Thursday, November 15, 2007

Red red wine

For a vote of 7-2 I bring you, the bar story.

This bar story involves a fine bottle of red wine and no photos (sorry Jami) because there were no cameras (that we know of). And really nothing that outrageous. More annoying.

Mimi is one of those friends every person should have. We met 20 years ago this fall as freshman in college. We grew up within 7 miles of each other. She was my coxswain when I rowed in the Head of the Charles and single-handily saved Paris when I was having one of the worst travel experiences in history (What? You don't know about the train ride into Paris? Or the guy j*rking off?).

She lived in NYC while I live in New Orleans. She moved to Seattle in the early 1990's to work for a small computer company whose name starts with M and was founded by a guy named Bill. She came back here to be in my wedding. She came and stayed with us for a long weekend to help take care of the babies so Amazing Guy could studied for law school exams. I remember her standing in the hallway of our little apartment, jiggling a baby on her shoulder at 4:30 in the morning, pleading "Could your mother come over this afternoon so we can have a nap?"

Amazing Guy, the boys and I flew to Italy for Mimi's wedding. The boys were the ringbearers and I read a poem. When our daughter was born, we asked Mimi to be her godmother.

She's also one of those friends who doesn't hold a grudge or get pissy if you don't talk for, oh, months at a time.

So when Amazing Guy and Mimi's husband told us to go out for a girls' night, who were we to say no? She picked me up, drove me to one of her favorite restaurants and we cozied on up to the bar. She asked the sommelier for a wine recommendation and we were drinking a delicious red wine that cost more than I'm willing to spend on shoes, never mind wine.

We decided to eat our dinner at the bar as well and were working our way through the bottle. We still had about 1/3 of the bottle left and had only just finished our entrees. We hadn't really decided on coffee and dessert when a member of the waitstaff, who had never interacted with us, came up and asked,

"Would you mind moving from the bar? You've been here a while and there are people waiting."

I, not wanting to cause a scene, said "of course" and we were moved to a sofa area to finish our wine. We picked up our conversation and seemed no worse for the wear.

However, Mimi did complain to the matron d', who seemed genuinely horrified that we had been asked to move before we had finished our wine or even been asked if we wanted coffee.

I do feel that once you've got a spot in a restaurant, it is yours, especially once you start paying for a bottle of wine that costs as much as what some people earn in one day (like, oh, the people who washed the dished I ate off of that night). But I didn't want the night marred. Now both Mimi and I have a good question for all the cocktail parties we are not going to.

Was it wrong for the waitstaff to ask us to move from the bar?

Last story tomorrow is about finding a troll under the bridge, about to eat a car. I need help for the title since I have found a song for the other Seattle posts. Didn't you notice?


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Absolutely - why couldn't the other patrons have been seated in the sofa area?

My current novel is about a woman who works in the food industry and there is major prejudice about serving two women seated alone or god forbid, ONE woman. I wonder if that played into it in some way?

Fourier Analyst said...

Well obviously you have the Tom Knight tune about the 3 billy goats Gruff...

Not knowing the complete story I can't be too creative but there is of course "Help", or "Bridge over Troubled Waters", or Bare Naked Ladies "Who Needs Sleep" or "Sleeping Beauty", or the Beatles "Drive My Car"... okay, I'm stretching here.

No, having worked as a waitress/cocktail server/hostess for many years (pay is crap but the hours are flexible and the tips can be good for a college student), NO, it is absolutely not acceptable to interrupt patrons who are still having their meal. If you had finished your wine, had your coffee and were sitting for over a half hour without consuming anything, then it would be up to the maitre'd to invite you to move to another location, possibly accompanied by an after-dinner drink on the house. Unfortunately, there are less scrupulous establishments where the waiter plays bad guy and frees the table and the maitre'd then makes nice if there are complaints. Still it was very rude and I would not have moved if I was comfortable and in fact would have been very huffy with the waiter and informed him/her that we might have been finished sooner if someone had been around to offer us coffee and provide a little more prompt and courteous service. But then, that's how I roll, trying to teach the world manners (sigh). You can tell I have not been very effective!

Great story, looking forward to tomorrow!

Flower Child said...

You shouldn't have been moved like that. Anybody will tell you that - except of course this waiter. There are very polite ways to move people if need be - and this wasn't one of them.

Jami said...

In one word: NO. In two words: NUH-UH! In three words: Oh, HELL (or invective of your choice) NO!! If you are still eating/drinking (that is, spending money), where you are seated is yours!

Here's what really happened, though: because you were eating, you weren't spending all your time at the bar drinking. Now, drinks are the BIG money-maker at any eating establishment (all of which have a slim profit margin anyway) and folks who drink at the bar don't require a server and thus are the highest profit margin spenders in the place. You guys were moved to the couch so they could free up two bar stools for some serious drinking and thus make a few more bucks.

Becky said...

Yep. Dead wrong.

I read your train to Paris story because I had my own hideous train ride to Paris. No sex as far as I could tell, but we were packed in like livestock, so who knows. Nothing like spending the night with a Frenchman (not of your choosing) on the floor under your feet.

The police storming the train with guns? That happened in Italy.

Real Life Drama Queen said...

Speaking as a waitress. That waiter was totally in the wrong. Especially since he wasnt your server. He bypassed any rules of etiquette completely. Your friend was completely correct in telling the Maitre d'.

Personally if it had been me the waiter approached. His ears would have been on fire from the chastizing I would have given him.

I am glad though that the rest of your evening was still pleasant.

Jenn in Holland said...

Oh, I noticed the song titles for sure! A troll story needing a title? Hmmm. Maybe Trip-Trap?
I don't know. Still thinking as I formulate a reply to this post.

I absolutely agree that you shouldn't have had to move. But I also know that I would have been compliant in that situation too, and then would ruminate on it for hours. But in Jami's fine words: "NUH-UH", he shouldn't oughta done that. No sir.

Nap Warden said...

Sounds like a good time...way out of line asking you to move.

Jenn in Holland said...

More title ideas:
Gruff and Ready
Taking it's troll
The Troll Road

I think I am stuck after that. It might be too late to be thinking titles...
But anyway, that's what I have to offer!
Can't wait to read the next piece of the Seattle adventure!

painted maypole said...

troll song? the first thing that jumps into my mind is from Dora... "I'm the grumpy old troll, who lives under the bridge..."

about being asked to move. While it is slightly annoying, there were people waiting, and so in some senses it was kind to the people waiting. My feeling about sitting at a table is you have to pay for your time there in tips. If you gave your waiter a good tip on that VERY expensive bottle of wine than you were paying for your time there. But I think you original attitude of "no big deal" is the right one. It shouldn't be a big deal. We often get up in arms about things we shouldn't.

Jerseygirl89 said...

I don't think you should have been asked to move. They wouldn't have felt okay asking you to do that if you'd had a table, would they?

Ah, the troll. It makes me missing live in Seattle. I can't wait to read that story.

Heather said...

Wow. That's terrible. I've never heard of being asked to move or leave a bar or restaurant before the person was finished. Unless, of course, they were being obnoxious which is clearly not the case here.

It seems the world just keeps getting more and more rude.

Alex Elliot said...

That seems totally weird to me.

Scott said...

Yes. If ever there was a time to make a scene, that was it.

As for riding trains in France? That is rather horrifying!