Posted on 02 Feb 2015, by Barry Verber
A few days before Christmas my daughter suggested that we meet for lunch in Chelsea and it was very last minute. We met at a well-known eaterie at 12:30 only to be told that there would be a 45 minute wait and, didn’t I realise that it was the week before Christmas ? Well, of course I did, but I was there now and wanted to stay there even more because I couldn’t get seated. Much as we know you sir, there is nothing I can do any earlier. I suggested waiting in the bar…”all these people are also waiting in the bar and they have reservations”…” Is the manager around ?” ” He is in his office sir, would you like me to ask him to come up ?” Here I hesitate. I am going over the perfectly nice and reasonable receptionist’s head…and I will surely need to deal with her in the future…”Yes please”…the dye is cast.
The manager appears, friendly as ever but flustered and clearly,I am not what he needs…the restaurant is packed, the service is under strain and an old customer wants to be seated now…an old customer who hasn’t been here in a while…” haven’t seen you for some time, how have you been ?”
Not good. Tip. If you expect a restaurant to do you favours you need to be a regular. If you leave the gaps between visits too long you will fade from memory. ” Have a drink at the bar, on me I insist, and I’ll get you seated shortly.” The bar-man mixes two spicy bloody mary’s and, a few minutes later, we are seated with menus and proceed to lunch pleasantly.
When I get out my credit card and glance at the bill I notice it to be a little higher than expected…there were the two spicy bloody mary’s at £12.50 each ! What to do ? My friend the manager is no longer on site. Do I simply pay the full bill on the basis that I have been seated only because I pulled rank, or do I call over the maitre’d and say quietly, ” I think the manager bought us these drinks “… ” Of course he did sir, it is the bar-man’s mistake. I will have them taken off immediately and I will remove the service also”…Oh dear, too much niceness for a somewhat recalcitrant customer don’t you think ?