Valentine’s Day is one of the most pathetic days of the year. Pathetic because it dictates to its followers on which day they should make an extra special effort to show their love for someone. Do you really need a day of the year reserved for that?
Everything on this day is just plain silly and twee. Roses are five times their normal price, adults behave like teenagers, and restaurants lose the plot completely…let me explain:
1. Table cramming
All half decent restaurants will be fully booked, and by fully booked I mean over booked. Every table and chair is dredged out of the basement and shoehorned into every available corner to maximise revenue for the night.
Most of the tables are for two, and are crammed together so tightly that the person at the table next to you is the one whispering sweet nothings in your ear.
I also don’t want someone listening to our banal conversation (kids) or conversely hear the argument of some imminently-to-be-divorced couple next to me giving it ‘one last chance’ with a cheesy Valentine’s Day date (this has actually happened to me).
2. Flower Sellers
There are no expletives strong enough to describe these parasites. They sell flowers for ‘charity’, which under close scrutiny you will find never makes its way to needy people. I do not understand why restaurant owners let these vultures in.
It is invasive, irritating and quite frankly we do not want to be made to feel guilty at dinner for not buying one in the name of ‘charity’. The same goes for fluffy toys. I would actively frequent restaurants more often if they advertised that they do not let these scavengers in.
3. Valentine’s Day ‘Specials’
The reason the food even in a good restaurant suffers, is that they know that pretty much every customer is going to arrive at the same time and they are going to have to serve all their covers in one hour flat. This means that they usually offer a ‘Valentine’s menu’, which by any other name should be called a ‘hidden buffet’.
Most of the food is pre-cooked and kept warm so that they can feed you as fast as possible and flip the table. So if you do have to go out on Valentine’s, don’t have the special unless of course you like your food tepid and pre-cooked.
4. Bad Service
You will always get crappy service on Valentine’s Day. There are just too many people arriving at the same time and not enough staff to handle the scrum of people.
It will take ages for your drinks order to be taken and even longer to get them, as all the other people before you have probably ordered cocktails called ‘Slippery Nipples’, or something equally daft.
The same will apply on your food order, and then when you want to pay, you will think that your waiter is playing some sick version of hide and seek with you. Oh yes, and don’t forget to tip big for your non-existent service, otherwise the staff will label you as a nasty scrooge.
5. Eating in is sexy
So my advice to you is stay at home. Shop at a top notch deli or food stall, and spend half the money that you would have wasted at the restaurant. Buy top notch ingredients and awesome wine. Then: either cook a delicious meal for your loved one, or better yet, cook it together – now that is romantic.
Plus as an added bonus, the boudoir (for dessert of course!) is a few steps away.
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This article was first published in 2013.