There’s something about this table

I worked at a basement tavern in Charlottetown and the worst and best guests always seemed to sit at the bar where it met the wall. Sort of in the corner. That stool would either be home to big tippers or guys who liked to fight.

Most restaurants have a particular table that seems to attract interesting characters, if not downright trouble.

This week we have two stories about the same table. Not the same guests, just the same physical eating surface.

The table in these two stories attract a similar energy (without punches being thrown).

Our storyteller, Tracey (names have been changed to protect everybody!), says she thinks the second story somehow cleansed the bad vibes from the first story. You be the judge.


I owned and waited tables at a small cafe outside of Charlottetown that was very popular with tourists and locals alike.

Everyone wanted the table right at the front window of the dining room, and maybe that’s why I have these stories.

This family came in already in a bad mood. It was a mother with a young daughter. The mum was on the phone and barely had time for me as I dropped waters and menus for them. The young girl was well-behaved. Her mother ignored her too.

Finally, with the phone call over they were ready to order. The little girl ordered very politely; I can’t remember what. The mother brusquely orders a big entree, shrimp I think. All of our entrees came with a rice medley that turned the overall colour to pink, just slightly rose.

Well, when I delivered her plate to the table you would have thought I had set down a pile of garbage.

“What is this?” she demanded to know. “What’s with the rice? I don’t want coloured rice, I want white rice only!”

After that any time we had a troublesome table our code was, “look out for the rice-ist at table four.”

Who does that?

So same table some years later.

We had this family come in for lunch: a mum, dad, and two little boys. The guests were great. The little boys were polite. The table was great in every way.

So what makes this table stand out? Well, when I went to tidy up the table and ask them if they would like anything else, the mum said, “No, but someone dropped this on our table on their way out the door.” And she handed me an envelope. On the front was written, “We hope you enjoy your time with your family.”

I opened it for them and inside was a gift certificate for the restaurant to the tune of $200! It was dated so I knew it had been bought the summer before.

The family used the certificate to pay for their meals and tip generously and there was still a lot of money left over. They said they were leaving the Island the next day but planned to leave the certificate at the cottage they were renting so that the next guests could enjoy the remainder.

That’s how you do restaurants!

We are hoping you can be a part of this series by submitting firsthand experiences of imperious/generous bosses, difficult/wonderful guests, and your own and others’ faux pas or feats. Please send stories to or private message on social media.

Thanks to everyone for their submissions!

About Rod Weatherbie

Rod Weatherbie is a writer working in the hospitality industry. He spent a number of years in Toronto as a member of the financial press before returning to PEI. Rod has published one piece of short fiction, one book of poetry, and has had work published in Red Shift, the Antigonish Review, Mitre, and the Toronto Quarterly. He has also recently co-produced, co-directed, and acted in a stage production of old television shows.

He also likes writing about food. Go figure.

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