How Your Friends Really See You

Posted on Saturday 25 February 2006

Customers often arrive without someone in their party, or they are meeting someone who is already there. Our restaurant’s policy is to seat people right away, which means we take names and connect everyone as they arrive. The exchange with me often goes like this:

Customer: Table for four, please.

Me: (This is a walk-in group, and I only see two people together.) We can seat you right away. Who is arriving to meet you?

Customer: Jim

Me: Fine, and who will Jim ask for–what is your name?

Customer: Huh? Who? (I don’t know why this question stumps a lot of people.)

Me: What is your name, sir? Jim will ask to meet who?

Customer: Oh! Me, Eric. But Jim is about my height, weighs 220, brown hair.

Me: We’ll send him to your table when he arrives. (I jot down the names and table number.)

Now, I don’t really care what Jim looks like, because by the time Jim arrives, I might greet and seat 200 people, many of whom look just like a potential Jim. The names are key in this process. But people love to offer full descriptions of their latecomers, and I often wonder if these friends/coworkers/brothers/sisters/parents know how they are being described to me, a perfect stranger.

Some gems:

“He’s tall and lanky, wild white hair, baggy clothes, kind of Einstein-y.” Never saw that guy arrive.

“She’s short, plain looking, a little heavy, longish hair. She’s a photographer.” Of course, poor thing.

“Really handsome, light skin, tall–but not too tall.” Right. And he was handsome.

“She’s tall, thin, blonde hair, and she has braces. But she’s getting those off soon.” Hey, it’s okay.

“She’s gorgeous, like a model, you can’t miss her.” Good thing I took names; but wow, is he in love with her!

“They will be dressed just like us. You know, they’ll look just like us and everything.” Amazingly, they did–same dark suits, same white shirts, same conservative-style ties–clean cut all the way. How interesting that they see themselves this way–and more importantly, do they have to dress alike at their office?

4 Comments for 'How Your Friends Really See You'

  1.  
    marco
    March 31, 2006 | 7:38 pm
     

    “I dont know why this question stumps a lot of people”

    I would guess it’s because most people assume they’ll just wave their friends over to the table when they see them come in. They’re not really stumped by the question, they just hesitate to give their name because they don’t understand why you need it.

    When I’m late meeting someone, I just cruise right past the maitre d’/hostess/host – with a nod and a smile of course – and find the table myself. But then I don’t ask directions to the bathroom either.

    I really like your blog, keep up the good work!

  2.  
    Machiavelli
    April 2, 2006 | 6:06 am
     

    Did the guys in suits have sunglasses?
    I think you might have gotten a visit from the Men In Black.

  3.  
    Rose
    April 11, 2006 | 12:39 am
     

    Men in suits – maybe they were Mormon. I had a group of Mormons go around my neighborhood once and that’s how they were dressed.

  4.  
    Lisa
    April 11, 2006 | 8:55 pm
     

    In any major city there’s an Enterprise rent-a-car location. Their corporate code dictates they must wear suits, only white shirts, ties, and an all-around conservative look. Men in Black would definitely be a funnier story though!

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