DEAR ABBY: Something happened to me in one of the most popular restaurants here in town. I have gone there many times with family and friends. Recently a friend took me there for a birthday dinner. I know the manager, so I stopped to talk to him when we entered. As we were talking, the hostess came to take my friend to be seated, and I asked, "Could we have a booth, please?"
This was not an unusual request. I have asked before because it's a more intimate way to have girl-talk. When I went to look for my friend, she was being seated at a tiny table for two, and I remarked, "Are there no booths available?" The hostess replied, "The tables don't move in the booths." I told her I knew what the booths were like. She then demonstrated how you could pull the chairs up to the little table.
All of a sudden it dawned on me what the hostess was getting at. I said, "Are you insinuating that I won't fit in your booths?" and she pointed to my stomach! I was mortified! I am heavy, but not obese.
I was humiliated and the restaurant was crowded, so we sat down and ordered. It was a quick meal; I was too upset to eat. When I got home and settled down, I called and asked for the manager. As I started to tell him what happened, he said, "Oh yeah, she told me," and added, "We do the best we can." He just sloughed me off! Needless to say, I haven't been back. What do you think of this? -- KATHY IN LA HABRA, CALIF.
DEAR KATHY: The restaurant business is part of the "hospitality" industry. What you encountered was a poorly trained employee who lacked basic intelligence and tact. In the food business this can be a recipe for disaster. In your case, the hostess forgot a basic tenet of the hospitality industry: "The customer is always right." And I don't blame you for not going back. Under the circumstances, I wouldn't either.