What’s the stupidest question you have ever been asked? I’m not referring to those preposterous pub table questions like “who would you rather sleep with, SuBo or a mound of dung?” or “if you could choose, would you rather be dropped into a volcano or beheaded with a spoon?” These are stupid. I’m talking about actual questions asked by the hum-drum individuals of the every day bustle? Got one? Right, now where were you when said question was asked?
I’m going to hazard a guess and say that it was asked by a waiter or waitress in a café here in the UAE. Did I get it right? No it’s not sorcery, its common knowledge. There is something about waiters and waitresses in the UAE that, for reasons I can’t quite fathom, means that they all ask daft questions. Not all, the guys in the Horse and Jockey and Paco’s for example are brilliant. But elsewhere…
Recently I popped into a coffee outlet and asked for an Americano coffee to go, and a croissant. I waited several years and eventually the
cold brown mud arrived in a take-out cup. The croissant appeared on a plate. The lady behind the counter became very confused as I persisted to explain that if I wanted the coffee to take out, then there was a high probability that I wanted the croissant to go too. “Ah Sir you want this one?” as she held the brown paper bag aloft. “Yes” I retorted with exhaustion. This happens frequently.
Yesterday my friend and I went to a café renowned for good food but diabolical service. We ordered eggs Benedict for yours truly and a chicken sandwich for my chum. My friend also ordered a chicken soup to go, so she could have something to eat at work later. The response of the waitress? “Would you like it today?” No, next Tuesday will be fine…
There’s more, when asking for a white coffee I was told that they don’t sell white coffee, so I had to write down a set of instructions that explained that a white coffee begins life as a black coffee and the simple addition of milk completes the transition. I was given some of that Rainbow crap, which is not milk. More? Yes, plenty. Being English I generally make my orders with a “side of chips”, not “fries”. So when having asked for a side of chips, I was asked if wanted fries on the side… I once asked for the cheque for a meal, and was asked back if I wanted the bill too… Don’t get me wrong, a lot of them are great. The waiters and waitresses in my local bars are fine.
Sometimes I dread going to a restaurant more than if I had to scale the outside of the Burj Khalifa without a harness. The psychological trauma of ordering anything is just too much after a hard day at the office. So is there anything we can do to manage the headache? Fortunately I am here as always with a solution. Once seated at your table (assuming you are not asked to sit in a bin), present your waiter of waitress with the following aptitude test:
- Read all of the following questions and instructions.
- What animal goes moo?
- Please ignore instruction 1 and go directly to question 10.
- Who was the Greek God of fire?
- Who scored Wimbledon’s 36th minute winner in the 1988 FA Cup final?
- What is name given to the event whereby a flower absorbs the suns rays?
- Touch your nose.
- Please stand on the table and do the Macarena.
- Make a sound like a sheep.
- Congratulations. Now I will decide whether you are smart enough to be my waiter or waitress.
It may cause some confusion at first, so as a favour to you all I’m going to go out and test it. I’ll be back in an hour.
1 hour later.
Well I’m back and sadly the aptitude doesn’t work. My waitress did well. She didn’t know anything about photosynthesis, but nor did she do the Macarena or “Baa” like a sheep. Sadly, my coffee turned up on a plate and my milk on a fork… And then I was asked if I wanted salt in it.
Back to the drawing board.