It was a hip place, not fancy. Nice, trendy, and the food sounded great. A year out of college, they were only there because they’d gotten a Groupon for 65%. They’d read all of the fine print, called a week ahead in order to get a reservation, and did their best to feel like grown-ups. He had even read a couple of wine blogs and cross referenced entries with the online wine list so he would know what to order within their budget and not sound like a complete idiot. He even remembered to bring cash–including enough for a tip!–for valet parking.

But they could not have been prepared for the crowd. The Medical School was having its annual end of semester/holiday party, and the students were crowding into the event space with exposed brick and funky paintings. They had a reservation, though, so the crowd didn’t bother him that much. When they made it, hand-in-hand, to the hostess, he confidentially smiled and said, “Reservation for Wilson.”

As the hostess tapped the screen of the computer, a high-pitched, angry voice: “Excuse me, why isn’t the members’ area open?”

“There’s a private party tonight, ma’am,” the hostess sweetly deflected. “We will gladly seat all members of the bottle club here in the regular dining room, and of course, we will have the monthly bottle for you.”

“A private party? You should have something on your website that lets people know.
We drove a long way and we are members.

Oh, people like that. Not a fan.

The hostess stared at her screen, then looked at him.

“Do you have any flexibility with your plans? We have one table right now, and I would love to seat both of you. Would you mind waiting 30 more minutes?”

He hesitated. The lady behind him was scowling. The hostess caught a glimpse of his Groupon.

“I’d be glad to throw in a bottle of the month for you guys, too.”

Score. He nodded.

“They are NOT members.”

What was with this woman?

“Right this way.” The hostess forced a smile and led the woman and her husband–who hadn’t said a word–to a table. He could almost hear her rolling her eyes.


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