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Seating Incomplete Parties


porcupine
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This piece in the Washingtonian is an interesting explanation about one of my pet peeves.  Yes, I'm one of those people who would like to take my seat (if I have a reservation) while waiting for my party.  I understand the explanations given, and I never give the host a hard time, but it's still annoying.

Case in point: Mr P and I were meeting some friends at a restaurant; we had a reservation for about 15 minutes after opening time.  We arrived about 7 minutes early.  The restaurant was empty as far as we could see, except for the bar, where every single seat was taken and about twice as many people were standing.  We were asked to "have a seat in the bar" while waiting for our friends to arrive.

Mr. P was wearing a cast on his foot.  A walking cast, but still.  (I pointed that out to the hostess, as it may not have been obvious.)

Was that really necessary?

There are times when people need to think about the situation at hand rather than blindly following the rules.

One of our favorite restaurants does this at busy times, except that we're there so often when I tell them "my husband is parking the car, he should be along in five minutes or so", they believe me.  I appreciate their trust and never abuse it.

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Some restaurants hire people straight out of Compton, I mean high school, as host/hostesses.  They're not paid very much and they may not be able to distinguish between situations where rules should be bent.  I advise cutting them some slack.  Frankly, there're just a ton of people who lack common sense in the world, and I get annoyed easily too but I think that's only to my own detriment. 

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Justin's answers were very thoughtful. What he didn't say was how people will outright lie to you about when their friends will join them. If they've called for a reservation and asked for 7PM and could only get a 6:15 slot, they will try to grab the table and wait for their friends to come 45 later- if you let them. This is when the service becomes disjointed. 7PM and BAM! All hell breaks loose and the waiter can't get to the stragglers in a reasonable amount of time. Of course there are exceptions: elderly people, seriously pregnant women, disabled people should be accomodated if possible. On a crowded and busy Saturday night, sometimes that isn't possible.

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Mark, I agree about Justin's answers, enjoyed the insight he provided.  I suppose I have a knew-jerk reaction against someone assuming that I'm out to screw them, but I can't blame restaurant staff for doing their jobs.  Wish they'd be a bit more thoughtful at times, though.

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