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Eat Bad Seafood And You May See The Food Again

, , , , | Working | March 7, 2022

I’ve always enjoyed seafood, so when a new seafood restaurant opens up in my fairly small city, I’m thrilled. I decide to bring a friend and try it out.

When we get there, it turns out they have a fairly eclectic menu. They seem to be serving anything fish-related — sushi, fish and chips, Swedish pickled herring, French cuisine, etc. I opt for my favourite, moules-frites, while my friend orders sushi.

When my moules arrives, I discover that a fair amount of the mussels are still closed, which means they’ve gone bad. I wave our server over.

Me: “Hi, I’m sorry. I notice that a lot of these are closed. Can you have a word with the chef about that, please?”

Server: “Absolutely, I will inform him.”

In the meantime, I eat my fries and the sauce, which is pretty tasty. My friend who ordered the sushi seems to enjoy her nigiri. Then, the server returns and hands me a steak knife.

Server: “Here you are!”

Me: “Sorry, what is this?”

Server: “It’s for opening the closed mussels! The chef is sorry he missed them.”

Me: “[Friend], stop eating, right now.”

Friend: “What, why?”

Me: “They apparently don’t know that you’re not supposed to eat closed mussels, so how confident are you about eating their raw fish?”

The very embarrassed server comped our meals, and we left as soon as we could. I don’t know if the problem was with the server or the chef, but I never ate there again, and the place went out of business within months of opening.

Ugh. Tourists.

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 7, 2022

I have been out partying with a couple of friends. It is a late winter night, without snow, and it’s very cold. As I am making my way along the street, a few guys go past, dressed only in T-shirts and jeans, and one starts talking to me.

Tourist: “Hi! We’re tourists; it is our first time in Sweden. It is really cold here!”

Me: “Yes, it is in the middle of winter.”

Tourist: “But there is no snow. We were hoping to see some nice snow.”

Me: “There isn’t always snow, especially not in the city, but there was snow last week.”

Tourist: “I didn’t think it would be this cold, though.”

Me: “But you went to Sweden in the middle of the winter and expected to see snow?”

Tourist: “Yeah.”

Me: “You should dress up more. Did you not bring any jackets or sweaters?”

Tourist: “No, that’s not cool to wear!”

He actually laughs at it, as if it would be silly, while I’m standing there in a warm coat, gloves, and a thick scarf.

Me: “No, it’s warm.”

He just shook his head and caught up to his friends. I hope they did not fall asleep outside, as I’m not sure they’d been warned about that.

Tripping Over The Trip Costs

, , , , , | Friendly | March 3, 2022

When I was about twelve years old, I was invited for a trip with a friend and her mom, who also brought a friend. They had won the trip in a competition and didn’t have much money; neither did my family, but since it was for free, they gave me some pocket money and let me go.

It was really exciting and fun to begin with to see the sights and play in a waterpark and such. However, I soon experienced that they had very different ways of doing things than I was used to. In my family, if we invited someone else’s kid, we paid for their food and other stuff they might need while taking care of them. However, this mom did not intend to do that. Luckily, I had been given extra money in case something went wrong and I’d need it. My parents trusted my judgment.

At one point, we went to a Viking village and you could try some smithy work, which I thought seemed exciting, and it was very cheap. We asked the mom for permission and she said no, since it was too expensive. I said I’d pay for it myself, but the answer was still no, since it would be unfair to my friend, so I offered to pay for both of us. She couldn’t really argue at that point as my friend were now too excited to turn down, but she really didn’t like it.

Later, I bought bread made over a fire for all of us to share, since it was too expensive. The mother’s friend then came up and paid half. I don’t know what she expected us to do there other than just look since the activities cost money.

The time I really found out they would not pay for my food was a couple of days later when the mom came with the receipt for the food she had bought and slammed it on the breakfast table.

Mom: “All right, this is how much we bought, so we should all pay our part.”

I was a bit confused since a fourth of that would be more than half my pocket money and I really hadn’t expected to pay for food; I was just a kid, after all.

Mom: “[My Name] should pay for the milk, though.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Daughter: “Because you drank it all.”

