Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Lost in translation?

Perhaps it's my sense of humour, but I always find issues in restaurants through waiting staff misunderstanding my request hilarious rather than irritating.

And it happens frequently, even in high end restaurants. You can always apportion blame to poor management and training, or instead, just put it down to our basic human failings.

We all try to listen, but nine times out of ten we don't hear. Instead, we plough on hastily thinking we know the answers.

I had another comical moment in the restaurant of a well regarded four star country hotel which serves a dinner menu for a fixed price.
It went something like this:

Waiter: "Here is your fresh oven baked bread sir. is everything OK?"
Andy: "All good thanks. May I have some olive oil please?"
Waiter: "Of course sir. You know there is a charge for that?"
Andy:  "Really? That's unusual. Must be very good then so let's try some."

The head waiter approaches after 5 minutes to tell me:

"We are just getting your order from the bar."

Andy: " Thanks. Just out of curiosity, do you have some very special hand made olive oil?"

Head Waiter: "Not sure sir, I have only been here for three days, but I can check. Why do you ask?"
Andy: "Well, I just requested some some olive oil and was told I would have to be charged extra for it."

At this point, my original waiter materialises with a bowl of olives and proudly places them in the centre of the table.

"Your olives sir.I do hope you enjoy them."

Andy: "Thank you but I actually ordered olive oil. For the bread?"

At which point the head waiter and the waiter look at me, and then at each other and rather sheepishly move aside for a short discussion.

Of course, it all turns out well in the end. I get a lot of apologies from both waiters and we all have a giggle about it.

Anyone have any funny restaurant stories they would like to share?

Monday, 26 September 2016

French Cheese anyone?

On a recent trip to the USA I had an amusing experience at a very fancy resort hotel. This was, it must be said, one of the very best resorts in the country and i was enjoying my stay there immensely.

I had arrived for breakfast, and instead of the usual very tasty American fare, I asked my lovely server for some cheese.

"Do you have any nice cheeses?" I asked in my politest voice.

"Sure Mr. Mossack" she replied, "Let me go check for you."

She returned a few moments later with some slices of processed burger cheese. Not quite what I had imagined she would return with.

"Thanks, but I was hoping for something a little more substantial, perhaps something European maybe?:"

She dutifully retreated to the kitchen and returned after some time....

"Well I found something French for you, it is called a Bry I think."

Not wanting to douse her enthusiasm with correct spellings or pronunciation, I got the gist and looked very happy.

"But I also found this one too. I am not sure where it comes from but it is called Cam and Bert."

It was at this point that I lost it.

I realise I should have used more restraint, but I couldn't help myself.

"Cam and Bert it is then."

I had mental images of French dairy farmers running for a ropes to hang themselves with.

God bless America.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Special Branch comes to my rescue

I had a genuine emergency last week at Gatwick airport. It was all there; shortness of breath, perspiration, panic, chest pain.
The works.
The cause of it?
I had left my electronic tablet in the main lounge at Gatwick.
Normally of course, this emergency could have been handled with calm efficient ease, reporting it to the relevant authorities etc. However, in this particular situation, time was very much against me.

I am not normally one of those people who arrive at the departure gate with hours to spare. I have always thought this is a total waste of human life hours and anyone who indulges in this practice should be given a severe talking to. However, last Monday before a flight to Madeira, I did just that. I thought to myself, I have nothing much else to do here, so I might as well saunter slowly along the three miles to gate 35 surely, the furthest gate in airport history.

Having finally arrived I reach for my tablet to watch a movie while I'm waiting, only to find it's not there and I must have left it on a seat in the main lounge. So much for sauntering. Now I am running all the way back to try and find it. Along the way, I bump in to Steve, wearing a smart suit and an earpiece. He looks like a security person I think to myself.

"Excuse me, are you security?"
"No sir, I am Sussex Please Special Branch."
"OK near enough" I say. " I have left my tablet in the lounge and I only have 30 minutes before my plane leaves."
"Right then" Says Steve "we need to find it pronto"
And just like that we are both on a mission.

We get to the scene of the crime and not a sign of my lost tablet. we interview potential witnesses, shop managers and restaurant staff but to no avail.

I'm out of time, so I leave my details with Steve who promises to check with Lost Property and hopefully "you might get lucky and pick it up when you return"

Of course, now I am late for the gate and run all the way back by which time my name is being called as all the passengers are on the plane.

As I get to the now empty gate my phone rings. "Andy, it's Steve. I've found it! I'm on my way to you now"

Amazing. Unfortunately the gate staff are having none of it. "You must board the plane now sir. It will not wait."

"You don't understand" I plead. "This is an emergency situation and I am waiting for a delivery"
As they shake their heads and threaten to boot me off the flight, Steve arrives like the cavalry waving my tablet triumphantly.

What a guy.

My eternal thanks go out to this gentleman who without doubt saved my day. Sussex Police, you are some team and I thanks you from the bottom of my heart!