One thing that's happened over the last 10 years or so is the decline of restaurants' offering coat-checking. We had debates about this here a long time ago. Me, I like being able to check my things. But I understand how the whole ritual -- with the possibly mysterious tip expectation -- could creep out some people who are Younger Than Me (i.e., most of the people in the world). So I get why restaurants stopped doing it. And I don't think they stopped out of laziness or to save money or anything.
But I have had a repeated experience accompanying the decline of coat-checking that has annoyed the shit out of me. This sort of thing has happened to me fairly frequently over the last several years. But it happened last week in a way that was so stark that it finally seemed worth posting about.
I went into a no-coat-check place. There were some pegs on the wall for coats and things -- but not nearly enough to accommodate all the people who'd be in the restaurant when full, as it was that night.
Now, in the Fall/Winter/early Spring I inevitably will be toting the following: (a) a coat; (b) a hat; (c ) a backpack. And so I was when I entered this restaurant. There was no coat check and, as I indicated, all the wall hooks were taken.
Coat: no problem -- hang over the back of my chair. Hat and backpack? The tables were closely spaced: no room on the banquette between my date and the people at the next table. So onto the floor by my chair. I didn't like dumping my stuff there, but I couldn't see where else I could put them.
After a very short while, the hostess came over.
"Would you MIND if I take your things and PUT them somewhere? You're creating QUITE a HAZARD!"
If all those capital letters didn't make it clear, this was said not sympathetically and helpfully, but accusingly. It almost always is in these situations, in my experience.
Look (as I tried to say very politely): I'd like nothing more than for you take my stuff and stow it somewhere. But that's not a service your restaurant offers -- at least not as you come in. What did you want me to do?