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To think that sometimes it is OK to save a table?

(18 Posts)
schoolgovernor Mon 26-Nov-12 18:19:45

I love the saving table arguments... but anyway, was reminded of them today. I sat in a corner of Ponti's and watched the world go by. You can actually take a "Reserved" sign and put it on the table of your choice before you go and place your order. In fact, you have to because they need the table number. How civilised. You know that when you get your drink and order your food and pay for it, you'll have somewhere to sit and eat it. (I did wonder if sometimes the signs get moved and exciting Reserved Rage incidents occur).
I also watched as people came in weighed down with shopping and handed it to their mate, who would then very sensibly go and sit at a table (often with a big sigh) and wait for their unburdened friend to bring over the tray of drinks. Very sensible. Or maybe they parked an aged parent at the table and then went to sort the orders. It all seemed very reasonable to me.
Mind you... I chose a table away in the far corner because I had stopped to ease a cracking headache for a short while. The cafe was quiet, there were plenty of empty tables nearer the counter... so why did the lady who entered the cafe with the baby that was screeching in an ear-splitting fashion have to come and sit at the table RIGHT BESIDE me, and even put the high chair back to back with mine?? And then when I moved - how dare she give me evil stares? Was she a MNetter I wonder? grin
Anyway - I think it's fine to save a table. So there.

complexnumber Mon 26-Nov-12 18:31:14

Ah! Go to your local Wetherspoon, you'll possibly get the screeching baby and a drunken fool who wants to be your friend.

But at least you'll be able to drink discount beer to numb the pain, and possibly enter a most entertaining conversation

complexnumber Mon 26-Nov-12 18:32:09

and you'll be able to reserve your table in the same way.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 26-Nov-12 18:33:58

I think it's fine to save tables too.

I don't think it's fine to take screaming babies into places where people are paying to eat food and sit in a supposedly nice atmosphere.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 26-Nov-12 18:38:28

It sounds quite civilised but then I'm definitely on the it's OK to grab the table before ordering school of thought. Not least because who wants to see mum, dad, 2 kids plus family pet in the queue ordering food?

5madthings Mon 26-Nov-12 18:39:21

i think.its fine to save tables as well! i went to a cafe with a friend last week, she queued up to buy drinks and i wrestled my tantrumming dd into a highchair and then tried to entertain/calm her down. thankfully she calmed down quite quickly or i would have had to reasses my plans but she waa screaming when we entered the cafe.

MargeySimpson Mon 26-Nov-12 18:57:58

in the situation you described, saving tables is fine.

Busy marks and spencer cafe on a saturday. queue is out of the door, so you're taking up a table without having actually bought anything...

(if an elderly parent is with you that's different. Baby's in buggys can stay in the buggy until you've bought your coffee, and i have a 15month old)

AnnaRack Mon 26-Nov-12 18:59:47

Of course it's ok to save a table. Why wouldn't you? I thought everyone did this? Unless you're on your own of xourse, in which case you can usually find a table with a spare seat if it's busy.

exoticfruits Mon 26-Nov-12 19:05:30

I think it fine and that it is ridiculous to all queue-however this question pops up every few weeks on MN and there is a split-you will soon be told that it is very rude.
It is all pointless-those of us who get a table first are not going to change. It really isn't a problem-if I am on my own and can't get a table I can always join another single person.

LettyAshton Mon 26-Nov-12 19:42:58

Perhaps there could be a holding pen for those not in the queue but waiting for friend/relative to get the food.

I must admit it is a nightmare if you have a heavy tray + shopping and can't sit down because all the tables are occupied by smug 60-something Barbaras waiting for Brians to bring them their lattes. I out-smugged a pair in John Lewis once when the restaurant manager helped me with my tray (dd was in a pushchair) and suggested to a woman that she surrender her seat until her food was on its way.

