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Buffet lunch…

A Mexican restaurant. A buffet. All you can eat for £5.50. A waitress on the door refusing entry for our party of 10. Not because the restaurant is full – there’s maybe only 20 other people in and room for five times that number. But because we’re a group. “We can’t do groups that big, not at lunch. It’s a busy time for us.” She failed to grasp the proposal we put to her that we could just be treated as five pairs of customers. “It’s not that, it’s just that there are ten of you. It’s lunch. It’s our busy time.” Of course it is. It’s lunch. You advertise a buffet lunch. Mexican food. All you can eat for £5.50. You run a restaurant, surely you expect to be busy at times such as lunch? Isn’t that why you’re there? We were told we had to wait for 30 minutes…at least. Some of us decided to go to the bar and get a beer in – and were promptly ignored by the same waitress. “I’m busy doing an order,” she mumbled, although found the time to deal with another customer who must have been wearing cleaner shoes or something. No wonder people that work in the catering industry are on low wages. They’re rubbish at what they do. Anyway, it was no way to treat a party of journalists, especially when our numbers included the paper’s mysterious Michael Winner-style food critic. Trouble was, the food was excellent, which took the wind right out of our “let’s abuse the staff” sails. Post-10 plates of Chilli con Carne one of our party of ten, a rather dim graphic designer, revealed he had two of those tiny after-dinner toothbrushes you can get from vending machines handily nestling in his pocket. Someone asked him how much they were. “50p,” he said, chomping on one. “But I got a bargain. A £1 for two.” John Godber and his family were in, sitting behind us, and I’m sure I heard his pen jot that example of uneducated northern Apple Mac-user dialogue down on a napkin for use in his next play. I’ve been eating out too much this week. I’m bored of food. Considering fasting tomorrow for a change.

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