The Party Is Going To Pot

, , | Right | May 19, 2016

(Every so often, my mother and I go to a pot painting cafe together. It’s run by an older woman, but the rest of the staff are in their late teens. It also holds birthday parties in a separate room upstairs. On this particular day, my cousin and aunt are with us, and only the teen girls are at work. A woman comes in with her two kids for a party being held for her daughter. She then walks out to her car, leaving the kids in the cafe. The kids ask if they can go up to the party room, and the girl at the counter agrees. Then the mother comes in, goes upstairs, and comes downstairs fuming.)

Customer: *shouting* “How DARE you tell my kids what to do?”

Staff Member: “I- I’m sorry?”

Customer: “No one is allowed to boss my kids around! What gives you the right to tell them where to go and what to do?”

Staff Member: *on verge of tears* “I- I didn’t—”

My Aunt: *interrupting* “She didn’t tell them what to do. They asked to go upstairs!”

Customer: “What?”

My Mother: “Yes, I saw the whole thing. They asked to go upstairs and she let them.”

(The woman storms off upstairs to check. The staff member goes into the back, clearly crying her eyes out. A little later, the staff member is back at the till, and the woman comes downstairs again.)

Customer: *somewhat insincerely* “Oh, no, dear, I’m so sorry. Did I make you cry?”

Staff Member: It’s okay…

Customer: “Oh, no, dear, I’m just stressed because a lot of kids cancelled and I need to re-organise things… I was thinking that, since there are less kids, they could do more expensive pots…”

(My family then watches in disbelief as the woman changes literally every aspect of the party, on the actual day. The next week, my mother and I are back, and the owner comes over to talk to us.)

Owner: “Were you here last week?”

My Mother: “Yes, why?”

Owner: “Do you mind telling me exactly what happened with that woman who came in about the party?”

(We explain what we saw and said, the owner’s frown getting deeper all the while.)

Owner: “Right, I just had to check what [Staff Member] said. Thank you for sticking up for her.”

My Mother: “It was nothing. Did something else happen?”

Owner: *sighs* “That woman booked with us last year and shouted at me for passing her on the stairs. Usually for parties we insist on people spending £11 per child, but she only paid £6 this year. To make matters worse, she’s not paid for two tiles – one was abandoned and re-done, and the other broke in the kiln. We think one of the kids smacked it on the table, or something. Hopefully, she’s coming in today to pick the tiles up, because I’m not in tomorrow and [Staff Member] will be in charge. We’ve tried to be diplomatic with this woman, but she’s self-centred and has spoilt those two kids absolutely rotten. Her mother is just as bad – she came in last year. And that’s not even the worst part.”

Me: “What could possibly be worse?”

Owner: “The kids’ names. They’re called Emperor and Empress.”

My Mother: “You’re joking.”

Owner: “I’m not.”

(The last I heard, that woman was banned from booking any more parties at that cafe. No word on whether she paid for the two extra tiles or not.)

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