These covers! Jane looks vaguely equine, and Toby looks like a 45-year-old PTA mom. This is one of the Canby Hall books I owned as a kid and read over and over and over again, though not within the last 19 or 20 years. So it was familiar and new to me all at once, this time around. And I was pleasantly surprised by the skills of one Barbara B. Hiller, Ghostwriter; compared to most of the other treasures in this sandwich collection, this particular one came with very little cheese. The other interesting thing about this book is that it is what taught me everything I know about waitressing. I never waited tables myself — all my school-age jobs were in retail — so to this day, this book is my handbook on How to Wait Tables, should I ever be emergently summoned to perform the task. Shall we begin?
The book opens with the girls of 407 having a little roommate party to celebrate the end of the fall term and the upcoming Christmas break. Andy can’t wait to get back to Chicago and see all the ballet performances she’s snagged tickets for. Jane is looking forward to seeing her family, and Toby to seeing her dad, but both of them conveniently have the second halves of their vacations wide open. Jane’s mother will be busy throwing fundraising tea parties, and Cary will be out of town, as his band Ambulance has somehow been booked for a gig in Colorado. (Who on EARTH books a high school band with no experience to speak of from the other side of the country? There were no other crappy teenage groups closer to home?) Likewise, Toby’s dad is leaving after Christmas for a ranchers’ convention. Will Jane and Toby’s clear schedules and boring vacation plans soon come in handy? You psychics, you! The roommates exchange Christmas gifts. Jane gives Andy a framed reproduction of a Degas painting of ballet dancers, and Toby a framed reproduction of a Remington pen-and-ink drawing of a cattle drive. They are both thrilled, and also sort of impress me with the way they both immediately recognize that they are a Degas and Remington. Do most fifteen-year-old girls know that kind of thing? Anyway, Andy reminds Jane that they had a $5 dollar gift limit, and Jane replies that the gifts cost her nothing, because she just asked the curator of her grandfather’s collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for a favour. Since the curator is her mother, it was easy-peasy. So these girls got actual art off the walls of an actual art museum for a tenth-grade Christmas gift? Kind of makes me embarrassed about the $11.99 cat calendar with matching tasseled bookmark I got my best friend in tenth grade. Anyway, Andy gives Toby a Texas coffee mug and Jane a bottle of spray-on hair colour in electric blue for Ambulance’s rock concerts. Toby gives each of them a handmade leather wallet made by a ranch hand back home.
They’re all enjoying the holiday spirit and getting ready to pack for their trips home the following day (where Jane muses only half-jokingly that the upstairs maid will unpack her suitcases and the downstairs maid will shine her shoes while the midstairs maid has her own duties) when Andy gets a call from her father that ends her dreams of a beautiful Christmas vacation: Robert and Elaine have fallen in love! Say it ain’t so! Who are Robert and Elaine, you ask? So did Jane and Toby. It seems Robert and Elaine are the best waiter and waitress in Andy’s parents’ restaurant, and they’ve not only fallen in love, they’ve eloped. And are headed on a honeymoon to Jamaica. (Where, Jane suggests, they might run into Alison and David. Please, can we not start talking about them again? After the last book, it’s too soon.) So since it’s too difficult to train strangers for short-term positions, Andy and her brothers are going to have to cover at the restaurant for the duration of the school vacation. Andy is bereft at the thought of missing all her wonderful ballet performances. (Her constant harping on ballet is becoming just like Faith’s never-ending photography and Shelley’s obsession with the theat-ah. As an aside, ever notice how when teens in YA fiction have a hobby, they go all in? It’s all they ever eat, breathe or sleep. You gotta stereotype people somehow!)