Me: “You drank milk, too.”

Mom: “You drank a lot more than half of it.”

I wasn’t sure this was correct — it didn’t feel right — but I hadn’t really measured how much I drank so I didn’t know.

Mom: “So, you pay for the milk, and then we split the rest three ways.”

Me: “Three ways? But there are four of us.”

Mom: “We gave you this trip.”

Daughter: “Yeah, [My Name], be grateful.”

I looked at the receipt.

Me: “But I don’t think I should pay for the milk, and there are a lot of other things there I don’t eat.”

Mom: “Well, that is not our fault. You drank an absurd amount of milk, though, so you’ll need to pay for it.”

I sat there staring at them, not understanding how that was fair at all, when suddenly the mother’s friend slammed some money on the table.

Friend: “I’ll pay for her.”

She was giving the mom the stinky eye, who gave me the stinky eye, together with her daughter, who was supposed to be my friend.

Later, the day we were supposed to depart, I wanted to go to a store to buy something I had seen, but the mom said no. Her friend offered to go with me but the mom still said no, even though we had hours to kill. I got annoyed and fed up with it all, so I ended up going on my own, saying I’d hurry, and then I ran away.

It was a bit difficult to find them afterward as they went around looking for me, and I got a scolding for running away, but at least I got my souvenir.

As we were waiting by the harbour, I went to buy ice cream, despite the mom’s no. I did not even offer to pay for my friend this time because I had lost all my respect for her mom as an adult, and she ended up sighing and buying an ice cream for her daughter.

After coming home and telling the story, my father told me they had been nagging him about paying hundreds of crowns in travelling expenses after we got home.

A Midsummer Night’s Nightmare

, , , , , | Right | February 28, 2022

I used to work in a restaurant, hostel, and camping ground in the Eastern archipelago in my youth. This was not a fancy place. Most of our food was either made in batches in our kitchen and frozen in portions to be heated up or bought pre-made, and our prices reflected that.

However, the Midsummer celebration in Sweden somehow means that every single living person goes some level of crazy in their hunt for the perfect Midsummer.

This place didn’t accept reservations for Midsummer; it was first-come-first-serve, although we never turned anyone away. People might have to wait for a table, and we occasionally ran out of dishes, but we didn’t advertise to be a high-end restaurant, and most visitors respected that.

The day before Midsummer, the kitchen phone rang and I picked it up.

Me: “[Workplace] hostel and restaurant, how may I help you?”

Customer: “Hello, are you open for Midsummer?”

Me: “Yes, we are.”

Customer: “Great! We were trying to book a table at [Fancy Place] across the strait from you, but they were full, so I guess you’ll have to do.”

Me: “Well, we don’t take reservations for Midsummer — it’s first-come-first-serve — but you’re welcome to come visit us. We’re having a traditional Midsummer celebration with dancing and children’s games.”

Customer: “Yes, yes, that sounds great. What’s your menu for the evening?”

Me: “In the restaurant, we offer seafood skewers, schnitzel, and chicken stew, among other things. We also have traditional Swedish classics like pan-fried herring with a potato purée or potato pancakes with bacon and lingonberries. On the grounds, you’ll find stands for hamburgers, hot dogs, and coal-grilled salted herring with all the trimmings.”

Customer: “All right, we’ll be there around six o’clock. Three of us will be having the seafood skewers and one will be having the coal-grilled herring. The name is [Customer].”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry if I was unclear. We don’t accept reservations for Midsummer. You are very welcome to visit, but we can’t guarantee you a table or that we won’t be sold out of the dish you requested. Also, the coal-grilled herring isn’t served in the restaurant; you’ll need to buy that from the guy at the stand that sells it.”

Customer: “That’s fine, dear. We’ll be there around six!”

I had a bad feeling about this call, so I made sure to tell my manager and the head chef for the evening about it beforehand so they knew that I had absolutely not promised this person anything.

Midsummer rolled along. The weather was fantastic and we were absolutely slammed. In the middle of all customers who stopped by demanding food, my caller showed up. At this point, I was very busy elsewhere so I didn’t know what transpired until after the fact.

