Annoyances and Bad Form

Time for my annual Christmas party ponder. A grumpy, exhausted caterer’s list of annoyances and bad form –

You failed to inform us “Sparky” is a very bad dog. You – executive of a major corporation hosting a Christmas party with your lovely wife. Never mind ridiculous expectations and timeline, we’ll make it fabulous. Pardon me? Sparky is snarling at my chef because he doesn’t like men wearing caps? Would you like a hair in your prime rib? Never mind. Oh, Sparky is hungry. You want my chef to feed him while carving the beef? Maybe you should feed Sparky and put him in another room. How silly of me, Sparky is much too precious. Just watch him beg for food as your guests awkwardly pretend Sparky isn’t drooling at their feet. Let me assure you – bad dogs are neither cute or entertaining, Sparky is a very bad dog.

Bad dogs have nothing on bad people. Being a reflection of his clueless environment, Sparky pales in comparison to blithering clunk-heads oblivious to their surroundings. You’re a guest at a company dinner – guests at 6 pm, passed appetizers and drinks for an hour, please be seated for dinner at 7 pm. Look around – this isn’t a restaurant, did you notice the kitchen we set up behind pipe and drape. Never mind, please be seated. Oh wait, you changed tables and now are making a scene because servers couldn’t find you to deliver a gluten free vegan meal? My sincerest apologies, if you would be so kind as to take your seat we’ll have you eating in no time.

Place setting jumpers and bad dogs pale next to passed appetizer garbage dumpers. Garbage dumpers catapult beyond canape lunges. Pushing guests aside to ensure first crack at a platter,  only embarrasses individuals oblivious to polite decorum. Taking an appetizer then depositing the pick, spoon or napkin back on the tray of canapes epitomizes bad form. Garbage dumping eclipses annoyance, forcing an immediate server about face to the kitchen. Clearly common sense eludes these geniuses – why should they care when a full platter returns to the kitchen for a scrub because their garbage prevents servers from feeding co-workers.

Baked Brie is not a pie. Yes, I see you put half a pound on your plate but no, I don’t have a fork. See the little knife for spreading it on sliced baguette? Notice scores of people politely waiting to spread a morsel of Brie on that bread? Is grumpiness trickling from corners of my forced smile? Fair enough, you probably haven’t seen a wheel of Brie large enough for fifty people – figure it out – I still don’t have a fork.

I’m sorry, your host didn’t order coffee. No, I don’t have any hot water with lemon. Can I make an exception for you? With all due respect please don’t confuse my good nature with perceived ability to pull a kettle out of my ass. I’m sure you’re lovely, mean well and truly desire a warm beverage – please look around, this isn’t a restaurant, there isn’t a pot of coffee in the back. This is the observation deck of an office tower – even if I could boil water, your host didn’t pay for hot beverage service. Can you understand my limitations, has it occurred to you one exception opens a can of worms I haven’t the staff, authority or inclination to deal with. Do you really think one exception ends with you, that none of 200 in this room will demand equal consideration? You don’t like my attitude, poor customer service? Take it up with your host – I don’t have a freaking kettle.

Why are you blocking our service area? Are you vacant, oblivious, gripped with self importance vast enough to deem it your right to stand where you damn well please? How many times have I politely asked you to step aside? Are you passive aggressive, amused by my servers struggling to maneuver around you, honestly this inconsiderate? Did you notice that one ton truck outside? What crosses your mind each time I ask you to move? Are you conscious of exhausted staff struggling with enormous loads, dolly after dolly of heavy equipment hauled outside, loaded on that truck? Silly me, of course you didn’t.

I’m tired – Christmas party season is over in a week. Like childbirth and tequila, destined to seem like a good idea the next time it rolls around.






11 thoughts on “Annoyances and Bad Form

  1. so the real reason for your blog is to collect all these anecdotes in preparation for a post-retirement tell all! I can see it now. A tome to rival Studs Terkel’s Working!

  2. I was looking forward to this post – they lighten up my day and make me feel OK about the crap around the end of the year celebrations. That time when people who’ve managed to avoid each other for a whole year, get together under the invisibility blanket of alcohol which erases embarrassing behavior forever.

    Forever? No, of course not, because we have Notes and her elves weaving through the crowd taking note with grinding teeth behind professional smiles.

    On behalf of all the guests, I would like to thank you for the wonderful experience you give to all of them and us even if we may not remember it the next day. Three cheers and happy post-Christmas wishes.

    • You sir, single handily warmed my soaking wet heart.I just walked in the door, pouring rain (on the verge of snow) I finished unloading what I could a few minutes ago (solo because one of my staff dropped a box of wine on her foot) following a 12 hour marathon of 120 guests for a repeat client who knows how to put on a party. (Wish his guests were as wise) Would you pour a glass of water down a ice sculpture luge? You wouldn’t even have to know what that was to understand water flowing through a plastic tube encased in a massive block of ice is likely to freeze.(If you’ve never seen one an ice luge delivers shots of alcohol with razzmatazz – massive ice sculpture of company logo, funnel on top connected to spiraled plastic tubing, dramatic lighting and shot glasses – you get the idea) My night starts with a vacant guest pouring water in the top – it made it half way before forming an icy blockage. No you numskull, it has to be alcohol! I spend the next half hour on a ladder trying to dislodge the blockage.(Putting the next half hour in perspective requires you knowing this was an engineering company) A few drinks in, engineers come up with a plan. Get this – engineers produce a coat hanger. Do I have a lighter to heat the wire? I caught myself before erupting in hysterical laughter, politely informing them that coat hanger wire heated with a cigarette lighter was absurd for countless reasons.I said – do you have a 3 or 4 foot length of computer cable, or anything like that you’d be willing to sacrifice.All I need to do is treat it like a clogged drain, twist and feed the wire along the tubing, turning it like an auger. Engineer dudes wouldn’t buy it, not even willing to try.Guess they didn’t want a 56 year old female event manager making them feel stupid.Sigh.

      I’m starting to ramble. Just know how happy your comment made me 🙂

      • I would have loved to quietly unblock that drain for you. I’d have started with pouring salt in and than work it down with your computer cable. Rince with vodka and ask the engineers to help themselves to shots until the salty taste was gone.

        Thing is that these guys don’t know that a) you have seen more blocked drains than they have and b) you’ve visited the nitrogen rivers of Pluto.

        Kick back and chill, Notes.

      • Too funny – I forgot to mention the box of salt in my hand. Dumb asses! Note to self – pack my own damn length of cable from now on.

        As for chilling, just cracked a fresh, icy Strongbow cider, to which I’m toasting the magnificence of our universe. ( dumb asses aside ). Ah Pluto – off to earthsky for an ounce of stabilizing reason. Big hug 🙂

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