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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Evidence that waiters are not always the best advertisement for the places in which they work

A short play, entitled, 'The Most Disgruntled and Lugubrious Waiter in the World', inspired by today's afternoon in town when I went into a local cafe to do some marking.  

Middle aged woman (MAW): (Settles at table in cafe.  Waiter comes over.)  Could I have a cup of tea please?

Waiter:  I'm sorry we don't do cake any more, if you were wanting cake.

MAW.:  (surprised at the sudden introduction of negative ideas)  It's okay.  I'll order some lunch in a bit.  I just want tea for now.

Waiter:  (funereal)  We used to do cake.  We don't now.

MAW:  I know.  I'd noticed. It's a shame.  But never mind.  We middle-aged woman need all the help we can get to stay on the right side of Sumo wrestler!

Waiter: (Completely ignores joke.  Is not a fan of stand-up comedy.)  I did tell them. I said, 'We'll lose customers if you get rid of the cakes.'  And we did.  We've lost all the regulars.

MAW:  Oh, I'm sorry.

Waiter:  This place is going to the dogs, to be honest.

MAW: Oh, I ...

Waiter: No one listens to me, though.  I've been here for years, and no one has ever listened to my ideas.  It would be a completely different place if I was running it.  People would want to come.  They'd flock in.  I'd know how to get them here.

MAW:  (desperately cheery)  Oh, well.  Chin up!  I'm here!

Waiter:  Yes, but no one else is, are they?  And no doubt you'd have liked cake.  And there's no hot food either.

MAW:  Oh, really? I thought ...

Waiter:  No, the menu's completely changed.  All we have is sandwiches.  It's rubbish.

MAW:  I don't mind a sandwich.  Have you got a menu?  I'll have a look.

Waiter:  I'll have to print one off for you.  The others were all dirty.  Can't use dirty menus.  Although they would if they had a chance.

MAW:  (glad of a break)  Okay, you go and print one off then.  Thank you.

SHORT AND MOST WELCOME INTERMISSION.

Waiter:  I'm back.  Here's your menu.  I think we've got everything on it.  We might not have.  I've been on the phone all morning complaining to the office about it all.  Lack of ingredients.  No one else here to help me.  I hate it here.

MAW:  (Considers saying, 'Have you thought about training as an undertaker instead?' but holds back.)  I'll just have the tea for now.  I'll get a sandwich in a minute. (Starts to get marking pile out of bag, hoping he'll go.)

Waiter: At least it's quiet in here.  You're lucky.  If we do get customers, they're usually mums with screaming brats.

MAW:  Oh!  I came at the right time, then.  I've got some marking to do.  (Hopes the change of topic might help move the conversation away from suicidal thoughts.)

Waiter: Drives you mad, all the screaming, it does.

MAW:  I'm sure.

Waiter:  (Sighs the biggest sigh on Earth.  Seems to remember his role, as though it's a surprise to him.)  Best go and get your tea, then.  (Trudges towards kitchen, as though dragging a ball and chain.)




What I loved particularly about this whole episode was the way in which he was convinced the cafe would be buzzing if he were in charge.  Can you imagine?


Gerald wonders whether to introduce a 'Happy Hour' at his cafe 


Today's experience reminded me of the 'Two Soups' sketch with Julie Walters.  It makes me laugh and laugh, however many times I watch it.  It's here on Youtube and it's about six minutes long.  A very worthwhile six minutes.

37 comments:

  1. Where was this amazing place? I want to go and kick up a fuss about cake whilst pretending to be Withnail from Withnail & I.

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    1. My lips are sealed ...

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    2. Wow. That cup of tea must have been rather sticky.

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  2. Hilarious. Dr. X and I owned a business at one time. The employees did their utmost to ruin it, no matter how kindly we treated them.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. The one I met today could run seminars in how to ruin your employer's business, I fear.

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  3. Love it. I wonder whether he would have changed publishing history if JK Rowling had chosen his cafe to write Harry Potter in?

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    1. That is such a fascinating idea. A blog post, maybe ...

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  4. Wonderful! Did you get yoru sandwich?

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    1. I did. The ham was very, very thin. But there was a field's worth of rocket to make up for it ...

