Kristin's good friend moonlights as a hostess at a popular Seattle seafood restaurant that has recently become a bit of an upscale national chain. Chances are, if you live in a densely populated area, you have one by you. The place is of good quality, it's not pretentious, the prices aren't too high, and the food is typically pretty good. I don't mind eating there every now and then, but I much prefer listening to the stories from the staff.
1) Like this past weekend, for example. The restaurant's tables are thick, solid wood and add a slightly rustic, or at the least, masculine look to the place. Now, I already told you that this place has managed to strike a balance between quality and pretentiousness, right? Well, that didn't stop a party of four from coming in the other night and demanding white linen tablecloths be placed on their table. They also demanded that their silverware be hand-polished. They were told that the restaurant didn't put linens on the table (other than napkins) yet they persisted. Finally, the restaurant gave in, but that wasn't enough. The group then proceeded to demand that the linens be changed between each course. Change the linens after the appertizers, after the salad, and again after the entree. Each time, Kristin's hostess friend had to stand there holding a new batch of hand-polished silverware for them. And as if that wasn't bad enough, this ultra snobby group then expected their food to be free. It wasn't. And they've also been banned from the restaurant forever.
2) Another horror story from our friend the hostess has to do with an annual promotion the restaurant chain does with Alaska Airlines. Each passenger on board an Alaska Air flight during the holidays receives a $20 coupon to the restaurant. We've all used restaurant coupons before. We all know that only one can be used per table and that if you received 4 of them, you'll have to visit 4 times in order to use them. Right? Wrong. You wouldn't believe how many people come into the restaurant, clearly as a group of 4 or 5, and then proceed to demand separate tables. They each have their coupons and want to use them so badly they'd rather sit by themselves and eat alone than eat as a group and spend a few more bucks. It happens every year, I'm told, and every year our poor hostess friend has to risk life and limb to keep from clogging up the restaurant with lonesone diners... who all came together.
3) And just when you think you've had your fill of odd requests at the hostess station, you have the chance of seeing a naked guy wiggling himself at you. It was the NFC Championship game and the Seahawks were on their way to the Super Bowl. One particular patron at the restaurant bar had been cut off and wouldn't be getting any more booze. He begged, he pleaded, he even offered to pay for the entire bottle of booze if he could just have one more shot. The bartender held his ground and told the man to leave. He did not. Instead, the man went into the restroom, came out naked, and proceed to shake and wiggle in front of the hostesses and all of the people waiting for a table. Thus bringing new meaning to the retalliatory phrase, "I'll show you".
The restaurant biz... I don't know how people do it.