Things are a little different in the world of being single. When you go out in public, you’re often the odd man or woman out. And I particularly note this to be the case when you go to a dining establishment. Even more so if the place has an ego.
Yes, businesses have egos too. They like to craft an image to promote youth, beauty, and affluence. If you’re eating there, you must have money, the food must be gourmet, and you must be part of that “elite” class that expects, and gets, the best service.
And they will position the chosen few, those that fit societal’s definition of beauty and wealth where they can be seen by prospective customers. The hungry walkers-by, peering into the arena of the feast. Witnessing the conquers having killed, dressed, and roasted the beast upon which they droolingly masticate.
They strongly resist giving up a “prestige table” to an ordinary guy who just wants to have a beer and take in the scenery.
That’s me. And maybe that’s been you too,
I certainly doubt I’m the only one who has experienced this, but when I go into a restaurant alone, and request one of those coveted tables, outside, by the waterway, where the public strolls, I encounter constant discouragement. Perhaps obstruction is a better word.
They will seat me at the worst location possible to encourage me to leave. And often, bad service ensues.
It almost happened again today, and that reminded me of a particularly obnoxious wait staff in a restaurant in my home town. Dare I call anywhere “home.” 😊
It was a local Mexican establishment. And when I asked for a table outside, by the waterfront, I was led to the table that no passerby could possibly see. In fact, it would have difficult for anyone else in the restaurant to see me since it was behind the door leading to the patio.
Oh yes, there were other tables available, but it seems I didn’t fit the mold, and there would only be one meal being paid for instead of four. Three empty chairs aren’t good for business . . .
So yes, I tolerated this placement in my ego-restricted space. My bubble of invisibility. After all, I’m a pretty easy-going guy. Even when the waitresses slammed the door into the table each time they delivered a portion of the multi-course meal being inhaled by the party of eight that was seated front and center.
But then they really started to push it.
A busboy attempted to take my plate when I was half finished. Fork still in hand. Hold on a minute there!
Then the waitress brought me the check long before I would have asked for it. I mean there was no offer of dessert, or question as to if I wanted anything more to drink. It doesn’t matter what my response would have been, that’s just customarily done when you’re the host.
Hummm, I thought for a moment, called the waitress over and ordered another drink. Yes dammit. They had given me a rotten location, with an obstructed view, and constant mini-earthquakes shaking the table, but now, I’m hanging onto that spot as long as I possibly can.
Orneriness runs in the family you see.
Stunned the waitress, begrudgingly, brought me another margarita, and in the same instant, a revised check. The tip was getting smaller now.
So, I waited, and waited, and waited, and once confident that no one would acknowledge my existence, I flagged the waitress down again. But this time I asked for a cup of coffee.
Oh yes, this meant revising the check again. For a third time. And for a just a brief moment, I thought I saw a glimmer of light in her eyes, a sudden awareness and understanding, that maybe she, and the business, got it.
You should serve customers equally.
But no, another instant revised check briskly landed with the cup of coffee; as the table shook.
I drank it slowly, very slowly. 😊
I’ve never returned to that restaurant.
Today, though, I was prepared. It wasn’t going to be a repeat of that bitter tasting experience. I pulled a bait and switch.
When I was directed to the bar, I retrieved my drink and then blocked the hostess’s escape. I asked for a table outside and asked for a menu. So at least they thought I was ordering an entrée. When they attempted to give me a table in a similar location as the Mexican restaurant, a table to make me invisible and earthquake prone, I asked for the best table I saw open. They relented.
And when I told the waitress later that I decided against the meal, there was little they could do. I knew they’d ignore me from that moment on, but hey, I, along with three empty chairs, was enjoying my beer. On the waterfront . . .
Photo: Obviously not peak flow at this restaurant when I snapped this pic. I came after the lunch rush and way before dinner time. But it does demonstrate that even with many open tables, they were going to place me in that hidden space. In case you’re wondering, the waterway was just beyond the bushes, more visible over my left shoulder.
On a side note, I have cloned brushed out a scene that had unfolded in the background. Some guy, presumably having a meal with his female partner, had waited strategically until his partner excused herself to go to the restroom and was busy taking pics of a very attractive waitress. Geez, people . . . well, there is the fun of watching the absurd unfold. 🙂
Oh, and Happy Fourth of July !