Yesterday whilst out in town searching for summer tops, we needed somewhere to have our dinner. I haven’t frequented one of our fish and chip shops in town for ages, not since the terrible bout of food poisoning I suffered after one of our visits to one of them. As we emerged across the road from the ‘Happy Haddock’ K persuaded me (as she always does) against my better judgement to have our dinner there.
On entering, there were in total about eight customers already eating their meals. We sat down at a table (plastic tablecloths, ugh!) and soon the waitress appeared smiling from the ‘frying’ area of the establishment to take our order. Since the poisoning incident all those years ago, I have tended to hate the smell of frying oil and as the door between the ‘cooking area’ and the restaurant was kept permanently open, it wasn’t a comfortable time for me. I was already a ‘reluctant customer’ before the incident began to be played out before our very eyes.
It began just as the waitress had brought my tea and K’s drink. She was beckoned over to one of the window tables by one of the ladies sitting there.
“These chips are not cooked right!” stated the lady in an indignant voice to the waitress. “Look at the difference between my chips on my plate, and those chips on that ladies plate!” and she pointed over to one of the ladies sat at the other window table. The waitress protested that they were exactly the same, and then taking the plate containing the offending chips, she marched into the cooking area. We could hear her inform the ‘boss’ about the said chips and the complaint by the lady customer.
Out came the ‘boss’ all six foot odd of him, and he proceeded to march up to the lady who had been served, according to her, the ‘different’ chips. He insisted they were exactly the same as any other plate of chips, freshly cooked as they were served, but she was having none of it.
“I can’t eat those!” she told him, and rose from the table to exit the premises.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with your chips!” the boss insisted as he walked back to the frying area with the offending plate, “and don’t come back to this restaurant!”
This prompted one of the ladies at the next window table, who’s chips were obviously of a superior quality to the complaining ladies chips, to join in the fracas.
“How disgusting to say that to one of your customers, don’t come back!” she stated loudly so that we (and the boss of course) could all hear. “ I don’t believe it! As a customer you have a right to complain if your not happy!”
Meanwhile the first complainant with the ‘different’ chips had paid for her meal alongside her companion, and muttering as she exited the door “Don’t worry I won’t be coming back here!” they both left. A few minutes went by in which K and I were served with our meals, and then the peace and quiet was interrupted again by the lady on the second table (who by the way K knew to speak to) who called the waitress over and told her that her chicken was ‘bloody’ and not cooked right.
The waitress did no more than marched into the frying area with the offending chicken on its plate to show the boss. He promptly marched straight back in with the aforementioned chicken and told the lady that it was cooked through, he had tested it, it wasn’t blood, it was the darker meat and quite normal. She however, was adamant .
“I can’t eat that!” she insisted, now obviously worked into some kind of hysterical frenzy about the cooking abilities of the ‘boss’ who seemed to have acquired ample certificates for his frying and cooking abilities which were all displayed on the restaurant walls. She had obviously caught the ‘complaints’ bug from the previous occupant of the table next to her, and no amount of insisting that he was ‘Gordon Ramsey’ personified was going to placate this lady!
He went back into the ‘frying’ area but shortly returned, now really indignant himself. I was worried that he might slap her across the face with a wet fish, but luckily he had only returned as she scurried out the door to issue his ultimate sentence
“And don’t come back!” as she exited without paying for her meal.
All through the whole scenario played out before us, waitress and boss flying up and down the restaurant with complained about plates of food held aloft, I have to admit that I nearly caught the bug as well. I was just a smidgen from picking up my bag and marching out of the restaurant in disgust, but the sight of K tucking into her huge sausages and chips with curry stopped me from taking flight, so we both stayed put and enjoyed our meals.