True Story: The Cold Soup Conundrum

As I was closing up one night at the Hot Spot on a Wednesday night, I saw two last minute customers walk into the restaurant.  The manager on duty at that point was a little bothered by it.  We had no one in the restaurant for the past hour and the kitchen was closing in 10 minutes.  He was looking forward to getting home a little earlier than usual.

The Manager says to me “Go see them right away and see what they want to eat.” So I walk as quickly as possible and as I come closer I see that it’s a couple, a man and a woman, and their menus are closed, just waiting to order. I was glad that they knew what they wanted already.  I asked them if they were ready to order.

Woman:  We’re just here for a bowl of your daily soup. [laughs)

As she’s speaking, I can tell that she’s either extremely drunk or on some sort of drug.  She’s wearing a sloppy smile and slurring her words.  The man has a goofy grin on his face and looks like he’s trying not to laugh.

Me: Will that be all? The kitchen is closing in 5 minutes so if you’d like anything else I need to let them know.

Man: Nope. Ha ha ha……that’s it.

Woman : [laughs hysterically]

I walk away and tell the manager that they only want the soup and he tells the kitchen staff to start closing up.  I ladle soup into two bowls and take it to the table.  I put one down in front of each of them and they’re silent.

Me: Here we are! Enjoy!

Woman: We will! [mimicking my cheerful voice]

Man: [laughs]

I just walk away and let them eat their soup in peace.  I start finishing up my closing tasks when I see the woman get up from her seat and start waving her arm in the air.  I drop what I’m doing to go see her right away.

Me: Is everything alright here, ma’am?

Woman: The soup’s cold.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry about that. Let me warm it up for you.  Sir, would you like me to warm up yours as well?

Man: [half way done his soup] No, mine’s fine.

Me: Alright. I’ll be right back with your soup, ma’am.

I checked the temperature of the soup and it seemed quite warm, not scalding hot, but not cold either.  The only way for us to warm up soup is to nuke it for a bit.  So, I stuck her bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds.  I didn’t want to put it in too long because I didn’t want her to burn her tongue.  The microwave beeped and I stirred up the soup, changed the bowl and spoon, and brought the bowl back to the table.

Me: Here we are, ma’am.  I hope it’s hotter now.

No one said anything so I left the table as the woman was stirring the soup.  Suddenly I hear the woman trying to get my attention.

Woman: Uh….excuse me!

I turn around and head back to the table.

Me: Yes, ma’am?

Woman: It’s still cold. [laughs]

I kind of chuckled, thinking she was joking but she just kept staring at me.  I apologized and told her I’d warm it up some more.  The man was finished with his and I cleared the bowl from the table at the same time.  I headed back towards the soup station.

Manager:  What’s wrong?

Me: She says the soup is still cold.  I’ll put it in for another 45 seconds.

Manager: Well, she obviously wants her soup to be boiling hot, so just stick it in for a minute and a half to be sure.

So I wait as the microwave counts down the seconds.  When the soup’s ready I take it back to the table and place it in front of the woman.  I can see the steam rising from the bowl.  There’s no way that she can think it’s cold now.

Me: Here we are.  Just please be careful, I’m sure the soup is quite hot now.

She barely listens to me as she stirs the soup quickly and takes a huge spoonful.

Woman: Ugh! It’s too hot now! Take it away. I don’t want it.

Man: Baby, just let it sit for a bit and it will cool down.

Woman: [laughs]  Oh yeah! Ha, ha, ha! It’s okay. I’ll eat it.

I just stood there for a moment, trying to judge the situation.  Was this for real?  I started to walk away and kept looking back.  I could see the woman sitting with her hands on her lap, staring blankly at the bowl of soup just waiting for it to cool.  The weird thing was that the man was doing exactly the same thing.  They just sat there for 5 minutes, staring at one bowl of soup.

From afar I could see the woman take her spoon and start eating.  She was done in less than 2 minutes. I brought them the bill (about $10).  They got up to pay with a credit card, so I passed it and handed them their copy to sign.

Me: Thank you so much, have a wonderful evening.

They said nothing and just walked out the door.  I checked the bill.

They left me 25 cents.

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