This sometimes leads to a disconnect between who I am and who high-end restaurants expect me to be, as one of their customers. I had two reminders of this in the last week.
Yesterday, I received an email from a high-end London restaurant, advertising its new "affordable art" project. Now I know a certain, modest amount of the buying of artwork, having grown up the daughter of a printmaker and museum curator. And nothing in that experience would lead me to believe that "affordable art" prices should begin well into the four-figures in pounds. They're not targeting me.
Last week, in Geneva where everything is expensive anyways, we went to a one-star Michelin restaurant in one of the city's many five-star hotels. The waiter, settling us in, asked if we were staying in the hotel. I said we were staying nearby. "Ah, perhaps in the Four Seasons then? That's a very short walk." No, a little further away than that.
Then, having established that he expected us to have been staying in one of the five-star hotels, he asked us where we were staying. And was discombobulated into conversationlessness when I answered with our highly-rated and much-less-pricy three-star hotel.* He might well never have heard of it. In retrospect, it was, frankly, somewhat rude, and not at all what he clearly intended as a comfortable welcome.
So - dear high-end restaurants: some of us really do come for the food and a pleasant meal out. It's not necessarily indicative of our lifestyle more generally. I know I am allowed to eat your food and enjoy my evening at your venue if possible, but it's a kindness if you too make me feel I belong there, having that meal.
* Hotel Kipling. Good ratio of price to value, if on the edge of an occasionally problematic neighborhood, conveniently close to the train station. Most of the more affordable Geneva hotels are located around there. Not only would I happily stay there again, I already have.