It was one of those busy, busy nights. The kind of night where even thinking it’s busy takes up far too much time. In the restaurant business sometimes you look at the clock and it’s 6 p.m., and the next time you look up it’s 10 p.m. New age gurus call it living in the moment. I call it Friday night.
On this night it was at least three deep at the bar. I once was called back from my break by a bartender who told me that the bar was three people deep, only to realize it was three people total, each standing behind the other. Three deep is a row of people at the bar, and two others standing behind each and every person. Needless to say, he didn’t last very long.
Back in the present, a woman stood behind the beer taps — a design flaw necessitated by a lack of space, and space was at a premium. Both the space behind the bar and the space in between the customers. When time permitted I took her order.
“I’ll have a bottle of [insert mid-priced red wine], and four glasses.”
I looked at the other 60 or so other people in the bar, noted that bottled wines are not stored behind the bar and wondered exactly where she expected me to put the bottle of wine down, much less four glasses. To say nothing of the presentation of the bottle, the recitation of the three Vs (vintage, vintner, varietal,) and the taste and accept, all followed by the actual pouring of the wine.
“That’s going to be a minute.” I said. “I have to find someone to go get it.”
The needs of the many, right?
“What do you mean?” she asked, not politely.
“I can’t leave the bar right now,” I said gesturing at the 50-plus people surrounding her.
“I don’t understand.”
Obviously she wasn’t trying to understand. Because she was what I call a restaurant jerk. The defining characteristic of being a restaurant jerk is the lack of concern for anybody else in the building, especially after you are made aware of that fact.
Recently I watched a comedy show featuring Jeff Foxworthy and his “You might be a redneck if …” routine. In his honor I came up with my own version.
You might be a restaurant jerk if …
• You’ve ever said, “I know the owner” expecting to get better treatment.
• You’ve made a reservation at 8 p.m. on a weekend night, and never showed up (or bothered to call.)
• You save a seat at the bar for a friend for 45 minutes on a busy night, you don’t order anything and then when your friend arrives, you go to a table.
• You’ve yelled at a restaurant employee, ever.
• You bypass the valet to “drop off something” and then leave your car parked in the middle of the parking lot for 30 minutes.
• You have a service dog placard even though you know full well that your dog performs no actual service.
• You insist the restaurant has lost your reservation when you know you didn’t make any.
• You ordered a bottle of wine and sent it back, just because.
• You feign allergies in order to get special treatment.
• The person behind the counter asks if you are next. You know you are not, but go ahead anyway.
• You ask for the restaurant to turn the air conditioning up instead of taking off your sweater.
• You ask for the music to be turned down because you can’t hear your cellphone call.
• You insist the TV channel be changed and then don’t bother to watch what is on it.
• You’ve ever caused a scene over a cup of coffee.
And, finally, you might be a restaurant jerk if …
• You’ve ever said, “my experience” in regards to your restaurant experience.
I know there are more and I welcome any and all additions. Unfortunately.