Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hell's Grannies

A couple of weeks ago I get this call from this guy who represents a tour company that specializes in bus tours of the region for folks from the British Isles. Now, these tours have been coming through the area for a couple of years now and the folks are generally of retirement age and quite nice. The bus drops them off in midtown and they go about as they wish for a while before re-boarding and going wherever they go. One group of Welsh farmers was an absolute blast.
This group was different. I don't know much about these tours, whether all the groups are from similar areas or backgrounds, but this bunch just plain sucked. As is the usual procedure, someone from the company called a day ahead to give us a heads up that they would be by, but this time they wanted to just order sandwiches to go.
"Ok," I answered, and gave him our menu choices.
"Ah, the cold cut, what's on that?"
I told him.
"Hmmmm, let me see and I'll call you back.
When he did a short time later he told me that the cold cut sandwich would be fine, but that as they were English, they didn't want the sandwiches with all the "stuff" we Americans were used to. So, I agreed, after a short but sharp burst of foreboding, to make six cheese sandwiches, three ham sandwiches, and thirty-seven ham and cheese sandwiches. I even gave them a cut rate since I'd be leaving off all the "American" stuff.
The next day, as Danny and I are making sandwiches in between regular orders the phone rings and it is our English friend again, seemed like now the group wanted to stop off to eat their food at the café and would we be able to handle a large group. Since it wasn't too busy and our lunch rush was pretty much over I agreed. Again, a voice in my head told me to say no, but the thought of selling all those drinks and my waitress getting a decent bunch of tips swayed me.
To shorten a story that is already too long, they were the most miserable bunch of geriatrics I have ever seen, they mobbed the register as my one waitress and a prep cook tried valiantly to handle their orders for about three dozen hot chocolates and café lattes, and one charming lady pressed the remains of her sandwich into the counter in front of me and snarled, "Dreadful!"
I was taken aback; I thought she must have been joking.
"Dreadful?" I asked. I was actually still smiling.
"Awful," she replied.
At that point I wanted to say, "I know what dreadful means, you bitch, what the hell's wrong with the sandwich?" Or just reach out and poke her in the forehead with my index finger and screech, "Horrible!"
But I didn't, I just stood there stunned as she limped out, probably to terrorize the poor old Mexican lady who sales turquoise next door, and watched as the rest of the group muttered and mumbled their way through their meal. The only two who seemed to be enjoying themselves were a younger guy who ordered a slice of pizza and ate it, smiling, outside, away from everyone else, and a lady of about 45 who was flirting with the bus driver.
Oh, and the big tip payoff for Holly? Not one fucking cent.
Really made me appreciate Texans for once.

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