I have a confession to make: I recently lifted one of my boycotts. For those of you who don't know or have forgotten, when an establishment sufficiently offends me, I cease patronizing said establishment (for my OG list and reasons, click here: http://iamthecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2009/11/boycotts.html ).
Anyway, after three years, I finally suspended my boycott against Le Pain Quotidien because I love their iced tea and didn't feel I should suffer any longer for their incompetency. I was walking in 85-plus-degree heat, in insufferably humid New York City, and I decided I needed a chamomile mint iced tea and a ten-minute reprieve from the oppressive heat. I ordered my cool, refreshing drink at the counter, went to the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face, and then sat down at one of, and I'm not exaggerating here, about thirty five open tables.
I was immediately bum-rushed by two employees with menus (actually, a major step up in service from my past experiences). Here's what went down:
BOTH EMPLOYEES: Would you like a menu, sir?
CURMUDGEON: No thank you. I'm just gonna have this iced tea.
At this point, the less senior employee walked away while the manager stayed to have a little chat with me:
MANAGER: Sir, we only do table service at the tables.
CURMUDGEON: Oh, sorry. I didn't realize. I bought this iced tea already, so I figured I could just sit here and drink it.
MANAGER: Well, the tables are reserved for table service only.
CURMUDGEON: (Okay, now we have a problem.) Yes, I gathered that much from when you just said it before, the first time, but A) I didn't know that when I ordered, and B) I didn't think it would be a real issue if I sat at one of your 35 unoccupied tables to drink the iced tea that I did, as it turns out, purchase at your restaurant.
MANAGER: (A beat.) I just mean for future reference.
CURMUDGEON: Thank you; I'll be sure to keep that in mind.
Le Pain Quotidien, welcome back to the boycott list. Make yourself at home.