The High Cost of Free Stuff
It’s Thursday night and I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed that a pharmaceutical company reserved a back table for twelve people at seven o’clock. I’m annoyed because the pharmacy rep is a snooty power-pantsuited bitch. I’m annoyed that she’s transformed the back of my restaurant into an amateurish version of my old high-school audio-visual department. But I’m especially annoyed that it’s eight o’clock and only four people have shown up.
“I think we can split that pharmacy table back into four tops,” I tell Louis, the waiter. “No one else seems to be coming.”
“She wants to keep the tables together in case more doctors show up,” Louis replies.
“We’re getting crowded. We need those tables.”
“She’s not gonna budge.”
“Is she done with her audio-visual stuff?”
I think for a minute. The restaurant’s filling up with walk-ins. Pantsuit’s table’s a big waste of space. I can seat eight more people if she surrenders some real estate.
“Compromise Louis.” I say, “Tell her she can have a six top. That way she’s covered if more doctors show and you salvage a two and four top out of the deal.”
“Sounds good,” Louis replies.
Louis goes to the back and talks to the drug rep. Pantsuit grudgingly frees up some seats. Just in time too. Four heavy spending regulars walk in without a reservation.
“Why, a table just opened up,” I say to the new arrivals. “Follow me.”
I escort the four top to the back and seat them next to the pharmacy rep’s table. Pantsuit, obviously unhappy, phasers me with a look that could lacerate steel. But her negative energies don’t stand a chance against my patented waiter force field. Her psychic blast ricochets harmlessly off my beatific smile.
“How is everything Madam,” I say, turning to Pantsuit. “Can I get you anything?”
Pantsuit continues to glare at me. I’d return the look but my thousand yard waiter stare is out for repairs.
“Everything’s fine,” Pantsuit finally says. “Thank you.”
“I hope your meeting’s a success,” I reply.
Pantsuit looks grim.
I go back to my section and take care of my tables. The rest of the night goes smoothly. Around nine thirty things start slowing down. Pantsuit’s finished with her dinner and is packing up her AV equipment when the door chimes. A rather frazzled looking guy in a raincoat walks through the door.
“I’m Doctor Soborsky,” the man says. “Are the Acme Pharmacy people still here?”
“Yes sir,” I say gesturing to the back, “They’re…….”
The doctor ignores the rest of my sentence and walks to the back. The pharmacy rep greets him with artificial warmth. The Doctor sits down and orders four racks of lamb – to go.
While the lamb’s cooking he drinks two glasses of wine, barely looks at the sales material Pantsuit’s showing him, and fidgets nervously in his seat. When the to go order comes out of the kitchen he grabs the bags, says a quick goodbye, and runs out the door. He never even took off his coat. I almost feel sorry for Pantsuit.
Louis comes up to me with Pantsuit’s bill. Acme Pharmaceutical has an account with us. I settle the bill and calculate Louis’s tip. Dr. Soborsky drank $22 worth of wine and took $112 of food home – all for half listening to Pantsuit explain why her company’s poison is better than the other guys.
“OK Louis,” I say, “Here’s your tip.”
“I thought that was gonna be a twelve top,” Louis mutters.”Fucking doctors.”
“They’re always late or they don’t show up to these things,” I reply. “Trust me I know. I used to work with doctors.”
“Did you see that asshole walk out of here with four racks of lamb?” Louis says. “Not bad for sitting around ten minutes.”
“And people wonder why prescription drugs are so expensive,” I reply.� “Research and development my ass. Drug companies waste millions on assholes like that doctor.”
“If I didn’t have insurance my Lipitor would cost $183 a month,” Louis grunts.
“It’s a fucking scam Louis,” I say bitterly. “A fucking scam.”
I look towards the back. Pantsuit’s packing up her stuff. She looks tired and unhappy. I might be a bitch too if I had to deal with rich and arrogant people always looking out for free stuff.
Wait a minute…………….
Maybe I should ask Pantsuit out on a date. We’d have a lot in common.