Dirty Glass Trick

Well, I had planned to come home today and type out one of my favorite all-time tricks, but it will now have to wait.  I can’t pass up the desire to post what happened today.  It was too good and is too fresh in my mind.  As I had hoped, the thought of posting this story made the experience much more enjoyable, my therapy idea may actually work..

Anyway, for your enjoyment………..

Today was a beautiful day and our outside dining area was very popular.  In order to feel the cool breeze on a rather warm sun-shiney (not sure that is a word) day, I made several trips out to check on the customers eating in the shade provided by our very large umbrellas.  It was just gorgeous out there.

On one of my 345 trips past a table that had been there for almost an hour, the gentleman at a table for two got my attention and motioned for me to come to the table.

“How can I help you?”, I asked – knowing he was going to compliment my server, the food, and/or the amazing weather.

“Well, I was doing extremely well until I noticed this” – He points to his beverage glass.  On the top rim, cascading down about an inch all the way around is a brown film – a nasty looking brown film.

“Wow – are you serious?” “Did your glass come to the table like that?”  -now, that was my immediate response, because I didn’t have time to process the whole situation and was caught completely off guard.  In the next few seconds, before his response, my incredibly fast brain was able to do some research and noticed several key components.

  1. The drink was about 1/3 full (negative people would say 2/3 empty)
  2. The glass contained a very light colored lemonade
  3. The man had eaten a dish that included a large amount of brown gravy
  4. The residue on the glass was a very close resemblance to brown gravy
  5. The residue could be seen from 50 feet
  6. The residue wasn’t noticed by the customer until he was full of food and almost finished his drink
Then, after my second or two of fact finding, came the perfect return…..

“Are you calling mE A LIAR?”, he asks with his voice starting to get louder.  Now let me stop here to point out something crucial.  At this point, he not only has me on the dirty glass, he also has me calling him names – two strikes against me – well played…

“Uh… Sir.. I didn’t call you anything.  My response was caused by shock and disbelief in how we could have let that happen.” “I wasn’t questioning you at all”.

Now the key to his play earlier is I am trapped and can not say, “well I wasn’t sure if the glass came out clean and the gravy dripping off your fat –  S L A M ! ! ! (as I slam his head into the remaining brown gravy) lips got onto the glass”  – OK… you got me… I didn’t say fat – AND.. maybe I didn’t slam his head into the gravy.  However, after accusing me of calling him a liar, I am caught in a dangerous spot.  If I point out the gravy slightly matching the brown gravy residue on his glass, he is going to go back to the “LIAR” trick.  So, I am forced to stick to my other defense.

“I am just as upset as you are that we could have sent a CLEARLY dirty glass to your table.”  “I am going to go get your server and find out what could have happened.”

“MY SERVER!”  “DO YOU NEED MY SERVER TO PROVE THE GLASS IS DIRTY?” – if you can’t tell, I should have chosen the “Liar” route.

“No sir, I just wanted to find out how this could have happened.  I have never seen anything like this before and want to see who made the drink and who brought you the drink so I can determine what is on the glass for your own safety and then I will take care of you”


Well, understand that I do not see any dirt or mud.  What I see is brown gravy residue.  “I understand you are upset”, I said.  “If it is in fact dirt, I want to make sure you didn’t…..

“STOP RIGHT THERE”, he says.  “I am going to tell you what is going to happen.  I am going to go back to work right now because I am late and you are going to buy my lunch”

Nice approach.  Why wait for the manager to offer a free meal.  If you already know you are going to get one.  Why go through the hassle?  Get straight to it and save us both time.

Since I didn’t really want to argue with this lunatic over a $10 lunch, I say, “well, sir, if you are OK leaving without me doing research then I would certainly like to buy your lunch”

“Thank you.  I know it is not your fault”, he says – another great play.  Once you get your way, you want to soften the experience by making the manager feel good about himself.

He continues with, “we always love the food here and the waitress was very nice.  We must have just caught you on a bad day”.  Wow!  This guy is a pro.  Now he is making me feel good about the restaurant and the server.  This touch is especially good if you plan to use a different trick at the same restaurant in the future.

“You have a great rest of the day sir and sorry again about our mistake”

And, there you have the free meal.

Love this one.  We both knew he was making it up and he still walks away without paying and we both feel good about ourselves..

S Hoffman

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