I’m sure the person who invented the restaurant pager had good intentions – they figured if you sent the guest away with some ineffectual trinket not only would they follow your directions, but they would get the fuck out of your face. Oh how mistaken this person was…
When you think about it, it really is a simple procedure – you give your name to the hostess, the hostess marks down your name and assigns you a pager along with an ESTIMATED wait time, you take said pager and fuck off. Nothing too complicated for anyone involved. So, it amazes me how 1) dumb people can be and 2) how paranoid people can become.
Listen, we all know people are stupid. That’s like Associates Degree level awareness. But when you work in a restaurant, you get a fucking Doctorate in General Public Stupidity.
Scenario: Hostess hands guest a buzzer and advises the guest the wait is approximately 30 minutes.
Guest: Okay, so what happens when it’s past 30 minutes? It fucking explodes jack hole…what do you fucking think happens? The same thing that’s going to happen when you and your wife go home tonight – nothing.
Hostess: Sir, when your table is ready, your pager will buzz and we will bring you to the table. Just like every other restaurant does.
Guest: Oh okay…so it’ll buzz?
Hostess: Yes, sir.
Guest: So it buzzes and then I go pick a table or does it assign me a table?
Hostess: God help me. Sir, when it buzzes, you come back up here and someone will bring you to the table.
Guest: (laughs awkwardly) Okay.
For those of you with doubts, ask your friends – that shit happens all the fucking time.
Now, as most of you know, shit happens. People haven’t seen each other and want to talk and have dessert, some guests are playing chicken with their waiters seeing who is going to break first (this usually happens when a guest feels they received bad service and is holding out to pay the check to dick over the server) and some people are just too busy with a dildo up their ass to notice the check has been dropped.
This is why hostesses give what’s known as ESTIMATED WAIT TIMES.
Being a hostess is a lot like holding a press conference:
Hostess: We estimate the wait for a table to be between 30 and 45 minutes, the wait for a booth can be estimated at anytime between 45 minutes to an hour.
Guest #1: So what you’re saying is we can expect to be waiting a maximum of 45 minutes for a table?
Hostess: (Raises hand in the ‘Stop Right There’ gesture) No, that is not what I…
Guest #2: You just said the wait for a table is anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes…
Hostess: No, I said we can estimate that the wait for a table…
(Guests throw their hands up as outraged and annoyed chatter begins to become louder)
Hostess: Please, please! Ladies and gentlemen…the hostess station is not at liberty to distribute finite wait times at this time. We assure you we are doing everything we can to help resolve the situation (closes book and prepares to exit the podium)…
Guest #3: Hostess, can we expect that there will be no booths available if not previously specified?
Hostess: Hey, hey! I did not say that! We do our best to accommodate everyone and the booth is something that we recommend being specified prior…that is all for today.
Wow, sorry we got sidetracked there…anyway…
I get that waiting is annoying, but it is infinitely more annoying for me to not only have you approach me every five minutes but to accuse me of tampering with the pager:
Guest: (Runs up to hostess stand and waves pager in your face) This thing isn’t working! You gave me a broken one!
Hostess: Sir, it isn’t broken. Your table just isn’t ready yet. I assure you it will buzz when the table is ready.
Guest: And when is that going to be? You said it was going to be a half hour and it’s been thirty-five minutes! How do you know this thing isn’t broken?
Hostess: I’d be more than happy to test it out sir. (Hostess takes pager, punches in its number, pager vibrates, hostess resets pager to assume original settings before test) See sir, everything is fine.
Guest: It just buzzed! It buzzed – my table is ready.
Hostess: That was just a test, sir.
Guest: How do you know? How do you know someone didn’t buzz it.
Hostess: Because I am the only one here sir.
Sigh, you know servers, hostesses, bartenders…we all get a bad reputation for being failed artists, drug addicts and alcoholics. But, if you work with us, you’ll soon find we’re not the ones you should be worried about…