What happened to the rules?

I have had a few of interesting experiences with dining and going out in the last 24 hours which makes me wonder about the rules as I thought they existed.

Friday night dining and drinking rules

My first experience involved my going to meet the rest of the team I work with on Friday afternoon. A long lunch had been ruled out by our ED so we decided early drinks and dinner were in order and a trip away from the CBD to the newish Mecca Bah near Teneriffe was in order.

I arrived at 4.30pm and 3 other people from my team were already there and were finishing a (their first) beer. When F (the team manager and my friend) arrived we decided to order a bottle of wine between the five of us. On the table already were some dips and turkish bread and with the arrival of F and myself more bread was ordered.

A couple of times the waiter came to take our order and I thought that I had politely indicated that we would order in a while but not straight away. My friends told me that when I told the waiter that - I had been given a look. I said that I was surprised about the look because my intention had only been to save her from coming back every five minutes only to be told that we were not ready yet.

We polished off the dips with the bottle of wine and seeing as it was still only just after 5pm our friend D ordered another bottle of wine. Several minutes after we ordered the wine another waiter came to our table and told us that we were unable to have the wine. My first thought was that they were out of stock. Instead the waiter went on to say that we were not allowed to have the wine because we had not ordered any food and that we were not eating commensurate to the amount we were drinking. At first we all thought he was joking.

We all mentioned that we had only had one glass wine. The waiter also pointed out that a beer had been drunk by 3 others! Shock horror, I glass of wine each and 3 beers and now we wanted a second bottle of wine. Despite our telling the waiter that we were eating but not just right now at 5pm in the afternoon and questioning him as to why he was demanding that we eat right now - he refused to budge claiming that their liquour licence did not allow them to serve us any more wine without food. We asked if were okay to order more picky type of food as none of us wanted to have a main course right then. Even then this wasn't an ideal solution for us as we didn't want to fill up on the picky food and be unable to eat the main course later. He agreed that we could do that and then just as one of us were about to order - he left .

In the past I had known of liquour licences which operate at restaurants that required the patrons to have an intention to dine before they could be served a drink. Strangely enough we had indicated quite clearly that we had an intention to dine just not at 5pm it was going to be 6pm.

His leaving had given us time to decide that we did not feel like being dictated to and decided to leave. Unfortunately this ended up being the flaw in our evening because after that we never did get the opportunity to eat and continued to drink instead so I reached my alcohol saturation point too early at 10.30pm and had to come home.

Reviewing this incident today with several people I had to wonder why the waiter couldn't have reached a compromise with us which for me would have been that we order our main courses to be served to us at 6pm, in the meantime they give us the bottle of wine we ordered.

What happened to the rules when did it become so rigid that food must be purchased and consumed commensurate to a certain amount of alcohol and what is that amount of alcohol and what is the amount of food - is it one course for each person for every bottle of wine? How many pre-dinner drinks are too many? Please tell me are there new rules and if so what are they?

Cab rank rules

As I waited for my cab on the rank sitting on my little perch outside the Queens Arms in Tenerifffe with my friends I just knew there was going to be a hassle over the cabs.

A woman came down from a restaurant on the opposite side of the road and stood several feet down from us on the rank and approximately in the middle of the road. As a cab pulled into the rank to drop off some clients she waved her arms and moved from the road and waited at the side of the cab. I got up to see if she really was going to take the cab and as I approached the cab I said to my friends, "Watch this I know how it will end I will say something about her queue jumping but in the end I will back down."

I leaned over to the cab as I stood beside the woman and asked the driver if he was free. As I did the woman said, "This is my cab I waved him down." I said, " But this is a cab rank and I was first in line." She replied "But I booked a cab." "But not this one,"I replied.

She then jumped into the back of a cab. A male bystander observing then said, "Hey she is being a bitch." At which point I decided to support him and say to the woman as the door was closing, "Yes your being a bitch!" By this stage my friends and I were in fits of laughter the fun for us was in actually saying something anything it didn't have to involve swearing I loathe confrontation and would always have inevitably backed down.

I always knew the rules for vying for a cab on a Friday night were tenuous I was hoping the cab rank queue rules would provide some order but alas not.

Saturday - High Societea

My third experience involved having high tea in Clayfield a very much touted "layyydies who lunch" type experience where some of the layyyyydies even wore hats and being girly is de rigour.

