My husband and I had, for various reasons, not eaten until ten-thirty at night. At this point a 24-hour place is our only option, so we go to Denny’s.
We are seated promptly and a server takes our beverage orders.
One server brings our drinks back and takes our food orders. (I had fish & chips with coleslaw, he had an appetizer sampler. This becomes relevant later.) We settle in and start chatting and sipping our colas, when another server comes up with our beverage order, looks at the glasses on the table in a kind of lost way and asks if our order has been taken. We tell him yes, it has, everything’s fine, and look at one another in a puzzled way before shrugging it off.
It turned out to be an omen of things to come.
We were brought ketchup twice, three different servers kept anxiously inquiring if things were OK (I realize they need to ask, but I could barely take two bites in a row without having to answer a question), and when some things DID go wrong the server at hand looked like he hadn’t a clue.
What went wrong...two things--first, I like to dip my fries in ranch dressing. My husband, therefore, pushed the dish of ranch over to my side of the table. When I dipped the first fry into it, I realized something was wrong. It ran off the fry like milk or water; ranch dressing is supposed to be thick, or at least thicker than that. I called a server over and told him of this, expecting that someone had spilled water into it or something and to have it replaced.
His answer was ‘Oh yeah, I know, there’s not enough mayonnaise in it.’ WTH? I was dumbstruck and just looked at my husband with open mouth as the server made his escape, but the solution that leaps to mind here is to, oh, ADD MORE MAYONNAISE?
So…I continue eating, and move on to the coleslaw. I take a forkful and almost gag. I actually had to take the bite out of my mouth and return it to my plate—it had the smell and taste of rotten milk. I call the server over again and point out that my coleslaw seems to have spoiled.
First he questions me (‘Are you sure?’). I pick up my unused spoon and offer him a bite, which he says he is forbidden to taste. He did sniff it, however, and allowed that it smelled bad.
He fetched a manager and the manager did that annoying thing whereby he tells you you’re upset. (Look, I wasn’t upset before, just mildly distressed about the mouthful of rotten food, but your continuing assumptions about my emotional state are rapidly reaching irritation. He actually said ‘You look sad. I don’t want you to be sad.’) I told him I wasn’t upset, I just wanted to be sure that no other customers were served the spoiled coleslaw.
He offered to replace it. I said, ‘Not with more of the same batch, thankyou.’ He offered a cooked vegetable to replace it, but I’ve had Denny’s vegetables before and declined. He offered a piece of pie, but they had no pies that I was interested in eating. Finally he comped the order of fish & chips, which was more than we were asking for, but we shrugged and accepted. (We’d have settled for half off or less, since the fish & fries were perfectly cooked.)
The servers need to talk to each other more....and don’t order the coleslaw.