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Rail Paul

Buying Reservations

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And do you have to show up and pretend to be whoever the reservation's name was made in?

 

 

Reservation Details

Please write in the name you would like the reservation to be held under, and a phone number and e-mail that person can be reached.

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One answer:

 

"Up to 48 hours prior the reservation we can and will change or add your name to the reservation. For reservation acquired the day before or the day of please use the pseudonym sent with your confirmation. Changing the name and number of people at this point will be at your discretion."

 

Good evening. I have a reservation for Micky Mouse, party of three?

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And do you have to show up and pretend to be whoever the reservation's name was made in?

 

Yes. The article says that in some cases, you have to be "Mr Jones" or whatever name was used to make the res. In other cases, he changes the name to your name.

 

Omni, the article says he cancels unneeded reservations. But, that doesn't help the person who called a few days ago to find there was no table available.

 

[crossposted with Wilf]

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What if you're a party of two women and have to use the pseudonym John Brown?

 

It would be worth running a business of this kind, not for the money, but to force preposterous pseudonyms on people. Viscount Cloggfat. Rosie Clitwaddle. Flossie Screamer.

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I was disappointed that the article didn't talk about the adventure of getting reservations at Babbo. I refuse to play that game.

the tables ppl have to as well - the diners must use the name under which the resy was made... i can see those "powerful executives" pay to get a table and pretend they are sb else for the pleasure

 

although i hear that they've caught on to him at Babbo

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I don't see a problem with the use or provision of this reservations service:

 

1) If somebody has the time to go and get all of these reservations, why shouldn't they be rewarded for that?

 

2) How are reservations different from any other good or service which is legitimately bought and sold? There is a demand and supply. There are also buyers that are more (using this for actually scarce reservations) or less informed, and buyers that place different values on the price of using the site and on their own time.

 

3) There is also equality of access by all diners to pay this site for a given reservation. Now, one might argue that $35 doesn't mean the same thing (i.e., is more or less painful to pay) for some diners than others. But that's the same for a person who wants a watch or a bottle of shampoo or a new electronic gadget.

 

4) The site's prices seem reasonable to me, esp if one is informed about which restaurants are hard to get and which not. If an uninformed user were to use the reservation site, like everything in life, they would do so at their own peril, because it's caveat emptor all the way.

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To play devil's advocate, I think one would raise the same objections as are made against scalping/ticket-touting.

 

If someone can get hold of blocks of tickets for an event, and re-sell them at a higher price, both the event sponsors and regular customers are adversely affected.

 

Note: I am not saying I'm against it. Just pointing out the problems.

 

Note: There's a site called neversoldout.com which provides this service for all kinds of sports/entertainment/etc. I saw a Yankees/Red Sox game last year, having purchased a season-holder's ticket in this secondary market.

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Money, money, money.

 

Do swell restaurants need another way to insure their clients are only the wealthiest around? Every morning, open an auction for the next-day's tables. Close it out at 10 pm. Winning bidders could then scalp their reservations to the losers on a broker-site. Money to be made all over the place. Course, it would require an interactive web site, like eBay. Money to be made there, too.

 

I feel sorry sometimes for you folks who have a lot of it. Your lives must be painfully difficult now and then.

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We know that.

 

But follow it through to the logical conclusion. Yankees tickets go on sale. Multi-millionaire ticket tout Buster buys all tickets for the season, and re-sells them at twice the price. Happy with that?

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from a consumer's point of view (one that doesn't mind the cost & wants a prime time table) - yes, it can be a useful service (although the pseudonym part is ridiculous, but more on that later)

 

from another consumer's point of view, one that does not use the service - it's not impossible that their ability to get reservations by getting on the phone may be affected, esp. since PTT is slammed with over a thousand new applications on top of however many clients they are already serving - there are only so many tables available at prime time. to what degree this happens remains to be seen

 

and from the point of the restaurant - holding and releasing tables en masse will impact the delicate reservations balance that restaurnats must arrive at so as not to lose tables but not overbook either. also, there is some basic trust involved - I trust that you will have a table for me at a time we agreed and you trust that i will show up. will restaurants take measures to control/own their reservations more? credit cards, extra prime time charges? will making a reservation become a hassle? i recently wanted to book a table for an early Sunday dinner through OpenTable and the restaurant required a credit card, perhaps a sign that credit card "guarantees" are becoming more widespread already?

 

in the end it's still best to be a regular - they will always squeeze you in. and if you are not stuck on prime time, that helps too in getting a resy you want (and food & service are often better in the 'off times')

 

the service itself does not bother me but how it's done does. if you are not honest with restaurants - and if you are booking under pseudonyms to get tables to "sell" you are not being honest - you know what you're doing is not quite right, don't you?

 

there are practical uses of such service, of course, but it also puts a spotlight on certain cultural values - instant gratification, money as the answer to everything, status and power obsession, etc.

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