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Walking out on a restaurant meal

Last night my wife, MIL and I went to an early (6PM) dinner at a restaurant directly on the Connecticut shore. i have dined at this restaurant (and at it's previous location) for more than 55 years.

We were seated at a booth directly by the waterside windows and were enjoying our appetizers. The restaurant was 2/3 empty (not unusual for 6PM on a Tuesday), the hostess brought in a family group of 6 adults and two tykes and proceeded to sit them at the large booth next to us. The youngest was crying and screaming and the two oldest adults were hacking away.
I asked the hostess to either seat the group somewhere else, or move us. I was not going to listen to the bawling toddler and hacking oldsters all during my meal. The hostess refused to do either.
I asked for the manager, and was told none was available. My wife asked for Ms. X (the owner's daughter, a friend of my wife). The hostess told my wife that Ms. X was not in. My wife said, Then why do I see her sitting at the bar. The hostess replied, I mean she's not working, you can't involve her, I'm in charge.
I said to the hostess: "then you explain to Ms. X that your stupidity caused us to get up and walk out. I threw a $10 bill on the table for the waitress and we walked. We were not going to put up with this bad treatment by a stupid hostess.
Today, my wife was at the hairdresser, Ms. X was on the other side of the salon and didn't see my wife. Ms. X was busy complaining to her hairdstylist that there was some old fool hacking away at her restaurant last night and 3 tables walked.
My wife walked over top Ms. X and said: "We were the first to walk. I gave your hostess the chance to move them or us to a different table, but she wouldn't, and wouldn't let me talk to you (even though I saw you at the bar)."
Ms. X was horrified, asked my wife to bring me and MIL back as her guests. Wife said, she'd offer, but intil the offending hostess was gone, we'd not return.
Bad help and lack of management can sink a restaurant that's been there 70+ years and 4 generations.
If my wife didn't consider Ms. X a friend, I'd name the restaurant and probably have posted negatively on Yelp.
I don't generally walk out on a restaurant, BUT there was no excuse for being subjected to both the poorly behaved toddler and an adult who sounded like he had consumption.

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  1. I'm assuming the tenner was just to cover the cost of the apps.

    1. <Bad help and lack of management can sink a restaurant that's been there 70+ years...>

      Conversely, stellar help and wonderful management can *make* a restaurant.
      A hostess is one of the most important jobs in a restaurant. It's the first person the patron meets and the last one they experience as they go out the door.
      It'll be interesting to see if the owner fires her, as she should. You and your wife absolutely did the right thing.

      1. Dining at the same place for 55 years. Bravo. First of all the customer is always right. They are a service to you. And you even left a ten dollar tip. I would forget about it for now. Don't eat there for a while. Speak with your dollars. Mention the service next time you return. Word travels fast . Those hairdressers.

        22 Replies
        1. re: emglow101

          "First of all the customer is always right. "


          and the money of that other family is just as green. perhaps they haven't been dining there for decades like the op, but am sure the restaurant wants to please them too. the adults could have used better judgement than to come out with coughs/colds, whatever, but who knows their situation.

          am sorry, but it is utterly presumptuous to ask for another table to be moved. YOU should have asked to be moved.

          also, the staff is only as good as their management and training allows. calling someone in over her head "stupid" is incredibly rude. i'm a lifer and would have been very upset to be on the receiving end of that and a younger person would have been more than flustered. how is she supposed to make anything better after that? now, as a patron, YOU are insisting she be fired?

          for all you know, "ms x" might have told that hostess that she was at her personal wit's end and to not bother her for anything.

          you've been a loyal guest for longer than i have been alive. ms.x is trying to make things right for you. let her, and let that be that. let HER handle her staff as she sees fit without holding anybody hostage.

          as a semi- ot remark, "ms x" seems less than circumspect if she is in public bitching about guests in what sounds like a small town.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Please read MY post, I asked the hostess to seat them elsewhere or move us. she refused to do either...................

