drachenfach (drachenfach) wrote in bad_service,

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Foul Chinese Food

The area in which I live is not renowned for desirable places to eat, so when we were recommended a new Chinese buffet to try, the Mister and I were more than willing to give it a shot.

We were seated nice and quickly, and drinks turned up within about thirty seconds, but then we were left to twiddle our thumbs for a while before I thought to catch the eye of a waiter and ask whether we could go up to the buffet.

The starters were... uninspiring. Perhaps we have been spoiled by the other places we have visited, but we were expecting more than what we got- some shrivelled spring rolls, doughy battered broccoli, chicken wings and gristly ribs, plus an unidentifiable chicken dish that we sampled and then skipped. Once we had finished with these delgihts, a waiter carefully removed our plates, and placed our sauce-covered cutlery back on the tablecloth for re-use.

The mains were worse. Boiled rice mixed with Tesco Value (supermarket cheap brand) frozen veg, soggy noodles with similar, and two dishes that were quite obviously composed of the previous day's leftovers.

Whilst we were contemplating the horrors on our plates (which were side plates, not a dinner plate to be seen in the entire building), and finishing our drinks, a waitress came and asked whether we would like a refill. We declined. Thirty seconds later, a waiter offered to bring more drinks. We declined. As he walked away, the manager came to get us another coke. We declined. Then the first waitress came back. Then the hostess. All within a space of three minutes.

Having fought off the twin horrors of over-eager waitstaff and recycled lemon chicken, we decided to cut our losses and leave. As we waited to pay our bill, the manager came weaving his way through the tables with two washing up bowls in his hands. He emptied the first into the noodle tray, the second into the curry tray, and then departed.

We were inclined to do the same, but were forestalled by the intricacies of the card machine, which was not doing what it shoudl have done. Aha, said the ever helpful till lady. That's because you haven't put a gratuity in. As it happens, I prefer to tip in cash anyway, but this was the last straw. The payment did go through, without any tip, and we departed in high dudgeon, to spend the rest of the night squabbling for possession of the bathroom.

The overall cost of this excursion to the temple of tupperware was £24.50. For an extra two quid we could have visited the buffet in town, enjoyed a varied and delicious meal (with as many forks and spoons as we desired!) and never seen a single piece of washing up equipment. Lesson duly learned.

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