140 - Fine Declining


Your blind date at the finest restaurant in town has been bland and boring. Your date's conversational skills are on par with a child awakening from anesthetic, yet far less entertaining. Finally, you finish your meals and the check arrives. You place your credit card in the bill book, which is retrieved promptly.

Your server, a thin, mustachioed, perfectly postured caricature of a fine dining service professional, quickly returns to your table with the bill book for your check. You extend a hand to receive the book, but the waiter holds his arm back back, instead leaning in close to your ear. He glances quickly at your date, then turns back to you.

Sir, there seems to be a problem with your credit card,” he whispers discreetly into your ear. His speech is low but apparently oud enough for your date to overhear, as you see her raise a single, inquisitive eyebrow.

“Really?” you ask, completely surprised. “What do you mean?”

Your card has been declined, sir,” the waiter explains. “It appears you have maxed out.”

“No way, that’s not possible.”

I’m afraid it is, sir. See, you of the lower class seem to have trouble understanding, but when you borrow too much money, and don’t pay anything back, respectable credit institutions will simply stop giving you more money. This is referred to as a ‘credit limit.’”

You scoff audibly, the offense you’ve taken showing plainly on your face. “Well, I never-“

“…have before reached your credit limit? I’m disinclined to believe that, sir, though maybe it has never been brought to your attention in such an…elevated setting.”

You catch a glimpse of your dates face. She stares directly at you, her lip curled up in a disgusted snarl. Your features grow stern as you return your attention to the server. “Listen, slick,” you say through your teeth, your jaw clenched, “you need to go get your manager right now.”

The server sighs and stands up straight, retreating from your ear. “Very well, sir.”

After a few minutes, your server returns with a short, frumpy man with slicked back hair. He wears a fine tuxedo and wears a pin of the flag of France on his left lapel. He does not deign to lean in to whisper to you; instead he stands at arms length and speaks loudly and clearly. He looks you up and down without speaking.

“Are you the manager?” you ask. Without giving him a chance to answer, you begin talking at him, jabbing the air in front of his chest with your finger. “Listen, pal, your employee here-“

“Sir,” the manager cuts you off, “my server has already explained the situation to me fully, and I believe I owe you an apology on behalf of my staff, who seems to have made a terrible mistake.”

“You’re damn right, you owe me an apology.”

“Quite. You see, my staff should never have allowed you to dine in our establishment wearing those horrendous shoes.”


“Yes, you see, your shoes should have been a dead giveaway that you had no intention of paying your bill, or much ability to do so. So, on behalf of my staff, whom obviously require more rigorous training on spotting obvious plebeians, I apologize for the confusion. Now, if you will simply bequeath to us the cash money you’ve kept on your person to pay your prostitute here,” he gestures to your date, “we can all be on our way.”

Your date gasps and looks at you to stand up for her. You, however, are speechless, and no defense comes.

“I have never, in my entire life, been so embarrassed,” she says, gathering her purse, “you can fuck right the hell off,” she says, her index finger making a beeline for your face. “Don’t you even think about calling me, either.”

She storms off, out of the dining room and through the front door. You watch her round the corner through the glass façade of the restaurant.

You turn back to the manager and the server. “Guys, you were perfect! Well, maybe the prostitute thing was a little much, but it got the desired effect. I don’t know how to thank you enough.”

The server coughs and holds his hand out, palm up.

“Oh yeah, no problem.” You open the bill, and sign the receipt inside (which, in bold block letters at the top, declares APPROVED) leaving a generous tip. “Same time next week, Mike?” you ask, giving the manager a playful punch on the shoulder.

“Of course, sir,” he replies, a devilish smile running across his lips. “Always a pleasure serving you.”