I was meeting some friends because one of them is due to have a baby in January and we wanted to catch up with her before then. High Societea have several seatings in two hour sessions. Our appointment was 11.30am to 1.30pm. We were provided with a tea menu and the food comes on 3 tiered plate stands. We were given a glass of refreshing pims first. The tea is leaf (of course) served in beautiful china cups. Coffee is also permitted.

Several of us decided to order coffee after we had our tea. Our coffees arrived and we asked for clean cups again we were given a look. Is it really a lookable offence that we desired new cups because our old tea cups had cold tea and leaves in them. Is this another rule that has changed?

As 1.30pm approached the place started to empty out. Around 1.20pm a waiter approached our table and loudly suggested we vacate the table and she promptly moved on. We waited for our bill and waited and waited, till finally we asked the waiter how they wanted us to pay do we go up to the cashier. "Oh" she says "I will get you the bill" Now if your tea house has 2 hour sessions why wouldn't you instead of loudly announcing that you should leave, just discreetly leave the bill on the table. I thought the rules were bring the bill to the table if you want the people to leave - has that one changed too?


At 2:35 pm, Blogger OLS said...

Wow. Sounds like you've had an... ummm... interesting time of it.

Re the Mecca Bah - I have heard of people being asked to order before, either because of alcohol consumption or because they had a full night and were expecting that your table would be free within a certain time (especially if you book an early table). But it sounds like they were really rude about it. When I was waitressing, I've had to inform others that they had to order food because of this sort of thing, but you can usually do it in such a way that everyone laughs about it and no-one gets offended.

As for the cab rank rules - the only place I see them work these days is at the airport. This is a large part of why I don't catch cabs.


At 9:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Oh dear, too many rules at the restaurant and not enough at the cab rank!

I am a cab diver (in Canberra). I have been in exactly the same situation at ranks, where someone tries to jump the queue.

Sometimes it it hard to work out who is actually at the head of the queue and whether they actually want a cab. They might be just standing there just being too drunk to function, or a couple may be negotiating the tricky seas of, "shall we catch a cab together and if so, to whose place and... is it on?". This can take a long time and they are generally happy to let a few cabs come and go before they reach a decision. But if the people at the head of the queue show any sign of annoyance, I throw the interloper out, no matter who they are, no matter how spunky, no matter how well dressed. I start off politely and don't take no for an answer. In fact, in response to refusal to get out, I get rapidly ruder and more and more potty-mouthed. My customer is at the head of the queue, and I don't care what the interloper thinks.

So good on you for standing up for your cab rank rights, and bad on the cabbie for just sitting there passively. Maybe in future, speak directly to the cabbie, they do have the right to throw people out, someimes they just need to be reminded of that and jolted out of their passivity or 'don't care-ity'.

Remember that lots of taxi drivers are migrants who do get treated like shit, especially on Friday night, so they often adopt a 'small-target' attititude, which is sad. Also remember that by 11 pm, a driver might have been in the saddle for 6-8 eight hours, with the prospect of another 4-8 hours, and that can dampen one's enthusiasm for the path of justice.



At 9:38 am, Blogger Lushlife said...

Thanks for advice Steev, I have always been considerate of cab drivers I think they do a very tough job particularly during the Christmas season. I have to admit this particular driver was unhelpful because when the cab approached it had a few people in it and as they were finishing with the cab driver I directed my question to the driver which was "Are you free." It was at this point the rude interloper said to me that she had hailed the cab down and plonked herself in the back seat. I always knew there was going to be a problem with her - and it would have been nice if the cab driver had also abided by the cab rank rules too - but sa la vie.

My friends and I thought it was all really hilarious by this stage because we anticipated it I suppose and thought we would approach it as a joke rather than get all upset by it. We didn't want to let this situation ruin an otherwise fun evening.

More bad news on that restaurant Mecca Bah which got more bad press from my friend (who was with me on the Friday evening when we decided to leave) during the week when she turned up with 9 other friends from her book club. MB rules are "no bookings" they were turned away because MB couldn't handle them and had to find a restaurant which would take 10 people at short notice (whose rules usually are to book for that size table).

I don't see a long life from MB in Brisbane if you going to have rules like that during the "extremely silly season" and then provide service or no service as the case was for me and my friends then all the ill will and bad word of mouth in such a small city is really going to hurt.


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