So .. our youngest is a junior in high school and works part-time as a host for a local breakfast (chain) restaurant. It’s the perfect gig for him because he only works on weekends plus he’s tall, cute, and affable. He’s just as comfortable with senior citizens and veterans as he is with college students and young families. In fact, I think he prefers the former. He’s got regulars whose names he knows by heart; he manages the church crowd on Sundays (and, surprisingly, they’re some of the worst behaved). He’s diligent, responsible, and quick to pass out soda crackers to hungry toddlers.
This past Sunday was a gloriously sunny and mild day here in West Michigan and, as we expected, the restaurant was swamped. As he often does, after changing out of his work clothes, he plopped down and entertained us with the stories of the day. Both of us have put our time in at restaurants – his Dad grilling a local steak house during high school and me, waiting tables and tending bar throughout college.
The lobby was jammed with families and groups jockeying for a Sunday brunch table. He and another young gal, the hostess, share the responsibility of taking down names and group size as people fill the waiting area hoping for a spot. Looking down at a name, she hesitated before calling out, “SHARTZ party of 5. SHARTZ party of 5.”
Imagine that … a sea of hungry people eagerly awaiting a table and no one stepped forward to claim a table for 5?
Shartz. www.urbandictionary.com defines a “shart” as gas … followed by ..um …mass.
After a few minutes passed, a gentleman approached our boy and whispered, “Shaltz? Did you mean Shaltz?”
Flushed with embarrassment, he quickly ushered Mr. Shaltz and his group to the nearest table accommodating 5.
Tears ran down his face as he retold the story; we all came to the same conclusion: when asking for a table, first names will work just fine.
Jim, table for 5? Jim, table for 5.