TwitchyTail Mon 26-Nov-12 20:03:15

Of course it's fine to sit at a table while you wait, but if the place is packed and you see someone loaded down with a tray of hot food desperately looking for a place to sit and actually eat it, it's only good manners to give them priority. Not everyone has a partner who can sit and hog save tables.

schoolgovernor Mon 26-Nov-12 20:05:57

"Busy marks and spencer cafe on a saturday. queue is out of the door, so you're taking up a table without having actually bought anything..."
See, this is what I don't get. The couple arrived in the cafe and one of them took a seat while the other collected their food. They're not going to sit there eating and drinking nothing, in a few short minutes they will both be sat drinking and eating.
"I must admit it is a nightmare if you have a heavy tray + shopping and can't sit down because all the tables are occupied by smug 60-something Barbaras waiting for Brians to bring them their lattes. I out-smugged a pair in John Lewis once when the restaurant manager helped me with my tray (dd was in a pushchair) and suggested to a woman that she surrender her seat until her food was on its way. "
And this - they're not being smug, they're sitting with the bags and possibly the coats while their partner goes off and does the ordering, paying and tray carrying thing. What the hell is wrong with that? Much better than having both of them cluttering up the queue and knocking shopping bags around other people's legs.
I know it's a bit tough when you're on your own or with kids, which is why I think that the Reserved notices and table numbers is a good idea. It means the people on their own can also save their table. Everyone gets a table in the order that they arrive in the cafe don't they? It's simple.

HappyNoelSadNoel Mon 26-Nov-12 20:17:02

I was in a shopping centre over the weekend and we went to the food court to get some food and the PA system was announcing that due to how busy the centre was could people please refrain from saving tables and to please move on from a table as soon as you have finished eating.

We saved a table blush Though by that I mean that whilst DH went to get the food I parked the double buggy, wrestled out toddler #1, took off coat, put into highchair, gave toy to keep busy whilst I got out toddler#2, removed second coat, put into highchair (no mean feat this), get out crayons to keep busy whilst I get out bibs and drinks bottles. By this time DH was back with the food and we could eat.

I may have got pissy looks from people because I was saving a table but I couldn't care less!

GwendolineMaryLacey Mon 26-Nov-12 20:22:08

Perfectly fine to save tables. Why would I queue for ages and risk not getting a seat? If other people are too dense to do the same that's their look out.

ProPerformer Mon 26-Nov-12 20:23:13

I think it totally depends on the place. If reserve notices or similar are avaliable so that everyone has a fair chance then it's fine to reserve a table, otherwise not. By all means of you are elderly or have young children then sit at a table, but if the place is packed IMHO you should give up that table to someone with food. If no one saved tables then there would actually probably be enough so that no-one is left standing for 5 mins with their food getting cold.

My Nanna often sits at tables at places as she finds it hard to queue but she ALWAYS gives up the table if someone with food needs it. Likewise if DH and I are on a table that sits 4 and we see someone with a tray we always let them know the other seats are avaliable if they need them!

ProPerformer Mon 26-Nov-12 20:24:47

gwendoline the thing is, of no-one saved tables in the first place there would probably be far fewer people if any hanging around with food getting cold!! That's the problem. As I said, there are times to do that and times not to.

schoolgovernor Mon 26-Nov-12 20:29:11

To me it's a bit like the lady who didn't let the lady in the wheelchair go ahead of her in the queue because she'd miss the bus.
If you're sitting at a table waiting for your food to arrive, why should you get up and give your seat to someone else? It will only be a few minutes before you are the one who had nowhere to sit. You're both buying food, and you both want to sit and eat it.
Maybe what I'm saying is that more places, at least that aren't fast food establishments, should do the reserving tables thing as it's such a good idea?
(We could have a soundproof pen for people with screaming babies while we're at it). wink

plantsitter Mon 26-Nov-12 20:34:55

I think it's fine to do this and frankly I will continue to do it until it is made a criminal offence (it probably will be at some point).

Having said that, if someone came up all harassed-looking and balancing a tray on a pushchair with a squalling baby in it, I would probably give them my saved table. 'Cos that's just basic human decency.

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