Phone Skills. Some have ’em. Some don’t.

Saturday. 5:30pm. The phone rings.

“Hello, The Bistro, how may I help you?”

“I want a reservation at 7:30.” a gruff cell distorted voice barks.

“How many in your party?” I reply sweetly.

“Two.” I can hear car horns honking in the background

“Let me see what’s open sir, one moment.”

“I want the table in the window. I’m a friend of the owner.” he says. (The reader will note the absence of the word please)

This guy is probably shit out of luck. The odds of getting a reservation at this late hour are slim to none. His only hope is a last minute cancellation. I look at the reservation slots on the computer screen.

There, shimmering like an oasis in the desert, is an opening for the best table in the house at the H-Hour of restaurants the world over, 7:30 pm. This guy is lucky. My finger moves toward the screen to begin entering his information.

“Hurry up I haven’t got all day.” the man snaps.

My finger stops in midair.

Getting in touch with my inner asshole I say, “I am terribly sorry sir but we have no tables available at that time.”

“Whadyya mean it’s not available?” the man practically screams

“The table has already been reserved. I’m sorry.”

“Well move them and give it to me.” the prick says huffily.

“I cannot do that sir. Perhaps you would like a reservation at ten o’clock. That’s the next available opening.”

“Put the owner on the phone right now.” the man yells.

“I am sorry but he is indisposed at the moment.” I reply.

“Give me his cell phone number then.”

“I’m so sorry but I am not allowed to give out that number.” I say unctuously.

“Listen I am a good friend of Flavio. Put him on the phone.”

The owner’s name is Fluvio. Some friend.

“Like I said he can’t come to the phone right now. Since you are his friend I am sure you won’t mind me telling you the correct way to say his name. F-L-U-V-I-O.”

The man abruptly hangs up.

Fuck him.

A few minutes later a very young man walks in the door holding some flowers. He wants to take his girlfriend on their first real “grown up” date. He asks if we have a table. He is polite, says please, and man he looks sooo nervous.

“How’s 7:30?” I ask smiling.

“That would be perfect.”

“I’ll put you in the window. Very romantic sir.” I say with a wink.

“That’s very cool thanks.” he replies gratefully.

Later they come in holding hands. She is thrilled with the flowers and the table. They order the cheapest entrees and suck down Cokes all night. They smile happily, talk in hushed tones, and look only at each other. I was the waiter. The tip was pretty bad. On the way out the girl slips her hand into the boy’s back pocket. Soon they are kissing on the street corner.

I watch them as I collect my meager tip. I am happy. Tonight this young couple will be making sweet love while the asshole on the cell phone explains to his wife why they are eating pizza.

All is right with the world.

32 thoughts on “Phone Skills. Some have ’em. Some don’t.”

  1. Kyle says:

    Beautiful, to know that Karma exists in the real world.

  2. Nick says:


  3. caleb says:

    thats nice, i have actually something similar happen…

  4. Chase says:

    This is my favorite post, by far.

  5. April says:

    This is my favorite, too.

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  8. Hanson says:

    That is so adorable!

  9. stephanie says:

    Here’s mine – aaand the name of my restaurant is Smith’s, shall we say..

    “Hello, Smith’s, can I help you?”

    “Hello, is this the girl at the restaurant?”
    (Well, I’m a girl, and this is a restaurant, so “I guess…yes?)


    “I need to make a reservation for six people tonight at 6:30. The names Joan and I want the round table outside.”
    (I can tell right off the bat that she’s a crazy, nasty, demanding old lady, just by her tone and her attitude).

    “Okay, the reservations actually go through the manager, so I’ll give you her number. Are you ready?”

    “Ugh..yes…wait, this is ridiculous. I’m not doing that. You’re telling me that I have to call Sarah for reservations? That’s ridiculous. Just write down, 6 at 6:30, and my name is Joan. You just write it down!”

    “Ma’am, I can’t just write it down, because we might not have room for you. But if you call sarah, the manager, she can let you know what’s available.”

