Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rearranging the furniture in restaurants

In recent months I have been struck by the way that people now rearrange the furniture in restaurants to suit the size of their party. Chairs will be moved and tables put together without anyone asking the waiting staff if they mind.

I am sure I remember a time when this did not happen. People used to ask the staff if their party could be accommodated and leave it to them to make the necessary moves.

And once upon a time I am sure we would just have put up with things. "Really, I'm quite happy sitting over here by myself."

No doubt there is a happy medium to be found somewhere, but today I saw a middle-class woman lift a small table and carry the length of the room. When someone caught her eye (it may have been me) she gave a comic, aren't I dreadful? shrug and said "Moving the furniture!"

The last time I saw that expression was from a mother (again middle class) whose daughters had just pushed their way on to a train at Leicester as a crowd of us were trying to get off. It says: "I know I am in the wrong, but I am too weak or self-centred to do anything about it."


Anonymous said...

Just today, in the Garden Cafe restaurant in Regents' Park, London, I saw the staff conduct a couple to a table for two and seat them. As soon as the waitress's back was turned they did not move the furniture. No, they simply reseated themselves at a larger table set for four. Though the restaurant was busy, and shortly afterwards a queue was forming, the staff seemed to decide they did not have time to argue. The couple were left to occupy space for four unchallenged.

Anonymous said...

You confuse me Jonathon, I thought you were all for choice. Why should a restautant have a one size fits all policy? Your train example is just bad manners and the example above of a couple sneaking into a table for four in a busy restaurant is also very bad manners, but what you are talking about is different. It is the inability or unwillingness of staff to provide a service in the way the costumers wants it. In a restaurant, they should be trying to accommodate their costumers. I too think customers re-arrange the furniture more than in the past but only because the staff used to offer to do it. So my nostalgia based rant would be about how in the "old days" staff would, on seeing the number in your party, make arrangements for an appropriate table and not leave it to the paying costumers to me the furniture movers.