Attempting to Save Face at this Business Lunch — But Ready to Stab Sheila with a Fork!

Trying to Save Face at this Business Lunch -- But ready to stab Sheila with a Fork!  Honestly, Sheila!  #funny #office #car #humor

So then…he asks me a question and 10 eyeballs stare straight at me – all 5 executives wait intently for my answer.

Now normally, I LOVE to be the center of attention! I’m happy to chitter-chatter away, non-stop, on all manner of topics.

But this is a BUSINESS lunch meeting – and Dan’s question is FINANCIAL – and I have NO BUSINESS answering a FINANCIAL question.

Oh, I got me some skills, yo – but Finance is not in my jurisdiction – (it’s not even in my solar system). And half the words he USED in his question aren’t even in my VOCABULARY.

But I’m the only one representing my company at the meeting and we’d really like to do business with this group, so I take a stab at answering.

Initially, my long-winded response elicits a furrowed brow of confusion from one of the women executives (come on, Sheila, give a sister a break!) – but then I toss in some buzz words and a couple insightful points, and everyone seems to nod in agreement.

I breathe an internal sigh of relief, spear a morsel of salmon, and secretly congratulate myself on my delicate menu choice. I’ve suffered enough disastrous business lunches to know NEVER to order
* the Goopy Sauce-Spewing Pasta
* the Crunchy Noisy-as-a-Wood-Chipper Salad
* the Mouth-Full-O’-Sandwich Conversation Blocker — or
* the Bean Burrito (no explanation required).

I’m even wearing my fancy work outfit today – the one that needs to be DRY CLEANED. That’s right, no washable poly-cotton blend for these execs – I’m rockin’ the DRY CLEAN ONLY blouse. Yes, I said it – BLOUSE, people. That’s how corporate I am today!

So the dialogue continues – I ask some intelligent questions – I nod thoughtfully at their answers – I appear professional, competent, and even – dare I say it – sophisticated. I’m making a great first impression!

Just then, the server comes over and asks, “Does anyone here own a blue car parked out front?”

I do.

I own a blue car parked out front.

“Um, why do you ask?” I say.

He says, “Someone just came in to report that the car is running and all the doors are unlocked.


So I mumble, “berjurmertalabrim,” bolt out of my seat, and dash to the parking area –

and sure enough, there is my car with engine running and doors unlocked – where it has been for a solid 30 minutes.

The electronic key is in the cup holder.

I must have forgotten to press the engine stop button.
And grab my key.
And lock my doors.

So now, I have to go back into the restaurant.

Or DO I?

What if I just drove away right now and never returned?

Would they finish my salmon and talk about that weird girl who disappeared so mysteriously?

Or do I return to the restaurant and…

1) Pretend that it was NOT my car:

“What? Huh? Nope. Not my car. I don’t even OWN a car. I WALKED here.”


2) Just admit that I’m a doofus:

“I don’t even possess basic common sense to turn off a car, but you should totally trust your BUSINESS to me.”

(And by the way, who’s the guy who reported this occurrence to the restaurant in the first place — thereby causing my embarrassment!?)

(Oh, YOU may call him a Good Samaritan. I call him a Big Fat Tattle Tale!)

So I slink back into the restaurant and take my seat as Dan says, “Was it your car? What happened?”

I pick up my fork and say nonchalantly, “Oh, I like to keep the engine running and the doors unlocked to make it more convenient for car thieves. I’m a giver like that.”

They laugh.

Sheila says, “Oh my! So your car’s been running THIS WHOLE TIME?

Oh, shut up, Sheila! Mind your own beeswax! (I say in my head)

“Yep,” I say blithely. “Hey, if they’re not gonna recognize an easy score when they see it, they really don’t deserve to steal my car. Don’t you agree? So Dan – tell me more about your plans for next quarter.”

— Darcy Perdu

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43 replies on “Attempting to Save Face at this Business Lunch — But Ready to Stab Sheila with a Fork!

    • thanks, Lisa! I agree! I think the impressive BLOUSE far outweighs that little car incident!

  1. Lol, I’m sick and dying so I needed this hilarious piece. I can see where the art of manipulation and lying helped you out here, it really keeps you on your toes. At least it comes in handy and kept you from looking really foolish. Smooth operator, very smooth. :)

    Have a great one,
    Awesomely Over-Zealous recently posted..Verbally IncapacitatedMy Profile

  2. Marianne said:

    Congrats on how u handled it. BTW…what kind of car do you own? (if it’s electric then I can certainly see you leaving it “on”…and not noticing it….they don’t make any noise!) plus you didn’t put the key in the ignition! :-O I have a “smart” key too! love it..but when I have to drive my parents’ car, I forget that I HAVE to put the key in the ignition! hahahaha ….but seriously…great post!

    • My car isn’t electric, but it’s pretty quiet — and I think in all the excitement and nervousness of going to the meeting, I just exit-ed the car without paying attention.

