The Waiting Blame

, , , | Right | November 12, 2019

(I’m a host at a nice chain restaurant that is very popular in south Florida. A customer and his wife have just walked in, right when we’re starting to get into our dinner rush.)

Me: “Hi, guys! How can I help you?”

Husband: “We have a reservation under the name of [Husband] at 6:45.”

Me: “Yes, sir, I see it right here! Hold on to this pager for me, and I’ll page you a little closer to your reservation time, because it is only 6:30.”

Husband: “Why do we need this? We have reservations!”

Me: “Yes, sir, but your reservation isn’t for another fifteen minutes.”

Husband: *grumbles* “Okay.”

(He takes the pager and they both sit down. One of my fellow hosts looks at me.)

Host: “Oh, man, I’ve dealt with these people before. As soon as I heard his voice, I remembered him yelling at another host about not being seated immediately.”

Me: “Oh, God, this is going to be great, I’m sure.”

(Ten minutes later, the wife comes up.)

Wife: “We should be seated by now.”

Me: *checks pager number, sees they have another five minutes* “You still have another few minutes, ma’am.”

(She gives me a dirty look but sits back down. Three minutes later, she and her husband come storming up.)

Husband: *yelling* “Why are we not seated yet?!”

Me: “Sir! You have a couple more minutes left until your reservation time. We’re getting a table ready for you now.”

Husband: “We should have been seated by now! You gave the impression that we’d be seated before our reservation time! You lied!”

Me: *confused, but firm* “Sir, please stop yelling at me; it isn’t going to change anything! I’m sorry if you got that impression. That was not what I intended.”

Husband: “It doesn’t matter! You should have been more clear!”

Me: “Again, sir, please stop yelling! Your reservation time still hasn’t hit, and we can never guarantee that you’ll be seated before your reservation time. We are getting a table ready for you now, like I said, so please calm down and give me a couple of minutes.”

Husband: “I am not yelling. I’m just telling you what you should be doing!”

(My manager walks up and starts dealing with them, and I tune out to help other customers that have walked in and witnessed the entire thing.)

Customer: *eyeballing the man now standing silently against the wall* “We have a reservation for 6:45 also, but we’re okay with waiting.”

(Once we get a table set for the husband and wife, I immediately send a host to seat them to get them away from the host stand. A minute later, I look over and I see them sitting at a different table that wasn’t even bussed off, and the other hosts frantically trying to clean around them and them refusing to move from the table we didn’t seat them at. I just groan and let them stay, realizing the battle isn’t worth it to get them to sit at the table I originally put them at. And then, immediately after their server goes to them with water, they start complaining about that, too. Later, one of my server friends walks up, glancing at the husband and wife.)

Server: “Is that [Customer]?”

Me: “Unfortunately.”

Server: “I remember dealing with them when I was a host. They’re the actual worst. They hate waiting more than anyone else I’ve ever met.”

Me: “Yeah, I definitely figured that one out.”

(At least now I can say I’ve been yelled at for not seating someone BEFORE their reservation time.)

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