Friday, December 16, 2016
Today I am grateful for common courtesy and good service. . .neither of which were present at the restaurant I went to with friends today. I will not name the restaurant because it’s a local place and many of my friends wouldn’t have a clue, but boy, it wasn’t good. Except for the food. The food was great! You would think that would be enough, but it wasn’t. What a shame. A dining experience, just like a theater experience, begins the minute you arrive.
Our reservation was for 12:30 and I got there at about 12:18, parked, went to the door, needing to pee pretty badly. Locked. What? Hours were posted on the door, Open Fridays for lunch from 11:30 to 2:00. I looked for another door. It had a sign saying use the other door. . .which was still dead bolted. I tapped on the window. Nothing. I moved down the porch and tapped on more windows. Nothing.
At 20 degrees (and needing to pee – I can’t mention that enough) I decided to go back to the relative warmth of my car and phone one of my friends. Did I goof this up? Am I at the wrong place? Nope. They started to arrive. Three of us went back to the porch and tried the door. Locked. I tapped again. My bladder was urgent by this time. Finally a guy opens the door.
Me: Hello. The door was locked. We have reservations.
Him: I know. I can’t do everything. I can’t be in the kitchen making your lunch and be at the door.
Me: Your sign says you are open. (I’m being so sweet I need insulin.)
Him: I was filling your water and setting up. How can I be at the door?
Me: (speechless – and still on the porch) Can we come in?
Him: Yes. I have a nice table for you.
We could have had any table because no one was in there. Not a soul! Red Flag! I made it to the ladies room just in time. Others arrived. We ordered our drinks and I asked about specials and if there were any rolls.
Him: We usually don’t serve rolls with lunch!
Me: (Same speechless stare as above.)
Him: But I can get some if you want them.
Me: Yes, I would, thank you.
Who is this guy? The owner? The cook? Why did he take our reservation if they aren’t open. Try this. . . Us: “Hello, I’d like reservations for. . .” Him: “I’m sorry, we are not open at that time, but I’d be happy to take your number if that changes.” Thanks, but we’ll find someplace else.
We ordered and he was fine with us wanting separate checks. I ordered the salmon but substituted potatoes instead of the rice. No problem. My friend ordered her salmon plate the same way, with potatoes.
It started to get cold in there so when Mr. Charm showed up again with some yummy pickles and crostini, I asked if we might please have a little more heat. “Heat? You’re in an old building! It doesn’t hold the heat very well.” I was getting pretty good at the speechless stare. “I can turn it up if you want but it won’t make much difference!” How about I start a fire in the middle of the dining room? Would that help? I was mad! Even if it won’t help, FAKE IT! Stop the bloody arguing and excuses! Jeesh!
I love meeting with these women for lunch. We often laugh and always share great stories. But this guy was dampening my mood big time. The food came and as I said before, it was great. Except for the friend who ordered her meal identical to mine. Hers came with rice. She said, “I think there is some mistake. I ordered the potatoes, too.”
Him: NO YOU DIDN’T!!! (I felt like he was going to slap her hand, like she was a lying child.) I wrote it down and you didn’t! (I was beyond appalled!)
She: Well never mind, this is okay.
Him: Look, I can get them if you want, but you didn’t order them. I would have written it down differently.
I could hear him sharing the story with the one other person in the kitchen. I felt my chest tighten. I have dealt with the public as a waitress, hairdresser, secretary, volunteer, theater director and public speaker, not to mention every day in real life! Never, ever would I speak to anyone, not to mention a customer in that acerbic manner. What an attitude!
I believe the unwelcome feeling I had from the beginning was shared by at least a few of the others and it set the tone for a jarring, off-kilter experience. Conversation wasn’t what it usually is. It’s hard to be relaxed when HE offers to get you your coat so you don’t freeze, instead of sticking a crowbar in his wallet and providing heat! Really?
Yes, He brought delicious rolls. Yes, He found me a glass of water without ice. (The ice on my fingertips was enough.) Yes, the food (when correct) was very tasty. But oh my! I go out for lunch for much, much more than the food.
Common courtesy and good service are every bit as important as good food. Serve me canned soup with kindness and sincerity and I’m yours. Serve me fine salmon with that crappy attitude and I’m outta there. And I will never, ever go back to this place. Ever! I’d rather call Tech Support to get abused. . .at least I expect it from them.