please wait to be seated

When I came back from Asia, my boss asked me to host during the brunch shift -- the last one left right before the holidays and he hadn't a chance to re-hire. He buttered me up, told me how reliable I was, and how he knew he could count on me to just dive right into the role without any training. Tasks included seating people, starting waiting lists, dealing with hypoglycemic [read: cranky] people while maintaining a generally pleasant disposition. Sounded simple enough. Of course this also meant a higher hourly wage, but a 1.5% net sales tipout. So while the servers got to leave with a nice wad, I'd be leaving work with just enough to cover grocery purchases for a couple days.

"This will only be for a few weeks," he assured me.
"Just a few weeks?"
"Yes, I promise."

My second shift hosting today. After being called a "fucking bitch" last week then being a slipped a twenty because he felt "terrible" about it -- that he was "completely out of line" -- I wasn't exactly looking forward to it. If it wasn't already past my bedtime, I'd list all the incredible things people would tell me, their sob stories, just to get seated.

Fortunately, today wasn't so bad. Of course we weren't super busy -- busy enough to still be completely full at 2PM -- and someone was actually assigned to help bus tables. Most of the diners were nice -- the nicest group actually had to wait the longest, but they were quite content waiting in the lounge while figuring out the crossword.

My favourite exchange of the day:

"Table for three? It will be about a 40-minute wait."
"40 minutes?!?" they asked incredulously. Because normally, one should not expect to wait more than ten minutes when they walk into a packed restaurant at noon on a Sunday.
"Yes, about 40 minutes."
"But there are only three of us."
"And there are also several groups of three ahead of you."
"Well my friend here is pregnant."
"Oh, well I can pull up a chair so that you don't have to stand while waiting."
"A chair? Is that the best you can do?"
"Well, she did say you were pregant. And so I thought you might be more comfortable sitting..."
"But she's pregnant, so..."
"I don't quite understand what you're trying to tell me." Of course I knew what she was getting at. I just had to hear how she'd tell me.
"So, wouldn't we get, you know, preference?"
I smiled sweetly and shook my head. Saying "no" never felt so good.


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