Everywhere I go, there are rules... regulations I have to abide by... at work, on the road, at home... Some people want to go where everyone knows their name; they go to Cheers. I, on the other hand, want to go where I can find freedom from the crippling rules of daily life.
That's why we went to the Outback Steakhouse, where the motto is: No Rules, Just Right.
We arrived at 2:00pm on a Saturday. The restaurant was nearly empty. The hostess escorted us across the restaurant and plunked us down at a table near the corner. After the hostess left, we decided that we rather preferred a booth to a table with chairs. Lucky for us, or so we thought, there was a booth immediately adjacent to our chair-laden table.
So we moved to the booth. No rules, right? Wrong.
Almost immediately, at the entrance, I could see forming a huddle composed of the hostess with two or three servers. They spoke in hushed tones and repeatedly glanced in our direction with expressions betraying both panic and consternation.
They broke the huddle, and the hostess, who must have drawn the short straw, made her way to our booth. "Um, I'm sorry, but you can't sit there." "Why?" "That server isn't here yet. You have to move back to your table." "I thought there weren't any rules here." "Not exactly." "Oh, can we move to another booth, then, somewhere else in the restaurant?" She paused to perform the mental calculations of counting the tables per section to determine how difficult it would be for the server in another section to wait on us in addition to his or her load of what couldn't be more than one or two other tables.
Reluctantly, she grabbed our menus, and we marched in step behind her to the booth across the restaurant. She seated us with a forced smile and walked away.
From this point, our meal went quite smoothly. Our waiter did a marvelous job balancing the demands of both of his tables. And, for the rest of our lunch, we felt carefree and uninhibited.
Outback Steakhouse: One rule, Almost right.
Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: repressed