Customer: “I have a reservation for four; I called ahead yesterday. We pre-ordered three seafood skewers and one grilled herring; it should be ready for us.”

The poor teenage server was, understandably, completely panicked because she hadn’t been told about any pre-orders, so she went to the manager.

Manager: “They’re hallucinating. No one’s been taking reservations for today. Tell them to sit down and wait their turn.”

The poor server did as she’d been told and was promptly chewed out by the customer. Around this time, I got back into the kitchen with a heap of dirty plates I’d been collecting from all over the place, but I’d been in food service for a lot longer than the server, so I agreed to go talk to the customer.

Me: “Hello, what seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “We called ahead and ordered three seafood skewers and one grilled herring to be served at six o’clock, but your little girl seems unaware of that.”

Me: “Oh, no, that was me you were talking to on the phone. I told you we weren’t taking any reservations for tonight, so if you came here expecting your food to be pre-ordered, that’s on you, really. However, I’m happy to tell you that we still have the seafood skewers in stock and the guy outside has plenty of herring; you just need to go outside and buy it from him, as it’s not on the restaurant menu. We’re looking at a wait of maybe twenty-five minutes for the skewers since we’re pretty busy right now, but the herring guy can probably serve you right way.”

Customer: “Well, that’s horrible. We wanted a table at [Fancy Place]!”

Me: “Well, we’re not [Fancy Place].”

Customer: “I demand to speak to a manager!”

Me: “Sure, I’ll grab him for you.”

I grabbed the manager, who’d been busy running potato pancakes to a table of twelve.

Me: “This is the one I spoke to on the phone yesterday. They’re upset that we’re not [Fancy Place].”

Manager: “Well, you can either order here and wait for what you want, or you can go to [Fancy Place] and be turned away at the door because they’re fully booked. Your choice!”

I was very happy to see that particular group leave in a huff.

Your Impatience Only Burdens You, Lady

, , , | Working | February 27, 2022

In the office where I work, we have “kitchen weeks,” which means we take turns to be responsible for keeping the communal break room and kitchen clean, wiping down the counters, running and unloading the dishwasher, cleaning stinky things out of the fridge, etc.

It works pretty well, except for one coworker who seems to have appointed herself as the kitchen week police. She always finds something to complain about.

It’s my kitchen week, and I’m sitting in the break room hurrying to finish my lunch since I have a meeting in a few minutes. Just as I’m done eating, the dishwasher, which I started a few hours ago, has run its program and beeps to signal that it’s finished. I pop it open to let it cool down, hang a towel over the hatch — this means the dishes inside are clean and waiting to be unloaded — and prepare to go to my meeting.

Unfortunately, my coworker happens to be in the break room at the same time as I am and immediately descends like a hawk.

Coworker: “It’s your kitchen week, isn’t it? Aren’t you going to unload that?”

Me: “I will, but right now I have an online meeting with [Important Client] to update them about [important project]. It’ll take thirty minutes at most. I’ll unload the dishes when I’ve taken care of that.”

Coworker: “Well, don’t expect me to do your job for you!”

Me: “I don’t! I’ll take care of it as soon as my meeting is finished.”

I leave for my meeting, which goes well, and then hurry back to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher. Once I get there, I find that someone has already done it for me. I have my suspicions about who it is, and they are confirmed when I get called into the Human Resources manager’s room the next day. 

The HR manager and I are on friendly terms, and I know I haven’t done anything wrong, so I’m not worried.

HR Manager: “I got a complaint about you from [Coworker]. She claims you refused to unload the dishwasher even though it’s your kitchen week and forced her to do it instead.”

Me: “Oh, really? What actually happened is that I prioritized a scheduled meeting with [Important Client] over unloading the dishwasher, and when I got back to the kitchen, she had already done it herself, completely unprompted.”

HR Manager: “Yeah, I figured it was something like that. You’re not in trouble; I just have to follow up on all complaints I get.”

Me: “Um, not to be that person, but [Coworker] is due to retire soon, right?”

HR Manager: *Sighs deeply* “Not soon enough.”