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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday May 14 2010

I keep my eyes open for cats of all kinds, for Friday cat postings.  Today, one just went right by me, while I was eating:

image

At first I was baffled by the message this cat seemed to be trying to send me.  “You could have booked this seat.” What seat?  The one I was sitting in?  But I was already sitting in it with great success, despite having not booked it.  And why was the cat going around telling everyone this same strange message?  But then I realised that the natural habitat of this car was on a table, saying: Yo!  Loser!  Stay away from this seat!  It’s already booked!  You could have booked it!  At yosushi.com!  But you didn’t, did you?  Ha!  No wonder your life is a failure!  Suddenly, life made sense again.  It wasn’t especially nice, but it made sense.

Would you have preferred it if they hadn’t mentioned how you could reserve a table?  Or maybe if they had no reserved signs at all?  That way you could sit down and then get turfed out.

Or maybe they are reserving seats on the conveyer belt.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 15 May 2010

Most “reserved” signs are completely bogus.

I now refuse to stay in a restaurant that turns me away from a reserved table, unless it really is packed and the reservation seems plausible.

On the continent, the best table in a small bistro often has a reserved sign on it, which is fair enough: they don’t want a single person taking up the best table for 2 hours with a coffee and a croissant. But in London, I often see whole banks of tables marked off. If the message is meant to be “f*** off, we don’t want you here,” it’s coming through loud and clear. I suspect the owers of restaurants don’t actually know that their staff are doing this.

It is useful though: any restaurant with waiters that are out of control is also likely to have a sloppy service in the kitchen. Avoid.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 15 May 2010

Antoine, when you say “on the continent”, do you mean “France”? It’s actually quite a big continent, and I have found many different sets of customs on it. (I once made a terrible faux-pas in Germany by just leaving the money on the table and walking out. Almost as bad as the one I made in France when I attempted to collect my own coffee for the bar when I was sitting at a table. The barman gave me a gesture that obviously translated as “Sit down at once, for the sake of God, before you start a national waiter’s strike...").

With respect to “reserved” signs on the table, there is generally no problem if as well as “reserved”, the sign gives some details. If it says “Reserved. Jones. 7pm”, then you can be fairly sure that someone named Jones has actually reserved the table for 7pm. Plus this sort of sign implies that it is okay for people who are not Jones to sit there until Jones shows up and/or throw the sign away if it is 9pm.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 15 May 2010

If it says “Reserved. Jones. 7pm”, then you can be fairly sure that someone named Jones has actually reserved the table for 7pm.

... and in Germany, if Jones hasn’t shown up by, say, 7:03, you will generally be given the table. It took me a while to get used to the absolute necessity of somebody in the party turning up bang on time, when I was used to the English habit of a reservation at “7” meaning “some time in the early evening, approximately”

Posted by Alan Little on 17 May 2010

Whilst on German customs, another one I found odd was this: you are in a bar/cafe at some time in the middle of the day or evening, and the waiter comes up to you and asks you to pay. You look around and ask if the cafe is closing, and the waiter says “No, of course not. Your new waiter will be along in a moment”. It’s just that he has reached the end of his shift, and part of that is getting his customers to settle their accounts and giving the new waiter a clean slate to start with. Passing a tab from one waiter to another is for some reason beyond them.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 17 May 2010

I’ve seen that cat at a couple Yo Sushi restaurants and always think, ‘I should have booked a table so I can have a table with my own Yo! Sushi cat on it telling other people: “Yo! stay away!”’ One day. One Day.

Posted by Ehram on 06 January 2011
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