The worst waitress in the world

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 13th April 2014

Canford CliffsCanford Cliffs was in the news this week – and not in a good way. The posh Poole enclave hit the headlines after locals complained of being kept awake by partygoers who hold stag and hen nights at multi-million pound houses in Canford Cliffs and Sandbanks, complete with booming music, copious vodka and naked butlers.

I drive through Canford Cliffs several times a week on my way to London and I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything half as exciting as a naked butler. For me Canford Cliffs is firmly stuck in the 1970s – the days when I got my first holiday job at a café in the main street.

The café is long gone (it’s now an estate agent’s, of course) but the shopfront always reminds me that I was the worst waitress in the world. I nearly got fired on my very first day when an elderly lady ordered gammon and chips and asked for some parsley sauce on the side. I didn’t have a clue what parsley sauce looked like so I asked the café owner, a grumpy man called Terry. He said it was beige and suggested I decant some from the huge plastic container in the kitchen into a bowl.

So that’s what I did and duly presented it to the customer. Five minutes later Terry hauled me out of the kitchen. I’d served the woman a bowlful of tartare sauce, which she’d liberally smeared all over her food. She was NOT happy, to put it mildly.

Terry threatened to fire me, but relented. I was so embarrassed by the whole episode – and so terrified of clapping eyes on the woman again – that I quit the next week. My next job was in the National Trust shop on Brownsea Island (left), a role that involved commuting to work by boat and eating a picnic lunch by the beach every day. It was bliss…

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