Follow these RULES and then relax in the knowledge that you will have at least done all you can to ensure that your meal won’t be sneezed upon, spat in, or otherwise interfered with:
1. Make a reservation and arrive on time
The place may be half empty, but we still think you are lucky to have got a table.
2. Don’t ask for something that’s not on the menu
If it’s not on there, then we don’t want you to have it.
3. Don’t propose to your partner here
It’s a bore having to look sympathetic if you get a NO and even more of a drag, if, in the unlikely event you get a YES, to have to pretend to give a crap.
4. If you think that the waitresses might be laughing at you behind your back. Ignore it.
It’s been a slow night and we can’t believe that you actually came out looking like that.
5. Don’t ask and then order what the waiter recommends
You will only get leftovers or something perilously close to its use-by date. And it will be your own fault.
6. Complain, if you really must
but make sure it’s in a highly apologetic manner if you’d rather not have your pudding dredged with the pastry chef’s dandruff, or your piece of steak tenderised by a kick-around in the kitchen.
7. Don’t de-head the flower arrangement or pick at the candle wax
It makes a mess. Don’t ask for the music/air-con to be turned up or down. It’s annoying.
8. Do not scream at the top of your voice with the violent threat of taking your custom elsewhere, if the waitress “accidentally” pours gravy in your lap
She clearly has been driven to desperate measures by your boorish over-familiarity and is longing for you to sod off and annoy her competitors down the road.
9. Depart before eleven pm and always leave a good tip
Ignore THESE RULES and you face the threat of a severe case of food poisoning and of being subject to an assault with flying kitchen knives from a chef upset by your request for a bottle of ketchup on the side.
When Clarry Pennhaligan, heroine of my novel, The Love Detective, is not fumbling her way through her first investigation as an amateur sleuth, she, as I did some years ago, earns her living as a waitress. This is not an easy job. Catch up with me next time for some very personal reminiscences.
And look out for:
HOW NOT TO PISS OFF YOUR RESTAURANT CUSTOMER