Sometime in mid-December, the boyfriend and I planned on spending the evening in Historic St. Charles. The area is mostly cute shops, bakeries and restaraunts. The shops are typically only open until 5pm on a normal day, but during Christmas they all stay open late, as the city organizes carolers dressed in period clothing, and several other fun things like the guy that was roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Awesome, no? The events go on until 9pm.
His coworkers were meeting in the same area at Trailhead, so since we needed to eat anyway, we figured we'd drop in for a little while and take advantage of their appetizer specials. This worked out beautifully for us since there is normally a wait here anytime there is an event downtown. Our group had pretty well taken over a corner of one of the bars, so we settled in, hit the bar for a drink, and ordered our food.
2 rounds of drinks later, we realize that it has been an hour since we ordered our food. I ask the bartender, to find out our order was never placed. The bar was slammed, and we were a rather disorganized group, so this could be forgiven. We hadn't even really noticed until we realized the time.
30 more minutes pass before our two mini-pizzas come out. At this point it's 7:30, and we're just trying to eat quickly so we will still have plenty of time to take in some of the events. We eat, and the boyfriend goes to the bar to settle our tab. 20 minutes later he's still standing there, so I wander over to find out what the trouble is.
Their computer systems are down. I ask the bartender if we can pay cash, and he replies that since he does not know what our tab is, he can't allow that. I told him I'd be happy to repeat back everything we had (1 BBQ Chicken Pizza, 1 Cheese & Tomato pizza, 1 order of soft pretzels, 3 Captian & Cokes and 2 Turkey & Cokes - we had one more round of drinks which I paid for. Yes, I still remember exactly what we had, almost a month later.) to which he shrugged his shoulders and told us he'd have no way to tabulate it.
So, back to our table we go, with the time nearing 8pm. Another 15 minutes go by. We ask to speak to a manager, only to be told there's a line to do so. Apparently we are not the only people in this boat. We're both fuming that our plans for the evening are being put on hold by a computer system, so we decide that we'll go do what we planned, and return for the credit card later. As it was, we only had about 40 minutes to spend before the events ended and the shops closed.
We go. We have a mediocre time at best as we are no longer in a festive mood. We return to Trailhead, now almost an hour later, to find that their computer system is still down. At this point, we are told by the manager that has joined our original bartender behind the bar that we must leave our credit card overnight. Yeah, even if that wasn't the card that the boy uses for everything (he pays the balance in full each month) there is no way in hell we are leaving the card to be charged a so far undetermined amount. We ask again if we can pay cash, and the manager huffs, and asks the bartender what he thinks we had. He looks horrified and I can't blame him, after the hell night I'm sure he's had who can expect him to remember what two specific people who were not sitting in a specific place ordered several hours ago?
"Excuse me, I know exactly what we had, and I'm not paying for anything more.", I say, in a calmer tone of voice than I thought I could manage at that point of time. Firm, but completely calm.
The managers response was to snap at me, yelling in a sarcastic tone "I was going to ask you first."
Ladies and gents, I am not the type of person to snap at service people. 99% of the time I shrug off bad restarunt service with a tip that reflects my experience, and get on with my life. In extreme circmstances, I will calmly ask my server for their manager, and calmly explain my dissatisfaction.
But this particular night, I lost my calm. I flew completely off the handle, reminding the manager in a not-so-quiet way that we were the ones who were being held hostage by a computer system, and that it was completely ridiculous that the restaraunt had absolutely no backup plan for this type of situation. I insulted her management skills, noting that I've been a server in restaraunt where the computers have crashed, and management's answer was to bust out the manual CC machines and calculators and make do, not to hold customers hostage and demand that they wait hours for a system that may or may not be restored that evening, or leave their credit card in a cash drawer with 50 others to be charged God only knows what amount.
Her answer? To slam open the cash drawer so hard that coins flew out, grab our card, chuck it at me, and tell us we could just leave. So, we did.
Now, we both felt a little guilty about this, as our bartender was an innocent in this entire situation. He can't help it that his manager is an incompetent twit. We went back in to make sure that our not paying our bill wouldn't come out of his pocket, and he told us not to worry about it - he would have done it much sooner himself (and in a much more professional way, I'm sure) if he could. So, we left him nice tip anyway, and went home.
My boyfriend and I really enjoy this place, but this is the second time we've had absolutely terrible service there. The last was in a large party and was typical terrible restaraunt service - no refills, rude server, one person had wrong food and didn't get their correct entree until well after the rest of the party had finished their meals. We have decided that there are many other places where we get excellent service that we'd rather patronize, and we won't return unless it's a group situation where we have no control over the location.
And for those interested in a decanter update - Amazon still fails to see what the problem is, so the whole box has been dragged to the basement. We plan to wait it out to ensure Amazon doesn't realize their error and try to charge us, then we will likely donate some of them to my church for raffle/game prizes, and keep a few for gifts. We will of course keep one, and we might keep two because we sort of want to put a beta fish in one. Hehe.
This is just a small thing, but last week I popped into a Walgreens to pick up some shampoo, conditioner and face scrub. I made my selection of shampoo and conditioner and as I was standing in front of the face cleansers exploring my face washing options, the cosmetics person stopped me and pointed out that the same shampoo and conditioner I had in my hand were on on an end cap in 33% bigger bottles for the same price.
Of course, I swapped my bottles for the larger ones. She then offered to ring me out, and pulled out a coupon for me for the brand of hair products in addition to the sale price advertised on the shelf. She had a smile on her face the entire time, and seemed genuinely happy to have made my night by helping me save a few bucks. I was highly impressed, and will be letting her management know she is the reason I'll choose that Walgreens over the 3 others on my commute home from now on. ^_^