Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soapbox Response: The Public Humiliation of a Hostess

Please excuse this interruption in our regularly scheduled programming. 

I have never been one to sit "idly by".  Oh no, from the moment I could form opinions I formed them, and I defended them.  Memories of my strong stance on issues of note come from the youngest days of my childhood-from being completely insulted at a joke of my fathers implying that I was a smoker, something which was completely out of the realm of possibility for me (I was 5-it was clearly a joke, and yes I cried hysterically at the thought for a good 20 minutes), to yelling loudly at the opposing teams at soccer games (to my mothers chagrin).  As I got older, my pension for defending ideas, making my opinions known, and putting my thoughts out there only grew.  Im sure this is of no surprise to you, I do write a rather opinionated food blog.  So here I sit, fuming, and, with a keyboard at my finger tips, I am armed to discuss the cause of my anger.

The Phantom Gourmet is somewhat of an institution in this city.  Created by the sons of a beloved sports personality, their show weekly runs through reviews and commentary on restaurants in the New England area.  There is much critique over the creators of the show and the huge part these brothers play in hosting the show, and over the restaurants they choose to promote.  Often, The Phantom Gourmet is regarded as nothing more than an in depth advertisement for less than great restaurants in area, who are often featured during the actual commercial segments.  It is noted that the brothers are annoying in their presentation, and that their taste in "culinary" selections leaves much to be desired.  However, they have pushed onward and created a mini empire including their show, several food based festivals, and a radio show.  It was on this radio show recently that the following discussion took place discussing a recent experience at Grill 23:

"Mike Andelman: We walk in and the hostess who’s the typical hot woman, rude, cold- as-ice, never would talk to me in high school-type girl…So she goes, “Two?”, and I said yes, and she looks at us and says, “I’m sorry, we’re not open until 5:30, so there’s nothing I can do.”

Dan Andelman: And what time was this at?

Eddie: At the bar. It’s crowded.

Dan: How did she look from the back?

Mike: And so Eddie and I said this is the most ridiculous, rude treatment we’ve ever gotten in a restaurant.

Eddie: Well I said to her, Is it all right if we sit down? There’s not one person. The tables are all set. Can we sit down there and have some drinks ‘till 5:30? And she said, “NO!”

Mike: Yeah, she says no, and so we basically, you know, under our breath say F-you, and we leave, and we walk across the street.

Dan: I don’t get it…, the restaurant was open, she just wouldn’t seat you?

Mike: No…, the dining room did not open until 5:30.

Eddie: They don’t serve until 5:30. We were willing to sit at a table and have some drinks until 5:30, even if we had to get some drinks from the bar and walk over to a table.

Dan: Yeah, but they weren’t open yet.

Michael: The restaurant was open. The bar was open. Every server was there. You think it was going to make a big deal if Eddie and I sat down…?

Dan: Michael, I’m being completely serious…They are not open until 5:30. What the hell…Why do you think you’re so special that you had to be seated?

Eddie: If there were seats at the bar we might have done it, but there’s tables 8 feet away from the bar that we could sit at.[The dining room tables are behind a half wall separating the bar from the dining room.]

Dan: Maybe the servers are all in their pre-meal meeting; maybe they’re eating; maybe they’re doing side work; maybe they’re cleaning, maybe they’re getting dressed…

Mike: Danny, the fact that you consistently take the side of the restaurateur or just a really stupid maĆ®tre d’ or a hostess over your family time and time again, you just continually…(cut off).

Mike: The era is over of being able to treat customers like crap. It’s just over. I don’t understand.

Eddie: There’s 25 steakhouses in Boston.

Mike: And it’s not like this was 8pm on a Saturday night. It’s 5 o’clock, and guess what, if the owner of Grill 23 was standing next to this dumb hostess, this moronic hostess who was just getting her, uh, jollies off by sticking to the rules of her little brochure in a little binder, this little monkey, her only job is to look at this binder and say don’t let people in ‘till 5:30….

Dan: Although in her defense she was good-looking apparently. I’d like to see a picture. Was she wearing yoga pants? These are things I want to know. I have a thing for hostesses (laughing).

Mike: There’s not a hostess who’s not good-looking, because they’re incompetent and can’t do anything else in life. If you can’t model, when you’re good-looking enough and not tall enough to model, you stand behind a little box and say, How many?

(A few irrelevant comments have been omitted between quotes, including Eddie’s comment about not wearing underwear. Ouch.)"  As recounted on the blog I'm Your Server Not Your Servant. Full audio can also be obtained on that site.  