At that moment, next-door neighbours Dee and Maggie stop by. By way of character introduction, Dee’s ideal outfit is described as being a surfboard and a bikini, while Maggie’s is “a striped cotton skirt, flowered shirt, wide belt, and shoes to match.” That is just the oddest outfit to imagine. And is there any mention of the fact that Maggie is the sister and daughter of the famed super-stylish Dana and her Manhattan fashion-buyer mother? You guessed it – NO. Does their mom only buy clothes for her firstborn? Anyway, they mention that Maggie is spending the second half of her Christmas break with Dee in Malibu. That gives Jane an idea, and their scheme is born: Jane and Toby will fly to Chicago to help out as waitresses at Andy’s family’s restaurant for a week! Andy is touched at their offer, but then good sense prevails and she asks whether either of them have any actual, you know, experience. Toby offers that she’s worked at the mess hall at her ranch. (The ranch she and her father own is big enough to require a mess hall? I digress.) So she knows that you need to get all the food on the plates without mixing the beans into the mashed potatoes, and then when the guys complain, you ignore it. Andy is dubious about how these skills will transfer into her parents’ restaurant. Toby assures her that she also used to work at a diner. Jane, for her part, has watched her mother train a lot of maids and she knows you serve from the left and clear from the right. Andy is more convinced. (Why would Mrs. Barrett be personally training maids? Wouldn’t that be, I don’t know, the Head Maid’s job or something? Whatever the American equivalent is of Mrs. Hughes?) Anyway, Andy gives them both lessons on how to balance a tray on one hand, and then calls her skeptical but apparently desperate father who eventually agrees to this ridiculous plan. Joining Jane and Toby will be Andy, her brothers Charlie and Ted, and another waiter, Steve Palmer. So what is the point of this anyway? Andy’s still going to have to work through her entire vacation. What trouble is the roommates’ presence going to save for the Cord family? Again, I’m asking too many questions.
We cut to the barren lands of Texas, where Toby gets a call from Jane on the stable phone in order to finalize travel plans to Chicago. She is amazed by the fact that Jane can use her father’s fancy-schmancy conference call system to set up a three-way call with Andy. Today’s kids can video-conference at the drop of a hat! Anyway, Andy says, “Jane, you’re going to have to learn this waitressing stuff,” which is the understatement of the century if you ask me. Isn’t that sort of the reason she’s going? Andy dispenses several pages of waitressing tips and thanks Jane for the lobsters she’s bringing (although these are never mentioned again, soooo … I don’t think she did) and Jane says that it’s the least she can do when she’s coming for such a long “vacation visit.” Andy is concerned that Jane doesn’t really understand what’s in store for her. Ya think? Andy also mentions that it’s frigid in Chicago, so they should be prepared. Jane says casually that if they don’t have the right clothes, they can just use her mother’s account at Marshall Field’s, which Mr. Google tells me was an upscale Chicago department store that has since been bought out by Macy’s. In any case, Andy and Toby are awed by Jane’s wealth.
The next day, Jane is informed at the airport that there’s been a mix-up with her reservation and there are no more First Class seats on her flight. She can either fly First Class on the next flight to Chicago, or she can fly Coach on this one, in which case the airline will give her three free upgrades to First Class to be used on future flights. Is it normal to be angry when I read about how genteel air travel used to be? Going off on a tangent: A year after we got married, my husband and I had to move 550 miles apart for 3 years due to my medical residency and his military service. We flew back and forth on as many weekends as we could during those years, which allowed me to amass a lifetime’s worth of airline horror stories. I experienced so many delays that I actually added up all my lost hours and wrote a letter to Continental Airlines saying that they owed me 2.7 days of my life back. Their response was essentially a big wet raspberry. So you get three First Class upgrades because of one minor flight error, Jane? Bite me. Anyway, Jane ends up seated to a gorgeous hunk who, naturally, she falls for completely, erasing any thought of Cary (HER BOYFRIEND) from her mind for the rest of the book. Zach Foster’s parents are divorced and he’s coming back to his mom’s house in Chicago after spending the holidays in Boston with his dad. When he hears that Jane is going to work in her friend’s restaurant, he is thoroughly impressed, because, as he quickly informs her, he hates rich people who don’t know the meaning of a hard day’s work. Jane is stunned and, as per her usual custom, doesn’t tell him the truth. Instead, she starts surreptitiously moving around her belongings so that he won’t see the designer label on her cashmere sweater. Makes perfect sense, Janie. Zach asks if they can get together while she’s in Chicago, and suggests the art museum (do a lot of 16-year-olds go on dates there?) and notes what a coincidence it is that the Boston Museum of Arts has such a great collection with her last name. Just then the flight attendant’s voice comes on overhead telling them to prepare for landing by “extinguishing all smoking materials.” You know, though in a lot of ways society has changed for the worse as the decades pass, I am so glad I have no firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to fly in an airtight tube choking on secondhand smoke. Anyway, they land, the three roommates meet up at the airport and are introduced to Zach, Zach mentions how nice it is that Jane can make a little money at the Cords’ restaurant to save for her college education, and Andy and Toby start laughing before getting the stink-eye from Jane.