      One time, I left my car at the valet parking at Burbank airport and flew off for a 3-day business trip — WITH MY CAR KEY IN MY PURSE! So the poor valet guys couldn’t move my car while I was gone and had to work around it stuck there in the middle of their entry lane! Oops! When I innocently returned, having no idea of the problem, they all looked at me like: “YOU! YOU GREEN CAR LADY!!” Let’s just say I was very apologetic and VERY generous with the tips!! :o)

    • ha! exactly! geez, Sheila! cut me some slack! :o)

      And YES, our companies work together now! so I guess the car thing didn’t worry them! although I notice no one ever offers to carpool with me to meetings…

  3. My sister-in-law left her car running with a set of keys hanging from the ignition through an entire movie. When we discovered it we didn’t tell her. We just turned it off and dropped the keys on the seat, like any decent person would do.

    • That’s AWESOME! You are a good friend! I wish that Good Samaritan had done the same thing for me! Just turn off my car, lock my doors, then discreetly hide behind a potted plant in the restaurant and slide me the keys unobtrusively! ha!

  4. Kristina said:

    Hahahaha!! It’s so nice to hear stories like this, because I can feel a little less mortified about the things I’ve done!

    I was once in the Cayman Islands with a friend, and I had driven us to a tourist submarine ride in our rental car. We’re waiting to board the vessel when an announcement comes on that there’s a car running in the parking lot. Yep — I’d left the engine on. Also, I had very conscientiously locked the doors….

    • Yikes! I guess locking the doors on a running car is even WORSE ’cause you gotta wait for the locksmith! Too funny!

  5. STOP IT! That’s HILARIOUS! And totally something I would do. Such a shame you couldn’t have just gotten in your car and left. How funny would that have been?! ;)

    • I would LOVE to have made a getaway that day! :o)

  6. OMG, I’ve DONE THIS! Except my car was locked and it was in the KMART parking lot and they called for me over the loud speaker and by the time the tow guy came to unlock me, I didn’t have enough gas to get to the gas station. But I didn’t realize that until the tow guy left. So…
    Teresa recently posted..A sniper tried to kill me today. No big deal.My Profile

    • oh no! that is awful and funny and awful again! (but really funny!)

    • zoinks! that would have been even MORE embarrassing if we’d wrapped up lunch and I came out to find my car stolen and witnesses saying the car was running and unlocked! so glad THAT didn’t happen!

  7. Bwahahahaha. I don’t think I would have come clean. The way you did was perfect! And seriously…WHAT IS YOUR DEAL, SHEILA?? –Lisa

  8. I had to leave work and drive 30+ miles to rescue my husband who left the engine running and locked the keys in the car. I figure my turn is coming. It’s only a matter of time.

    • oh, priceless! I hope the look on his face when you arrived was sufficiently sheepish! :o)

  9. HAHAHA…hilarious!! meeting embarrassment, but one time I tucked my skirt into my panties and one of my employees saw my underwear…the same one who was present when a big gust of wind came by and blew my dress up. So he saw my underwear twice.
    RageMichelle recently posted..Don’t Be A DickMy Profile

    • Holy Cow, Michelle, give that boy a raise! It’s a wonder he didn’t sue you for sexual harassment! (what with you constantly exposing yourself to him!) Ha!

  10. Oh, I’m with you, funny lady. There is no bigger horror to me than the word ‘finance’. You’ve represented us financially challenged and done us proud. Love how you handled the situation and thank you so much for pinning on my board!

    • Katia — so glad to know there are others out there whose eyes glaze over as soon as someone starts talking finance! :o)

  11. Paul said:

    Very funny…and embarrassing.

    I once had an older car that had the peculiarity of the key freezing in the ignition for about 20 minutes when it was started in very cold winter weather (I live in Ottawa). Once the car warmed up, the key could easily be removed. I went to work at 5:30 am one very bitter morning in February, and of course the key would not come out of the ignition when I arrived. I figured I’d just go into the office, turn on the computers, make some coffee and then come out and shut the car off. When I turned on the computers, there were some critical issues that had developed overnight (I worked for a tanker company that hauled gas and diesel 24/7) and I started to address the issues and completely forgot about the car.

    When I finished my day at about 5 PM, I walked out the door and saw my car, realized my keys were not in my pocket and panicked. The car had run out of gas and the key was still “on”, so of course, it killed the battery too. Luckily, there was a repair shop attached to our office, so they helped me out. I never lived down that incident – imagine 70 truck drivers (who love to gossip) who all knew that I had left my car running all day by accident. Ha! In a way, it was a good thing as from then on, they had no hesitation reporting to me stupid stuff they’d accidentally done.

    • Ha! That’s an awesome story!! I can just imagine how much ribbing those truckers gave you! Ran out of gas AND killed the battery — job well done! :o)

      • Paul said:

        The worst of that whole situation was that even though I was covering dispatch that morning, I am embarrassed to say that my actual job was Regional Safety Manager – it was my responsibility to investigate every one else’s mistakes. Sigh.

        • Ha! Reminds me of when I was so excited to be promoted to “Lieutenant” in my high school marching squad — then had to give MYSELF a demerit for being tardy to practice!

    • Ha, glad to know you can relate — hypothetically, of course! Not a Prius but it’s one of those cars where you press the button to start/stop. I blame the button.

  12. Carre said:

    I did the same thing once. Only I was borrowing the car! My friend’s kind husband lent me his car while he was out of town and mine was in the shop. I left the car unlocked, running and parked on the street for more than THREE hours! I blame it on having a newborn at the time.

    • holy cow, Carre! 3 HOURS? I can’t believe no one stole it! You were really tempting fate that day! Thank goodness it all worked out!