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Apr 1, 2011 10:18 AM

Anyone else getting rushed out of Blind Lady Alehouse?

Last Friday my Wife and I went to BLAH, dinner was fine, pizza, beer, fine. When our beers were not yet even empty and there was still a slice of pizza on the plate, the lady who I guess runs the front of the house came over to us and asked us if we were going to be much longer, because there was a line of people who will be ordering food. This was a bit surprising and really bothered me. Especially since the table is massive and we were only two people on one corner of the table and two other people on the other corner. There was loads of room in between and the other tables all had space as well.

Personally, I think its rude to go around and rush people out. I had to wait to grab a seat, it was no big deal, I assume others can wait as well. I'm not so sure I'd go back now, the food is good, nothing spectacular but I've never even been rushed out of a busy mcdonald's why would anyone do that at a restaurant/bar?

Anyone else been rushed out?

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  1. That's pretty bad, considering you weren't even done yet and it was plain to see. Maybe if you had been sitting there for a while after your table had cleared, but even then... I've been a couple times, and don't remember this kind of treatment, but it's a shame to hear that because I like what they have going.

    1. I'm confused by your post. You write that you were asked if you were going to be seated at the table longer. You were not told to leave. You were not asked to leave. You were asked if you were going to be staying longer. If they didn't tell you that you need to leave, then I don't see how you were being rushed out.

      27 Replies
      1. re: Josh

        "the lady who I guess runs the front of the house came over to us and asked us if we were going to be much longer, because there was a line of people who will be ordering food."

        That's the obvious way of telling someone to leave without actually explicitly saying it. It's easy to read between the lines here.

        1. re: chezwhitey

          So do you think that if they had told her they weren't done, and would be there a while longer, they would have been physically removed from the premises?

          Is it not possible that they were simply being asked if they were leaving soon?

          If they were occupying the end of one of the long tables, and there was a large party that inquired about seating, is it not possible that in order to accommodate this party the woman simply asked their status so she could let the large party know how long they might be waiting?

          Maybe it's sometimes OK to take things at face value.

          1. re: Josh

            No that was a passive aggressive request to hit the road. Don't have to get much more concrete than that. Kroit, I'm curious, how did you respond to the tacky treatment?

            1. re: Island

              i was a bit stunned. All I said was that we'd be around a bit longer, thank you, and went back to chatting about whatever we were chatting about. I wasnt rude, and I didnt take it personal but I could tell that no one else was loving the "treatment" either.

              Honestly, its that far of a stretch to think that a restaurant in SD would pull anything like this. But I've eaten at a lot of places all over the world and aside from someone putting the check on the table early, I dont think any place has ever just come out and ask if i'm "going to be much longer".

              The lady wasnt "mean", I just dont think she knew any better. (which is pretty hard to believe) And as far as other larger parties are concerned, they can just wait like everyone else. Its no big deal, just stand and drink your beer and eventually someone will get up. If i can do it, anybody can.

              1. re: Island

                Not being blessed with the power of clairvoyance, I guess I'm less willing to assume that there was a hidden message there.

                1. re: Josh

                  "Hidden", are you serious? You'd have to be unconscious to not pick up on that vibe!
                  Kroit, I would have been stunned too. Don't know what else I would have done in the moment, but I know I wouldn't return.

              2. re: Josh

                No one here is confusing a threat to eject someone from the restaurant with plain bad manners, except perhaps you. "Is it not possible" that they were simply demonstrating poor customer service?

                1. re: Josh

                  Josh, getting a little defensive about one of your fav places? Seems pretty obivious it was a rude move, kriot should have settled in and grew some roots in that chair.

                  1. re: cstr

                    I don't know if that's how I'd describe it. I've been to BLAH numerous times and never seen any kind of rude treatment meted out to guests. Obviously that doesn't mean it's impossible, but the way the OP worded it, I don't see how it amounts to being rushed out.

                    1. re: Josh

                      If they were fine with them enjoying their beer after dinner, would they have bothered asking "how much longer" they were going to stay? Come on, let's call a spade a spade here, that was totally passive agressive.

                  2. re: Josh

                    I don't see any case where a restaurant should have any interest to know when a party plans to leave the restaurant (especially when they are not even finished). And the way it was worded wasn't even very "hidden". Everything else is simply non existing customer service and unprofessional. And yes I agree with others it sounds you get a bit defensive just because it is one of your favorite places.

                    1. re: honkman

                      I don't see how you can infer that there was a hidden message if you didn't directly hear what was said.

                      I am insistent on this point, not as a supporter of BLAH, because there are things they do that I am not a fan of for sure, but as someone who has often been accused of implying things I didn't mean through people misinterpreting what I say.

                      I would add that if I was sitting at a large table, and someone did ask me if I was going to be leaving soon, I certainly wouldn't be offended. I would be offended if someone insisted I needed to leave. I think there is an important difference there. Guess I'm alone in that opinion.

                      1. re: Josh

                        Josh, it seems to me that unless someone asks you how f-ing much longer you want to stay there, you would be perfectly fine. Stop hiding behind the finger.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Josh, you are either a really good or terrible poker player.

                          1. re: Josh

                            Like you, I would not be terribly offended by being asked about the length of my stay. I guess their tone and vocal inflection probably would have some part of it but I would assume that they were asking so they could help inform their other patrons of a potential wait. As "rude" as it may seem to the person being asked, it would be far more annoying to someone waiting to keep getting an "I don't know" answer from the employees. Besides, I've asked and been asked many times at Blind Lady and plenty of other places (Hamilton's, Toronado) if I (or the other patron) could have the table upon completion. No big deal.