After the Zachster leaves with promises to see her that week, Jane explains to her roomies that she “didn’t have the heart to correct him” regarding what he thought of her. See what I mean? A total pattern of behaviour with Jane. She just never has a chance to explain herself. However, she mentions that she got a call from Neal, who’s still angry about the “mix-up” at Alison’s wedding (a euphemism if ever I heard one) but was very interested in Toby. So that’s back on again, I guess. They arrive at Andy’s family’s restaurant, Steak ‘n Ribs, and are going to be immediately put to work, so they get last-minute instructions and put on their uniforms. Toby lets it slip that she wasn’t actually a waitress at the diner where she used to work. She took care of the horses. It was sort of a diner/stable combination place. This can’t bode well.
Andy gives them the grand tour of the restaurant. She shows them the basement, where extra supplies are stored, and warns them that the entire area is always kept locked. Will this fact come back to haunt them later? I leave it to your deductive reasoning. One thing Andy tells them is that the waitstaff’s break area is out of sight of the customers. You never want a customer to see you sitting down, because the minute they do, they’ll think of something they need. Man, that is just like residency!
Before they know it, the girls are waiting tables. Jane is asked what the specials are and flips to her order pad, but panics when what she sees is “gr. lb. ch.w/ g, Ps + prsly. n. pot.” She corners Andy, who explains that, obviously, it means grilled lamb chops with green peas and new potatoes with parsley. (For $8.95. Lamb chops for $8.95, I say!!!!) Jane says she was about to tell the customers it was a pound of green cheese with great possibilities, which is definitely something I would order. Over the course of the night, Toby and Jane have a variety of mishaps – rude customers, mixed-up orders, forgetting to bring sugar with the coffee. Customers are noticing that the service isn’t what it usually is. The night is almost over when Toby starts balancing a tray with six meals on one hand, while a customer backs away from a table while telling a story. As Barbara B. Hiller tells it, “It would have been all right, but it was a fishing story.” The man spreads his arms, catches Toby in the stomach, and he, Toby and all the dishes come crashing down.
The next day they are all exhausted despite hours of sleep. Jane is awoken by a call from Zach asking her to go to the Art Institute with him that afternoon. Jane is excited, but unsure of what to wear since her usual pressed silk blouse and blazer don’t cut it when one is slumming it. She borrows an old sweatshirt from Toby and jeans from Andy, explaining that Levi’s aren’t really designer jeans so they’re OK, and her roommates are kind of insulted. Jane has a great time on her date with Zach despite the fact that it requires pretending to be someone she’s not. Then Zach says he wants to attend the museum’s school of fine arts, but he needs to know someone to get in, and his art teacher doesn’t have that much sway. Jane’s mother is on the Board of Trustees. Jane thinks about the irony of the fact that if she told him who she really was, she could get him what he wanted, but then he wouldn’t like her. Zach then says that the Board is made up of rich snobs anyway, so he’s just going to forget about it. This is definitely one couple that’s gonna make it, you guys. They go to the cafeteria for lunch and so that Jane can rest her feet, and Zach tells her she’s a “real fighter” and that he admires that. After ONE waitressing shift? Gag me.
That evening, Jane and Toby meet Steve Palmer, who tells them to listen to Andy because she knows what she’s talking about. They tease Andy about him, and it turns out Andy’s always wanted him to notice her but he never does. Plus, he’s in college. PLUS ANDY ALREADY HAS HER BOYFRIEND MATT DOES ANYONE CARE ABOUT THAT OH MY CRANIUM. Jane mentions that she’s going out again with Zach that night after work, and Andy wonders how she’ll do that when she’s already so tired. That evening, they work in teams: Steve and Toby, and Jane and Andy. Andy, annoyed by Jane’s refusal to come clean with Zach, shows it by being annoyed by Jane’s work performance. During a break, Jane gently tells Andy she knows Andy’s envious of her dating Zach. Andy is genuinely surprised that Jane thinks she’s jealous and asks if it’s OK that Jane is pretending to be something she’s not. Jane, misunderstanding (or deliberately not understanding) says she’s not pretending to be a waitress, she’s trying to be a waitress. Andy gives up (far too easily in my opinion.) Mr. Cord assigns Jane and Toby to help Andy’s brothers with a banquet upstairs, so Andy and Steve take over the dining room. They work smoothly and efficiently together, and Andy asks him to stay for soda and dessert after their shift. He politely turns her down. After work, they all go up to the Cords’ apartment to try out a new chocolate cake recipe that Mrs. Cord is testing. Man, I wish I was friends with these people! They discuss who’s coming to “family lunch” the next day, which is a buffet lunch on Wednesdays for family and friends where they serve leftovers and recipes the cook is experimenting with. Everyone is welcome, so Jane asks if she can invite Zach. She then leaves on her date with him, and over hot chocolate at a diner, tells him about her various nutty customers, including a French-only speaking couple that didn’t leave a tip. It then somehow comes up that Jane doesn’t know Pig Latin, so Zach teaches her. In doing so, he also taught a 7-year-old me. So, kudos to you, Zacharino. As he escorts her home, he tells her again that he admires how she knows what she has to do and does it, even if it includes a tough job like waitressing. Insert eye-rolls.
