Sadly, it is time once again (*sigh*) for another primer on how to dine out in a restaurant. This edition will focus primarily on being seated. This is a concept that seems simple enough and, in theory, it should be. The reality is that being seated in a restaurant is fraught with difficulty. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
My theory is that it stems from that horrid adage “The customer is always right”. Truthfully, they’re not. Would you like to know why? This is simple enough to explain. They do not work in the industry and, as a result, they don’t understand how something as simple as sitting where they’re put can (and often does) adversely affect the rest of their dining experience.
There’s a reason you are being directed to a particular table. Likely it’s where you have the best chance at great service.
If you insist on sitting someplace of your own choosing and are TOLD that you will have to wait a few minutes for your server, please process that information and act accordingly. Do not wave your hands wildly or, worse, stand up when the person that you suspect is your server flies around the corner with a tray full of drinks. This behavior will probably not end well for either of you, nor for the unsuspecting guest behind you who will get a noggin full of Sprite because you HAD to make your presence known.
I know. I know. You’re special. You’re in a hurry. (Guess what? Everyone SAYS they’re in a hurry — EVERYONE!) I understand that folks like you — crazy rule breakers that you are — need the world’s undivided attention. I have an idea. Stay home where you are the King of Your Castle, A Legend In Your Own Mind. It really will be best for everyone.
For those of you who claim to have fifteen minutes for lunch, guess what? We’re on to your bullshit. Not that I think you have much sense, but I assume you can tell time. If, indeed, you only had that much time for lunch, you would have gone to a fast food joint or a deli. If your time is, indeed, limited (and, really, everyone’s time is finite on some level, isn’t it?) it would especially behoove you to pop a squat at the table where you were initially directed to sit.
What’s that? You want to watch some foolish sporting event? A sporting event that can only be seen comfortably from eight tables in the restaurant? Six of which are currently occupied? And the bar is full, too? May I suggest that the next time you go out to watch some meaningless sporting event, instead of insisting on sitting in a section where the server is clearly busy or at a bar that is obviously full and then stressing out the staff, you make it your business to leave a few minutes earlier.
Oh, wait. That’s right. The world revolves around you. You and your needs. You and your fifteen-minute lunch hour. This may come as a shock to you — you who thinks himself so special — but you are not the only American whose lunch hour falls between the hours of noon and two. You are not the only idiot who has the same bright idea to watch some foolish game that, let’s be honest, you couldn’t care less about.
Yes. I’m talking about World Cup Soccer. Every four years you crazy soccer fans come out of the woodwork. Suddenly we’ve got a nation of soccer enthusiasts on our hands. I’ll guarantee you that, by and large, you people don’t even know the damn rules. (I’ve overheard you talking and, in fact, I KNOW that you don’t know the rules!)
Here’s what I love most about you people who refuse to listen to the folks who know a thing or three about what is going on in their dining establishment. Those of you who plop your asses down and sit wherever the hell you want to sit just because you can, because you’re the customer and you’re ALWAYS right — you will spend your time with us disappointed and unhappy. Here’s a news flash for you: It’s all your own fault.
Open your eyes. Clean out your ears. Listen to what you’re being told. This is basic and something that most of you should have learned in pre-school. You probably weren’t paying attention, though.
That’s no surprise. You don’t pay attention to anything. I know. I know. You’re probably distracted by or absorbed in a game that involves a ball of some sort. (It’s not only World Cup Soccer that brings you in — sometimes it’s golf or tennis or the all-important National Ping-Pong Championships.) Even though you have fifteen minutes for lunch, you don’t have the first clue as to what you want to eat. You order things that aren’t even on the menu — clearly this isn’t your usual lunch place. We don’t have Whoppers.
Personally I can’t wait for July 14th to roll around. Not because it’s Bastille Day. Not because it’s my birthday. Because, if my information is correct, this is the date that will bring World Cup Soccer to an end. Sadly, it won’t signal an end to people refusing to sit where we put them, but it’ll help. Right now I need all the help I can get.