We invited another couple to join our group for dinner Saturday night, so I called the restaurant to change the reservation.
“Hello, I have a reservation for Saturday night for six people and I’d like to change it to eight.”
“Just a moment, please,” he said. There was a pause and then, “Okay, I’ll make that change for you, no problem.”
“Can you confirm the time of the reservation?” I asked.
A slightly irritated sigh, followed by, “That’s in the other computer. Hold on.” After a moment he picked up the phone again and said, “All set, 8 people at 7.”
I hung up feeling vaguely uncomfortable. Our plan was to go out to dinner after an event that ended at 7. I was certain I would have made the reservation for a bit later, so I called the restaurant back. A different voice answered the phone.
“Hello,” I said. “I was just speaking to someone about my reservation for Saturday night.”
“You wanted it changed, yes I know.”
“Wonderful! Could you please check the time for me?”
“Your reservation is for 7.”
“It should be 7:15,” I said.
“Well it’s for 7.”
“Alright, but I’d like it to be for 7:15, which is when I made the reservation for,” I said, patiently. I was sitting in a bank, waiting for an Assistant Manager to confirm that the phrase jointly and severally on the power of attorney meant that I could make decisions on my own. Severally sounds like it should mean more-than-one, but in point of fact, in legalese it means the opposite.
The person on the other end of the phone asked, “For tonight?”
“No, for Saturday night,” I replied.
He said, “Open Table shows the reservation is at 7pm, with a request for a quiet table.”
“That’s not my reservation. I didn’t request a quiet table,” I said reasonably, all things considered.
The voice got huffy, and firm. “I’ve been working with Open Table for twelve years, and…”
I interrupted. “I didn’t use Open Table. As a matter of fact, I hit the reservation button on your web site and was surprised when it didn’t go to Open Table. It went to a different service, and when I tried to use it to reserve my table, it said there were none available and to call the restaurant, which I did. I spoke to a woman. And in any case, I don’t care what it says; I’d like to change the time of my reservation. Can you do that?”
Still clearly annoyed, he went off to see what could be done. When he got back on the phone he said, “The reservation is for Irma Zinc. That’s not you.”
“There is no reservation for you.” A moment of silence. “Name?”
“This is for Saturday?”
“Yes. At 7:15, for 8 people.”
“Okay, sorry for the confusion. You’re all set.”
That remains to be seen.