Past and Present Restaurant Anecdotes


craig-headshotI found out when I was 16 years old that Daddy believed having a driver’s license meant that I was supposed to have a job when I wasn’t in school. So the summer after I got my license, I took a job working at a ladies’ shoe store downtown. (What were they thinking?) When that didn’t work out, Daddy arranged for me to work at an ice cream shop owned by a friend of his. So, I double dipped and hand packed my way through that summer and the one after that.

Knowing the “go to class or go to work” rule, I enrolled in summer school at the local junior college after my freshman year of college to avoid a third summer of being nose deep in Tutti Frutti. And, being too clever by half, I halved the summer and only signed up for the second six week session. But, since Daddy believed that six weeks was too long to go without a class or a paycheck and since he knew everyone in town, I ended up with a short term gig as a waiter. Take a moment for that visual to sink in.

But you know, I learned some important life lessons serving time at the Tara Dinner House. (No, I did not make up that name.) I discovered just how godawful some people can be, on both sides of the banquette. And, how some godawful things can happen to the food of the particularly godawful. It is now my considered opinion that every man, woman and child in these United States (such as they are these days) should have to work in a restaurant long enough to learn why no one should ever offend the wait staff. (One should never offend a hairdresser either, but that’s not the story I’m telling.)

Earlier this week, I was lunching with a friend—let’s call him Mark, Rick, or Steve—at a Mexican restaurant I think I’m supposed to be boycotting. Right in the middle of our conversation, MROS interrupted himself and exclaimed, “That woman has a Trump bag!” I really wasn’t sure what that meant, so I turned around in my seat to see. And there, on a table a few yards away, was a lunch box looking handbag with the name “TRUMP” emblazoned on it under an American flag. I stared at it long enough for the woman to catch my gaze, at which point I transferred my gaze to her. It is possible—I can’t be sure—that the look went from gaze to glare at that moment.

Now, bless her heart, here she was carrying this bag, being waited on by some folks who might not exactly share her opinions. My long ago experience at the Tara Dinner House suggested that, under these circumstances, her order might get the personal touch. Literally.

Later, MROS interrupted our conversation a second time to let me know that the Trump woman was leaving. As I watched her walk through the restaurant, I noticed that she was carrying her TRUMP bag as if it were the Ark of the Covenant. That is to say, in her arms, with the TRUMP name facing in. Decidedly hidden from view for the long walk out. Maybe I wasn’t the only one giving her some side eye.

I’m not saying she shouldn’t carry that bag, but people need to own what they do. My goodness, I was carrying a bag when just the act of my carrying a bag was enough to get a fair measure of glares. (No one seems to notice much anymore, maybe because so many people have visible tattoos.) I could have shown her how to take that bag and swing it by the handle as you pass anyone giving you the side eye. If she had done that, I might have turned to MROS and said, “Girl, I’m scared of her.” Then again, I might have done some bag swinging of my own. A tote bag, mind you, not some little lunch box baguette.

By the way, that TRUMP bag sells online for a price of $500 with a couple of similar bags for $450. (The most expensive bag I could find with Clinton’s name on it was less than $80.) I don’t know for sure what that means, but I thought you should know. You probably should also know, if you don’t already, why you should never offend a hairdresser. Maybe we’ll talk about that next week, if I don’t end up at a Christmas party with someone wearing a Trump “Make Christmas Great Again” sweater.



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Well, Let Me Say This About That is an interesting twist on current events, as told by Dallas' finest and funniest Craig McCartney.

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