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Self-Described ‘Feral Hostess’ Admits that Bribery for Tables Still Works


You know what, Hannah Palmer Egan, self-admitted “Feral Hostess Cat” at a pseudonymous restaurant and author of this Village Voice essay of the life at the front of the FOH? We admire your ballsiness and frank honesty at admitting how hard it is to be a hostess, especially at Some Hot Restaurant full of Angry New Yorkers. We applaud your ability to manage people’s totally overhyped expectations about being sat when they don’t have reservations, realizing that Italian tourists never tip, and especially this part, where you admit that sometimes, bribery will get you a table:

Wait a second — what was that magic green pass you just slipped me? Oh, a $20 bill? One second, let me see something. You know, we just had a last-minute cancellation; I can slide you in in a few minutes. Why don’t you grab a drink at the bar while we get your table ready. We’d be happy to transfer your drinks once you’re seated.

Pro tip: You are in a restaurant in New York. Most non-management staff absolutely accept T.I.P.S. (To Insure Prompt Service). To be clear, $20 is great here at Chez Bowery, but you’ll need to find more for somewhere fancier. But then again I bet you already knew that and made a reservation for your important celebratory dinner. See, here at Chez Bowery, your meal is probably just Any Friday Night. Which brings me to my final point: IT’S DINNER. We’re not brokering Mid-East peace here and you aren’t either. Please relax.

Ah, it’s great to know that in an era of the righteous eliminating tipping, restaurant workers demanding better wages, and strict reservation systems, good ol’ fashioned bribery still works. Like, seriously, what would happen if that all went downhill? We’d be so sad.

[The Village Voice]

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