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  5. Haha! you have a knack of making the most boring thing on earth (marking) positively entertaining when combined with a doom-laden waiter and a cafe in Leamington Spa :) A good laugh as always...well done :)

















































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    1. I do doom-laden particularly well, as you note.

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  6. I don't think I would have hung around long enough to let this guy harsh my buzz. I'd run when he went to get the tea.

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    1. Do I have your permission to use your wonderful phrase 'harsh my buzz' in school? As in, 'Oy, you lot. Get on with your paragraphs and don't harsh my buzz.'

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  7. Sounds like the missing episode of Fawlty Towers!

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    1. Indeed. It felt very much like that.

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  8. That's brilliant, Fran. Wish I had somewhere like that where I live!

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    1. No, no, you really don't. Believe me. I've never felt so depressed after being in a cafe in my life. I may as well have listened to some Leonard Cohen.

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  9. Hahaha. Sounds kind of like a place near me! I kind of enjoy it. Ask for anything vaguely unusual and they look at you like you've just trodden dirt all over the carpet. I mean, admittedly, I never go there anymore but, you know, you take away the cake and us customers just never return...

    <3

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    1. I love cafes. Good or bad, they are a great place for people-watching. Especially when waiters like him offer themselves up for character analysis in such an enthusiastic way.

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  10. Just as well that you didn't finish off your day by going to the production of "A Doll's House" that I saw recently. Your waiter would have felt right at home. I have never felt so depressed in all my life as I did as the final curtain came down. And there weren't even any sandwiches.

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    1. Ha ha! Good old Ibsen - always a laugh-a-minute.

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  11. VERY funny stuff, Fran!! I assume that visit constituted two trips to that cafe--your first & your last!!

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    1. Are you mad? I'll be back, very soon. I need the material for Scene 2.

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  12. Ha Ha Both made me chuckle. I'm trying to imagine who I'd like to play that waiter !

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  13. Ha! Two Soups - first thing I thought of.

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    1. It's a classic sketch. Julie Walters is just fabulous. It's the way she gets her notebook out and writes, 'One soup .............. and another soup'. Brilliant.

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  14. What a dreadful cafe - but a wonderful character for a writer to discover. The funniest people in real life are those who are deadly serious.

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  15. Rocket is the new Iceberg lettuce in cafés ... tastier but still not exactly ribsticking .
    Your waiter was seems to have trained in Amsterdam , where plain speaking and a reluctance to serve one's customers are prized beyond rubies .

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    1. It's like the restaurant equivalent of a doctor's receptionist who believes her life's work is to prevent patients from getting into the doctor's surgery. (I can say this .... I was one once ...) I've written the first episode of a sitcom for Radio 4 called 'Receptionists' but the first producer I sent it to about 2 years ago said the first page wasn't funny enough. I need to get it out and have another shot. I'm terrible with rejection!

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  16. PS I follow your blog on the Google Friends widget thingy and your blog title is in my 'followed blogs' list, but the last post that showed up in my reading list was dated 14th March. Today I wondered why you hadn't posted anything since then (perhaps you'd hit the big time and are now too famous for blogger :)). I clicked on your blog's home link and found all the posts I'd missed! I've tried following your blog again but google just tells me that I am already subscribed to your blog. Could the problem be with your settings? I don't understand how any of this magic works. In case I don't receive any more updates I'll go back to some old technology - pen and paper - and leave a reminder for myself to check your blog at regular intervals.

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    1. That's a bit strange, Linda. I don't think I've done anything with my settings that's different, but, on the other hand, you are talking to a woman who's in the middle of a conversation with a friend on her mobile phone and then finds she is taking a photograph of her foot. I have no hope of understanding how Blogger works. I'm sorry! Thanks for your efforts!

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    2. I've finally solved the problem of Fran's invisible posts on Linda's Blogger reading list - by following your blog via Feedly instead. Reading as fast as I can to catch up ...

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    3. I'm sorry it's such a battle, Linda. I have no idea why this is. But I hear Feedly is the new thing ... you are obviously well up with the trends!

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  17. Blooming hilarious!

    I do hope I was not unwittingly one of these characters back in my days of café work and changing menus!

    We need to go together soon and order Viccy sponge and choccy fudge for two, so he can relive his plans for world domination! I'm sure he'd love that!

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  18. I think he might have jumped off the roof by now.

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