Saturday, March 12, 2011

why do we get all the freeloaders?

Mid-week we get a request for a booking for a party of twenty, for a girl's birthday. She wants to spend a maximum of €60 - four bottles of prosecco. A bottle costs €16, so she wants a little discount, plus she will bring a cake which our waiter will slice and serve ... and of course, service is included - the plates and flute glasses and the dishwashing, and the laying out of tables for the twenty or so people. Although they will occupy most of the upstairs room, she there is no rental fee for the space. Never mind that a table for two would generate €60 with much less effort. On the night itself, she saunters downstairs every so often, 25 years old with the ways of an 18 year old. She apologises that many of her friends haven't turned up and so she would like one less bottle ... this happens several times throughout the night, despite the fact that the waiter notes all twenty places are occupied at the table, with more standing. When she tries to renegue on bottle number two, he mentions this. In the end, the young lady pays a grand total of €35 for entertaining her large group of friends.

The following night we have a booking for another party of 15 this time. They want prosecco and antipasti and fruit - plus the service and space, naturally, all included in €100. So €60 for the 4 botles of prosecco, leaves €40 for the fruit and antipasti - just over €2 per person. Errr, profit? And the man who made the booking asked for a discount on this ... As if he were doing us a favour. We decide that we need to ask for half of the amount upfront. And because there is so little work mid-week we are obliged to accept these customers. Hmmmm

To top it all off, the band on Friday night get ratty. Like all the groups who play, they have their meal and two drinks on us; but this was not enough for this Depeche Mode cover band. They wanted their 7 Santa Teresa rums (that's practically the whole bottle given the big italian measures) and 6 beers on top of that for free too. They have tried this on the previous two occasions they played with us, so they know the limits. Instead of thanking us for their meal and the fact that we also let their girlfriends eat for free - the singer and his sidekick made a huge scene, calling mio marito stingy, of all things. Outside the bar, of course, so others could hear. Luckily, there were only a few people left. My husband stayed calm and told him he was probably being so obnoxious because he was drunk. That was no doubt true. This brings on a Sunday depression about the kind of people we have to deal with. Rude, arrogant, figli di papa (spoilt little rich kids), provincial, narrow-minded freeloaders. Most of whom have rarely if ever left this town, never mind Sicily or Italy, to get some manners and culture. Hmmm I begin to suspect there is limit to the time we can keep doing this...

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