Regarding John F. Lawrence's Oct. 5 column, "Bending the Rules to Satisfy the Customer": I was the recent owner of a service-oriented retail clothing store, and believe me, I understand the problems involved with customer relations. However, some situations are beyond my comprehension, and this is one of those:
During an afternoon at a trade show in a hotel, my associates and I went into the restaurant hoping to order a late lunch. We were approached by a slovenly hostess inquiring whether we wanted lunch or just coffee. Because if it was lunch, we were too late, but coffee was "OK." What with the large amount of dandruff on her soiled black crepe dress, and her unkempt hair, I wondered if even coffee was a good idea, but at the urging of my associates, I acquiesced and we were allowed to be seated.
Noticing that all of the tables, except ours, were set with tableclothes and linens, I questioned the hostess as to our having a table with a cloth, and was informed that since we were not having lunch, we could not have a tablecloth. If we were to order lunch, we could indeed have the crisp, white cloth. "But . . . but . . . but," I stammered, "you said we couldn't have lunch." She deftly replied: "I changed my mind" and walked off.