Last Friday, I went out with some friends to a bar they frequent every Friday and during football season, every Sunday. Needless to say, they are regulars and spend enough money there to be recognized as such. Hubby and I happen to be drop-ins now and then.
On this evening there were 8 of us at two tables that one of us had reserved in advance. When taking a reservation, they ask you what time you will be there, but they don’t ask you when you’ll be leaving… I mean, why would they? You’d think they’d want you to stay and eat and drink and spend as much money as you want. This group typically stays from 5-9 or so, but we’ve been known to hang out and change configuration (gain a few or lose a few people) longer than that in the past
Hubby and I had been there about an hour when the owner starts flitting about looking antsy. He came to our tables and surveyed our situation.. food and drink were still flowing, so it’s not like we were being squatters. He told the couple next to our table that for sure he’d have all the seating they required. I looked over and only saw two people…so that wasn’t much of a stretch! I happened to be sitting at the end of the table closest to this couple. The owner, let’s call him Mr. Rude Man, came up to my chair, put his hand on the back and started moving it a bit while interrupting my conversation with the person next to me and said, “I need you to move.”
“Excuse me?” I wasn’t sure if he meant I needed to scoot in since the place is packed with tables and you do have to maneuver to get around in there. God forbid anyone ever fall.. they’d be skewered for sure, or walked on as just an extra lumpy part of the carpet!
“I need you to move so I can put this table at the end of yours.”
Um, ok, but it was only the 8 of us and we were all fitting perfectly around the two tables we have. I gave him a very confused look, as did the other 7 in my group.
” I have a birthday party coming in and I need to set up the tables now.”
Ok, how rude can you be??!! I’m a paying freaking customer at a reserved table and you want me to move so an EMPTY table that has a reserved sign on it can be moved to where I am sitting, thus shoving me into my neighbor and leaving the new table to dig into my side?? It’s EMPTY… it’s not for our group and it’s reserved….. FOR AN HOUR LATER!! WTF?
Are you for real, Mr. Rude Man?? I mean talk about anal retentive. I too like to have everything set up for a party, but I certainly don’t ask a current guest to move so I can set up their table for someone else. The effect was that I felt completely “in the way” and like he was ready for us to move along, even though some of us were still eating dinner!!!
I did move, grumbling the whole way and as soon as he left, I pushed the table that he’d shoved into my ribcage back a bit. (These are high round tables) The SOB pushed it back into my ribcage and I turned and gave him the most shriveling you-should-die-and-if-you-don’t-back-off-you-will look I could muster. Ask anyone who knows me.. it’s kinda scary the evil that rolls off of me when I’m that mad. Needless to say, he backed off and slide the table back a bit.. only to go around the table and shove a chair into my leg, which of course I shoved back out of the way.
WHAT A JERK!!!
But UN-Happy hour didn’t end there. After coming over and looking at our table with the evil eye a few more times, I saw him talking to some new patrons. He pointed at us and told them they could SIT AT THE TABLE NEXT TO ME… effectively join a group of strangers, until we all left and the birthday party they had booked into that corner had the entire section!! Remember, earlier I mentioned that one of our group had RESERVED THIS TABLE in advance, so it’s not our fault he’s double-booked the space.
Now a good owner/manager would have apologized, found us another table, offered some kind of comp for us to leave early or for the inconvenience of having to move… not him. He comes over when two of our party decided they’d had enough and were leaving to ARGUE with the girl who reserved the table, trying to make this whole issue HER fault. OMG… He flits off again.. and then comes back and tells us we just HAVE to move. And he’s so Mr. RUDE MAN about it that I wanted to swat him. Now we lose another one of our group and we move to a table near where the band is setting up.
The girl next to our table is talking furiously with the waitress, who comes to our table with a free pitcher of beer.. on HER, not the house, because Mr. Rude Man had gone and told her that WE were mad and her and since most of the group are regulars and tip very VERY well, she’s afraid we won’t continue to support her and feels the need to buy us a round. At least she’s got some sense of customer service, but how dare he put his screw up on her head and make her feel bad. Now I KNOW he’s a suckey manager if he makes his employees feel like trash. Now, some of our group feel annoyed by his behavior but think it’s kinda fun to mess with him because he is a hovering micromanager. (And I’m REALLY glad my daughter no longer dates his son!!) So the girl at the table next to us tells us that we have taken over one of her tables for a birthday party that she is having, but that she’s going to mess with Mr. Rude Man and have a fit. She’s not really in need of the table right that second, but she will need it soon and since we told her we weren’t there much longer it was all good. Isn’t it sad when customers have to work out deals amongst one another because the management was so messed up? This girl has been going to this bar for 11 years, so it’s not like she’s not a regular too.
She goes to Mr. Rude Man and tells him she’s annoyed about the table situation and you can see the man practically pulling his hair out. He doesn’t say anything to us, but assures her that he’ll move the table into her grouping as soon as we leave. I’m not sure, but I think the round of shots that came next, to both our table and hers were from the waitress, again, in celebration of the birthday party. Without her, the evening would have really tanked, to be sure.
Now I know my friends go here every Friday, (only because Rocky Run in our area closed down) but if I could find a more welcoming place to hang, I certainly would, because Sonoma’s in Columbia really made my stay there an UN-Happy Hour.