The next day brings the Cords’ warm and boisterous Family Lunch, where combinations of people as varied as Zach + Andy’s brothers and Jane + Andy’s father’s brother-in-law are engaged in colourful conversation. Solitude-loving Toby is having fun but feels homesick and needs a little break from it all. So she volunteers to take Andy’s two-year-old sister Nancy out for a walk. Toby enjoys the opportunity to be outside (even if those Chicagoans did cover it all up with concrete), so even though she can’t find the park they were heading to, she decides to keep walking. She chats away to Nancy about her two wayward roommates: Jane, who’s lying to Zach about who she really is, and Andy, who’s pretending that Steve doesn’t exist. Nancy provides helpful commentary such as “Doggie!” in reference to a vicious Doberman three times her size, and turns around, straining, in her stroller yelling “Doggie! Bowwow!” after its owner tugs it away. “Come on, Nancy, you’re acting just like Jane,” observes Toby. “There’s no future between you and Fang, there. Forget him.” What is it about toddlers and animals? A rabid dog could bite me and my kiddo would still want to pet it and take it home and have it live with us forever.
Toby gets so caught up in walking and talking that it takes her awhile to realize that she’s lost and it’s starting to get dark. Panicking, realizing she has no idea how to get home and has Nancy’s safety in jeopardy, she starts running down streets with the stroller blindly. (Say it with me, friends: CELL PHONES ROCK.) Then she catches sight of a mounted policeman on a horse and immediately runs to him for help. He tells her she should take a cab home (duh) and points her in the direction of a taxi stand. Toby is so relieved that, once safely in the cab, she does some self-reflection with Nancy, recognizing that she’s in the habit of immediately trusting anyone on a horse, which was helpful in this case, but which is a silly belief. Nancy points out the window at the park they were supposed to go to. Toby promises she’ll take her the next day. You can just see Nancy deciding that, on second thought, she’s busy.
Toby is eager to share her newfound insights with her roommates. In doing so, she mentions that they don’t have taxis in her part of Texas. Except “old Ben Juaro, but he’s not really a taxi driver. He just hangs around the barber shop and if somebody looks tired, he gives them a lift, and if they give him money, it’s fine with him. If that’s a taxi, then I lied.” I love Toby! Anyway, she explains to Andy and Jane what she has learned about behaviour patterns and how each of them need to break theirs in order to improve their respective situations. Andy totally understands what she’s saying about Jane. Jane totally understands what she’s saying about Andy. Neither is very interested in applying these life lessons to themselves.
That night’s waitressing adventures begin. Jane picks up orders for a table and can’t remember who ordered what, and is too lazy to check her order pad, so she lets the diners figure it out. According to Tom Sietsema, my personal food guru, waiters acting like auctioneers (“Who got the chicken parm? How about this rainbow trout?”) is a huge no-no. Guess Jane, despite what we all thought, doesn’t have much of a future in the food-service biz. Then she asks if the table wants dessert, but they remind her that they already told her they want coffee. Exhausted, she asks Toby to cover for her and goes to take a break. She thinks about Zach, who she’ll be seeing again after work that night. She thinks about how this job is going from bad to worse for her, with someone ready to tell her something she forgot or something she did wrong every time she turns around. She can’t figure out why it’s so much easier for Andy and even Toby than for her. She ends up falling asleep at the table and is woken up half an hour later by Toby, who suggests Jane skip her date and catch up on her sleep, which of course Jane refuses to do.
Later that night on her latest hot-chocolate date with Zach, Jane wonders again why this job seems to be too much for her. Zach tells her he needs to take her home so she can sleep. Jane isn’t sorry to get to bed, though she wonders to herself why she’s so tired when she’s getting ten hours of sleep a night. Good question, Jane. As someone who completed a medical residency with years of overnight call, and who now has two kids who conspire to wake up for myriad reasons throughout each night, I haven’t had seven consecutive hours of sleep in … let’s see, it’s 2014 … A VERY LONG TIME. So Jane, to be succinct: bite me.
