At a restaurant, everyone hates a one top.
But not even just in restaurants. In general, life scorns one tops- assuming one tops are representative of lonely people, and it seems safe to assume that. In high school, when I sat alone in the cafeteria at lunch time, kids laughed at me. This is how it works.
Servers hate one tops because a party of one person is usually going to have a pathetically low bill, and a low bill means a lower tipping percentage, which is not good. On top of this, a one person party will take up space in your section that could be otherwise occupied by a larger group of people with a higher bill and thusly a higher tipping percentage. In short, next time you go into a restaurant and request a table alone and the hostess and server offer you those polite smiles, know that behind this veneer they are cursing you for all that they're worth.
Another thing about one tops is that because they have no one to talk to while either waiting for their food or consuming their food, they tend to pay alot more attention to the service. Not just things like whether there is a fly in their water glass or if the food comes out at a reasonable speed. I think those types of complaints are legitimate concerns, whether your party is made up of one person or six. But one tops tend to dwell on things like the exact amount of time between visits from the server, or if the server tends to spend more time in contact with his other, better populated tables. I had a one top who was so dismayed by my service that she actually wrote a letter of complaint on a napkin she left on top of the check, complete with timed intervals of when I dropped the check, when I returned her credit card, and when I asked her whether she enjoyed her entree.
Lady, if you're reading this somehow: If you have enough time to sit there and meticulously record and present the minutes of your visit like a scribe at a criminal hearing, you have no business complaining about waiting 15 minutes to get a to-go box and your check. Go to McDonald's if you're in that big a lonely rush!
Her letter is now on my bedroom wall, right next to pictures of Fall Out Boy, MxPx, Hendrix and Ryan Adams. Yes, this lady is, in a way, my hero as well. Every day I read her letter and it inspires me to be a better person. One who doesn't write obnoxious letters on restaurant napkins, for starters. But I digress. More than anything, this poor lady has inspired me to devise a solution to this deleterious dilemma.
From now on, I think PF Chang's should seat all one-tops in a designated area that we can call "The Lonely Hearts Club". Instead of traditional Chang's seating arrangements, we'll only offer comfy bean bag chairs to would-be one tops. Here, these lonely hearts can associate with other people with presumably repugnant personalities who couldn't convince anyone to come to lunch with them. We could even have theme afternoons with fun "get-to-know-each-other" activities, arts and crafts, Twister tournaments and the like. Full service would, of course, still be available to The Lonely Hearts Club section so it would remain profitable for the restaurant. It would be a happy time for all, and after a few consistent visits, some of our lonely hearts would inevitably begin pairing off and returning to Chang's as *two tops*.
If the Lonely Hearts Club didn't help these cranky, old, solitaire fanatics find love, or at the very least company, there's a solid chance that the restaurant's treatment of those eating solo would humiliate them enough that they dare not return alone. Talk about a win-win situation!