Have you ever wanted to sit in a restaurant and be subjected to the next table’s recently unsheathed foot odour while waiting for your entrée? Of COURSE you have.
Starring: Local union lobbyists celebrating a hard-gotten win
Scene: The rowdy group have moved from the pub (which is too crowded to accommodate them) to a table for five in the restaurant to order dinner. As one woman is in the bathroom, I spy a pile of purple fluff under her empty chair accompanied by a putrid smell, and hope to high heaven it isn’t a removed pair of socks after a long day of marching around protesting.
Shoeless Woman: *waddling back from bathroom barefoot* Ah. Well, my feet have stopped burning a little.
I haven’t been treated to such a nauseating level of public disregard since that girl on the train who left a huge smeared foundation mark on the seat from her bare arse.
Pub overflow I can handle. Customers who make themselves at home I can handle. Raucous merrymakers who demand a bottle of your “cheapest sav” in a voice like Fran Dresher the Albatross I can handle blindfolded. But sweaty, pudgy, festering, simmering, malodorous feet that have escaped from their radiating bed-sock-and-leather-boot shackles to sneakily enjoy a bit of air-conditioned freedom in an environment specifically for people to partake in EATING? I’m outgunned here. I’m at a loss. I am at the mercy of absolute filth.
I get that Shoeless (hell, the entire group) has spent the day taking to the streets, chanting into megaphones and fighting against unjust pay brackets in certain industries. It’s arduous and draining. I would do the same thing, in a non-enclosed space or in the privacy of my own home. Who am I, really, to deny this Aussie battler the right to kick back, enjoy a sav, take the weight (and general paraphernalia) off her feet, and celebrate a victory for the bigger picture?
I am the fucking waitress who has to carry people’s MEALS past the waft of your meaty toes, that’s who.
My co-worker is soon alerted to the situation by my livid swearing, but is reluctant to intervene because this group are regulars on a First-Name Basis™ with the owner (currently present and unperturbed). Reasoning that there are no other customers in the immediate radius, the other members of the party don’t seem to care, and that the table is in a different section to the main dining room, we resolve to suffer in silence rather than risk drunken wrath and/or termination.
What IS the etiquette in this situation, hospo brothers and sisters? Because apparently, hoping customers don’t violate your right to a rot-free workplace by KEEPING THEIR RANCID FUCKING FOOTWEAR ON, isn’t always feasible.
Presentation: 2/5. I will excuse a sloppy appearance on the basis she had come straight from a protest and wanted to sit in the pub; I will allow an extra point for managing to keep the rest of her shit on.
Intelligence: 2/5. Obviously has motor skills as well as a basic sense of self-preservation (ow, my sore widdle footsies!). Complete lack of social awareness and no familiarity with the concepts of hygiene, health or safety.
Behaviour: 0/5. You make me want to vomit in a box and mail it to you.
Value: 2/5. One point for paying the bill after screeching it was “bullshit”, and another for being a return customer, undoubtedly to further harass all things olfactory.
Experience: 0/5. Rude, intoxicated, repulsive, and selfish– and that was before she took her socks and shoes off.
Total Score: 6 Odor-Eaters out of 25. I am not normally squeamish but tonight I wanted to break my own nose just to end my suffering.
0-5 complete waste of a human organs 6-10 a distinct displeasure 11-12 what a turdburger 13-14 a few mildly tolerable hiccups 15-16 customer could accomplish something with more manners 17-18 staff could handle as a regular 19-20 a pleasure 21-25 the ideal customer