The next morning, Mrs. Cord and Toby are in a big discussion about the best way to make chili. Toby has Texas expertise in this area and Mrs. Cord wants to serve chili for the restaurant’s big New Year’s Eve party. While they’re occupied with experimenting, Andy and Jane go to see one of the ballet performances Andy was losing her marbles over back when she thought this was going to be her Christmas break to remember. They have a nice relaxing time, but on the way home, as Jane starts thinking about the upcoming evening of work, tension starts building again. When Andy comments that waitressing must be getting easier, Jane explodes that no, each night is harder and less fun than the last. (And since when is work supposed to be fun, missy?) Andy asks if Jane is sure it’s the work that’s bothering her. As Jane doesn’t seem to know what Andy’s talking about, and as Andy is reluctant to bring up Zach again when Jane’s been deaf on this subject in the past, Andy suggests lamely that perhaps what Jane is really worried about is the chili.
That night starts out well for Jane, but starts going downhill when she makes a mathematical error on a bill. The irate customer accuses her of attempting to cheat him and makes a scene until Mr. Cord steps in to defuse the situation. Andy’s dad reminds Jane to call him over the minute things start getting out of hand. Then Jane takes the wrong plates to the wrong diners, then somehow gets involved in an argument between two customers that ends with both of them angry at her. Mr. Cord again reminds her to come get him as soon as there’s a problem, since it’s his restaurant and he wants people to come back. Probably to get her out of the way, he tells her to take a break. Zach calls and, like the unhelpful weasel he is, says that the Cords are working her too hard. Yeah, that’s it. Jane knows that the job she’s doing isn’t good enough and that the Barretts don’t fall. These two facts make her uncomfortable. An idea starts growing in her mind. When the night ends with Jane slipping and falling while carrying a tray of brownie sundaes, depositing hot fudge and ice cream onto an entire table of customers, she makes up her mind: she’s going home.
This is the part I never understood as a kid, and still don’t today. If I’m reading this correctly, the day this occurs is Thursday. They literally have ONE MORE NIGHT to go in their week of waitressing. Jane can’t just suck it up and get through one more measly night rather than leave her friends in the lurch? Wasn’t helping them out of a staffing shortage the entire reason she came out there? During all her bellyaching about how hard this job was, why was no one ever mentioning that she literally had to make it through one week? And also, Barretts don’t fall, but quitting is OK? [End rant.]
So the next day Jane is getting ready to leave Chicago, stuffing her belongings in clumps into her luggage as per her usual slobby ways. No one is able to talk her out of leaving, even when they mention that that night is the big New Year’s Eve party and they could really use the help that she, you know, flew out there to provide. But Jane is convinced that her experiment in waitressing has been a failure and that it’s time for her to walk away from it. Zach arrives to drive her to the airport, and the Cords and Toby all muse about how Jane really hadn’t been much worse than anyone else starting out, and how what she’s really doing is running away.
In the car, Zach says he knows how hard Jane tried, and that he’ll be in Boston at Easter and will see her then. Jane pictures him arriving at her mansion, and wonders if she could convince him that her mother works as a maid there. He asks what time her flight is, and she pulls scarves and pajama tops out of her purse as she rummages through scraps of paper and tangled jewelry to find her ticket. Zach tries to help her repack in an organized fashion. He shakes a scarf to let out the random things Jane had rolled into it, and onto the carseat fall an American Express Gold credit card and her mother’s store credit cards to various high-end retail establishments. Zach thinks Jane stole the credit cards and is horrified. Jane tells them they’re hers. He reads the names. “David Quincy Barrett, as in David Q. Barrett, Investment Bankers? Gloria Barrett, as in Curator of the Barrett Collection?” He accuses Jane of lying to him. Jane says she didn’t lie, she said she was working, and he assumed she was working class. Uh, Janie, you’re kind of splitting hairs here. You TOTALLY lied to the dude. Anyway, Zach then spits that that must be why Jane is leaving — she’s a spoiled little rich girl who can’t handle an honest day’s work. They spend the last few minutes of their drive to O’Hare arguing, and Jane ends with “If what I am isn’t good enough for you, then that’s your problem. Not mine.” He dumps her at the curb and drives off, never to be heard from again. Bye-bye Zach!
