Sunday, October 02, 2005
Saturday night at work was one for the books. I think I may be able to sum it up with one word: Homecoming.
Yes. Hundreds of overdressed teenagers converged on our restaurant to fulfill a rite of passage. The meal before the dance.
Shiny limos, carriages even Hummers dropped the wide-eyed wonders off in small swarms. Nervous arms, stuffed in scratchy suits reached for the front door, making way for their overdressed, overly made up, over-paid-for dates. Most were smart enough to make reservations. Most made reservations together. Our dining room more closely resembled an army mess hall than an upscale restaurant. Long lines of tables stretched from the kitchen to the courtyard. My manager, money with dollar signs in his eyes, took every reservation he could. He rented tables and chairs to accomodate the parties. Some of those parties swelled to 30 or more at one table. Fifteen couples dining together. How could they hold conversations together with so many at one table? Easily: use a cell phone and call your friends at the other end of your table. Those who considered using a phone tacky, opted to visit in person, often standing in the aisle in large clusters, unyeilding to anyone wishing to pass.
No one stayed in their seats, making serving their requested meals near impossible. Many only ate a few bites of their $18 lobster ravioli. In fact, I believe more time was spent parading back and forth to the bathroom, stopping at other tables to gossip and gawk. When the check came, it was pleasurable to watch the boys fumbling with their wallets, paying with crisp twenty dollar bills.
Because of all of the parading and gawking, getting around the restaurant was impossible. Girls would rise in unison and stampede for the powder room. Our tile floors were no match for wobbly amateurs in heels, claiming many victims as the night progressed. The girls learned to walk very slowly down our main line. Speed of service was non existant. Luckily, most of the other guests were very understanding and patient.
My experience with the homecoming crowd was not bad. All of the teens I served left 25% to 30% tips, much more than normal guests do. I guess as long as I kept their glasses of Mountain Dew filled and treated them like adults, they were happy. Besides, it was fun participating in such a memorable evening for the kids.