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Remember my last post where I mentioned that my Mumma and I had some adventures on our day out?

This week it’s that adventure’s turn to take the spotlight.

As I had shared earlier, the area around my school is like Kota, but to UPSC students. This means there are ample study spaces, stationery shops, food stalls and cafes.

Mumma and I were waiting for my sister and we had an hour on our hands. So she took us to one of the cafes, which is sort of a high-end fancy one.

Given the fact that I was literally in jeans and a t-shirt and didn’t feel like going to a cafe, I was pretty reluctant but I went along.

When we reached there, a man attended us at the entry where he asked for our reservation. Mumma told him we didn’t have any, to which he replied the cafe is on a reservation basis only. Despite the place looking almost empty, we weren’t allowed and told that it was a company policy.

A little bit annoyed, my mom said, “Okay fine. Make a reservation for 15 minutes later.” The man at the gate gave us the number of the reservation team and said they look after the reservations and went inside the cafe.

When we tried calling the number the first time the call was declined and later on the number seemed to be switched off. So we decided to leave the place and explore other things.

We had a great time and joked about the cafe the entire day.

The same evening, out of habit, I was making a list of new cafes I saw on the same road. In the list, I include details like address, per person cost, etc. So while looking for other cafes in the same area, I stumbled across one which had a very low rating. Curious as to why it had a mere 2.6-star average, I opened up the reviews.

The consistent complaint I saw was about the staff not allowing customers in Indian/ethnic wear since it isn’t a part of their dress code.

This gave me flashbacks of the “saree not smart casual” incident from last year.

All of this made me think, “Why do restaurants, clubs, lounges and cafes have a dress code in the first place? It’s not like people are going there for work purposes.”

Apparently, this does have a very real reason, a psychological one if you may.

In a nutshell, club owners of upscale nightclubs use dress codes to signal status. They set a standard – usually more formal dress – and let potential clientele know who’s welcome and who’s not.

It’s like telling people, “This is a place for wealthy, attractive people and if you don’t look the part, you’re not getting in.”

The thing is, people want to go where they feel they fit in. They want to be around others like them – people with similar interests, backgrounds and lifestyles.

If an affluent customer wearing a suit comes in, he expects to see other people like him there. If he’s surrounded by people in ripped jeans and t-shirts, he’s gonna think of the place as below him and probably never return.

It’s like if you go to Haldiram’s and see someone in rags and tatters eating there, you are very likely to leave.

Therefore, people who don’t look like they fit the “image” of the place are less likely to be allowed in, regardless of how much money they have. This is because those people are a potential threat to the restaurant’s business from its wealthier customers.

Even though this might seem blunt I can see the logic behind it. And it didn’t take me long to add 2 and 2 and realise this was the same logic behind the “company policy on reservation” in the first cafe.

When I replay the details of the incident in my head, this becomes even clearer because of the fact that the man at the entry and gone inside the restaurant

The phone number of the “reservation team” was actually his own number and he had left to decline the call away from us and later turn off the number.

The only thoughts I have about this incident is this – it’s better to be honest and transparent about something than lie. Doesn’t matter if it’s a company, a business, a restaurant or a real person, in my opinion this is really the only way to go about building trust.

What do you think about clubs having a dress code – makes sense or straight up rude? 

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