Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Are You Messing With Me?" ; A Tale of Cinna-Man and the Cola Wars

Last week Cap'n Shack-Fu and I headed down to Lewisville one night to have dinner with PigPen and Cap'n Peanut at Logan's Roadhouse, which is Shack-Fu's favorite steak place. As soon as our waiter took our drink orders, Shack asked him if he would mix up some cinnamon and butter together so Shack could have some cinna-butter for his rolls*. The waiter gave him an odd look and then headed off to the kitchen. When he came back, he just had a little cup of cinnamon and asked Shack-Fu if Shack wanted to mix it himself, or if he really wanted the waiter to do it. A patient Shack explained to him that usually when he requested it the waitress would put the butter and cinnamon in a bigger bowl and mix it all up until it was a nice, thick, cinnamony paste. The waiter gave him a serious look and asked "Are you messing with me?"

Now, normally, this question might not have been too surprising considering that this was basically a HyperForce 3000 gathering -- I give you our evening at On the Border as Exhibit A -- but for one reason or another none of us were feeling particularly HyperForcey, so the accusation of tomfoolery took Shack-Fu off guard; he quickly said no, he wasn't messing with the waiter, and that the wait staff had always been happy to do it for him before. "

Are you sure you're not thinking of Texas Roadhouse?" the guy asked next. No, Shack-Fu assured him, he wasn't -- not feeling it necessary to inform the waiter that at Texas Roadhouse you don't have to request them to mix stuff up for you, since they have it already ready to go -- and he asserted that if the waiter asked his co-workers they would confirm that such a thing had been done many times before. "I can do it if you don't want to," the always courteous Shack-Fu continued, "but if you wouldn't mind getting a bigger bowl and doing it for me, that would be great!"

The waiter finally grudgingly agreed to go back and mix some up**, and when he returned he was obviously still half-expecting some sort of "Gotcha!" from us; apparently he had gone ahead and asked all of his co-workers, and none of them had ever heard of such a thing, and they all warned the guy that he was being messed with***. "Are you sure it was this Logan's where they did it?" he asked Shack, obviously not realizing that questioning your customer isn't exactly the best way to earn a good tip.

But in retrospect that's not too surprising, since very little he did that evening showed that he knew how to earn a good tip -- and I'm not just saying that because the only time he brought me a refill it was filled with hated Dr. Pepper. Suppose I can't blame him too much, as he was probably just a little confused thanks to PigPen and I going through the same routine we go through every time we're at a restaurant together:

Me: I'd like a Coke, please
PigPen: Give him a Dr. Pepper!
Me: No! Coke!
PigPen: Yes! Dr. Pepper!

As of this date we have not gone so far as to devolve into fisticuffs in public due to such an exchange, but I occasionally think it's only a matter of time****.

Anyway, most of the time our little back-and-forth will initially catch the wait-staff off-guard, but they will quickly clue in to the fact that it's just The Lovable PigPen tormenting me as usual*****; however, this poor creature waiting on us that particular evening pretty much froze in his tracks like a deer in headlights at our banter. When he accidentally brought me a Dr. Pepper, I was not entirely surprised. Disgusted and offended, sure, but surprised, no.

But even beyond the drink mix-up and questioning of the validity of the cinna-butter request, our waiter's performance was sub-par; not quite Valentine's Day Meal Massacre bad, mind you, but, pretty pitiful nonetheless.

*As you may recall, one of Shack's other nick names is Cinna-Man, due to his love of the cinna-butter
**I think it was around this time that PigPen opined that Shack's persistence was earning us meals seasoned with our waiter's spit
***This struck Shack-Fu as odd, as he couldn't believe that nobody working there had ever had a request for fresh made cinna-butter before; he and I eventually decided that more than likely the poor waiter was indeed being messed with, but by the rest of his co-workers and not the Shack-man.
****Just a few days earlier I had narrowly avoided a Dr. Pepper sneak attack at lunch when the waitress came by to ask for drink orders while I was in the rest-room; luckily Trouble stepped in and saved me from the horror, much to PigPen's consternation.
*****For the record******, PigPen isn't alone in the cola torment; he can usually count on Shack-Fu, Li'l Random, and Mei-Mei joining in his cause. Luckily, I have allies as well in the form of Cap'ns Cluck and Peanut.
******Also for the record, trust me, if I could find some way to torment PigPen as easily he as he torments me, I would do so in a heartbeat. No innocent victim, I, just an inept attacker


Flunky lover said...

You may want to give Shack-Fu a present of a small container of cinnamon that he could bring with him to a restaurant. He could mix his own butter and cinnamon and you wouldn't get spit in your food.