Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dear Diner

First off, I am not a tipped employee, so this won't be some rant about how cheap you are, though let's face it: you are cheap. I work for a (shockingly low) wage one night a week as a host at an "upscale casual" restaurant. As far as I can tell, "upscale casual" means "better than an Applebee's but still not adventurous enough to scare your elderly parents." Plus, Caesar salad.

Lately, there have been some egregious crimes committed at the many that I wonder if perhaps some book has been issued to the diners of America, a book perhaps called How to Look Like in Amateur Diner in Three Steps or Less. So let's correct this behavior now, before it gets out of hand and I have to contact the police regarding your behavior. Feel free to print this handy list out; I recommend lamination.

1. If it is Friday night at 7 o'clock, do not call to make a reservation for Saturday night. I am already busy and harried and two glasses of wine into my shift. I do not care that you forgot to make a reservation earlier in the week for you and your eight - oh wait, maybe seven or no, perhaps fourteen - friends. Wait until tomorrow.

2. If you must bring your children - and really, I don't get why you must; this is what lockable closets are for - do not make a reservation for "four and a half. Hee hee." Unless you actually have half of a child, like in a jar or something, the child will need a chair of some sort or another. So five. But if you do have that jarred thing, by all means bring it in; I'd like to see that.

3. Congratulations on your birthday. Seriously. I'm as shocked as you are that someone hasn't shot you yet. But don't ask me to give you something for free just because you haven't died yet. A lot of us haven't died but we're not running around demanding a free creme brulee. And really, if you want free cake, just go to Chuck E. Cheese and put up with that animatronic bear; it's totally worth it, especially if you're a little tipsy.

4. If you are making a reservation at a restaurant famous for its "view," well, you are obviously an idiot. If you'd like to sightsee, by all means get on a bus and loop around the city dozens and dozens of times. If you'd like to dine, please join us. And don't call five times to reiterate your need for a view. I will seat you by the restrooms and you will say "I asked for a view" and I will reply "yes dear, but you didn't say of what." And I will walk off. Host: 01. You: 00.

5. I do apologize that your table isn't ready when you have arrived fifteen minutes early. But I only apologize once, so don't bring it up it again. Or you will be seated next to those non-specific view-requesters I just put by the bathrooms.

6. On a related note, if your reservation is for 7:00, do not show up at 7:00 and say "we'll have a drink at the bar first" and then sit at the bar for an hour. I will not hold your table and in fact, I will go out of my way to give it away and then at 8:00 when you have finished drinking your Jack and coke, I will seat you, yes, near the non-specific view-requesters near the restrooms. Or the half-baby in a jar.

7. If you are an old person, congratulations. You made it this far! I think you can make it up the three more steps to the platform seating. Consider it a challenge.

8. If you have a reservation for an early hour, do not come in and peer at the half-empty dining room and say "good thing we called! Hardy har har!" because I am privy to information you are not and I will seat the party of fifteen screaming margarita-drinking Red Hat Society ladies due in ten minutes next to you so fast your head will spin.

9. I'm sorry that you are lost. Really, I am. But we have specific directions on the website - and a printable map! - so if you call me and say "I'm facing the city and it's on my right" I am going to laugh at you silently and also I am going to send you the wrong way just for fun. Make sure you take in the view while you sightsee, because you'll be back by the bathrooms.

10. I know it's loud in here. Yes, we are working on it. One idea we have is that if everyone complaining about the noise level would just shut the fuck up, it'd be ever so much quieter. How's that plan work for you?


Jesse Wiedinmyer said...


Can I have a "good" table, please?

Joseph said...

Dear god, not the Red Hats. They're becoming the bane of my Chicago existence, blocking sidewalks almost as bad as the suburbanites who don't understand that strolling three across blocks traffic.

MotherWeary said...

...and I have these allergies so I need to be near a window, one that opens, but maybe 5 feet away from it because you know there's stuff in the air out there, and I need a table away from the bar because people drink there and you never know what they're going to do when they are, you know, well, tipsy, not that I would ever think that your fine, fine establishment has a bunch of drunks in it but, well, you know, I'm just sayin' ...

lewarkk said...

Rah-rah, DG!

kitchenmage said...

Nice. I must go thank Tana for sending me here.

Maybe red hats are like red shirts on Star Trek, except that instead of you being totally dead you are just brain dead.