Something happened to me a few days ago that has never happened to me before and no, I am not talking about waking up without a hangover. That will happen someday, but it just hasn’t happened yet. It was something at work that floored me and made me question a customer more than I have ever done before.
At the club, I am very busy with about thirty covers in my section. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that everyone gets to the club at the same time for the show and they all have to order and consume their two-drink minimum within the course of the sixty minute performance. It can get a little hairy and this night was hairier than Romeo Rose before his bi-weekly waxing appointment.
The man at Table 43 orders a Jack Daniels and soda and tells me that is what he would like for his second drink as well. I always appreciate when a customer can tell me their second drink in advance so that I don’t have to bother them during the show and I can just bring it to them when their first drink is finished. Halfway through the show, I see that his first drink is almost empty so I ring in his second round. A few minutes later, I am winding my way through the crowd, in the dark, carrying a tray with six drinks on it. I place his glass in front of him and continue on. When I get back to the bar to ring in some more drinks, the hostess makes her way over to me.
“Table 43 says there’s no alcohol in his drink,” she says.
“No alcohol? It’s Jack and soda- wait, how do you know? I didn’t see him come out of the showroom.”
“He told me.”
“When?” I ask.
“Just now. On the phone. He called to tell me to to tell you there’s no alcohol in his drink.”
Yes, ladies and gentleman, this man called the hostess to complain. Despite the fact that there is a live performance happening within twenty feet of him and despite the fact that we announce to turn off all cell phones as a courtesy to the performer, this man pulled his cell phone out of his asshole and Googled the number to the club so that he could call and complain rather than just waiting three or four minutes for me to walk past his table which would allow him to tell me himself.
Are we living in a world that immediate gratification and response is now a necessity? Does no one have any patience anymore? We expect things to happen instantly. Fifteen years ago, we left messages on answering machines and expected a return call within a day or so. Now, if we text someone and they don’t text back in ten seconds we think, “Where the fuck are they?? Why are they ignoring me?” This man couldn’t wait even a fucking minute before he needed his problem attended to?
I ask the bartender to make me another Jack and soda and make my way back into the room. As soon as I step inside, I can see the man at Table 43 waving his arms at me as if he is drowning and needs a life preserver thrown at his ass. I have his drink on my tray. When I get to the table, before I have a chance to say anything, he tells me with urgency, “You brought the wrong drink. This is just soda!””
“Yes sir, I got your message. I must have picked up the wrong glass. I’m sorry about that. Is there anything else you need right now?” I ask as I remove the offending glass of soda water.
“No, I’m fine,” he says.
When I get back to the bar, I can see that the glass has only soda in it and he is right. I either picked up the glass before the bartender had finished making the drink or someone who only wanted soda water is now drinking some Jack Daniels. Freely I can admit I made a mistake, but what bothers me is that he needed it fixed immediately. I hear the phone ring and watch the hostess answer it, half expecting it to be Table 43 asking for some napkins. It isn’t but then I think how much fun it would be to go to the phone to look at the caller ID history and call Table 43 myself.
“Hello, it’s your server. Is everything alright? Do you need anything? How’s your drink? Are you ready for your check? You can tell me your credit card information over the phone and then I can email you a copy of your receipt. PUT YOUR DAMN CELL PHONE AWAY! You are at a live performance!”
After the show is over, the man leaves me a fine tip. He appears to have not given a second thought to having called the hostess to complain which makes me think it’s the norm for him. I can see him at the grocery store wandering around aisle five looking for baked beans and calling the store to have someone direct him to the canned goods. Or maybe when he is in line at the bank, he calls the teller ahead of time to let her know to get his deposit slip ready. I bet when there is a long line at the drive-thru, he calls from his car so that when he gets to the menu and microphone he’s like, “I already placed my order, don’t waste my time.”
Am I overreacting here or was this man just a tad impatient? If I can wait years to wake up without a hangover, can’t he wait five minutes until I come back to his table to see if everything is alright?