The latest public figure to draw widespread criticism for their questionable behaviors, especially from service industry professionals such as myself is James Corden, late night talk show host and star of critically acclaimed musical Cats. Just kidding, rumors have it it was complete sewage. James has recently revealed himself to be the kind of patron that most restaurant servers dread meeting. During an outing with his wife at a New York restaurant on October 9th, his wife ordered an egg yolk omelette with gruyere cheese and salad. Once brought to the table, the issue came to be with “a little bit of egg white mixed with the egg yolk” causing Corden to fly off the handle and mistreat the staff of the French restaurant Balthazar, leaving one of the servers visibly shaken, according to its owner Keith McNally prompting the latter to call Corden a “hugely gifted comedian, but a tiny cretin of a man” and I honestly could not have said it better myself. Call me crazy but I think someone needs to check their priorities. Also, we can give each other credit where credit is due but it doesn’t mean we have to kiss each other’s asses, we can hold each other accountable and call out appalling behaviors when such happen.
What makes this recent incident a tad worse is, it was not the first time he behaved appallingly at this establishment. Earlier this year around June, after already having eaten the main course he showed the hair he found earlier to a manager asking for another round of complimentary drinks, asking for all the previous ones to be compensated and threaten to write nasty reviews about the place on yelp. Between these two instances McNally said he has not seen such abusive customer in the twenty five years since the Bathazar has opened. Also, as service industry professionals, this is what we call text book fishing for compensation that usually is denied. Luckily for us it does not take long to get trained and sense when someone is trying to take advantage of us and abuse their privilege at our expense.
While briefly, James found himself banned from the establishment. After being called out publicly by the restaurant owner on his instagram page it prompted Corden to issue a public apology with the former accepting the apology, bury the hatchet, call for second chances and changed behaviors. Judging by the public perception of the incident people have not taken kindly with their opinion about the celebrity and the public display of blatant snobbery. For McNally, who called himself in a self deprecating manner a deadbeat layabout who has fucked up more times that he can remember, this is about forgiveness but I for one would need to see some receipts first.
As service industry professionals we welcome various types of customers, snobs don’t happen to be one of them, those will be spared of the going above and beyond treatment that is usually given to those who treat us with kindness. The service will continue to remain of high quality but those extra touches that make the experience truly unique setting the positive tone of an outing will not be offered. For many of us we enjoy being of service by creating experiences, making people happy but difficult customers often times chip away from that, slowly but surely turning us away from an industry that we once enjoyed being a part of.
I would not be able to say if aforementioned apology was genuine or just a thinly veiled attempt of damage control since some have speculated that such behavior has been previously observed on various occasions but at the very least I would begrudgingly admit that the apology is appreciated as opposed to often complete silences or worse, doubling down. The way these events have transpired have made me hope that perhaps we have entered an era where we are courageously calling out appalling behaviors, from the past or a short time ago, whether we are discussing Bill Murray or Kanye West. There certainly aren’t any dull days in this country, especially if you see things in similar ways to mine, rather demoralizing and with an impending sense of doom. But at the same I want to hold hope for positive change even when it comes to James Corden.
For more detailed reporting surrounding the recent incident please see this CBS News article.