A comedy of side orders

Today, I started working on a new project. As part of this new project, I will spend a considerable amount of time working at the customer’s site. This means that I spent most of today getting set up onsite and going through some training about their processes.

As a part of project kickoff, the customer took the three of us who are coming on board from our company out to lunch. This is a rather common practice in my line of work. But this was a remarkable unusual lunch. (And let’s just say that singling out any particular lunch that is attended by a bunch of engineers as unusual is saying a lot!)

Our waiter, for reasons that totally escaped us, decided not to write our orders down. Instead, he decided to keep all eight lunch orders in his head. We found it a strange thing to do and even joked that maybe he had a lapel microphone and was recording our orders as we said them. Naturally, this proved to not be the case, though our waiter thought it was a great idea.

Well, after he left our table, he came back and asked Brian which side he had asked for. Someone else jokingly commented that he hoped this meant that the young man had remembered all of the rest of our sides (and main orders, for that matter) correctly. Those hopes were proven unfounded when he came back again, and asked the four of us on my end of the tabe to repeat what sides we wanted. (Oddly, he didn’t write them down this time either.)

Well, when the food came, all four of us on my end of the table indeed got the wrong side. We ended up having to swap sides. By this time, the whole thing had reached the point of farce, and we just got a couple plates, dumped the sides (two orders of steak fries and two orders of sweet potato frieds) into a couple of bowls and just shared them communal-style. Strangely, they got Brian’s sandwich order wrong too, so the poor guy had to wait for them to make the right sandwich.

I’ve never laughed so much at a luncheon (except maybe for the WOTL luncheon). The food was great, but I hope the service doesn’t always get confused so easily. And hopefully, someone learns to use that pad he was carrying around.

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