TalesFromYourServer: When the customer swears up and down the sky is green and chickens can swim.
Context: it’s fish and chips special night. There’s also chicken and chips or steak and chips for the so inclined, but every plate is exactly the same apart from the meat - fries, coleslaw, tomato sauce etc. Battered deep-fried chicken and battered deep-fried fish look sufficiently identical that I’ve made this mistake more than once in the past when serving, but it obviously looks and tastes different inside… one would hope.
In the middle of service, one lady imperiously beckons me over. I didn’t serve her, but we’re small and informal enough that we don’t really keep track of who’s sitting in whose ‘section’, so I drop by to see what’s wrong. She’s eaten more than half of her meal, so I assume she just wants drink refills or something.
“I ordered chicken.”
I double-check. “Yes, that’s what you have there. Is there a problem?”
“This is fish. They all got fish, you’ve given me fish as well.”
I examine the plate again. “No, I assure you that’s chicken.”
“I’ve eaten a lot of fish AND chicken in my time, I think I can tell the difference.”
By this point she’s picked up the offending meat with her hands and is squishing and deforming it, pulling bits of batter off and generally pulverising it as if it owed her money. I call over the other server, the one who actually served the table. “This is chicken, right?”
“Sure it is. I checked.”
“There you have it, ma'am.”
“It’s fucking FISH. Go ask your chef if he knows what chicken looks like.”
She’s so convinced I’m starting to doubt my own reality. I raise an eyebrow but take the plate back over to the kitchen. “Hey <chef>, this is chicken, right?”
He gives me that why-the-fuck-are-you-wasting-my-time-with-this-shit look and gives the plate a cursory inspection. “Chicken.” Unsurprising.
I swan the plate back over to the table. “The chef’s quite convinced it’s chicken as well, ma'am.”
“Well, what are you going to do about it?”
I blink. Not quite the response I imagined. I’d been hoping for a heartfelt, tearful apology or, failing that, a resentful grumble. “I’m sorry?” Not an apology. A question. Clearly this lady failed listening comprehension, though.
“You’d better be sorry. You’ve brought me the wrong meal and you’d rather lie about it than fix it. Do you think I’m stupid? Do you really think I can’t tell the difference?”
Oooh, she thinks I’m gaslighting her. That’s a new one. “Not at all, ma'am. I can assure you it’s chicken, though. I double-checked with the chef and the lady who served you.”
Unfortunately there’s no satisfyingly sassy punchline or rightful comeuppance here; she just kind of kept arguing with me until I ghosted her with a smile. There wasn’t actually anything wrong with her meal, so I couldn’t have replaced/comped it if I wanted to, and tantrums are ignored as a matter of policy. There’s only so many times I can say 'Yes, I promise you it’s chicken. No, I’m not a chef, but I asked one. Why yes, I have eaten both creatures on occasion myself. No, I don’t think you were born yesterday’ before I go crazy, so I gave one final, firm apology (for no good reason whatsoever) and excused myself to go wash the dishes that were stacking up. X.x
It always makes me cringe a little when people are so entrenched in their own mistake that they either don’t realise or refuse to admit they’re completely wrong. We’ve had her in before and she’s usually perfectly normal, but boy was she full of vitriol this St. Paddy’s Day.