Maybe there was a full moon or maybe some neighborhood insane asylum left the back door open last week because we had a couple of crazy bitches come into the restaurant on the same night. After the first one left, I took out the little notebook that I keep in my apron and started jotting down details so I could blog about her, but before I could even finish, another one came in and I knew I was getting two crazies for the price of one.
Lady number one is a regular who hangs out at the bar next door. I’ve never been inside that bar, and judging from the clientele and the way it looks through the window, I never will. It’s one of those places where people drink hard liquor and smoke cigars with one foot outside the door and the other foot inside so they can drink and smoke at the same time. I imagine if I went in and ordered a Queenspark Swizzle, I would promptly be asked to leave. So this woman comes in to the restaurant after knocking back a few because she needs something to soak up the liquor in her stomach. She tells us she likes our mashed potatoes so she wants a side of them. She points to one of the to-go boxes that are sitting behind the bar and slurs out, “I want that size, but fill it all the way to the top.”
Now this is a box that ordinarily holds much more than one side dish. It usually houses a side of fries that take up a lot more room than a couple of dollops of mashed potatoes. The owner/chef is near the bar and confirms that she wants the box filled up.
“Yeah, fill it up,” she says, her breath liable to get a small child drunk if the poor thing were to inhale too deeply at the correct moment.
The owner informs her that in order to “fill it up,” it would probably be a total of four orders but Drunky McDrunk Drunk confirms that she loves our mashed potatoes and she wants them. The kitchen puts the potatoes in the to-go box, she pays for them and stumbles back to the bar next door to eat and pour more cheap beer into her drinking hole. Forty-five minutes later, she calls us very upset and I happen to be the one who answers the phone.
“Did I just now pay $17 for mashed fucking potatoes?” she wants to know.
Actually, she paid $17 for mashed potatoes almost an hour ago, but it seems to have taken her this long to process that she handed a twenty-dollar bill to the bartender and he only gave her three dollars back.
“Well, you paid for four sides of mashed potatoes to fill the to-go box. Since each side order is $4 plus tax, yes you did pay $17 for mashed potatoes. But it was forty-eight minutes ago, not just now,” I say as I look at the stabbed check to see when exactly she placed the order.
“Who the fuck pays $17 for mashed potatoes?” she yells.
“People who love our mashed potatoes and then order four sides of them, I guess.”
“I wanna talk to the owner!”
The owner gets on the phone and reminds her that she specifically asked us to fill the to-go box to the top. He also reminds her that he told her it would be four separate side orders. She is not satisfied and says she is coming back over.
Two minutes later, the Drunken Beauty with a hankering for mashed potatoes appears at the door. She is holding the to-go box and a plastic fork. Most of the potatoes are gone with some of them on her shirt and and some of them in her teeth.
“I never woulda ordered these if knew it was gonna be $17,” she whines. “Why are they so damn expensive??”
The owner explains to her the simple concept of multiplication and how four times four is sixteen. He also tells her that these are real potatoes with real butter and real cream and that they are not cheap to make. She is upset and threatens to tell everyone at the bar next door that we sell $17 mashed potatoes as if anyone there will remember anything she burps out of her mouth. The owner reaches into the cash register and gives her a five dollar bill apologizing for the miscommunication. The woman looks at the bill and all she sees is another pint of Guinness and is instantly satisfied with the outcome. She triumphantly turns around to go back to the bar, cradling next to her chest what’s left of the potatoes.
“And I’m taking these with me!” she says.
“Have a wonderful night!” I happily chirp. “Enjoy them and come back soon!” The sarcasm goes through her as quickly as the beer probably does.
The owner shrugs his shoulders and tells the bartender that the drawer will be five dollars short tonight. This is when I pull out my notebook to write down what just happened when another woman enters the restaurant.
To be continued…