Junior reacts to thankless hostess job
February 10, 2011
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The restaurant business answers the troubling questions that follow: what would the tired masses eat on a night after a long day of work when nobody feels like cooking? Where would people go to enjoy themselves after a long week of such hard work at their 8-hour-a-day jobs? I can tell you one thing: only the loveliest people come to eat at my work on these fine occasions.
If there is one thing I love more than anything else, it is working as a hostess on a Friday night after being at school all day. With Friday nights being the first night of the weekend and therefore one of the busiest nights, guests are in an unusually amiable mood. Six o’clock comes, and by that time the wait list for guests is running at about a thirty minute wait. All the servers’ tables are full, so it’s just me, the other hostess, and all the hungry guests waiting in the front of the restaurant with us.
“Hi, sir, how are–” “How long’s the wait?” a belligerent – I mean – eager guest asks me before I can fully greet him. I answer him with an estimate of thirty minutes, and subsequently he rolls his eyes and turns his back to me to discuss the appalling fact with his family that he has to wait like the other thirty people in the front of the restaurant.
“Smite, party of four, your table is ready.” “It’s ‘Smith’,” a woman in her late forties chides, as she, her husband, and two sullen teenagers follow me to their booth. Being that it is a Friday night and all other tables are full, you would assume that a really hungry person would take the first table available. “No, I hate sitting by the window. It’s so cold,” the woman complains. I try to reason with her and tell her that it is the only thing available at the time, and to wait for another booth could take another ten minutes. “Hmph. Fine,” she retorts, as I seat her surly family and try to utter, “Enjoy your meal,” without throwing their menus at them.
These are only two examples of the lovely kinds of people I encounter every time I work. I know I shouldn’t blame the guests for being a little cranky when I provide them service. After all, I am paid a whopping $7.50 an hour to simply lead the guests to their tables. How difficult could it possibly be to make people happy?
We should have a make-shift carpentry shop so I can make tables for the newly arriving guests, lug the tables around the perimeter of the restaurant until the guest is pleased, give them their menus, and then tell them to enjoy their meal. Maybe that would suffice.
Or we’ll just have the guests drive up to the door with a valet service waiting for them to step out of the car, the restaurant doors are immediately opened for them as they make their way through the entrance, and are greeted by me as I ask them how they would like to enjoy their restaurant experience this evening.
And if a guest says, “We’d like a booth right by the kitchen to keep us warm,” I’ll lead them into the kitchen, tell them to wait just a minute as I go to the back where we keep all of our “Put together in only five minutes!” portable booths and roll that baby right into the kitchen in the middle of all the cooks preparing meals.
Hey, I respect the working masses, and no one is to say you can’t “have it your way”; you just can’t have it your way every day. There’s got to be a clear line of reason and patience. I have learned quickly that people feel they are entitled to the best and whatever they want should be theirs.
However, the real world doesn’t work like that at all. Especially with the ridiculous notion of having the entitlement to a table in a Harford County restaurant, people should either suck it up and learn some manners or eat at home. Or make it even classier than a Harford County restaurant and go to Burger King so they can really “have it their way.” Let the Burger King himself deal with them.
Stephanie Meadowcroft is a contributing writer for jcpatriot.com.