I’m not sure if this counts as “dining,” but a hilarious thing happened to a friend and I once at The Village®. This was the mid-90s…thieves behind every ginko tree, murderers waiting in line outside the knife store…a dangerous time, especially while eating at The Village®.
Winter, late afternoon, the place mostly empty. My friend and I order a coke and a coffee, and debate on whether we should get something to eat. We talk about the class we just got out of, about a girl I like. Our waiter, a young guy, a little twitchy, a little I-just-snorted-two-lines-off-the-back-of-the-toilet, gets tired of us sitting there with only drinks and says, gesturing to the empty room, “It’s going to start getting busy in here pretty soon, so you guys are going to have to order food or you’re going to have to leave.” My friend and I look around the room, and say, “Really?” The waiter just walks away. We’re kind of amazed at his logic, but being illogical dudes who didn’t really gave a crap about customer service back then, we get up, put our Naugahyde jackets on, leave a few coins as tip, and get out of there. No big fuss. No reason to stay. We weren’t there for the wine list.
We make it out the front door, and the Harrison Street Bookstore security alarm is going off. Even books aren’t safe. Our waiter, triple twitchy now, comes ripping through the side door, and starts screaming at us. We can’t quite hear him due to the alarm, but his face is splotchy and his mouth is moving in a way I had not seen before. I could make out a few words…I think one of them was “egregious,” which seemed kind of odd yet surprisingly articulate of him. I even remember thinking to myself, “This guy was definitely an English major.” I’m pretty sure he wanted to stab us, but we were quick back then, so very quick. And thin, might I add.
I guess it was the tiny tip we left him? After he told us to eat or leave? Does one leave a tip after someone asks you to get out? Will we ever know? I knew it wouldn’t matter if we complained or not to management, so we just avoided the place for a few months, sharpened our shivs, slept light, wore sunglasses, walked backwards, ate soft foods and planned for the worst.