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Resto-rage: So what if I'm late? Gimme my *%#& table!

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You could call it a case of spoiled appetite.

Arriving 25 minutes late for her reservation at The Palm restaurant in East Hampton, N.Y. - along with four extra guests - Amy Paul was told she had to wait. Upset by this, she ripped pages from the reservation book before removing her high heels and smashing landscape lighting until her party removed her from the premises, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Ask any waiter (or, say, airline attendant): The service industry can be less than hospitable - even in Canada, world-renowned politeness can take a back seat to hunger-induced irritability.

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"We have a buffet and sometimes people will get mad, and as they leave, they'll take food," says Patty Pradel, hostess at the Delta Hotel's Blaze Bistro in Winnipeg.

Some try to recruit other defectors. One customer waiting for a seat told another table, "If you have any sense, you should leave too," Ms. Pradel recalls. (She gave that table a discount for enduring the rudeness.)

Even customers in the business can have their moments.

Celebrating her husband's birthday, the wife of a restaurateur showed up at Fred's Not Here in Toronto 45 minutes late for her Friday night reservation, with two extra people. Her table wasn't available.



"She was demanding a specific table in the dining room and a round of drinks," says the restaurant's general manager, William Chu, adding with a sigh, "Yes, I gave her the drinks." It's better to appease than to argue, he reasons.

And at least his method spurred some remorse: "Later her husband apologized," Mr. Chu says.

As for Ms. Paul? The New York Post reports that she's called police to offer restitution. No word on future reservations at The Palm.

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