MA'AM," I said (rather loudly). "I think that YOU are the one being rude. You are being so loud that you are disturbing other customers. You need to keep it down."

In retrospect, I know it probably wasn't a good idea to attempt to diffuse a crazy person, and it probably didn't make me look like the world's classiest individual. But Internets... it worked! Crazy Lady made a couple of half-hearted comments about me needing to mind my own business, and the table next to them being the loud ones, but she stayed subdued for the rest of her meal.

I don't know why I told her off. Maybe it was the years spent being yelled at because the supermarket ran out of cherimoyas, or the paper bag handles weren't comfortable, or I forgot to ask if they wanted five nickels or one quarter, or I followed my manager's instructions and let someone through the 10-items-or-less (didn't I know that should be "fewer"?) line with eleven items. Honestly, I'm pretty embarrassed that I said anything to Crazy Lady at all. But the waiter told me thank you, and if I made his $2.13 an hour night any less crappy by speaking up, I think it was worth it.

Don't hate me 'cause I'm crazy, Internets...


1 comment:

mod girl 80 said...

you are amazing. and by taking a stand and helping people who needed it you just made your own grass a little greener (i have been reading ahead...) a note to loud crazy people : tv dinners were invented for a reason, leave the waitstaff alone!..and, crazy loud people, please stop having babies...