Yesterday, for my birthday, we wanted to have a nice family gathering. I am a planner by nature- so I planned a dinner for our collected group of twelve at a restaurant in Tarrytown called Mint Premium Foods. I went in a few days earlier, made a reservation, devised a menu so that there would no ordering. The food would come, we would eat, drink and be merry. All would be good in the world.
Fast forward to a day or two in advance, and a manager from Mint asked if we could move our reservation up an hour- from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. so that they could accommodate a party (neighbours of ours) who wanted to come at 6 p.m. but, they would be out by 7:30. They promised. No worries.
I called my neighbor yesterday to confirm the game plan. She assured me. "We will be out by 7:30. We know you are expecting the table. No worries."
I had a very nice day yesterday. My eldest was home for the weekend from school. I heard from distant family members. A lovely orchid was delivered. My good friend, Liza, dropped by unexpectedly with a great planter she had created and decorated à la me. When I walked into Mint, there was my friend and her guests, but at 10 to 8, they were all still sitting at the table. But no worries, the table was cleared, their napkins crumpled. I can be an easy going gal when required. It's all going to work out. Just a minor delay. Then my friend hops up from the table. "We haven't had our entrees yet. But, no worries, we will be out of here. Go have a drink (you and your party of 12) and we'll be out of here as soon as possible."
Down the street, on what turned out to be a mild evening, we found an empty table outside for six at the Tarry Tavern. We cobbled a few tables together and made calls to people parking cars. "Plan B. Come here. We are having a drink outside while we wait." Being of the ear to the ground types, we learn at 8:30 that the party that had gathered at 6 in Mint still hadn't had their entrees.
We knew that this dinner at Mint was no longer going to happen but no one at Mint seemed to care. No one suggested they find someplace else for us to go. No one at Mint suggested "Can we do this all over again, at your convenience, at our expense?" Luckily, while sorting out our options over our drinks outside, the Tarry Tavern said they would be happy to seat our party. They had no problems uncorking and pouring the wine my husband had bought and delivered to Mint earlier in the day. Tarry Tavern could not have been more gracious. Okay, it was just a dinner, but how often do you turn 60, fly your kid in from school, bring relatives in from out of town to gather for a festive meal?
And the folks at Mint, were, not unsurprisingly, "very sorry", even as they were completely inept in managing their business and meeting their commitments. Lesson learned. So, if I am very lucky, I will never experience this level of dysfunction again when trying to create a special gathering for family and friends. And hopefully, neither will any of you.