Ok lets look at this logically- there are several completely ridiculous statements made here- first that diners were owed a table in the closed dining room because the bar was full, and second any, and every, comment concerning the hostesses looks and intelligence.

Anyone who has worked in the food industry, or even the service industry in any capacity, knows how difficult those jobs are.  You take the brunt of your customers bad day, their stress, their tired feelings.  You are an unrelated person thrown into their world, and your tasked with the sometimes impossible job of making their day/night better.  The situation described above does not seem, at least to me, all that uncommon.  A customer looking for special treatment, angry becuase they are not granted their whim, and with little regard for the reasoning behind why the request is denied. 

This could easily be chalked up to a simple tirade, an over the top complaint from the mouths of spoiled men.  To be honest-had they kept it to complaining about the rules of Grill 23, the rules which I think most of us would agree with,  I'm not sure it would have caused any stir at all.  I am sure that the limited listener base to their radio program would have chalked it up as "those Andelman's" complaining about not enough cheese on their cheese fries, too much lettuce in their salads, and now not being treated as the celebrities they feel they are.  But they didn't stop there.  In fact- they didnt even really begin by looking at the rules of Grill 23, but instead placed the blame completely on the shoulders of "the typical hot woman, rude, cold- as-ice, never would talk to me in high school-type girl" hostess.  Might I ask- what on earth makes them think that this womans appearance has anything to do with their not getting to break the rules as they apply to EVERY patron of Grill 23? 

Of course they didnt stop there either, no they pushed on discuss her outfit, her and label her intellectually stunted.  And, of course, they didnt do this in the privacy of their own homes, or perhaps over a personal phone conversation, no- they announced this thought process, and degraded this woman on the radion, for all to hear.  Might I remind you that all of this is becuase she was unable, not that she wouldn't, but she was unable to satisfy a request that blatantly went against the rules of her place of employment.

I ask you Andelman's- would she have made up for your lack of popularity in High School had she broken the rules for you and gotten herself fired?  Would that have made it better for you?

Today, the Boston Globe addressed this very matter, and noted that at this time the Adelman's are claiming that the whole tirade was satire, and ought to have been taken as a joke.  Some sense of humor those men have.  Really we should all be ashamed that the public humiliation of a female employee of a prominent restaurant isn't taken more lightly.  Is that "satiracle" enough for you?

I used to watch the Phantom Gourmet as part of a Saturday morning ritual. No longer will I tune in to watch insane amounts of butter and cheese sprayed across my television set, I urge you all to reconsider giving them a place in your weekends as well.       
Mike: Great bar, but Eddie and I aren’t exactly going to saddle up to the bar and get hammered. We’re there for dinner. So she looks at us and says, “I can’t do anything for you,” and I said, Well can you just, and she turned her back on us and basically wouldn’t talk to us any more.
Dan: Great bar there, potato chips and everything.
Mike: There’s like 20 people standing at the bar. There’s no room at the bar.
Dan: At the bar?
Eddie: There’s no seats.
Mike: She said the bar over there, you can stand at the bar and have a drink.
Eddie Andelman: It was about 5:10.
Mike: 5:05.


Kristen said...

hahaha, oh wow. just, wow.

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Yeah, they are low class and not at all funny. It's only due to crappy restaurants with big ad budgets that they still have a show at all!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

I used to watch PG all the time - it was kind of a guilty pleasure. But the establishments they choose stopped being my thing. This incident is just unthinkable!

Unknown said...

Thanks for putting this out there, Fiona. This behavior is just unexcusable and these men have very bad taste (both figuratively and literally).

The Small Boston Kitchen said... good...great post from you though and good for you for putting it out there!

SkippyMom said...

I have already made my thoughts known about this at Patrick's and JerBear's blogs - but I have to ask, again....

[Besides their obvious sense of self entitlement and being rude]

Who can't wait 20 minutes for a table? And who is going "to get sloshed" in that 20 minutes at a bar?

Are they binge drinkers?

With their treatment of the hostess ["f' you" said under their breath - she heard them, believe me] it is a good thing they did leave.

Is it my imagination or do these two strike us all as 8% tippers with small pee-pee complexes.

They weren't being facetious or funny - they are rubes of the highest order.

They are the reason I am glad I don't hostess or waitress anymore.

Anonymous said...

I cannot stand the Andelman's. They are truly terrible people and the PG is terrible. I am honestly not surprised this occurred. They think they are above everything. It's terrible

Unknown said...

I just saw this post - love that you blogged about this incident! Those guys create such a poor image of themselves, like blaming Yelp for their bad reviews! That was ridiculous!

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...