The life and times of a waitress in Cool Cape May… by Molly Stone
At the time, I was working in a small BYOB owned by a woman named Dana. In the bathroom was a lamp, about four feet high, that Dana had purchased from a yard-sale for two dollars. There was nothing special about it; with its chipped blue paint and wooden base, it looked like something that belonged in a little boy’s bedroom.
One night, to our greatest surprise, a customer offered to buy it. She was an unassuming woman in her mid-30s, and she just wouldn’t take no for an answer. “How about three hundred dollars?” she asked, but Dana refused to sell.
Two years later, on a hectic Saturday night, a waitress named Ally noticed that the bathroom lamp was missing. When she approached me about it, I brushed her off. I was busy, and some of my tables still needed to hear the evening’s specials.
“It’s got to be somewhere,” I told her. But Ally was sure someone had swiped it, and she was lit up about it, no pun intended. She reminded me about the lady who’d offered to buy the lamp two years prior.
“I think that’s her,” she said, pointing to the unassuming woman on table four.
“But Ally,” I said, “we would have noticed her walking out of here with it.” There was only one entrance to the tiny dining room, and no matter where one stood, the door was always in plain view.
Ally and I looked from one another, to the restroom where the lamp had been. “A-ha!” Ally said. It was as though a light bulb, no pun intended, had gone on over her head. She ran into the kitchen to tell Damien, Dana’s husband and the chef, that the woman on table four had put his lamp through the bathroom window.
When the suspect excused herself for her fifth cigarette break, Damien followed her outside, where he pretended to call the chief of police. “I need an officer,” he said. “There’s a thief in my restaurant.”
Before Damien could give a fake dispatcher an address, the woman broke. “I have your lamp!” she said, panicked. Then she ran to her brand new Mercedes Benz to retrieve the two-dollar contraband.
By this point, every customer waited with bated breath for a glimpse of the infamous lamp and the woman who’d dared to steal it. They silently cheered on Damien as he kicked out the thief and her friends.
Sometimes working with the public means encountering some seriously entitled clientele. This can lead to disheartening, if not comical, experiences. But working in fine dining, despite its drawbacks, never ceases to be enlightening, no pun intended.