            1. re: bagelman01

              i did read your op. you gave her 2 options: us or them, in effect cornering her. imagine if you were that other family and the hostess asked YOU to move?

              a discreet request of "gee, the dining room is pretty empty. could you please us move us away from that family? the parents seem sick and the kids are too rambunctious for us to enjoy our meal." not combative, not aggressive and no name-calling would have resulted.

              dining once at a 3-star michelin in nyc. my friend and i were in for the long haul, having ordered a tasting menu, but it was early and the place yet to be full.

              a woman with an ENORMOUS hat was seated at a central window table. the host tried seating several parties next to this woman, but her hat was SO BIG, it touched the other person behind her!

              the host did not ask hat-lady to move, nor to take off her hat, even though the thing was absurd in its enormity.

              we managed to joke with him about it and he was simply resigned to not having use of that table til hat-lady was gone.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                <not combative, not aggressive and no name-calling would have resulted>

                Really? In a perfect world, perhaps.
                The restaurant's 2/3 full, the OP and his wife are regulars, and a party of 6 was seated next to them with disruptive guests who weren't really considering their comfort while dining.
                Obviously, from the very beginning, the hostess wasn't either.
                The OP requested 2 scenarios, the hostess would *not* oblige, even though the OP asked for the manager who wasn't available and then Mrs. X who appeared to not be too enthusiastic about pleasing the customers. Sleep deprivation, frustration, exhaustion....these are all part of running a restaurant. If you'd like your business to succeed then these elements aren't an excuse for poor management.
                Mrs. X complains "3 tables walked" to her hairdresser because of "some old fool hacking away".
                That's not why 3 tables walked. Three tables walked because Mrs. X and her STUPID hostess allowed them to.

                1. re: latindancer

                  please re-read the op. the restaurant was 2/3 EMPTY.

                  moving a party of 3 is far easier than moving a party of 8.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    <moving a party of 3 is far easier than moving a party of 8>

                    Perhaps but it's not relevant.
                    The OP was making the request. The table of 6 was content to stay where they were. The OP's request should have been immediately responded to and anything he wanted should have been given. It doesn't matter if his request was right or it was wrong.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Yes, I agree moving a party of three is easier than moving a party of 8. As I read the posts from bagelman, he would have been happy to have the hostess move them. He offered two choices--one of which you find acceptable and one of which you do not. The hostess did neither, nor did she handle the situation in a professional manner.

                      I don't care how unreasonable a customer may be (and in this case, bagelman definitely was not), it is not okay to stonewall their requests to address a situation with management. Doing so most often indicates one of two things: 1) they don't give a rat's a$$ about the customer and their concern, or 2) they don't want to get in trouble because they couldn't handle a situation. Either one is not okay.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        hot toy, the OP said they volunteered to be moved themselves. now maybe the hostess knew that in 15 minutes all the other tables would be filled, but the OP did what they could to give the hostess some flexibility. You seem determined to miss that point.

                      2. re: latindancer

                        "Mrs. X complains "3 tables walked" to her hairdresser because of "some old fool hacking away".
                        That's not why 3 tables walked. Three tables walked because Mrs. X and her STUPID hostess allowed them to."

                        I agree 100%.

                  2. re: hotoynoodle

                    "as a semi- ot remark, "ms x" seems less than circumspect if she is in public bitching about guests in what sounds like a small town."

                    Absolutely agree.
                    I guess Mrs. X doesn't subscribe to "the customer is always right." :)

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      ITA, i don't think name calling and messing with a person's livelihood is productive. and if she really were that inept, then i think it's a situation that will ultimately resolve itself. either she'll be out of a job or the restaurant will drive away customers and fold. the latter seems to be the scenario most likely to win at this point. To show the grace you wish had been afforded to you makes you the ultimate winner. That's not saying the situation wasn't wrong or that you should have accepted it. I just think that hurling insults and insisting someone lose her job may not be the best approach.

                      also the following does read as if you were asking a seated party to be moved: "the hostess brought in a family group of 6 adults and two tykes and proceeded to sit them at the large booth next to us. The youngest was crying and screaming and the two oldest adults were hacking away.
                      I asked the hostess to either seat the group somewhere else, or move us."

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Having spent 24 years in retail I can tell you that the customer is definitely not always right. In fact its probably 50% or less. And the ones who complain the loudest and are the most belligerent, the ones who make the greatest demands, are usually the most wrong. Its how a business manages to placate these people that makes the difference.

                        I don't think the OP was necessarily wrong. I think you ask to be moved and don't mention moving another party. But, given their experience with the place that should have been a pretty simple thing to do.

                        I would accept the offer to be their guest and leave it at that. Another issue with the hostess and I'd never return. If the OP has been going to a place that long it must be pretty good.

