Daily Life

Something in the air that night

The time Stefanie Andrei doused a customer in his own champagne stands out as her worst experience as a waiter. Andrei was trying to open a bottle, but the cork seemed to be stuck, and try as she might it would not budge.

''All of a sudden it was Formula One at the table, it sprayed everywhere, all over the man and the table,'' she says.

Once the customer had wiped his glasses and Andrei had cleared and reset the table, he asked to speak to her manager, who apologised and offered the man a couple of glasses of wine on the house. The customer was unhappy, and insisted that while most of the wine remained in the bottle, it had been bruised. He wanted to be compensated for the whole bottle.

''He was an older gentleman and he gave me a spiel about Gen Y, that they have no idea about opening bottles and such,'' she says.

Andrei's manager held his ground and they managed to placate him. The customer finished his meal in much better spirits than he started. But staff later overheard him say he had stored the champagne in his car all day, which might go some way to explaining the problem.

Andrei has worked at Rubicon in Griffith for almost two years, inititally part-time, but in April she left her managerial role at a plumbing firm to wait tables full-time. Which means a smaller pay packet, but Andrei says she's happier in the new job. She enjoys helping to ''make people's nights'', and watching them leave the restaurant having enjoyed their experience.