#4: People hear what they want to hear.
To be completely honest, I did know this, but I'm still using the statement to illustrate my point. But let's begin at the beginning; from what I'm told, it's a very good place to start.
You want to eat at the Grill on a Saturday night.
Hmm, did you make reservations at least a week in advance, preferably two? No? Well, we only have spots available at 4:45 and 10 p.m.
Oh, that doesn't work for you? Well, we don't book the entire dining room, so that we may accommodate walk-ins. You're more than welcome to come in, although the wait may be 45 minutes, up to two hours. No, sorry, we don't do call aheads..
Fast forward to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and the restaurant is on an hour-and-a-half wait. At this point most impatient guests are assuming one of the following things:
A) I have a lot more power than I actually do. (e.g. I can make people get up from the table they've been camped at for three hours, or I can pull a table for six out of thin air.)
B) That cornering me in the coat check closet with a $20 bill will procure them a table. Or, like this guy the other night: "Maybe the Abe Lincoln in my back pocket will change your mind..."
C) I'm dumber than a box of rocks.
To elaborate on this last point: do NOT tell me that you have been waiting for two hours when you got here an hour and fifteen minutes ago, and I quoted you an hour-and-a-half to an hour-forty-five. What, pray tell, do you think this computer in front of me is for? Eff outta here with that! My favorite response when someone comes at me with that nonsense and I shut them down with some actual numbers? The sheepish: "Well, it FELT like two hours."
Also, do NOT tell me the person who answered the phone told you there would be no wait. First off, it was probably me. Second, there is absolutely no one in this place -- including the bus boys -- who would tell a customer there wasn't gonna be a wait. Once again, eff outta here!
Over the course of a Saturday night, I am subjected to the best and worst (mostly the worst) in human behavior. Pagers slammed down on the podium by people who are mad we went five minutes over the quote time; repeat visits by guests who don't seem to own a watch or understand the concept that two hours isn't 45 minutes; and sooooo many failed attempts at bribery. It's like, even if I weren't imbued with a sense of fairness (sheesh, wait your turn!), I literally cannot move you up the list without it being recorded. Go back to the bar, homie.
But as I said in the beginning, people hear what they want to hear, and that's pretty much the source of all the problems. When I say 45 minutes to an hour, all anyone seems to hear is 45 minutes. I've actually taken to repeating it, just to make sure it gets through.
If it weren't for the people who worked there, I'd probably hate my job.
Coming soon... #3: Your server hates you.