                        1. re: HoosierFoodie

                          <it's how a business manages to placate these people that makes the difference>

                          Absolutely. The business that tells their employees to make the customer "right", with a huge smile and a willing gesture is the successful business.

                        2. re: hotoynoodle

                          I agree with everything in the original post except this:

                          "Wife said, she'd offer, but intil the offending hostess was gone, we'd not return."

                          As hoytoy says, "let HER handle her staff as she sees fit without holding anybody hostage."

                          1. re: TroyTempest

                            Have to agree 100% Let the restaurant deal with it. A patron should not be insisting on someone being fired.
                            On another note: patronizing the restaurant for 55 years and then one mistake and they're dead to you? Wow. Tough crowd.

                            1. re: bobbert

                              No one insisted anyone be fired. As I wrote earlier, I'd go back on a shift the hostess wasn't working, or they might want to change the job the hostess performs. Not my problem or decision, I'm not the employer.

                              As for dining there for 55+ years, as mentioned it was MIL's choice. In the last 5 years, it has always been MIL or mother's choice and we drive, never our first choice. The location and view are great, but it is past its prime

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                My apologies if I misunderstood. I read “…but until the offending hostess was gone, we'd not return” as implying that you would not return until the hostess was fired. Logistically, it might be awkward while making a reservation to ask whether a particular hostess was scheduled that evening. Anyway, I agree with everything in your post except for the part which I apparently read into. I believe that having had the opportunity to actually speak with the owner directly, the issues you had would have been given ample opportunity to be rectified to everyone’s satisfaction. This would include a personal contact from the owner explaining what steps they may have taken to keep it from happening again – with the sincere apology and the offer to make it right. Whether or not the hostess remained should be the owners call. If there were a repeat performance, then sure, don’t return but I always give the place a chance to make it right (not with comped meals - I hate those - but with an apology and an explaination).

                        3. re: emglow101

                          "First of all the customer is always right. "

                          That is absolutely not true. The customer may think so, but anyone who has run a successful business knows this is not always true.

                          The table with "the bawling toddler and hacking oldsters" were also customers. So if "the customer is always right" it must have been perfectly acceptable for them to behave in this way and there should not have been any problem in the first place. Correct? "The customer is always right" only makes "sense" when you are the customer and you want something done in your favor.

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            <must have been perfectly acceptable for them to behave in this way>

                            Absolutely not.

                            1. re: latindancer

                              "Absolutely not."

                              But I thought "the customer is always right!!!" Why did they not have the right to act this way???

                              That's it. I can no longer debate this topic. It's futile.

                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                A skilled and professional hostess should have been able to handle and accommodate both parties without making either feel slighted, especially in a restaurant with ample open tables. She was either lazy or incompetent.

                            2. re: ttoommyy

                              i worked for a big consulting firm that I think has this one nailed:

                              "The customer isn't always right, but the customer is always the customer."

                          2. Good for you! If customers are not going to use common sense regarding kids, etc. then the management should look out for their patrons. Bravo, sir!

                            1. Hey bagelman, sounds awful. There are a couple of place between milford and clinton that i am thinking of. Can you tell me a least which town on the shoreline? I'm trying to guess based on the waterside seating.

                              Your observation about bad help sinking a place is so spot on. If I got treated like that, I would never go back. I'm surprised you didn't speak to Ms X before you left. There's a favorite spot of ours on the shoreline that we go to at least once a month. Know the owners pretty well now and they would be upset with us if we didn't say hello when we come and they're working. Would be even more upset with us if we didn't tell them immediately about a poor experience.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bkeats

                                it's NOT on the east shore.
                                I don't know Ms. x, so i wouldn't have talked with her. my wife is a social friend and if she wishes to address this at some later time, it's up to her.
                                we were assisting my mIL to walk out to the car, so a stop would have been awkward.

                              2. While I understand your dissatisfaction, you should NEVER NEVER NEVER ask for someone, especially a whole family to be moved. I dont care how noisy they were, its never right. It wasn't nice when Justin Bieber did it, it wasn't nice in that widely publicized story of a man who asked a family with a disabled child (down's syndrome) to move either. If you feel disturbed, you simply request to be moved. Simple as that. They are customers too. That being said, if they were really that bad, the hostess should have asked that they quiet down. If that isn't effective, then she she is fully within her right to ask them to leave. In addition, the hostess was wrong to deny you an alternate table as well as not letting you speak to the owner's daughter when she was in clear view. I really dont understand her reasoning behind this. Not sure why you tipped if the service was really that bad. I wouldn't. Because it hardly sounds like you received anything reminiscent of service.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: iamreptar

                                  As I read the OP, they were already enjoying appetizers when the offending party was seated; perhaps this was the reason for leaving money? or perhaps it was to tip the server, as I personally generally don't tip the host staff (if they are two separate people).

