The Art of Complaining

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Former Top Cheftestant and all around douchebag John Tesar recently tweeted the following:

Why do people wait in line for hours for BBQ and then go to a rest. and then complain after waiting 10 minutes for a table ?

I think that the difference is that going out to certain BBQ places require advanced planning and waiting in line for 2 or 3 hours is an expectation whereas going out to a restaurant is really much more about instant gratification, although I have to admit, I once did wait 3 hours for a seat at a restaurant. Was it worth it, hell yes, but I am also a really patient person when it comes to things like that.

I really don’t like Tesar, but he has a point, although it depends on the circumstances. These are my rules for complaining, not anyone else’s:

If I have a reservation, my expectation is that I should be seated within 15 – 20 minutes of my reservation time, especially if the restaurant has a policy that they will give my table away if I am not there within 15 minutes of my reservation time. Look, I get it that sometimes there are circumstances that will cause a delay (and I am fine with that if you explain it to me when I walk in), but if I am waiting for 45 minutes with a reservation, you are definitely not doing something right and I am going to complain.

If I don’t have a reservation and the place doesn’t take reservations and I wait more than 15 minutes for a table and I see empty tables that are set for service, I am also going to complain. I sometimes wonder if restaurants realize how much business they are losing in this scenario. Ever y minute that I am standing in the waiting area means you are not producing revenue – putting a butt in the empty seat means drink and food orders coming in. Yes, you may be slammed, but if I am sitting down, I am probably going to order that second beer or another bottle of wine while I am waiting, an order that I probably would not have placed on a normal dining night and one that I am definitely not going to place in the waiting area.

If I don’t have a reservation and the place does take reservations, I think I have no right to complain about not being seated in any timeframe. The only time I would complain is if someone who walked-in after me with the same number of people got seated ahead of me and they obviously did not have a reservation.

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