Monday, September 22, 2008

large group dinners

2 is a couple, 3 is a crowd, and 4 is the max for eating out.

over the last three to four weeks i've eaten far too many large group dinners. group dinners normally start out with 7-8 people, and rapidly turn into a reservation for 20 at 8:30pm. granted, if we were in the suburbs and your nearest claim jumper, buca, or other large group accommodating chain restaurant was nearby then i'd not be writing this post. but we're in sf, and dinner in san francisco wasn't meant to be at a large table with your 20 closest friends (and their friends).

these meals are expensive. why do i feel as though every time i eat with 20+ people, the meal i receive yields about a $25.00 worth, yet i pay $50.00+. not to mention you always get pretty crappy service with larger tables, yet they force charge a whopping 18% gratuity. not to mention it's guaranteed that the effort of each individual whipping out a calculator to tally up each dollar and cent spent on which items they personally consumed is enough to fill an 8hr workday. so we go simple and split the bill. the assertive person at the table whips out their phone, fires up that tip calculator program, and says "$47.00 each". of course nobody has anything but $20's and plastic. this is when those people who were prepared for a large group dinner (hit the ATM beforehand to get cash) end up loaning out a few extra twenties to those who showed up with only cards in hand ready to eat.

there's also a lack of social interaction at these types of meals. restaurants aren't fit to have huge groups of people [exception: chuck e cheese]. so normally many tables need to be pushed together, and you end up with either a long straight table, an 'L' shaped table, or a "U" shaped table. regardless, you still end up eating with 3-4 other people since the rest of the people at the table are within shouting range at best. the worst of this scenario is when the person to your right is engaged in conversation to their right, the person to your left is engaged in conversation to their left, and the person in front of you is talking at someone on either side of themselves.

there you are, sitting at a table with your 20 closest friends paying $50 smackers for a meal that's average at best, and you're all alone. this is the time that you wonder to yourself: we're probably throwing down $1000 tonight for dinner/drinks. what other things could we have done for a cool grand?


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