In honor of Halloween week and inspired by some scary tales we've been hearing around the office, we're devoting some Fat City space to Service Industry Horror Stories. Over the next few days, we'll share stories of kitchen hijinks and haunted customers that would make anyone run screaming from their job.
My kitchen horror story involves a regional pizza chain where I worked as a waiter. Those I served might have horror stories of their own -- I was an admittedly bad waiter -- however, this story is mine alone to tell.
In the first several weeks on the job, as I got to know the kitchen staff, I discovered that there was a pizza chef who believed that he could woo any woman via his signature pizza. Neither the recipe nor the ingredients mattered. What did matter was the shape. The pizza chef would fire up a heart-shaped pie several times a week in an effort to win over his latest love.
Now, this would have been a fine and grand gesture if the chef's love interest was at all interested in him or even understood why she was receiving a slightly undercooked and lopsided pizza. Most of the time, the object of the chef's affection mistook it for the wrong order being delivered to her table.
Given my lack of skill as a server, I usually explained that the pizza was not my error but instead a gift from my amorous chef. At which point, I received either one or two responses. A strained thank you and an awkward half-princess wave in the chef's direction (it was an open kitchen and he watched me deliver the pie) or a refusal of the pizza, followed by my slow walk back to the kitchen, where I would offer up excuses of food allergies or diets to the crestfallen chef.
Several weeks after I started, that chef was fired for something completely unrelated. And for the rest of my short restaurant career, the pizzas came out circular. I sort of missed the tragic, hopeless optimism in those lopsided pepperoni pies.
If you've got your own Service Industry Horror Story, send it here. Just make sure it's spooky scary, like the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.
[Image via Flickr: kimblagh]