Inside the airport, Jane sits down blankly on a bench. It’s noted that she “had always thought that airports had an electrifying excitement to them.” I totally agree! Despite my multitude of negative experiences with domestic air travel over the past decade, I still love the feeling of being inside an airport. It’s a condition I’m seeking treatment for. Anyway, that airport bench must have magical Oprah powers because Jane suddenly realizes what an idiot she was for the entire fling with Zach and what a crappy friend she was for ditching the Cords. Out of nowhere, she now knows that “Barretts don’t quit” and that she wants to keep her two good friends, “because Jane plus Andy plus Toby equaled friends times three.” I don’t really know what that means but at least they worked in a tieback to the title, so bonus points. (Yes, I am in charge of doling out points, and obviously my standards are abysmally low.) Where was I. OK so Jane has finally come to her senses, decides to go back to the restaurant, and rushes to the taxi stand, when her poorly-packed suitcase unexpectedly pops open, flinging its entire contents across a twenty-yard radius of O’Hare. Man, remember those old-school pop-lock suitcases? My family used to have them, and I distinctly remember the exact same thing happening to us in an airport in India, with ratty T-shirts and underwear flying all over the terminal. We were late for our flight, so my dad was not amused, but man, that memory still cracks me up. Thank goodness for zippered luggage. You know, if nothing else, rereading Canby Hall books is really giving me an appreciation for random inventions from the past 30 years.
Passersby return items to Jane (“Here’s your lipstick, miss. Nice shade”) who is too embarrassed to notice at first that six extremely tall boys are helping round up her belongings. Turns out, they’re a basketball team from Texas, who collectively answer to the name “Tex,” are stranded in Chicago, and need something fun to do that night. Looks like Jane’s bringing some friends with her back to the Cords’.
Everyone is thrilled to see Jane return, and Tex goes into the kitchen to help Toby and Mrs. Cord in their quest to churn out authentic Texas chili. The New Year’s Eve party at the restaurant gets off to a great start. Everyone loves the chili, and Jane is an award-winning waitress now that her mind isn’t occupied with Zach. She and Toby muse about how they can set up Andy and Steve.
Turns out fate will do that for them, as Andy and Steve are each separately dispatched to the basement to get more onions for Mrs. Cord, who can barely make chili fast enough to keep up with the demand. Andy and Steve both end up in the basement, but ruh-roh: the door locks behind them. For those of you who guessed that that locking door would come in handy, fifty points to you! Sixty if you give me chocolate! Anyway, Andy and Steve take the opportunity to get to know each other. Turns out Steve’s a musician who loves ballet. He asks her to go to the ballet with him when she comes home for spring break, and admits that he’s always had a hard time forgetting that she’s the boss’ daughter. Eventually, they’re rescued by Charlie.
Tex has the entire restaurant dancing to the country-western band the Cords booked (country-western, in Chicago?) and Mr. Cord is amazed. He says they already have ten reservations for next New Year’s Eve. “We’ll have to get the Texans stranded in Chicago again,” says Andy. “Maybe we can arrange something,” laughs her dad. Steve asks Andy to dance.
Meanwhile Toby gets a call at the restaurant from Neal, who wants to know if he can meet their plane in Boston the next day, drive them all back to school, and then take her out for pizza. Aww! But won’t that be weird with Jane there, since Jane and Neal dated from the ages of, like two to sixteen? Oh well. Jane’s poor treatment of guys earns her no sympathy from me.
The party is a rousing success. After it’s over, the roommates talk about how they’re headed back to school the following day, and Jane mentions that she can’t wait to see Cary. SEE WHAT I MEAN? NO SYMPATHY HERE.
The next day they have a warm goodbye scene with the Cords. Mr. Cord wonders “who’s going to dump food on my customers now that you all are gone.” Jane suggests that perhaps he could retrain Robert and Elaine. Who are coming back from their honeymoon at last, lazy good-for-nothings.
Jane uses her three First Class upgrades to get her, Andy and Toby seated in First Class together. They have a great time enjoying the perks about which I have only dreamed. They talk about how, from now on, they’ll notice and truly appreciate good service. They discuss their New Year’s resolutions, which for Jane include stopping smoking, practicing the piano, and ceasing fingernail biting. Since she doesn’t currently do any of these things, she has no chance of breaking her resolutions and the year is guaranteed to be a success. The book ends with them mimicking their fussy customers and eating First Class cream puffs.
And thus ends our favourite trio’s foray into the restaurant world. In a matter of hours, they’ll be back at boarding school, but not for long, for the next book is also on location. Andy and Toby are invited to a fancy party at Jane’s home in Boston. Will hijinks ensue? Not a chance!