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Sneakeater

Old Man Shaking Fist at Cloud

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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?

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Fucking hospitality fucking industry.

 

My wife is often accompanied to restaurants by the many space-consuming tools of her trade (balloons, speakers, changes of clothes, feather boas, more balloons). And there is tsking as we try to stow it. But that confrontation sounds obnoxious.

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I think it’s really lovely and quaint that the underlying assumption here is of course that you have to take off your hat when you’re inside.

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But this is a big hat you’re discussing . My Catalunyan beret(s) create less anxiety. I am not saying you wear a Stetson or a sombrero.

 

Thinking about it, the bars I visited in Fort Worth, patrons didn’t remove their Stetsons. Heck of a bar space problem if they had.

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tools of her trade (balloons, speakers, changes of clothes, feather boas, more balloons). 

 

i'd like to hear more about this trade.

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Ha, yes you would.

 

Dance and theater producer/teacher; bachelorettes, schools, after schools, children’s parties, wedding couples, props props props.

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As for the "pegs on the walls" or customer coat rack, they scare me ****less.    Back in the days, I wore a fabulous short black leather snap front 'biker jacket' to an event, hung it in the rack and returned to find it gone.   The restaurant couldn't have cared less while someone was smugly sporting my treasure.    Some decades later at a hip NY restaurant, I hung a puff coat in the rack, returned and put on my coat to find Kleenex in the pocket.   I NEVER put Kleenex in my pocket!    I found my identical coat and with relief found the keys to my private hotel.    Stupid mistake.   God knows what I'd have done had the other person gone home with my keys since there was no one at the desk until 6am.   

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