November 27, 2007

It was a New York moment. I was having lunch with my agent, who’d arrived half an hour late due to a dental appointment hold up. It was a very chic, very busy little place, and I felt underdressed—no tie, no jacket, just me and a leather coat. We had been discussing contracts and potential EU publishers for my next book. Everything was going well until the bouillabaisse arrived. Margaret took one look at it and pronounced it “too tomato-y.” Then she tasted it. No, she didn’t like it. I saw a look of dismay cloud the waiter’s face. Keeping in mind that we’d already kept the staff waiting, my WASP personality began to squirm. Could we really complain about the food after our own indiscretion?

The waiter went away. Margaret looked satisfied at having said her piece. For an agent, she’s extremely nice and well mannered, but she’s also Eastern European where, I gather, people complain when they don’t like something. Moments passed. A very well turned out woman appeared at our table to say she’d heard that the bouillabaisse was not to "our" liking. Margaret nodded. Indeed, it had been much better the previous Saturday, she said. I waited to be shot or, at the very least, shoved out of the restaurant with a snide comment about my ghetto attire.

Not so. The woman thanked us for commenting on the food, and assured us she would inform the owner that the bouillabaisse was not up to par. Comments like ours, she declared, were the only way a restaurant knew it was doing its job.

More moments passed. The same woman returned, looking even more well turned out, apologized for interrupting again, and said that she had ascertained that the bouillabaisse had indeed been made by a different chef the previous Saturday. To make up for this, she would take it off our bill. After a little polite demurring (I told you she’s well mannered), Margaret accepted.

It was my own private New York moment right here in dullsville.

No comments:


All materials on this website copyright 2007 Design by Transform Interactive .\\edia