                                  Also, the OP requested that the other party be moved OR that his/her party be moved. I gotta object to comparing someone's irritation wtih a loud, boorish party to someone's obviously inappropriate problem with a child afflicted wtih Down's.

                                  I agree with you, though, that the hostess should have done SOMETHING other than essentially penalize the OP's party by confining them to a section with loud, disruptive fellow diners.

                                  1. re: iamreptar

                                    Again; i asked the hostess to seat them elsewhere (they had not been seated yet) OR move us. i did not ask the hostess to move a party who was already seated and was willing to give up our waterside table.

                                    The tip was for the waitress, she did nothing wrong. service wasn't bad, the hostess is an idiot.

                                  2. I was with you until your wife told Mrs X she won't go back until the hostess is gone. Sure she's an idiot but I think your point was made and you can give this place another chance given your long history there and the owner's generous offer. Perhaps the hostess might even learn something. Your reaction would only be warranted, in my opinion, if the hostess had been personally insulting, racist, homophobic etc. As it stands she is just a very bad hostess.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: julesrules

                                      Agreed. And it's one thing to ask to be reseated, but not to ask other people to be reseated.

                                      1. re: Jackie007

                                        i asked that the party be seated elsewhere or that we be reseated. i did not ask a hostess to move a party that had already been seated

                                    2. I think I know the place, and since it was mostly empty, moving you shouldn't have been an issue. Having the other party moved (poorly tended child, disengaged parents, perfect illustration of the breakdown of society, but I digress), and firing the chic? Not sure sure about that one. A shame on the lost haunt. Will you ever go back?

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                        BB> when my wife told Ms. X she wouldn't return until the hostess was gone, this doesn't mean fired. Invite us for a shift that hostess doesn't work, change the hostess' job to one she can do without offending long term customers, etc.

                                        Will we ever go back? we went at the request of MIL. If she requests it, we probably would return, on our own it's not that high on our list, so maybe 4x per year, no rush

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          "but until the offending hostess was gone"

                                          Sorry, but that sounds an awful like "fired" to me. Not at all like "until the hostess is not working that evening."

                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            ITA, even if you weren't saying she should be terminated, that statement worded that way, would absolutely lead me to conclude you wanted her fired before you return rather than you wanting to work around her shift schedule or vacations....

                                            1. re: eLizard

                                              Yes, if OP's wife worded it the same way, the owner would likely understand the same meaning that everyone else in the thread did. Seems like OP is backpedalling on that one. Say what you actually mean if you want to be understood.

                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                I can only relay what my wife told me she said to Ms.
                                                X at the salon, I wasn't there. But as the mother of a 25 yo who serves and hostesses, I can't imagine wife would ask that any young hostess be fired, but that we'd return if the hostess was gone, meaning not to be seen by us.

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  bagelman, because returning while the hostess was there would be awkward for you and your wife or because the very idea of seeing the hostess would ruin your meal?

                                                  it's unfortunate that the owner and your wife couldn't somehow connect while you were still there, given the restaurant wasn't too busy, in order for your MIL to enjoy a meal. the owner had to know your wife was there and there was an issue.

                                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                              You echoed my thought *exactly* :-D

                                          2. re: BiscuitBoy

                                            <and firing the chic?>

                                            You're right. I made the initial jump to firing her.
                                            Let's just say a her job as hostess may not exactly fit her personality...not everyone can do it with ease and success. It's a reflective position of how the restaurant operates with the public and it's important for management to continuously monitor her/him.

                                          3. Yes, you were right. In a restaurant that's 2/3 empty there's no good reason for the hostess not to move you.

                                            18 Replies
                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                              and that's why we finally got up and walked out.

