Portlandia has its finger on the pulse here:


It’s a modern disease. People put stuff in their diaries – they agree to do something – and then they cancel. In a social setting, this is just disappointing and a bit annoying, but for those trying to run a business, it’s a big problem.

Restaurants suffer greatly from no-shows. What sort of mentality does a person have when they book a table and then don’t turn up? If you genuinely have to cancel, then make a call. To just not show up is extremely selfish and thoughtless. The same goes for those who make reserve or insurance bookings, clearly not intending to honour them all.

For those trying to run seated, tutored wine tastings the problem is particularly acute in London at the moment. One PR reports a 60% no show rate. This is for tastings that are sold out and where there is a waiting list. The cost of a seat at these tastings is significant. And still people don’t show up. It’s not just an issue of having to cancel because of unusual circumstances.

I get that sometimes plans have to change. So if someone cancels on me at short notice, I forgive them. Once. Maybe twice.

But people remember these things. They’ll be gracious when you phone to cancel (or message, if you are afraid of speaking on the phone, which many people these days seem to be). But they remember. So next time you’ve made an arrangement, and you feel like cancelling for no particularly good reason, don’t. Stick with your commitment. And be careful of making too many commitments if you feel you are over-stretching yourself.