Friday, May 13, 2011

Customer Service Part Deux (or whatever).......

First of all, I apologize for my absence yesterday. Actually, BLOGGER should be apologizing for my absence. The site was in "read-only" mode last night, and I didn't know how long that would last, so I went to bed. Apparently it lasted until this morning, so it's a good thing I didn't sit up all night waiting for it to come back online. Does this mean I should look for a different blog host? Hmmmm.... And then my post from Wednesday disappeared for most of today, but now it's back. Strange behavior for a blog, I must say.

And this is really what I was going to write about last night anyway.

Hubby and I went out to dinner, almost unheard of during the week, but we had to go buy a part for the swimming pool pump, so Hubby suggested we just eat out. He had no difficulty talking me into it, and I realize you don't need ANY of that information.

As soon as the hostess seated us, I had a feeling we weren't going to like where we were sitting. There was a family seated next to us, and while nothing they said was particularly offensive or annoying, it was just that they were so.... vocal. We aren't the kind of people, though, to ask to be seated somewhere else, so we ignored them to the best of our ability.

When I went to the salad bar (one of my favorite things about this particular chain of restaurant with the second day of the work week in its name), the woman from the next table was returning for her second trip. I heard her muttering to one of her children (I assume) that the salad bar hadn't been replenished. Sure there were a couple of empty condiment bowls, but I managed to make a pretty significant salad from what was there. It was fresh, there was a good variety, and I didn't need crackers anyway.

When the waitress returned to the table next to us, the woman began her diatribe about the poor quality of the salad bar. She didn't just complain; she went on and on and on and on. The waitress was pleasant and eventually said she would send her manager over, which she did.

The manager explained to the family that some changes had been made that very day that affected the salad bar, and she proceeded to explain the changes. The woman wasn't satisfied and continued to rant and rave about her unhappiness with the salad bar. The manager offered to get her something else, but the woman said she was "too upset to eat." By the way..... she was a VERY large woman.

I won't bore you with ALL the details, just in case you're still reading at this moment, but it became apparent that the woman intended to complain until the manager agreed to give them their meal for free. I'm not sure that ever happened, but the manager and waitress couldn't have been nicer or more professional in the way they handled this family.

I realize some people make a career out of getting free food at restaurants by complaining. Don't get me wrong - if service is abysmal or if the quality of the food is sincerely lacking, I believe the restaurant should compensate the consumer in some way. I don't think that woman's entire meal should have been comped, though, when she had already eaten ONE plate of salad. She was very specific in her complaints, too: "No cranberries," and she had to request someone go get her some balsamic vinegar dressing. Apparently that was just so much of a hassle, to have to ASK someone for salad dressing as opposed to being able to get it herself.


How do those people live with themselves? I didn't get a glimpse of how her children were handling the situation (they were teenagers), but I got the impression that this was fairly normal for a family outing. Maybe that's how the family manages to eat out so often. She implied to the waitress and manager that her family of six spent enough money in this particular restaurant, eating there at least once a week, that they should be grateful for her business or something. She also complained that she hadn't been NOTIFIED of the changes to the salad bar. Funny, I didn't get that email either. But I found enough to eat.

After they were gone and we were waiting for our check, Hubby couldn't resist messing with the waitress. He said he needed to talk to her about the salad bar. After a split second's hesitation, she realized he was kidding and she started laughing.

There are a gazillion reasons I couldn't work in the food service industry, but people like this woman are probably right up there at the top of the list. I would be fired (or arrested) the first time someone tried to pull a stunt like that on me.

1 comment:

DJan said...

I hear you! I have no problem being asked to move away from a family like that, though. It would have completely ruined my own experience. And I do hope they didn't comp her meal...