                                              #1 we offered to move if the hostess would seat the group elsewhere (and there were two other large booths open on the waterfront window wall more than 30 feet away from us)

                                              #2 we asked for a manager and were told, no, the hostess was in charge

                                              #3 we asked for the 3rd generation adult member of the owner family who was on the premises and were refused

                                              Three strikes and you're out, baseball season opened in April <vbg>

                                              BTW...I would have stayed and suffered the behavior, but this was MIL's choice (her birthday week) and she insisted on leaving when the seating wasn't changed

                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                Don't get discouraged by the the occasional quibble you're getting on this thread. That's always going to happen.

                                                I've never walked out of a restaurant during a meal but about once a year I walk out before a meal starts. It's usually due to service issues. Ridiculously long waits for menus, a server who goes missing for 20 minutes. At a certain point I realize that it's not going to get better and the aggravation just isn't worth it so I take myself out of a bad situation.

                                                I always feel a tremendous sense of relief when I get outside. You stop being a victim. I'll bet you felt the same way.

                                              2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                I would have moved myself first and explained why after. What would they have done? Ask me to move back? Ask me to leave? Sometimes you have to take matters in your own hands.

                                                1. re: grampart

                                                  I HAVE moved myself, even in a restaurant that's been mostly full. When the host/server came over and asked why I'd moved, I'd tell them...draft, lighting, other table, etc. I've never been told to move back or to leave.

                                                  1. re: Vidute

                                                    In better restaurants, it's courteous to tell the hostess you would like to move. There really is a plan in place in how the wait staff's tables are seated. Your moving could add an additional table to a particular waiter's section and cause that waiter to fall behind, resulting in poor service for you and others. Also, the order in which wait staff's tables are seated ensures that they all get an equal share of customers.

                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                      The additional table equals additional tips. It is my money and my comfort. If the restaurant does not want to accommodate me, I'll leave. I've, also, done that, before. There are too many restaurants I know of and too many, yet, to discover to put up with poor customer service, poor seating, etc. It is not my responsibility to make other patrons happy.

                                                      1. re: Vidute

                                                        It does not equal additional good tips if service is poor.
                                                        No, your responsibility is not to make other patrons happy; it's to be a decent human being, compromise when you have to, be fair and try to see orher patrons' and the restaurant's side, too. But maybe that is asking too much. So be it.

                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                          we noticed on the menu for the first time at this visit (had not been there for about 6-8 weeks):
                                                          " gratuity of 15% will be added for parties of 4 or more, 18% for parties of 6 or more"

                                                          Sounds like servers have had poor tips because of service and other issues and the restaurant has had to resort to manadatory tips instead of improving service, etc.

                                                          I have many time seen mandatory tips for groups of 6 or more, but this was the first time I've seen it for a group as small as 4 (outside of private clubs where a tip is automatically added to every bill).

                                                          If the server knows 15 or 18% is coming automatically, there is no incentive to give good service in the hopes of maybe getting 20%. I spoke about this to a few friends who typically tip in the 18-22% range, and the consensus was that if the restaurant adds an auto tip on the bill, the server would have to be exceptional for an additional tip to be left. The restaurant has already valued the quality of the server's service and so be it..................

                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                            i've never seen an auto-grat for parties of 4 either. does this place get lots of international guests?

                                                            however, your issue wasn't with the server, for whom you seemed to have no problem?

                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                              Not an International tourist destination, maybe the odd visitor to Yale.
                                                              We didn't remain long enough for much interaction with our server, tho she seemed competent, but if three tables walked that evening there must be some service/food problem

                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                It is killing me not knowing if this is the place I think it is :)

                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                  sorry, I won't reveal it. Which is why I didn't post as a review/complaint in the regional board. I have to respect my wife's friendship with Ms. X. They still see each other at the salon every week and sometimes go out for coffee, etc.

                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                    I'm not asking you to. Hence the smiley face. It just seems like every time another detail is added it solidifies my guess. I was born in Milford but we moved to MD when I was 7 and there are a few CT restaurants that are regular stops when we visit, if just for nostalgia even though food may not be as good as other places around.

                                                                2. re: bagelman01

                                                                  That's one possibility, but there may be other reasons. Supposedly one oughtn't to profile, but when waitressing I pretty much knew in advance what kind of tip I could expect. It didn't impact my service but was just a given. It may be that the groups coming in are accustomed to tipping in a way that makes it difficult to retain good waitstaff.

                                                                  But it could easily be as you suggest.

                                                                3. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                  I saw 1 only. Lots of hipster clientele. Don't know if that was a factor or not.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    There is a place in Savin Rock that has gratuity for minimum of 4. Edited to add: but has had that policy for 10-20 years.

