Speaking of EI Caribe (the original on Columbia Road this time), a group of diners has complained that when only eight people showed up for their reserved table for twelve, they were charged $20 for the extra four seats, even though they were subsequently filled by other customers. EI Caribe's side of the story is that accumulating seats for twelve involved leaving six seats empty for an hour before their reservation time so that the group would not be inconvenienced waiting; in the meantime, they had to reject 120 requests for seats that evening. So the owner paid the waiter an extra $10 to make up for lost tips, and charged the $20 as a lesson.He sent the money to a charity. People need to be educated about the responsibilities of reserving a table, he feels strongly, citing a case where a group reserved a table for six, then showed up with nine, and left when he didn't have three extra seats available. About charging the $20, he insists, "I don't think I made a mistake." In fact, if responsible neutral observers judge him to have been wrong, he volunteers to return the $20 and buy the group dinner, as well as donating another $20 to charity. This is another example of how late or missed reservations cost a restaurant money, particularly a small restaurant which has very little leeway in juggling tables, and every seat makes a difference. But somehow, it is the diners who show up who suffer the consequences, rather than the no-shows who are at fault.