No Problem

A few days ago I did a party for a repeat client; the thing is, last time this client requested a gluten free meal for herself – now she wants no onion, garlic, spinach or melon in anything. Gluten problem resolved, seemingly replaced by a new list of specific dietary restraints. No problem, we can make you a special meal. You’ve decided to make your party a back yard BBQ, ordered Greek and Potato salads to go with your hamburgers – we can accommodate your allergy request with a special meal. Wait – that would be reasonable. You want nobody to have onions or garlic, even though you just ordered a menu based on onions and garlic?  No problem – we can make your menu items without onions or garlic. Spinach and melon shouldn’t be an issue, you wisely left them off the menu.

What’s this? You want us to heat and artistically platter these frozen appetizers you bought at Costco? No problem – hope you don’t mind your dinner being half an hour late because your oven only has three racks and we have to cook the Nachos and Salmon you ordered. Excuse me, you do realize two of your frozen appetizers contain Spinach, and all of them have either onion or garlic? Never mind –  we’ll get right on it. Oh my goodness, why are you screaming? What went through your mind before traipsing across the garden in 4 inch heels? Settle down you’re making a scene, I’m moving fast as I can – please hand me your wine glass, I can’t pull you out of the soil unless your hands are free. Ah, there you go – no problem.

I’m sorry, we weren’t informed you would be an hour late. Dinner was from 6 – 8, I’m certain your host told you that on your invitation. If you wouldn’t mind waiting while we sweep up the wine glass your drunk co-worker just smashed on the patio it would be no problem to put a dinner together for you. You’re starving? No problem, the broken glass can wait.

I realize the ice cream is melting. You ordered ice and whipped cream for all these pies, your guests are too drunk to think pie.  It wouldn’t be a problem to put it in your freezer, and no I haven’t seen your deaf one eyed dog in the last few minutes. Why are you crying?  Oh; I understand – it’s been a tough day. Of course my bartender can stay later than scheduled – no problem.

It Helps If You Love Your Job

The executive assistant explained she was planning a birthday party for her boss. Navigating broken English we understood they wanted Canadian food, only the best for a party in two days. Lack of common language didn’t hinder our ability to put on a splendid party. Not surprisingly, executive assistant’s “best” involved champagne fountains, expensive scotch, and dazzling floral festooned archways dotted with twinkling lights.. Never one to judge, we pulled out the stops to make boss one of the weirdest birthday/wedding/ sweet sixteen/ 70’s disco parties I’ve laid eyes on.

Our client said everything was perfect – exactly as she imagined. As guests started to arrive it became apparent female guests fell into two distinctly different camps. The ball gown and tiara set, mingled with barely covering your panties in skin tight Lycra dresses teetering on 4 inch heels crowd. Oddly age wasn’t a factor, nor did it seem to make the slightest difference – I suppose dress code was “optional”

After dinner attention turned to the stage for speeches and video montage of boss man’s life. We found the pictures helpful, managing to piece together boss man’s rise to glory in the real estate market, despite absence of our mother tongue. Formalities over it was time for Karaoke.

As I stood next to the stage, a Lycra clad woman approached saying “help” -one of the few English words she spoke. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out her problem.  Blind sided by her period, every square inch from the edge of her skimpy garment to the top of her rhinestone heels demanded immediate attention. I led her out the back door, leaving her hunched over in the back of our van as I went to find a feminine product. No luck – the best I could do was a pitcher of warm water and two clean bar rags – one to wash up with, the other to stuff in her underwear. Her motioning for me to do the washing was met with a firm “oh, hell no”. She shrugged, washed herself, and put the bar rag in her panties.

Suddenly overcome with a sense of urgency she left the van, making a B-line for the stage. I’d missed them calling her name, I didn’t miss her perfect rendition of Lady Gaga’s I Was Born This Way.

Just another day at the office – it helps if you love your job.

Office Party Refresher Course

My years in hospitality always peak at Christmas. Office party season; the “black Friday” for ballrooms, high end venues, caterers, and event planners. The spring and summer wedding spree pales in comparison. A wedding may take an exhaustive year to plan, follows an itinerary of speeches, dances and toasts. Most people know how to behave at a wedding. Restraint and manners apply to most gatherings. In fact the only function where common sense goes out the window seems to be the Christmas party.

Far from pondering human nature, reasons to “cut loose” on the company dime are clear. That said, I feel an obligation to offer an office party refresher course. In no particular order; some basic rules to consider…..

Dress appropriately, especially if you plan to “tie one on”. Do you really want to face co-workers on Monday morning as the “hot mess” who fell out of her dress.

Your company is giving you a nice dinner, a few drink tickets, and taxi voucher home. There’s no need to “pre-drink” or sneak liquor in.

Raise your voice in advance if you are vegetarian, vegan, lactose/ gluten intolerant, or likely to expire when exposed to peanuts or shellfish. Acting like a princess after the fact will leave your tummy rumbling. If we get a heads up, we’ll lay out the red carpet, nothing less than royal treatment. Demand it without notice, the shoulder you get will be frosty cold.

Don’t steal the decorations or wear them in your hair.

Don’t ask for a pole because you want to “limbo” When gripped with desire to limbo, it’s time to go home.

Never beg for a drink after the bar is closed or “borrow” wine from another table. Don’t embarrass yourself by repeatedly claiming the server took your drink in order to get a free one. You’re drunk, we’re not. What you think is genius; is just plain silly.

Thank your employer. Always remember – your behaviour is noticed.

Lastly; if you are the “boss” no respect will be gained by a drunken Karaoke session.

The list is endless. Unfortunately this ponderer is too exhausted after the 15 hours just spent on another office party.

the office season 2 christmas party 28

From “the Office” 2006