                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                      That restaurant was my first thought too, Melpy. :)

                                                                      1. re: justme123

                                                                        I'll just keep picturing that one in my head, it makes it more fun for me.

                                                    2. The hostess was completely in the wrong and ought have moved your table. What bothers me here is that you threw a $10 on the table and walked. Did you call for the check and pay for those appetizers? If you did not, I can tell you from experience that the waitress paid for your apps and drinks as a walkout, and i doubt the 10 covered it. Congrats on having her pay for it; next time talk to management.

                                                      Just because you were too shy to speak to the owners, doesn't mean the waitstaff should pay for your partial meal.

                                                      18 Replies
                                                      1. re: JoannaNYC

                                                        No, I didn't call for a check. I stopped at the cash register and paid for the appetizers. Drinks (other than tap water) had not been ordered/served. We were going to drink with the mains.

                                                        We were NOT too shy to speak with the owners, the hostess DENIED request to speak to Ms. X who was seated at the bar or to let us speak to a manager. Hostess was self important.

                                                        1. re: JoannaNYC

                                                          I'd like to know where this waterside restaurant with a view that has $10 appetizers for 3 is! That sounds like a bargain! lol :)

                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                            The $10 was for the waitress, not food

                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                              Sorry. I misunderstood. I was just making light of the situation since this thread was getting a bit heavy. :)

                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                'making light of the situation'? Reading your post, I thought you were making a sarcastic remark at the expense of the OP. I think those of us who do not have full knowledge of the situation should reserve our judgement on others.

                                                                1. re: M_Gomez

                                                                  Yikes lighten up!
                                                                  ttoommyy was clearly making an innocuous joke.

                                                                  1. re: M_Gomez

                                                                    Not at all my intention, as others have understood. People walked out of a restaurant because of rude behavior. It 's not the end of the world. There's been bombings in Boston and a horrible explosion in Texas, and other catastophes too numerous to mention. If some of our feathers get ruffled while dining out, I really don't think making light of it is making a "judgment." I simply was trying lighten the serious turn the thread had taken by making an innocent joke.

                                                                  2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                    no problem, I understood the humor with the 'lol' ending

                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                        My wife and I have encountered a couple similar situations over the years. If the restaurant has empty tables, for two in our case, we have simply gathered up our cutlery and plates etc and moved to somewhere away from what/who was disturbing us. It's happened twice and both times the staff just watched us move and didn't have the nerve to say anything. Had anyone made an issue out of us moving we would have got up and left.
                                                                        But then I've been known to ask that the music be turned down if it is too loud. Once when no one turned down the music I walked over and turned it down myself. Nobody turned it back up until we were leaving. Then as an 'act of whatever' someone cranked up the music to full volume. LOL

                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                          A dear friend owns a pottery studio. Over the years, she has shared countless customer tales. Women who bring food & wine to the studio and children who leave the place covered in chocolate and break merchandise while the parents talking non stop on their cell; people who leave their children at the studio unattended while they go shopping and my all time favorite is about a radio perched on top of a tall shelf. The music is set at medium volume most of the time. The music drowns out customer conversations beautifully. I've been there a number of times and witnessed customers get up and change the radio station to a selection they preferred. And I often chuckle that when they leave, they don't bother to change it back to the original station. Keep in mind, in order to change the channel you'd need to cross over two tables of customers, stand on a stool and reach up to change the radio station.

                                                                          If that's not making a public place your own space I don't know what is! An owner can just tire of the daily confrontation that IS customer expectation.

                                                                          Granted you're a paying customer but you're not paying to rent the space, rearrange the furniture, reset the music and alter the owners details.

                                                                          While I'm not picking on you Puffin3 (I'm really not!), your comment reminds me of the varied expectations we have when spending our hard earned dough....and some expectations are just off the freakin charts.

                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                            "Granted you're a paying customer but you're not paying to rent the space, rearrange the furniture, reset the music and alter the owners details.

                                                                            While I'm not picking on you Puffin3 (I'm really not!), your comment reminds me of the varied expectations we have when spending our hard earned dough....and some expectations are just off the freakin charts."

                                                                            Very well said HillJ. A restaurant is a business and wants to make money, but it is also a private establishment. Whenever I walk into a restaurant I treat it as though I have been invited into someone's home. I ask permission, I act polite and I mind my manners. Just because I am a paying customer I never, ever believe I am "entitled" to anything. I have never had to walk out of a restaurant because of a difference with a server, host, etc. Perhaps some people may find my philosophy "spineless" and beneath them, but it works for me.

