One of the goals of retirement, at least for women, is to maintain a spotless kitchen.  Current research has shown that the best way to accomplish this is to avoid cooking whenever possible.  Here in South Florida, as I’m sure in other sunny places where Snowbirds perch, we take these findings very seriously.  So, instead of making dinner, we make a reservation.  I like to think of it as recreational eating.

As well as assuring a grease-free stove, recreational eating serves another purpose.  It’s the means by which we socialize after the sun goes down.  After a full day on the golf course or around the canasta table, what could be better than sitting down with friends to a meal that you did not prepare?

Now, I don’t mean to complain, but in the past making a reservation was not as simple as it sounds.  While it didn’t result in a sink full of dirty dishes, it did require a phone call.  While that may not sound like a big deal, there are those of us, and I am chief among them, who hate making phone calls.  And yes, in spite of this lack of conformity to a sexual stereotype, I do identify as female.

But hate it or not, for the sake of a sanitary kitchen, that call needed to be placed.  To make matters worse, the voice at the other end was frequently that of a snotty, young hostess who would put you on hold for “just a moment” while she searched through her diary to see “if there was anything available.”  Just as you’ve had enough of the horrible music and were about to hang up, she’d pop back on the line, and in a tone of voice that sounded like she was about to save your life by donating a kidney, she said yes, she could accommodate you.  And you breathe a sigh of relief.

Then along comes Open Table.  An answer to a prayer for the phone and hostess averse.  Much like the ability to stay in touch with friends via email and texting, Open Table allows you to communicate with the restaurant of your choosing without the use of your voice!   And that snotty hostess can keep her kidney!

I love Open Table.  It’s so easy.  I use it all the time.  I “tell” it the date, the time, and the number of people.  I can even type in a special request or let the restaurant know if one of my guests is having a birthday.  Open Table sends me confirmations and reminders.  It allows me to cancel the reservation if that becomes necessary.  It definitely rates five stars for convenience and efficiency.

But even with all its wonderful attributes, I believe there is room for improvement.  And as a loyal customer, I would like to offer a few suggestions.  Open Table would better serve its users if it recognized that those of us that are of a “certain age” may have requirements before committing to the reservation that go beyond the date and the time.

For example, where is the location of my table vis-à-vis the rest room?  A closer proximity to the men’s room for someone who likes martinis and also walks more slowly than he used to could definitely avoid a potentially embarrassing situation.

Is it PC to ask to be informed if the wait staff speaks English as a second language? Foreign accents are beautiful except when a waiter from Kazakhstan is reciting the specials to a diner who has forgotten to insert their hearing aids.  In this case, simply raising one’s voice is not helpful.

And speaking of sound, is there a way that Open Table could record and report the decibel level in the dining room?  Medicare recipients tend to enjoy conversation with their dinner partners in an environment not reminiscent of a subway station complete with disco music.  Hey, we still like to dance, but not necessarily while we’re eating.

And would it be too much to ask to let me know if the table I was being offered was under an a/c vent?  Because if it is, I would like to come prepared, though I agree that turtleneck sweaters do look a bit out of place.

One last thing, Open Table.  Could you comment on the lighting? Will someone who is about to have cataract surgery be able to read the menu? Or will it be necessary to bring illumination?  If that’s the case, it would be really helpful to know beforehand, so the entire evening won’t be ruined if a guest has forgotten to charge his iPhone.

So, Open Table, thanks in advance for your consideration of the above recommendations that will make your app even more older-user friendly.  And I shall continue to rely on you to help keep my kitchen gleaming!


P.S.  Thank you for responding to my last blog by sending me additional “Words You Never Want to Hear Again in 2023.”  Included in this list were “No problem,” “Awesome,” At the end of the day,” “We don’t know what we don’t know,” “Have a blessed day,” and “The bottom line is…”.

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