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The Spaghetti Arrabiata Bitch Customer

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 30 June 2013

It is two days since Friday but I am still irked by a total bitch who came into Real Man Pizza Company that lunchtime. Our Clerkenwell quirky Celtic Italian restaurant was packed out, having to seat some folks in the basement so busy was the session, and she came in with six very charming colleagues one of whom had been in earlier that week when we had had a long chat about this that and the other. I ensured they had the best table we have.

Noting that we were flat out, the other six ordered drinks quickly but she just said “You are Bob” to me. Er…no I am Tom. “Oh I was told you were called Bob”. Her colleagues shook their heads. Eventually she asked for tap water after all her colleagues had been served. Her intent was not to make life easy.

This lady wanted the set menu. But would you mind not doing penne arrabiata with chicken but spaghetti arrabiata with chicken? I guess the concept of set menus is a just a bit above some folks but, since I rather like her colleague who was in earlier in the week, I assented.

In a rushed day she was in fact presented with penne arrabiata with chicken. I cannot eat that she said. No problem said I, give me two minutes and I shall have a Spaghetti version on your table. No! No! No! She insisted. “I have to rush back to the office”.  She is obviously a very important person.

Fifteen to twenty minutes later as her colleagues finished eating she was still there. I have knocked the cost of the pasta off your bill I said (rather irked that I could have had a replacement dish with her well in time). No No No. I want the cost of my salad taken off as well. In other words she wanted to eat for free despite the fact that her reason for rejecting the offer to put the correct dish on her table was clearly invalid.

The woman was determined to make a scene and was sitting in the middle of a crowd of tables. So I relented. Slowly she got up, then dithered for a few more minutes as her colleagues worked out how to split the bill, and then walked out smugly, having won a victory. The sense of embarrassment her colleagues felt was palpable. They made a point of saying how good the food was. The nice woman who had been in earlier that week and I had a chat and she said she’d be back this week. She will be most welcome.

As for the obviously very important person? I guess some folk just get a kick out of scoring tiny victories. I know that “the customer is always right” but in this case I rather think that this customer (I lose nothing in saying this since her presence in my establishment has to date resulted in negative income and so I cannot say I would accept repeat business in the unlikely event that she were to appear here again), is just a total bitch. If her nice colleagues are reading this, you are always most welcome and late night espressos on the house will remain par for the course. But your very important colleague is not welcome here again.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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