The Event:I went to a newish West Side watering hole and restaurant Saturday night. Since we didn’t have reservations there was a 20 minute wait for a table. We told the hostess we’d get a drink at the bar — which wasn’t particularly crowded — while we waited. The hostess, who looked around 12, asked for a cell phone number.
Excuse me, I replied.
She repeated the request.
I asked her why she wanted it.
So I can text you when your table’s ready.
I was dumbfounded. Our party of three was going to be perched on stools, 20 feet away and within sight of her station. I refused and suggested she like, you know, come get us. How hard could it be to walk over? Apparently quite a challenge because this girl actually complained that it's tough to remember and identify patrons. My failure to cooperate meant she’d have to look up, look at me, and commit the impression to memory. Not trusting she was up to this formidable task, and sighing to indicate that I was really putting her out, our hostess wrote down that I was wearing large red earrings. By the time she made her way over, successfully picking us out from the dozen or so others, we’d decided to eat elsewhere.
I didn’t particularly like the idea of sharing my number with a stranger. I found the presumption that everyone texts, and has an unlimited plan, annoying. Then there are those of us who like disconnect when we go out and sans phone focus on the folks in front of us (a dying breed I know). But what really bothered me was the lack of personal, attentive, service oriented treatment. This is called the hospitality industry after all. The policy and the attitude fell short of what I'd call a warm welcome.
I suppose there’s a case that can be made for texting patrons that their table is available in certain situations, just as there’s a justification for those irritating blinking beeping disks that are sometimes handed out at huge, mobbed chain venues. But that didn’t apply here.
So tell me, what’s your opinion? Am I being unreasonable? Hopelessly out of step with the times? Or is my complaint legit? I’d like to hear from others.
One thing I know — if this is the wave of the future for restaurants than I’m going to be wanting some numbers too. Because when my server's nowhere in sight I'll be texting Hope 2 C U Soon and complaining to the manager U Take 2 Long or wuz ^ w/ my soup when orders are slow to arrive.