For those of us out there who want to eat dinner at a hard-to-get table, there are a couple of options: Make endless phonecalls to a reservationista, or wish and pray that one of your friends lands a table. (For the soulless, there is also TableXchange, which as of this very minute only has four reservations, a fact about which we feel no schadenfreude whatsoever).
But in an LTHForum thread about Schwa, whose reservation system of “Call our voicemail, we might or might not ever call you back” has earned them just a smidge of infamy, commenter gleam has an intriguing alternative idea:
For those who really want a Schwa reservation, you could always sign up for one of the relatively cheap phone-only personal assistant services. Pay ‘em $20/month, tell them you want a reservation at Schwa and give them your date ranges. Then, they deal with the phone tag.
Here’s the kicker: Reading this, we realized that we have much less of a problem with the idea of paying someone $20 to spend a month playing phone tag with a voicemailbox than we would paying TableXchange $20 for a reservation. The distinction is real, if marginal: With a personal assistant, we’re paying them for their effort in securing the res, which might or might not bear fruit, whereas with TableXchange (and similar table-scalping systems) we’re engaging in a transaction to literally buy the reservation from another party, without the restaurant engaging with us directly as the client who they’ll be serving.
We do wonder, though, if we really needed that Schwa table, like if we had to eat quail egg ravioli or we would actually, literally die, would we pay TableXchange for the guaranteed seat, rather than pay a PA for something that might fall through?
[Photo: The one thing that will save our life, from ulterior epicure’s Flickr]