                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                              I have a BIL/SIL who consider any small infraction reason to ask for xyz in compensation from every business owner.

                                                                              We call them "the writers." They are busy letter writing to theaters about parking issues, restaurants about a lack of dark chocolate desserts, and recently demanded free champagne and appetizers for their party of 12 because they had to share an adjoining wall with a private party (in a closed off room). This couple considers it a "win" to report the results of their bitching about inconvenience. And, more times than not the business has offered them some form of generous compensation-so BIL/SIL will never stop doing this.

                                                                              But we won't go out with them anymore; just dinners and socializing at our homes, because their "win" winds up being our loss...a loss of enjoyment.

                                                                              I understand wanting a good dining experience. I don't understand demanding it.

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                I have seen quite a few bad reviews at various places that seemed to be based primarily on lack of compensation for some perceived mistreatment.

                                                                                1. re: kengk

                                                                                  And if the issue is truly warranted, I can understand asking for a moment of the Mgr or owners time but the chronic "get over" just wows me.

                                                                          2. re: Puffin3

                                                                            Having been a waiter (more than 40 years ago while in college) I would never move tables on my own. I might be picking a table that was not staffed, or over the limit for a particular server. or that made the income earning potential unfair to the servers on duty.
                                                                            A manager or hostess can assess the situation and determine which open table could be used equitably. Since the hostess wouldn't bother and no management could be accessed (hostess declared herself in charge) we walked.

                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                              Agree with this - would never think to move myself for all the reasons you point out. I have asked to move, almost always because of cold or heat (sitting over/under a vent), and have never been denied. Hostess sounds like one of those new breed of young folk who probably could use some customer service refresher training.

                                                              2. Even if you moved, your dinner would've taken more than ten minutes to finish, in other words there's no telling who else would walk through that door. Also, do you ever find yourself (-ves) talking loudly?

                                                                I've had some awful restaurant experiences for sure, but at least you're not restricted to that restaurant in your choices for the night. Being on a plane with these variables is quite a bit dicier.

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                  Loud talking is one thing, hacking is another. Based on the early hour (6PM) I expect both families with children and loud talking made necessary by elderly patrons with hearing loss. YES, I said it, and I'm almost that suspect age.

                                                                  BUT, Don't sit two hackers adjoining my table that should NOT be out in public. This was a health issue, as well as noise pollution. They sounded as it they needed to be in a sanitarium or hospital ward, not in a public restaurant. I was afraid that sputum would come shooting over the back of the banquette.

                                                                  This is harsh reality.
                                                                  If your kids can't behave in public, take them out of the restaurant until they quite down, or leave them with a sitter.

                                                                  AND I have kids, and many a time I sat in the car with a cranky toddler while the rest of my party finished their meal, I wouldn't dream of upsetting other diners.

                                                                  1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                    Apologies if you've already answered this....was the hostess very young (and thus, very, very new to the world of common sense seating?)

                                                                    ETA...Bento, sorry, I meant to reply to Bagelman and now don't know how to move this durn thing.

                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                      I have built/owned/operated a small restaurant.
                                                                      So I've been on both sides of the fence.
                                                                      We went to a not very busy restaurant and were seated by a young woman. The little lamp on our table didn't work. I called the women over and suggested she could bring another light bulb to try. She informed me that that was not her job and we'd have to sit in the semi-darkness. I reached under the table and unplugged the lamp and went to the next empty table and brought the lamp form there to our table and plugged it in. She made the young women apparently very upset. She got the manager and brought her over and demanded that I return the working lamp to the other table and put the original back in place. The manager looked at the young women and said "please come with me". Two minutes later the manager came back to take our orders. I glanced over her shoulder to see the former employee walking out the door with her coat on. Nothing more was said. THAT'S how you run a restaurant if you wish to stay in business. IMO.

                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                          Well done, Puffin. The dearth of common sense just floors me.

                                                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                                                            That is fantastic. It's as good as seeing someone getting a ticket who blew by you on the freeway a few minutes prior.

                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                              You must be one of those rare owners that bends over backwards for every customer, Puffin.

