Scenario: I'm calling a higher-end (for NYCers, March comes to mind but I've had the same experience with others) restaurant a couple of weeks in advance to make a reservation. The reservationist asks me when I'd like to come in. I ask what's available, and am told 6:30 or 9:00.
Sometimes when asked when I'd like, I simply throw out a time and then haggle for what is mutually acceptable. Almost invariably, when I ask what's available, I get a similar response to the one above. Am I simply opening myself up for being shunted to the extremes of dinner hour without recourse? Is this a standard practice or do I have bad luck, or suffer from my anonymity?
FWIW, at March that night, we went at 6:30 and there were definitely plenty of tables that were open until we'd left.