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[Customer], Party Of Confusion

, , , | Working | October 7, 2020

I think I’m the bad customer in this story. I still don’t really know what happened. Three coworkers have invited me to dinner, and I know one of them might bring their daughter. I drive up to the restaurant and get a text from them that says they are running late. I decide to get a table for us and tell them that. I then get this text.

Coworker: “Okay, get one booth for us and one table for the kids.”

I’m puzzled by this request but assume one of the new coworkers decided to bring her kids, as well. Since she’s new, I don’t know much about her family. I walk up to the hostess and explain the request, and I see a booth with a table beside it in the background. I think it won’t be a problem as there are people around but it’s not busy.

Hostess: “So, you want two tables pulled up beside each other?”

Me: “Uh, that could work. My coworker just said to have one table for adults and one for kids.”

Hostess: “Oh, I get that.”

Me: “Yeah, I think they mean something like that.”

I point in the background to the booth and table close together. The hostess looks at it, appearing confused.

Hostess: “Yeah, maybe that… so these two tables right here?”

She points to two tables beside us.

Me: “Uh, yeah, okay. I’m sure that will be fine.”

I assume maybe it’s because of reservations or where the servers need to be placed. I sit down at one of the tables, when a young waitress approaches me looking somewhat panicked. 

Waitress: “So, these two tables are for you?”

Me: “Yes.”

Waitress: “One for adults and one for kids?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s what I was told.”

The waitress looks even more worried.

Waitress: “How many kids are there? Do we need another table?”

Me: “Uhhh, no, two tables are fine. I’m not sure how many kids there are; I know of one for sure. Sorry, it’s some coworkers from work and we’re just getting to know each other.”

The waitress continues to be a deer in headlights.

Waitress: “If you had to guess, how many kids?”

I’m not expecting this question, and I quickly look at the tables to see how many seats there are.

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m not sure, but if I had to guess, four at the most.”

Waitress: *Somewhat relieved* “Okay, that’s not so bad. Now, do you know how the bill will be paid?”

I look at her, confused at the question.

Waitress: “Just so I can get my bills ready. Is it going to be all separate? Do you know if some are paying together?”

I’ve only been asked this question either at the end of the meal or at the beginning when everybody is present. It’s only me and I’m not sure how to respond. I don’t know how many kids are coming, and I definitely don’t know how people are paying. I try to be as helpful as I can, but I really don’t know how to proceed. 

Me: “Uh… well, I am paying for just myself. I’m not sure what the others have planned.”

Waitress: “Soooo, what do you think, if you had to guess?”

Me: “Well, it would be me for myself, another coworker and her daughter, and then I guess the other coworker and her kids? But I’m not 100% sure.”

Waitress: “So, three separate bills?”

Me: “I guess, yes?”

I understand that splitting bills is annoying and I’m sure the waitress was being proactive, but I was just confused by the questions and the reaction to us. I think that it maybe had to do with the table that was nearby that had more than ten people and half of them were young kids. We were only six people in the end and the server was great, but I am still confused as to why they asked those questions and reacted as if we were the biggest group coming in.

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