Feb 13, 2008

Rules of the game

During all these years, I've served tons of customers. Many of them I've seen more than once, and their face has become familiar, as well as their taste in food. I can tell you what dressing they like on the salad, how often they go out for pizza, what type of beer they drink, what side dish they enjoy with their chicken parmigiana, how thin their crust must be.

Does that make me their intimate confidant? I don't think so. I don't even know their name! As a matter of fact, one of my personal rules is:"Never get to know a customer by name". Because that can only lead to worse.

When Mark, the saturday night guy that always wants to sit at table 13 and would never - and I mean never - order anything else than his veal with spaghetti, followed by a slice of cheesecake, when he told us his name, everyone freaked out. BIG DISASTER! You are nice, you know, you come in, you don't talk much, in fact you don't talk at all, you are easy, freaky and predictable, so predictable that by the time you take your coat off, your veal is already frying on the pan, and you haven't even ordered yet. So why did you ruin everything?

I mean, you were perfect, never a word, just signs, credit card on the table to mean you are ready to pay, nod to the right to ask for more water, nod to the left to request extra bread. Perfect! Why did you need to tell us your name? That's not good.

Please don't, at least you, silent Mark, please don't start making me your friend. I'd say especially you, freaky Mark. I saw the horrified look on your face the night you came in and your table 13 was already taken. Big change to sit 2 numbers before, you could barely handle it. We realize you must have things your way, the same way, you must sit on table 13 on saturday night and you must have veal parmigiana with spaghetti, 2 glasses of water and a slice of cheescake. I know you must pay and sign before the cheesecake arrives to the table, I know you always have to go to the restroom after the meal, leaving your jacket on the chair, I know, we all know. But please don't make me part of it, I don't want to understand why you do what you do, I don't want to tell you my name, I don't need to know yours.

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