how to score a crappy table at a good restaurant.

12 Feb

On weekend nights my mom and I call each other at the restaurants to check in, see what’s going on and how busy it’s been and who’s irritating/handsome/entertaining/getting fired. Every so often, we decide that it’s a full moon because there is no other explanation for so many complete assholes (disclaimer: I do not have any affiliation with, or knowledge of the actual lunar calendar so please consult another blog for accurate moon stuff). Tonight was a full moon.

In recognition of all the scowling bitchy housewives and cranky househusbands who entered my kingdom tonight and stared at their iPhones longer than they looked up, (seriously, why do you bother eating with other people if you have more interest in Temple Run than human interaction?) here is my pocket guide to getting the table of your nightmares at all the coolest dinner spots. The benefit of these annoying habits is that you can often sit much sooner than the nice quiet people who have a drink at the bar, enjoy themselves and don’t worry about what time it is. But don’t count on a nice quiet booth in the corner if you’re guilty of the following:

  1. Stare at the hostess until she feels so uncomfortable she wants to run away. Making some quick eye contact with us and throwing us a friendly smile is always quite welcome. But don’t wear out that welcome by making an obvious attempt to catch my gaze every four seconds. I’ll want to get you out of my face so badly that I will LITERALLY set a table for you next to the bathroom and right under the air conditioner return.
  2. Show up early for your reservation and assume that you will be seated next. The people who fall into this category classically follow me to their table even if I was gesturing to someone on the other side of the bar at least two times before realizing that it might be a few minutes. Oh, all these people standing here? No, they aren’t waiting for tables. They’re just part of the decor.
  3. Show up late for your reservation and assume that you will be seated next. Tonight a woman showed up 25 minutes late. So late, in fact, that I marked her as a “no show” (vocab of the day: jerk who makes a big deal about taking their name at the EXACT time that they want, asks for your name so they can make sure to use it if they have to, and then decides to go to one of the 5 other restaurants they also made reservations at for the evening). All I had open was the drafty table next to the screaming tots. I told her it would be a few minutes, because I like to reserve that for walk-ins (I mean, who has the audacity to not plan what they are going to be in the mood to eat on Saturday night in advance?). She rolled her eyes before I turned away, and suddenly I remembered that a table was available….
  4. Drop the owner’s name. To the owner. That is so cool that you know me! And maybe if it were true I’d have a good table for you! And if you’re really going to be that person who asks where my dad is, I’m going to tell you that he hasn’t come to work in 5 and 1/2 years, so maybe you should learn my name.
  5. Make eye contact with the hostess’s breasts. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I use my cleavage to get people to be nice to me when there’s a really long wait on Fridays and Saturdays. That being said, I would like my face to be noticed as well. My breasts have feelings. They’re called my eyes.
  6. Use the host station as your own personal countertop. The host station is just like a hotel check-in but without the luggage and we don’t give you a map to your table. You give your name and move on ’til they grace you with your room key. You don’t show up at the Ramada and then park yourself at the front desk for an hour until your room is ready, so why is it that it’s ok here?
  7. Let your children use toothpicks and business cards as toys. Or perhaps they can jump on the host station until it is jusssstttt about to tip over. I can promise you that with behavior like this you will be sitting down in no time at a table that is 2 seats smaller than your party so that you can grace your server with this fabulousness in a more cramped setting!
  8. Block the hostess in even though she has said “Excuse me” repeatedly. I am really happy that you found a place to wait for your table that you find comfortable, but if you are keeping me from bringing people to their tables, it really is going to make your wait quite a bit longer. Also, while I understand that you’ve had a long day and can hardly stand, you’re leaning on the menus and I can’t get to them and even if you move your elbow once, I might have to access them again. And again. Tonight we had a group of 6 literally stand in a circle that completely cut off the flow of service from the kitchen to the dining room. Hot coffee, BBQ Ribs, Ice Cream Sundaes with birthday candles…. guess who got a table quicker than they should have!
  9. Use a stopwatch to test the hostess. While my job is to tell you how long the wait might be, I have neither a crystal ball nor a magic 8 ball. So if I’m off by a few (twenty) minutes, please don’t ridicule me. I feel bad, I promise. Don’t tap your watch and shake your head disapprovingly. I’m Jewish and extremely sensitive to subtle guilt. I might cry, depending on what time of the month it is or whether Harry has made me a milkshake that day.
  10. Have every person in your group of 8 tell the hostess that you have a reservation. Probably only one person needs to tell me that you made a reservation and it’s under Cohen. Someone else wants to tell me that everyone is here? Go for it. I absolutely do not need 6 other people to come up to me and tell me that the name is either under “Seth” or “Cohen” or “Summer” over the course of 3 minutes. Probably you should choose a charming delegate and let him
  11. Sit in the corner for 2 hours without asking why you were quoted 20 minutes. The reason the wait was so long is because I either forgot all about you or someone responded to “David” who wasn’t really David. I am truly sorry, and appreciate your patience so much, but unfortunately I only have a shitty unromantic table right now. Guess you should have been a little more aggressive. Here, have some calamari.



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