Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"F*** off!"

The wierdest thing just happened to me.

This past week I have started going to a new café that we discovered last week when S was in town. I liked the place because it is in Covent Garden, about 5 minutes walking from my flat, has a good light food menu, good coffee, is relatively quiet, and is very clean (unlike most small London café's which are quite dingy, which I don't really mind but once in a while you actually would like to be able to touch the table without having to totally wipe it down first). In short, it was a perfect studying/reading spot, and I have gone there three days in a row to do work, extremely successfully. Although it is actually a French patisserie/café, the staff that works there are mostly Russian (not surprising in London). Anyway, yesterday I started to sense a bit of a mafia-type feel to the place. There is always this one (Russian) guy, who is obviously the owner or manager, sitting at a corner table, reading a paper, drinking a bottled beer and smoking, and throughout the evening he always has these random men come in, sit with him for a bit, talk, then leave. Sometimes they go to the back and the owner guy comes out alone, and then the other guy comes out much later. Anyway, it didn't bother me much cos all I'm doing is sitting and studying in a nice café and the guy was actually quite friendly to me - watching my books when I went to wash my hands, saying "see you tomorrow!" as I was leaving yesterday.

So anyway, I have been quite happy with my new discovery, which I decided I was going to share a long-term commitment with during my time in London. So today when two friends of mine and I wanted to go sit somewhere for coffee to study after class, I thought I'd show off my new fabulous spot. So we headed over to Covent Garden, settled in, and they loved the place. We sat reading for a while, drinking coffee and sharing a plate of French fries. Then suddenly one of girls stops our reading and 'fesses up to us that she met a guy recently that she is really interested in, and so, being girls in our twenties, we threw off our iPods and closed our books and she started to spill. Just as she was describing how he looks (i.e. the best part), I suddenly noticed that in the main part of the café the same Russian guy (who said hi to me as I came in) shut off all the lights. We were seated in an adjoining room, where the lights were still on, and other than us there was another table with a group of about five and a table with a couple (and the boyfriend had just gone down to the toilet). Suddenly the Russian guy comes in and is like "That's it, the shop is closed, fuck off, get out." We all looked at him in surprise, and I kind of half laughed thinking he was joking. But he was dead serious and again said "Fuck off, get out, you don't have to pay me just get the fuck out. We're closed. Fuck off." No explanation, no smile, in fact no expression whatsoever, just lots of "fuck offs"! He turned back and continued shutting down the coffee machines, etc. We all looked at each other and realized this guy was serious so started to put our jackets on in shock and make our way to the exit in dead silence - I think we were all too stunned (and not a little bit scared) to say anything to him! The girl whose boyfriend was in the bathroom was still inside as we were leaving and he goes back and said "I told you to fuck off and get out!" And she said "I'm waiting for my boyfriend, he's in the bathroom." And he said "Well tell him to fuck off. We're closed!" They leave and we see him lock the door and walk away.

And the more it sunk in, the wierder it all seemed. We suddenly realized: where had the two waitresses suddenly disappeared to? What the hell happened? He made us leave, without anyone paying! Even if there were some emergency, why not just say, "Sorry folks something has come up and we have to shut the place." Obviously there was no emergency in the place because he left right after us. And again, where had the waitresses gone?? They had just suddenly disappeared, and it all happened so fast. Is this not toally wierd? Why all the "fuck offs"...to patrons...people who you know are regulars?!? And now, what does this mean? I am inclined to just not go there anymore but, now I'm curious! Plus, my café! I like it! There is a salad on the menu I've been dying to try, and I still haven't tried any of their sweet crêpes!

What do you guys think happened, and do you think I should not go there anymore because of this? It's so wierd! I don't know if it comes off in this post as wierd as it really was, but man, I'm still a bit baffled by it all! I think in total he must have told us to "Fuck off" about 20 times, and it all happened in like a span of literally one minute - within 60 seconds we went from the middle of a girlie conversation about a boy to standing on the street in our coats.



  • Out of years of experience I have learned never have dinner with the Russian mob. Lunches are safe, but dinners are where they do their business.

