Letter from the Drinking Town #11 – The Boynton and the Booth of Ultimate Vibration

Dear Worcester,

Today my son and I went to the TouchTomorrow program at WPI. It was lovely. We participated in science experiments, learned about the universe and watched robots attack Styrofoam noodles. It was a great time. They even had a van de graaf generator there, ready for the kids to touch and the parents to take photos destined to embarrass the child years later, during dating season no doubt. My son demurred. He didn’t want to see his hair standing on end. I did. But that’s a father for you.

My son wanted to eat and wanted to eat in air conditioning. I did a few calculations in my head and suggested we walk to the Boynton. My son, eight years old, loves places with grilled cheese sandwiches and fries. The Boynton has such a thing on the menu, so the kid loves the place.

Long time readers of these reports from the front might well remember that I don’t care for the Boynton at all. It has never worked for me. I think it thinks too highly of itself.  But it was nearby and the kid loves it. Who doesn’t want to be the world’s greatest dad? Or at least, passably acceptable dad? I’ll take it.

It was pretty busy this afternoon, but I saw booths and tables. I asked for a table for two and the hostess took us to the bar area, to a booth in the front.

I wasn’t going to ask for another booth, but I was already a little weary. If I was with friends and was seated there, great. But I had the kid, and that means I have to be concerned with the bar. The bar, as you know, is a place I love. There is drinking and swearing and lying. Three things I don’t allow my son to do.

I have been at bars at 2pm on a Saturday where it sounds like an amateur hour production of Reservoir Dogs.

Kids in the bar area is never a groovy concept. Am I, the parent, expecting everyone to curb their behavior?  No. A bar should be a bar. An animal preserve for base behavior. I don’t want to be “That Guy” who wants you to be polite because there are children present. On the other hand, I really don’t want people to be going on about the “fucking” Red Sox and their “fucking” manager.   

Part of me was annoyed. Didn’t the hostess see me with a kid? Couldn’t she have put me in one of the non-bar areas. But the hostess has to be fair to the wait staff. If the waitress in the bar area is up for the next party, then she will get the next group, even if you are putting an eight year old in the bar area of a busy restaurant when you don’t have to

I understand that getting as many tables as possible is important for wait staff, but I don’t know. This is a relationship, the wait staff and the customer. Shouldn’t both sides be considered?

We ordered our drinks and then my son looked at me seriously. “Daddy. Is it okay if we switch seats.”

And like that, I am in over protective father mode. “Sure buddy. Why? Is something wrong? Are you seeing something bad?”

He looked confused at the question. “No Daddy. Everything is alright. It’s just that, the seat is vibrating and it’s very distracting.”

Vibrating booth seats? Ooooo-kay. Someone walked around in the sun for a little too long? Someone needs a nap, and why don’t kids his age take naps. Naps would solve so many issues. “Sure, no problem. Let’s switch.”

So I sat down and got comfortable, and. And. There it was. The seat was vibrating. It wasn’t throwing me from the seat like I was at a Gilley’s mechanical bull, but no doubt about it, the damned seat was vibrating.  Hell, maybe I need a nap.

I got the eye of a waiter passing by, not ours, and said, a little embarrassed to do it, “Uhm, it seems that the seat is vibrating.”

The guy nodded, “Yeah. The beer cooler is underneath that seat and so it vibrates. There is nothing we can do about it.” Nothing to do about it? How about not have a seating over the vibrating beer cooler. But I didn’t say that. I asked to get another seat and we did,

I was annoyed enough to ask our new waitress why they would seat people in a sub par location when they don’t have to. She looked glassy at me and apologized and then asked what we would have for lunch.

So perhaps I should not have asked the waitress this question, so I will ask you, here in this forum. You have a table with a seat that vibrates, do you sit people and hope they don’t mention it, or do you not sit people there? Is the important thing shoving in as many people in, or creating a positive experience.

Of course, a vibrating seat might be a positive experience for some people.Do people slip the hostess a fin to get seated at the vibrating booth? Is it the talk of the underground diners of Central Massachusetts? “The food is mediocre, but you will have the most relaxed lower back you ever had. Cpme for the vibrating booths, stay for the chicken wings

I know this is not really about bars, and definitely not about gin and tonics, but its a restaurant with a bar and I am just curious. I am curious about who is the important member in the bar-customer relationship. The customer is not always right. But should the restaurant also treat them like an inconvenience? We have a vibrating booth, well they will just have to suck it up if they want to be here. That’s not what they are thinking, but it’s a little bit how they are presenting themselves.

Let’s make this a thing. I will be tickled if people go to the Boynton and ask for the booth with the vibrating seat, the Good Vibrations Seat. Wouldn’t that be lovely. And let’s see how they respond to the wants and desires of their customers.

Until Next Time

Dave

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