Restaurant Line Cutters, How Should You Deal With Them?

Standing in line is an accepted aspect of the civilized world. Animals don’t; they all converge at the water hole or upon prey, unless there is some alpha predator bullying its way forward. So, imagine how I felt today after waiting in line for my turn in a “fine” dining establishment, to be brushed aside by a restaurant line cutter who just walked in the door.

Should I have made a scene, pointing out to the line cutter that he was acting like an animal? As there was no one standing behind me, there was no other witness. Except of course for the not ONE but TWO hostesses who could have said, “I will be right with you sir, but this gentleman was here before you.”

Obviously, they did not; a lost opportunity to display minimal customer service.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Salem Ma is a tourist destination that welcomes all people to live here, work here, and visit. We love you tourists. In fact, some small businesses have said they make rent for the entire year during our October month-long Haunted Happenings Halloween celebration.

But, July 28th is not October. And I had patiently waited while the family ahead of me asked about menu items and options to dine inside or outside. Then they moved to the right to go outside. I stepped forward, and the line cutter family just walked in to my right and began peppering the hostesses with questions.

I looked at hostess #2 who was not responding to the intruder; she gave me an “uhm I don’t know what to say” look. Then she was handed these rude people by hostess #1 and took them to their table.

Finally, hostess #1 acknowledged me. Perplexed, I shook my head, reminding her that I had been standing in line and that those people had barged in front of me and she had serviced them ahead of me.

No reaction. No apology.

I wondered, was I being discriminated upon because I had a plain shirt and jeans while the bully was dressed better. Or was it because I am over 60 and the other customers were below 40?

Either way, I wanted to spend as little time there as possible. I quickly brushed it off and transacted my business of buying a gift card for my daughter’s birthday.

Without much comment (perhaps she was embarrassed?) hostess #1 disappeared with my credit card. I thought, ah, the checks and balances of proper customer service were going into effect and the manager would appear with a sincere apology, a whispered  “sorry, but sometimes tourists are tired from walking around Salem and are in a hurry to be seated…”

You know, something to placate a local customer who might come in often during the year over someone who might never come back this year. An offering of a few words to a person who had just validated customer loyalty with the purchase of a gift card for his child would not have been out of order.

But, nothing. Hostess #1 returned with the credit card. Handed the gift card to me.

What do you think? Should I have been put in the uncomfortable position of teaching the line cutter tourist manners? Or should the hostesses have done their job in treating customers equally, whether young or old, buying a big dinner or just a gift card?

(Your thoughts are ALWAYS welcome. Turn this into a conversation either here or on my Twitter account @amssvs)

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