                            1. re: Josh

                              I agree that nobody but the OP was there but similar to restaurant reviews where also only the reviewer was in the restaurant it shouldn't be too difficult to get some basic information out of the description (or do you believe all restaurant reviews on CH are complete useless and not true) and there is no reason to believe the OP is just making it up. And based on what the OP describes - food still on the table, people waiting for tables, hostess asks how much longer they need - it is really hard to imagine any other reason for the hostess to ask this beside giving a clear sign to the OP that their table is needed and that they should finish their food asap (or do you have any other explanation why the hostess asked the question). And that is, at least for me, one of the biggest missteps in any restaurant. I have much less problems to have a not so good dish on some nights or wrong dishes are brought to the table etc. (shit happens) but a restaurant not even trying to hide that they want you to get you out of the restaurant is just plain wrong.

                              1. re: honkman

                                "it is really hard to imagine any other reason for the hostess to ask this beside giving a clear sign to the OP that their table is needed and that they should finish their food asap"

                                Well, this is where we differ. I can easily imagine other reasons.

                            2. re: honkman

                              (Always good to get a spirited discussion.)

                              Josh, you're right that none of us were there and nuances matter.

                              On the other hand, the OP seems reasonable and distinctly non-crazy.

                              And it would seem that the combination of (1) beer still in the glass and (2) pizza on the plate and (3) not just a simple request of "how much longer will you be" (hard to justify on its own) but also a mention of "the line of people who will be ordering food" (passive-aggressive by definition) means that for 90% of us it's very clearly a rude question and a failure of good customer service.

                        2. re: Josh

                          They were asked to leave - if somebody asks me "if we were going to be much longer, because there was a line of people who will be ordering food" it means that the restaurant wants you to get out now. That's already very unprofessional but it looks like it happen when they hadn;t even finished their dinner.

                          1. re: Josh

                            Josh, I think you're splitting semantic hairs. In asking how much longer they expected to occupy the table, they were, indirectly, being asked to hurry it up and vacate.

                            1. re: Josh

                              No, she did not "explicitly" ask us to leave. However it was still in really poor taste. And it was easy to see her intention was to get us moving.

                              Also, to add more to the story, I did see her ask the people at the other end of our table as well as another couple seated elsewhere. I'm sure she didnt ask them to leave either however nobody looked extremely happy after she asked.

                              Next time maybe, she'll just come around and say "Geeeeesh!!! Arent you done yet!"

                              Anyways, its a bit of a bummer since the atmosphere there is very casual and the beers are great.

                              1. re: kriot

                                This is one of the reasons we dislike dining out on weekend nights.

                                When we go to BLAH, it's usually on a Sunday and we spend all day there (lunch through dinner). We each bring a book, read, and have beer and nibbles.

                                1. re: shouzen

                                  Let me preface this by saying I have never been to BLAH but hope to dine there soon but I'm just curious shouzen that you both bring a book and spend all day from lunch to it a coffeehouse too?
                                  Is it super slow on Sunday where that isn't an issue?
                                  From most of the posts here, its seems like its super slammed all the time and I couldn't imagine taking a table for 5+ you get asked to move it on from the poor customer service chick too?

                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                    Honestly, it never seems super busy on a Sunday after ~1pm. We've never been asked to move or anything - we just sit at one end of the communal tables near the front.

                              2. re: Josh

                                It would be a sad day when the restaurant biz gets so full of themselves and detached from their own customer that they lose the ability to gauge the emotional impact of their own words. Your rebuttal sounds excessively literal to me.

                                I think what matters most, [unless the OP is extraordinarily prone to being offended :) ], is the feeling that their behavior engenders in their diners regardless of what a literal parsing might otherwise show.

                                ...just Imagining a restaurant whose front of the house is staffed solely by lawyers... Oh what fun!

                                Honestly moves by the front of the house in situations such as this should be left to their most deft and experienced servers, or best not attempted at all.

                              3. I guess that is why I like blue ribbon artisan pizza in Encinitas better. Besides the fact that I live in Encinitas. The place gets crowded, but they really don't try to push you out and the wait staff has been professional. I have been to BLAH a couple of times and I have noticed that vibe. Thanks the pizza is good, I like BRAP pizza better. The beer is good, but with the drive, its not worth it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: littlestevie

                                  BLAH vs. BRAP (Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizza.) I love it!

                                  Any more?

                                2. If the staff at any restaurant would ask me how much longer I plan on staying, I would immediately pay the bill and walk out and never return. In the case of BLAH, even simpler since the bill is already paid.

                                  1. kriot, did you happen to say anything to the manager on duty when you left. It was a pretty clueless/thoughtless thing to do and, clearly - or you probably won't have posted about it here - you found it rude/troubling/offensive. The hostess really may have simply been trying to assess when the table was going to open up, but her approach didn't work.

                                    No restaurant wants to alienate customers, but they won't know that's happened unless someone tells them. If you didn't say anything, you could still send them a note or e-mail and say "this is what happened to me in your establishment Thursday evening, this is how it made me feel and why it was a problem for me". Whoever is managing the front of the house needs to do some retraining. As has been pointed out, from the customer service stand point, you had a poor experience. No operator wants that to happen.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      No, I didnt. Which I really should. I know, shame on me. I probably will drop them a note.