Reservation Robin Hood Strikes Again

Every week I religiously read Tom Sietsema’s DC dining chat on Washington Post. It’s always entertaining, very often for reasons that have nothing to do with food. Unbelievable incidents of entitlement huffs and dining rage are reported constantly, and depending on my Wednesday mood barometer I either chortle or despair. Today was a despair day thanks to this tasty little item:

Washington, D.C.: Someone in your chat two weeks ago spoke of a “phantom” reservation taker at Matchbox, which does not take same-day reservations. I think I know what happened. They dialed the wrong number — probably forgot the 202 area code and they were calling from Virginia. I am also a phantom reservation taker. My cell phone number is the same number as a popular restaurant in Virginia (except with a 202 area code), and I get at least 1 call a day for it. I usually take a reservation. It’s easier than explaining they have the wrong number and hopefully it teaches them not to do it again.

Tom Sietsema: Please tell me you’re joking — and if you’re not, please consider the consequences. Do you realize how many special occasions your once-a-day reservation taking might ruin? Or how tough you might be making it for the staff at the front desk?

Apparently it doesn’t occur to them, Tom. All they can think about is their own misguided crusade to dispense twisted anti-etiquette lessons. Who the hell does this Reservation Robin Hood think they are, taking this kind of attitude? “Easier than explaining”?? How is that? And how would it “teach them not to do it again” if they have no idea they were taken advantage of like that?

I had a phone number once that was one number shy of a congressional office, and it never occured to me to chat with the incorrect dialer about policy issues. Gosh, maybe I should’ve. I’m really stunned, but then again, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

7 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

    That has to be a gag, or at least they’re lying about their reason and are just a jerk. “You have the wrong number” and hanging up is in no way more difficult and time consuming than going through the whole process of taking a reservation.


  2. Brian (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

    It’s not surprising, really. I have a lot of friends that, given the opportunity to lead a misguided person down the right path, will take the one of least resistance every time usually for snarky or funny reasons. And they’re always quick to defend their actions when someone points out that what they’re doing is just plain mean.

    When I worked for an enviro non-profit, our fax number was one digit off the White House general fax number. We got some really interesting ones, but would call a courier to come get them for their intended recipients.


  3. fred (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

    My cell phone is mistaken annually for someone who is trying to rent an apt in DC. His handwritten sign is illegible, so people often dial the wrong number – and I’m polite about it.

    One woman was very understanding about it, and I explained that I didn’t have the correct number to give her so the property owner would know to correct the sign. She figured out the right number, and called me back to give it to me, so that I could contact the guy. When I called him and politely explained that people were calling my cell instead of him, and suggested he make a new sign so that he didn’t miss out on business, he was so rude and short with me. Making it my fault that people couldn’t read his poorly handwritten sign, and my problem that they were calling me. I was just trying to do the guy a favor, and he was being a dick.

    So now I’ve gone back to “sorry wrong number” but I really want to warn people against renting from such a jerk.


  4. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

    Yeah, that’s just plain mean-spirited.

    Someone calls my number about once a month for Mr. Gupta. I suppose I could screw with them, but why?

    On the other hand, I once had someone call several times in a row with the wrong number. After several times telling them such, I finally said that, no, they were not allowed to speak to whomever they were trying to reach, and pretended that I was at their house, just to screw with the caller. They had the police call me to see just what the heck was going on. What a bunch of nonsense.


  5. Kathy (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 8:26 am

    Growing up our phone number was one digit off of the only chinese take out restaurant in town (how I sometimes miss small town USA). We only did the “take someone’s order” thing when the called back the 3rd time, always in th emiddle of dinner. If you can’t get it right after being corrected twice, you do deserve what you get.


  6. Kathy (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 8:26 am

    Growing up our phone number was one digit off of the only chinese take out restaurant in town (how I sometimes miss small town USA). We only did the “take someone’s order” thing when they called back the 3rd time, always in th emiddle of dinner. If you can’t get it right after being corrected twice, you do deserve what you get.


  7. kat (unregistered) on August 24th, 2007 @ 10:55 am

    I always cherish the wrong numbers that call me and start speaking in another language.



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