    “I’m not doing that. Are you kidding me? Just write it down.”


    “Just write it there! I’m not calling her for that. I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

    “Ma’am, I can write down whatever you want me to, but you might not have a table when you come in.”

    “Fine! Just put the reser-”

    “Okay, byeee”.


    I told my boss, and a few weeks later when she wanted another reservation, someone else told her to call my boss or they won’t have a table. So she did, and she threatened my boss that she was going to eat somewhere else because she couldn’t have a certain already-reserved table, and my boss replied,

    “Be my guest.”


    -The Hamptons, New York, Home of the Douchbags

  10. Jo says:

    Okay, nevermind about the last one, this is my favorite. I have a feeling i’m going to have a lot of favorites.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Why on earth can customers not realise that good behaviour means things like free drinks and bad behaviour means sandwiches rubbed around the toilet seat and me emptying the bin in front of your table.

    Good on you for exacting karma. It’s totally within our rights to treat people how they treat us.

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  14. Middle Man says:

    I think that this is a great blog. Manners, or lack of them, is a pet hate of mine. There is no need for it. You might enjoy this:

  15. slappy says:

    Love this story!!!!

  16. Sophist FCD, who always tips at least 20%, says:

    You’re a modern-day Robbin Hood, man, robbing from the rich and giving to the people who aren’t assholes.

    Keep up the good work.

  17. radar711 says:

    Thanks a lot for this post

  18. Thea says:

    Ten bucks says that the dude on the phone is an ingratiating, simpering, obsequious brown-nose when he’s talking to his boss or a high-paying client hehehehe

    The sign of a true bastard – treating service staff like shit.

  19. Chef Green says:

    I love you, I love you, I love you, waiter! So many people in the biz just would not have noticed those things.


    aww!♥… i hate it when people are rude! i hate it even more when they think that by being rude and trying to get over you that your actually gonna try to help them. arrogance gets you nowhere, being polite will get you everything i can give you and more.

  21. sadianne says:

    I think it is so sweet you gave that table to the young couple – and were happy even though he couldn’t afford to tip well.

    One more reason to love your blog and your book.

  22. Cburns says:

    Yeah, man. That was pretty cool. fuck that guy. the kid just learned a valuable lesson. Nice work.

  23. Ross Galbraith says:

    A true gent of a waiter, Karma made that young mans night!

  24. Lucy says:

    This is definitely my favourite post.

    I once had a customer tell me on the phone that they were a regular and therefore were entitled to X, Y and Z. After her meal, I bid her and her husband goodnight and said I hoped to see them again soon, and the woman said “Oh, that’s unlikely, we live in Scotland.”

    Fucking liars.

  25. laora says:

    So cute!

  26. Eddie says:

    ngawwwww! nearly 5 years after the fact, it’s still adorable.

  27. leithold says:

    ahh…these are the times when the inner asshole is of great use and importance.

  28. PunyHobbit says:

    Believe this, if you are cool, servers/bartenders/hostesses will do just about anything to hook you up. Good tips help, but so does just being nice and polite. We will get you a great table, free drinks, and extra anything, even if we have to go head-to-head with the chef for it!!!!!

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  31. jenny says:

    to Stephanie
    ok, so the old bag shouldn’t have taken it out on you, but it is weird to have to call a manager on a seperate phone line to make reservations, i have never heard of that either, maybe it a fancy hamptons thing. Why have somewhere there to answer the phones if that person can’t even take reservations?

  32. DietaryAid says:

    I loved this one. I’d hate to think how the story would have ended if you did give the asshole the table.

  33. korf says:

    Awww, that was cute!

  34. Noelle says:

    It’s so nice to see you creating a small sense of justice in the world. To be honest, had I gone toe-to-toe with such a bully, I probably would have caved until I eventually learned to develop a backbone. Good thing I’m not a waiter!

  35. Silvio says:

    Fluvio? that’s a strange name for an italian.. You sure it’s not Fulvio?

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