    So was it lunch or dinner?

    Also come to think of it, shout and screaming is a good way for him to have you leave if there was some "emergency" without really explaining himself.

    I suggest a walk-by. If he wants you to come back he'd come out the door to drag you in. If not then just walk away.

    By Blogger nibaq, at 2/08/2006 10:16 pm  

  • if some1 told me to fuck off, i wouldnt want to go back. maybe they killed the waitresses.

    By Blogger MiYaFuSHi, at 2/08/2006 11:08 pm  

  • nibaq: Today was not really lunch, it was 5pm. I've been there before for lunch - they close at 7:30pm. There was no shouting or screaming - he was oddly calm about the whole thing!

    miyafushi: I know, I doubt I'll ever go back, because the way I see it if he doesn't care enough to be polite to his patrons than why should I give them the satisfaction of going back? But damn it, I really liked that place!! ;) Oh, and we thought maybe he killed the waitresses too...

    By Blogger Kleio, at 2/09/2006 2:49 am  

  • Maybe he was saving you guys from something that was about to "go down" in that place?

    Very strange. I wouldn't take the "fuck off" personally, because he used it (as you had mentioned) without screaming, and he wanted you all to get outta there, fast .

    I would be cautious around that place. Perhaps they have delivery for their food? Or take away, so you don't have to stay there? I would prob lay low, though, for a while, and just keep an eye on it.

    It stinks how you find a great place and then something strange and eerie like this happens :S

    By Blogger Caffeinated, at 2/09/2006 3:07 pm  

  • I'd say go back during the day when there is still light outside! The mob might have had an emergency and the reason why there were no waitresses was cause they might have been informed! Unlike your laugh they knew to take him seriously and got out of there! :oP

    Maybe the waitresses were told to tell you to leave as they were exiting but they were affraid to and just left!

    Good luck!

    By Blogger The Stallion, at 2/11/2006 8:09 am  

  • IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU, IN A HEAVY RUSSIAN ACCENT, TO "FUCK OFF," YOU FUCK OFF AND TOUT DE SUITE!!! Do not pass go. Do not collect one hundred. And do not, I repeat, NOT contemplate going back. In fact, you should consider staying away from the entire neighborhood! London is is a big city; find another cafe, preferably with a wrinkled Viennese grandmother waiting to welcome you at the door!

    By Anonymous red, at 2/11/2006 12:26 pm  

  • I personally will not go back there. There is something fishy going on there for him to say "Fuck off, get out, you don't have to pay anything, just fuck off". I'm sure something really dreadful happened...a dead corpse, a murder...whatever...i don't think it's worth it to go back. I'm sure you will find other places soon that is 10x better.

    By Blogger Jazz Central, at 2/11/2006 1:25 pm  


    Aside: Remember the Italian mob incident in DC?!!

    By Blogger Raine, at 2/11/2006 2:08 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 2/11/2006 7:39 pm  

  • Raine - oh yeah, see, we've already been through a mob incident before! That was a hilarious night! "Get back, it's gonna bloooooooooow!!!" And those two guys jumping over the garden wall. Hee hee hee. Adventures, adventures.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 2/11/2006 7:41 pm  

  • I wouldn't worry too much about it; probably just a bad-stress day for the Russian guy. Put it this way; if there was anything going down, atleast he took the time to warn his valued customers. He probably wants you back. Go back, the place has either closed down or it's like nothing ever happened.

    By Blogger Welsh-Rarebit, at 2/12/2006 10:50 pm  

  • Send your Korean upstairs neighbors. Tell them the cafe is offering free food from midnight to 5am.

    By Anonymous red, at 2/13/2006 10:20 am  

  • Hahaha good one Red!

    I removed the comment I wrote earlier saying what street the place was on cos I freaked out for a sec - what if someone reads this (who that someone is I don't know since barely anyone reads my blog but just humour me) and mentions it to them at the café and they seek revenge?? My entanglements with the mob are making me paranoid!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 2/13/2006 10:26 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home