"You Snooze, You Lose…"

Sometimes answering the phone at work is its own reward.  I told y’all about Mike from Reno the other night.  As irksome and ill timed as his calls were, at least he didn’t try to weasel a Valentine’s Day Reservation out of me.

“Thank you for calling La Toque, this is Patrick.”

Mouth-breather on the other end: “Uh, can I make a reservation or somethin’?”

“Certainly, sir, what’s the date of the reservation?”

“Uh, February 14th…”

A little mental snicker from me as today is Feb. 6th, and I’ve been booked for the Valentine’s Day weekend for about two weeks now, with a Wait List that’s growing daily.  It’s hilarious to me that people think they’re being so clever by not mentioning the holiday’s name. “Honey, do you mind if I go out with the Boys one night next month?”  “No babe, what’s the date?”  “It’s March the 17th? We’re just goin’ out for a beer or two…”  Or the people that ask for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day off, by date, in a note.  I always tell staff that want Holidays off to write their name, and the date they want off on a $50 bill and turn it in to me…

So, I like to play along for a bit…

“Okay, February 14th.  That’s a Sunday, correct?”

“Uh, I guess so.”

“What time would you like to dine?”

“Um, seven thirty, I guess…”

(There is an audible brightening of his tone, as he is surely beginning to think, “It’s working! It’s working!  I swear to God, I’m putting her birthday and Valentine’s Day in my Blackberry so this doesn’t happen again next year…”)

“Oh, so sorry, we’re completely booked for VALENTINE’S DAY!!”

“Uh, you are?”  Hopes dashed, his chances of the Valentine’s Day blowjob fading like War Admiral in the stretch, he’s reeling like he’s been punched hard in the stomach.  And you gotta love the reply, even though it’s somewhat expected:

“You got anything earlier?”


Or, the “I’ll Beat-Them-At-Their-Own-Game Guy”:

“Thank you for calling La Toque, this is Patrick.”

“I’d like to confirm a reservation…”  They always try to sound confident here, as they know a slight wavering in the voice, or showing any fear or hesitation would be like turning their back on a Junk Yard Dog, or a bull that’s ready to charge.

“Sure.  What’s the date of the reservation?”

“February 14th..”

“Okay.  And the name on the reservation?”

“It’s Real Loser, party of two, 7pm.”

“Yes, sir.  Checking…I don’t seem to have a reservation under that name.”  I can’t resist twisting the knife a little:  “Could it be under a different name?”

“Um, uh, yeah, that’s it… can you look under Total Loser…”

In the Olden Days, before Open Table and other database reservation systems, this scam could actually work if you got a vapid hostess type that probably fucked up people’s reservations on a regular basis by not writing things down.  With hand written reservation sheets they could easily be bullied into crow-barring you in, if sufficiently brow-beaten.

Once I had a guy try to pull the Calling to Confirm Scam, who as much admitted that he didn’t have a reservation and apologized in advance:

“I’d like to confirm a reservation for Valentine’s Day…” and we go through the preliminaries, like the scenario above.  I of course cannot find his reso.   So he says to me quietly, as his S.O. is obviously standing there, arms crossed, tapping her toe, that look of “Well, Asshole?” fixed on her face.


I can hear him now, his hand covering the phone, “Baby, I’m so sorry.  Baby, wait, it’s not my fault…”  Click.

Give him points for being creative; but in the end he’ll be right there with me, wandering aimlessly in the Greeting Card aisle at Safeway, picking through the carcasses of the mangled cards and dead flowers, trying to salvage what’s left for us, at midnight on February 13th.  We have a regular group that gets together two nights a year.  Our next meeting will be the night before Mother’s Day.


3 Responses to "You Snooze, You Lose…"

  1. SkippyMom says:

    My husband and I have been happily married for 15 years and find Valentine’s Day obnoxious at best. Why do you need a day for romance when you have 364 other days of the year to show you SO you love them. Stupid.

    I feel for you all but there are just some days never ever to step foot in a restaurant and VDay is one of them. Have fun!

  2. elsbeth says:

    hahaha… the only time i actually made a reservation for Dan & me on the actual 2/14 date (restaurant widow always), he ended up having to work, so, i took a GF with me and halfway through the meal (well, 3 martinis and 2 dozen oysters) the power went out! Zuni, btw 🙂

    • nativenapkin says:

      It’s actually a good thing he had to work. If you’re not working on Valentine’s Day in our business, you’re either unemployed or unemployable, or both.

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