Solo Patrons Hogging Booths... A Problem?
Ordinarily I'm pretty relaxed about most things that can happen in restos and bars, but lately I've been noticing an uptick in the incidence of 4- and 6-place booth seating taken by ONE diner. It doesn't seem to be cases of an advance guard waiting for companions, nor the rear guard lingering. And frankly, it would not register at all on my radar if there weren't other patrons waiting to be seated. The common denominator seems to be oblivious Web activity, sometimes to the exclusion of food and/or drink. And IME, it seems not to matter if there is available solo bar/counter or 2-place seating.
Does this bother anyone else? Have we as a society become so solipsistic that it doesn't occur to these diners that they are being selfish? Or am I out of touch?
Why make an issue of it? In a seat-yourself place, customers who arrive before you are entitled to choose where they sit for whatever reason or no reason; they need not sacrifice their own comfort for the benefit of random strangers such as you. If customers are seated by the maitre d', then blame him/her, not the customer.
You might as well complain about customers who take their time eating, drinking, and leaving. Why shouldn't they enjoy their dining experience at their own pace? If those who come later have to wait a bit longer to be seated, so be it.
Frankly, I'm not sure I understand the complaining I often see on these boards sometimes. As a customer, and one that often dines alone - and sitting sometimes at a 4-top or even, sometimes, a six top, the considerations of prospective customers that come after me never enter my mind. If it made a difference to the restaurant, I assume they would not seat me there or would otherwise ask me to move after the fact. Most of the time I assume the staff thinks my seating, wherever it would be, will be to their benefit, either that evening, alone, or in repeat patronage.
If I had a party of 4-6 and could not be seated because only 2 tops were vailable and I saw solo diners at 6 tops, I might be bothered, BUT I'd be upset with management, NOT the solo diner.
The problem I see is that you state the solo diner is busy with web activity, not dining. I resent people hogging tables near electrical outlets for long periods of time with just a coffee or minial meal when serious diners want to eat a meal. Again, management is at fault.
Went to a place a few months back where I'd made a reservation as a solo diner. Place was busy in its main room, but fairly quiet in the not very pleasant room at the rear. They said they'd seat me in the main room - pointing at a 4-top. I said I was fine in the back room and didnt want to take up a prime table. Manager said "No, you made a reservation, please sit here". And they very happily cleared three of the four place settings.