Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Seat yourselfers.

I have a weird sense of déja vu about this post, as if I've written about this before. Sorry for the repetition if I have.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people just walk in and plop their asses down wherever the hell they want to in the restaurant. We do not have a sign saying "seat yourself". We do not have a stack of menus where customers can grab them. Upon entering the restaurant, customers are standing in a square lobby with tiled floor, distinctly different from the carpeted dining area. There are seats for when we're on a wait. In short, nothing about it implies that it's acceptable to park yourself wherever you feel appropriate. But of course, it happens all the time. Especially at the tables surrounding the bar -- because everybody knows that any table within ten feet of the bar must be up for grabs, right?

That happened twice last night, and man, I just love making those people feel like assholes!

The first was a couple in their early thirties, who casually walked through the lobby while the host was seating someone else. They settled down at one of our tables by the bar, and I just happened to be walking by and saw them. I scooted over and picked up two menus and two sets of silverware and rushed back to the table.

"Hi folks!" I said with a big smile. "I was just walking by and saw that the host didn't give you menus or silverware! I'm so sorry! I don't know why they didn't give you those!"
"Oh, we just sat ourselves." The lady said.
"Oh!" I gave them big, wide eyes.
"Is that not okay? Is it not open seating?"
"No, it's not." I said apologetically.
They looked at each other. "Do we need to move? Is it a problem?"
Since they seemed genuinely concerned, I quit fucking with them. "No, it's fine, nobody else is waiting. I think John can handle it, he'll be right with you. But he did just get two other tables so it might be a minute." I said, and gave them a big smile. They relaxed .... and then Rachel came over to wait on them, because it was actually her table. So they probably felt like jerks and assumed "John" couldn't handle it!

The second couple weren't nearly as nice about it. They'd snuggled their presumptuous asses into one of our six-seater booths in the middle of the dinner rush. Again, it wasn't my table, but I just had to have a word with them. Again, I said I was walking by and saw they didn't have menus, and apologized that "the host didn't give them to you."
"No, they didn't," the man grumbled, totally not taking the hint.
"I am so sorry! They're supposed to give menus and silverware to everyone when they seat them!"
"Hmpf." The woman said.
So I continued twisting the screws. "I'm really sorry. I'm going to have to have a talk with them, someone is going to be in trouble!"
At that they finally looked at each other and she said, "Well, they probably didn't give us menus because we sat ourselves."
"Ohhhhhhh." I said in fake surprise, looking over my shoulder at the completely full lobby.
"Isn't it seat yourself?" she snipped.
"No," I said slowly and with my best worried look. "I'm going to have to go ask the hosts if this table was reserved for someone." I took a step away, looked up at the lobby, and then looked back at them, biting my lip. Now, it just so happened that I knew that we had two very large parties, and that's why the lobby was full. But I certainly wasn't going to tell them that. Instead, I stepped back very close to the table and said, "You know what, nevermind. There aren't that many people waiting." I looked over my shoulder again. "It'll be okay." I said in my uncertain voice, then smiled at them and walked away.



Anonymous said...

That happens all the time where I work.Except I take a different approach.
What I do is ignore them till they say something. Then when there are a little upset and say something because no one has waited on them...I say "Oh I am sorry...who sat you here without menus?" Whatever there reply, I then rebut with :"Sorry that is why we have a sign that says please wait to be seated! When you are sitting there with no menus I am only to assume that another server has already helped you." Then I wal away and get them menus...very slowly!!!

SkippyMom said...

It is an absolute matter of the "self entitlement" that permeates society these days. They saw the sign, they know the rules, but rules don't apply to them.

I love the way you handle them. I would have to be a little less passive aggressive tho' [I am old and patient-less] and tell them that they would have to get up and wait to be seated because we have a seating system and if they wanted timely service they would need to be seated in an available section.

Anon's idea works too. :)

Deanna said...

Haha! Makes me laugh. :) I can sympathize with the first people a little but the second deserved to feel like the jerks they were!

Anonymous said...

Those people really piss me off--I just hate their sense of entitlement. I had those fuckers the other night. I took a sick hostess' shift because I needed the extra $$$. I actually sat a couple in one server's section at one point that night, only to walk back to the host stand, turn around, and see them pick up their menus and walk over to a table that they 'liked' better. They probably waited until I turned my back on them to do it, too, so that they could 'pull one' on the hostess. I told the server in that section about it, and he basically ignored them for about fifteen minutes (giving refills to the tables on the left and right of them, not seeing their little fistpumps, exc), then told them that he had been busy and assumed that the hostess had just given the table to another server, because 'she knew not to seat me then.'

aneducatedserver said...

I was a server assistant (SA) this past Saturday, and one of my areas to call in was around the bar. We usually have people who will park themselves at a dinner table, but once you go over to clean it up and explain it to them, they move. No problem. However, at about 10:35p, this lady just sits down, which probably wouldn't have been much of a problem if we didn't have about 10 names still on the wait list. I went over to wipe down the still dirty table and explained this to her. Her response was to tell me that the bartender to her to plop her pregnant booty in the booth. No ma'am. Stop telling me lies and get up.

She still remained seated, and I could see the new greeters getting nervous, so I put a plan into action. I had them page the table, and then all 5 of us (the couple, me, and the 2 new greeters) kindly explained to the lady about how long they had been waiting for this one table to become available. With so many people in her face, she had no choice but to get up. I didn't feel bad about it at all. I think working in restaurants has made me heartless...

NYCgirl said...

OMG, that made me happy in my heart. I love fucking with people like that. Especially assclowns who feel like they own the world.

dirtydisher said...

My favorites were always the idiots who sat themselves at a dirty table while you're in the weeds. Then they treat YOU like doody because you didn't realize they were the queen of sheeba.

Your new background looks nice.

The Restaurant Manager said...

I agree!!! That is so frustrating!!! What is so hard about understanding "Please wait to be seated"

I'm glad you don't just give them a free pass either! Way to mess with them!!

yellowcat said...

I usually make them get up and move when we are busy. They can wait their turn. Assholes.

ktree said...

I just discovered this blog today and I love it. I just adore screwing with jerkwads who seat themselves. Oh, and one time, these two dudes sat themslves in a dirty booth and refused to move so my boyfriend could clean it (there was ranch (suprise) spilled all over.) So he crawled up on top of the table to clean it. They were so mad...