Sunday, April 5, 2009

I found the new crazies!

You know, I always thought that it was just the nature of the jobs I had that I work so hard and such long hours. I realise now that maybe it why I chose them..
Anywhoo, thats my excuse for no posts in ages. Life has been hectic, settling back into my routine, getting to know my friends again, finding places to live. (I currenlty live with Uncle Nazi. He starts sentences with 'now, you KNOW how tolerant I am.. BUT... and goes on to explain 500 reasons why he isnt. Its a temporary measure. Own place to follow soon)

I do, however, have a new job. Which I absolutely love. I am the Guest Relations and Training Officer for a gorgeous pair of restuarants in Cape Town. Despite the massive dip in restaurant sales, and tourism, our restaurants are booming. We walk around and the restaurants around us have more empty tables than full, and we have a waiting list as long as my arm. Its wonderful.

However, one of my roles is Events Coordinator. This means that every group of over 30 that comes through our door, I have to look after. Everything from set menus to corporate functions, to special dietary requirements, to tables for bodygaurds. Thats me. It can be fun, it can be stressful, and every now and then I have a desire to shoot people in the head. Must be a hangover from Sudan.

To give you an idea of the people I deal with, I shall relate a story. I havent exaggerated in any way. I promise.

A woman I shall call Sue contacted me for an Event. The group is a a bunch (35) of businessmen in the booze industry being entertained by a local brewery.
No problem, we can turn on the style and make it a great corporate event. I send her all our set menus to choose from, as well as a form to fill in for any dietary requirement. I get all the info back except the dietary info. No problem. I hounded her for a few days, and finally, the day before the event, she sent me the form. On it are two Kosher people. *blink*

I called her immediately and asked her how Kosher these two are. "Are they the sort that say steak with creamy muchroom sauce, but hold the bacon... or are they the separately packed, signed and sealed sort?" I asked apprehensively.

"Not sure", says Sue, "I will get back to you."

About two hours later she called me back
"Yup, fully Kosher"

"Um.. Sue, you know we arent a Kosher restaurant, right?" I asked.

"Well, what do you mean?"

(Has the woman never MET a Jewish person??? This is Cape Town for heavans sake!)

"Well, we serve meat and milk, we serve crustaceons, and we serve pork.. ALL of which are completely outlawed for Kosher food," I explain.

"Oh". She sounded dismayed, as if she had had no idea we might not be able to cater. "Well, cant you do something for them, like prepare just a kosher meal for them?"

I stifled a scream of frustration, and managed to explain that no, we cant prepare kosher food, because we dont have a kosher kitchen. This woman knew so little about the requirements of people with special diets, it kinda amazed me she was functioning as a tour leader.

I called around, and managed to find a local Kosher deli that would not only prepare and deliver a sealed Kosher meal, but would also match the food as closely as possible to the set menu planned for the night. It was getting on to 4pm in the afternoon when I called her to tell her that all was confirmed and that I had managed to arrange some Kosher meals for the clients.

"Oh one last thing," she says as I close up the conversation. "I just found out that one of the guys is celebrating his birthday. Can you make a cake for him?"

3 long deep breaths.

'We dont omake cakes here, and thats a large order, cake for 35 people.... but you are welcome to bring one with you."

"No that just wont do. can you outsource one for us?"

*sigh* "yes, Sue, let me see what I can do"

I rushed around, found a bakery that was willing to take the order so late in the day and managed to get in the order just before they closed for business at 5pm. I called Sue back and told her the cake would be ready when they arrived, told her the exorbitant cost, and she just accepted it, then said "Hey, can you ask them to make it Kosher?"

Grinding my teeth together I told her no. I told her that the Kosher people would have to go without cake. Then I told her that I had another call coming through, and to have a nice day, and put down the phone.

I stood in the restaurant for a few minutes, and breathed. Just that. Breathed.

The next day the event group was due to arrive at 6.30pm after a sunset cruise round the bay. No people at 7pm. No one at 8pm.

Finally they arrived at 8.30pm, drunk as lords. No problem, I can handle this. got them all seated, fuond the contact person, aske dher where the Kosher people sitting so I could tell the waiter.

No idea she says. Ask around. I finaly found the names from my list, approached the customers, and endured their drunk and scornful laughter as they cracked up at the very thought that they might require a kosher meal. Apparently, no one at the table had requested Kosher. they had mentioned they were Jewish. Thats about it.

Next I went to the contact person again and asked who the birthday boy was so we could bring the cake out at the appropriate time. "Oh hes not here" she slurred. "dont worry, we will take it with us and have it at the lunch at the brewery tomorrow."

I sighed and walked away, banged my head against the wall a few times, and left. The waiters could handle the rest.

I arrived at work the next day, and at about 12 noon, I recieved a phone call from Sue. I had just finished reading the manager handover report from the night before. 'Group was riotous and had to be repeatedly asked to be quiet, for disturbing other customers. Group was rude to the hostesses, claled them cheap escorts to lure in the rich men. group make a speach mid way through dinner service. Customers asked to be moved away from the group... etc'

"Hi Sarah. Thanks so much for the function. They all had a wonderful time, food was great, very happy customers. Thanks for getting the cake too. By the way, the customers forgot to take it with them. Just deliver it to the brewery for them. they will need it in about an hour. Thanks."

'Uh, Sue, we are a restaurant, we dont do deliveries"

"Oh I am sure you can find a way to have it delivered, cant you?"

"No..... I cant," and put down the phone.