Since we're all airing our pet peeves (would you like some cheese with your whine?) I'd like to add my own. My number one complaint is being seated at a bad table (near the bus station or bathroom or practically in the kitchen) when there are so many other nicer tables available. I'm not referring to trendy restaurants where you want to "see and be seen" but where you're seated near something that's potentially unpleasant. My friends and I eat out a lot and in my long Chowhound experience, I've found this happens too often and not just in NY. I just returned from Toronto and my friend and I were seated right near the kitchen/bathroom. Of course we asked to be moved and we were but this just happens too often.
From the moment you follow the host/ess to your table, it seems to me the restaurant is setting the groundwork for unhappy diners if they try to stick you at a bad table. Of course, sometimes that can't be helped because every table is booked but that's often not the case. It gets worse if you're trying to snag a table where there's some kind of view. Some managers have told me they seat diners at certain tables so that all their servers are equally busy but I really don't feel that's my problem when I'm at a table that's not conducive to conversation or dining.
I'd be interested in how other Chowhounds handle this one. Do you have any clever strategies or snappy comments or do you just voice displeasure and hope for the best? All comments are appreciated.