The Hostess Impasse

24 Aug

In college I watched a lot of Seinfeld, Friends, and The Family Guy. They just happened to be on TBS every afternoon from 3-6 PM, which conveniently coincided with the time I got home from class and needed turn off my brain. The television is always good for that.

While watching hundreds of episodes of these classic sitcoms over the years I came to love many scenes. One of my all time favorites is from Family Guy, where Peter Griffin quits his day job (whatever that is) and goes on the nightly news cast with a segment in which he just goes off on random things that annoy him. The segment is called “Things That Grind My Gears”. I have often threatened to quit and join the nightly news with my own philosophical segment, but Josie is always there to gently remind me that a) Peter Griffin could do that because he is a fictional cartoon character and b) I really should not quit my day job.

Lately though something has really been grinding my gears and I have to get it off of my chest.

Restaurant Hostesses.

Yep! Those wonderful ladies & men who are supposed to seat you with a smile but more often than not throw your menus on crumbs and cup rings, and then act upset that you wanted a booth instead of a table. I get it, they’re just trying to do their job. But really my problem isn’t with their attitude. Not lately anyway… no, the issue as of late has been much more simple. I can not seem to figure out how to properly convey to a hostess the correct number of adults, children, and babies that will be dining at that particular meal. Here is how it typically unfolds:

Hostess: “How many of you are there today?”
Me: (Looking around at all 4 of us standing in front of their table, wondering if this is a trick question) “Uhhhhh, four. With a high chair, please.”
H: “Ok so 5 total. Hang on I need to clear a table.”
Me: “No, I am sorry I meant there are 4 of us TOTAL, but that we need 1 high chair”
H: “Oh…. ok… well then how many  children’s menus do you need?”
Me: …… (Walking away in frustration leaving my faithful and much more understanding wife to handle the situation)

The next time we walked into a restaurant, I decided to switch it up just a tad. Was it possible that my saying the number followed by “with” had caused the confusion? Let’s test and see…

Me: (Hey, look at me! Taking initiative and starting the exchange) “Hi! Yes, 3 and we need a high chair please.”
Hostess: “Ok, one moment.” (talking into her mic/earpiece I overhear her ask for a busboy to clear off a table for 3, no mention of high chair… I’m terrified)
After a few minutes of waiting..
Hostess: “Ok, right this way. Natalie will show you to your table.”

We get there and there is not a high chair in a country mile. I have failed again. And we really throw poor Natalie for a loop when we ask for a high chair, mostly because they have not planned for a family holding a child on their hip to need something to set said child in during a meal.

Test #2 has failed.

I could go on and on with ridiculous stories on how I changed up the verbiage to try and accurately get a place setting for my family, but it is all for naught. I might as well be communicating to these poor people in African Khoisan click-clack. It cannot be this complex. Stating your total need for menus and including with a high chair should then include said high chair. Saying your need and a high chair should add one to your required need. But alas, I am just a silly engineer and am not very skilled with the English language. I am now afraid it is me who needs to change it up to properly relay my seating needs.

But here is the greatest part: I am not unique to this battle. Please, oh parents of the universe, share your secrets. Where am I going wrong?? What is the code for getting enough menus for all adults, and yet not having to wrestle your toddler in your lap? I come to you a broken man: help me unlock the Hostess Impasse.


Breakfast with Papa


It’s Wedding Season!


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