                                                                        2. Insisting someone be fired due to a single event sounds like a pretty (what word won't get my post deleted...) nasty thing to do. Sounds like you feel a bit entitled.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                                            Read the thread... from the OP:
                                                                            "No one insisted anyone be fired. As I wrote earlier, I'd go back on a shift the hostess wasn't working, or they might want to change the job the hostess performs. Not my problem or decision, I'm not the employer."

                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                              From the OP; "Wife said, she'd offer, but intil the offending hostess was gone, we'd not return." - certainly sounds like the orignal intent was to have the hostess fired

                                                                              1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                                                I guess I am going by what the OP stated in the thread. If the OP says there was no "insisting" that the hostess be fired, then I believe the OP. I quoted the OP.

                                                                                1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                                                  as stated before;
                                                                                  Gone does NOT equal fired.
                                                                                  Wife woud return on a shift that hostess is not working, or if that hostess is not working in a position that would cause any interaction with my wife.

                                                                                  Stated before, we are NOT the employer we don't make employment decisions.

                                                                                  As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't care if the hostess was placed in the office doing clerical work at the same pay, or washing dishes or tending bar, I don't want any interaction with her. It is up to the owners of the establishment to decide how and with whom to staff the restaurant. We can decide whether to patronize the restaurant based on the owner's staffing decision.

                                                                                  Have you ever requested to be seated at a specific server's table? I have, I have also requested NOT to be seated at a specific server's table. It's my money, I can make the request. If a restaurant said they could not accomodate me, then I can decide not to be seated/and or make the reservation and spend money there that evening.

                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                    I'll say this. If so many people misinterpret what you say, then maybe you better think of a different way to say it. Sorry if that sounds rude, but I can't think of any other way to say it. And, if your wife said what you typed in, then there is a good chance that the owner interpreted it as I (and many others) did.

                                                                                    1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                      Just don't go there anymore. There has to be hundreds of thousands of crappy restaurants and as many fair/good/great ones. You can't expect to bat a thousand every time you go to one. Save your stress level for something more important. Like why do the toilet paper makers always start the rolls so they end on the left?

                                                                                      1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                        and if you read the posting carefully, I did NOT say anything. I reported on a conversation between my wife and Ms. X as related to me by my wife.

                                                                                        It's all about denotation and connotation. And since neither of us were there we can't know how Ms. X interpreted it. BUT wife was at the salon today and Ms. X informed wife that the noncooperative hostess is now working in the office. So, Ms. X didn't terminate anyone's employment

                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                          If you read my post carefully you will see this, "if your wife said what you typed in, "
                                                                                          I read your post, carefully, obviously you didn't read mine carefully.

                                                                              2. has anyone else noticed it seems BM has a lot of poor dining experiences when with the MIL?

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                  We can have a dining with MIL thread. I'd trade my experiences for bagelman's in a heartbeat.

                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                    Wow. I love dining with my MIL. In fact, I have said if DH and I ever got divorced, I get to keep the MIL! Guess I just lucked out BIG TIME.

                                                                                  2. re: fourunder

                                                                                    Bagelman chooses to honor MIL's choice of restaurants, makes for better relationship with wife.
                                                                                    MIL lives in house built on our property when she became a widow, I see her at least twice a day. Wife is in business with MIL, as well.
                                                                                    That said, wife is very good to my 90+ mother in the nursing home (who used to live in our home til she needed specialized care).
                                                                                    I love this MIL, unlike my first, and will put up with and agree to her choice of restaurants as long as she is able to dine out. I wish my mother could be ambulatory and dine out, I'd gladly dine at places I'd never choose on my own.

                                                                                  3. I hate it when hackers sit near me in a public place. Hate it. I can just see those airborne germs wafting my way. I figure your wife was not wanting to cause a scene, but I would have politely elbowed Ms. Self Important Hostess out of the way and made a beeline for my owner friend at the bar for help. Who is the hostess to decree that your wife cannot talk to her friend?

                                                                                    1. I have had 2 experiences both with my son that I have walked out without paying.
                                                                                      One was in N.Y. near Lincoln Center (my son was 10)
                                                                                      and the other was outside Paris.(my son was 17).

                                                                                      Both situations had nothing to do with his age.

                                                                                      The first with charging triple lunch price
                                                                                      and the other with ordering water with lemon-i was brought bottled water and ice and juice of 10 lemons. you don't want to know what they wanted to charge me.

                                                                                      btw I speak and read French