Conversations with Porteñas #2

2010.Jul.22 Thursday · 7 comments

in Life

Paris - Place de Bitche

[Setting the scene: Me, answering the phone. Her, as a guess, 60s, and, as another guess, a trifle tipsy.]

Me: Hello

Her: Yes, I would like to talk to whomever is responsible.

Me: I’m guessing that would be me, but responsible for what?

Her: For creating a restaurant that’s completely uninteresting to eat at.

Me: Okay, I guess that would be me, but what happened?

Her: Nothing happened, I read about you in the paper this week and I don’t like what you’re doing.

Me: I don’t understand.

Her: You make people sit at shared tables. That’s unacceptable. I’ve been dining out for years and I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Me: I’m sorry you feel that way, but it seems to be quite popular.

Her: I can’t imagine that. No one would want to sit at a table with people they don’t know. And I don’t want to come unless I can sit at my own table, by myself.

Me: I’m sorry but we don’t offer that as an option. If you wanted to come with a few friends, we do have the smaller table for four and you could certainly sit there with just your friends.

Her: Are you an idiot? I said I wanted to sit at a table by myself. I have no interest in sitting at a table with other people. BY MYSELF. Is that too hard to understand?

Me: Well, we just don’t have that as an option. I think we’re probably not a good choice of restaurant for you.

Her: But I want to come to yours!

Me: Then you’d have to share the table with other people.

Her: You ARE an idiot! [click]

<-- Conversations with Porteñas #1

Allan July 23, 2010 at 00:23

I insist on the Chef’s Table. . . in the kitchen. . . but make sure it’s not too close to the sink, the trash or the help!

Estela July 23, 2010 at 00:48

That is what argentine people call “histerica”. Good for you, for not engaging in her craziness , and thanks for sharing your experience, it makes me laugh.

Ken Sternberg July 24, 2010 at 01:30

Wow. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that this person was an American. That really is an amazing exchange, Dan. I think you handled it very well, considering the options.

dan July 24, 2010 at 08:25

Interestingly, from my side, this is just a typical conversation from being in the restaurant business, not even particularly unusual. It used to annoy me to no end and no-doubt I didn’t used to handle calls like that well, but over time, it’s become amusing, which is why I’m enjoying sharing these conversations with y’all. Of course, it helps that I’m no longer in the position of handling these sorts of calls while working in a restaurant where I don’t have the option of simply declining their reservation. The Power of “No” is a mighty one.

danske July 24, 2010 at 17:31

theres just no way! pls tell me you made that up

schussheim July 29, 2010 at 14:06

Conversation with gringos.

(Telephone rings)

Me: Mamá Europa

He: do you speak English?

Me: Yes sir, I do. Can I help you?

He: are you jewish?

Me: yes, sir.

He: so tell me why did you advertised a pastrami sandwich with such an antisemitic name as Shylock? A jew like me will never go to eat ti your rastaurant!

Me: Excuse me sir, but Shylock was jewish.

He: Yes! But the play is antisemitic!

Me: did you actually read the play?

He: no! but is antisemitic anyways!

Me: I do not agree sir. Marlowe was an antisemite, not Shakespeare.

He: Ok, ok, then I need a reservation for four persons at noon.

Me: (sigh)

dan August 1, 2010 at 10:46

Hey, at least they still reserved!

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