thenodrin (thenodrin) wrote in bad_service,

Worst. Service. Ever.

So, my friends and I get together every Friday night for dinner. There are 8 of us, and we take turns picking the location. We never call ahead, and we always ask for separate checks, but we also always introduce ourselves as "your problem table for the night" and we always tip for decent service and overtip if the server gives us good service despite our size.

So, Friday night I get to a local Mexican place that one of my friends picked. I'm the fifth to arrive. One of us had to work, but one of the others said that he might bring his wife with him, so we needed a table for eight.

The host gave us a table for six. We repeated that there was going to be eight of us. He claimed that they didn't have tables that big. One of us pointed out that we'd eaten there before, sometimes with 12 people. The host apologized and said again that there weren't any tables available for 8 people.

We took the six person table and started looking at the menu. When our other friends got there, they had to get a different table, with a different server. They were lucky.

First we ordered drinks: We asked for separate checks, one of us ordered a pitcher of margareta, another ordered a water and asked for an empty glass and he was sharing the pitcher with the first, the third of us ordered a water with no ice, the fourth ordered a Coke, the fifth ordered raspberry ice tea, I ordered root beer. The waiter asked me, "Coke?" I replied, "No, root beer" and pointed to it on the menu. He nodded his head and left.

He came back with the pitcher / 2 glasses, a water with ice, and three root beers. He quickly vanished.

Twenty minutes later, our other friends arrived and let us know that they had their own table. They said that we didn't have to wait on them. We said that we weren't, but our waiter hadn't come back yet.

Another ten minutes later the waiter comes back and we order. We also order 2 more waters as the pitcher is half gone already, a refill on the water and two of the root beers, and we returned the third root beer and asked that the ice tea he had ordered come instead.

Our food came. It was a different waiter who brought it. It was the weirdest experience we had ever had.

Waiter: "Burrito?"
Pat: "Chicken or pork?"
Waiter: "Que?"
Paul: "Pollo? Carnitas?"
Waiter: (returns plate to big tray, comes back with another dish)
Waiter: "Fajitas?"
Peter: "Here."
Waiter: "Enchilada Supremo?"
Empty Stares
Waiter: "Enchilada Supremo?"
Theno: "None of us ordered that."
Waiter: (returns plate to big tray, comes back with first dish)
Waiter: "41?"
Nikki: "That's mine." (to me: "I ordered a 41, but the menu said that was a taco combo." I shrugged)
Waiter: "36?"
James: "Here."
Waiter: (comes back with enchilada supreme dish)
Waiter: "43?"
Theno: "I had a 43. It is supposed to be a chicken enchilada, chicken taco, and chili releno."
Waiter: "This is a 43."

By now the original waiter has arrived. He delivers two burritos to my friends with the pitcher. We ask the two waiters if we could have some silverware. We demonstrate that we have one set of silverware to share between the six of us.

Dave comes over and asks what we ordered. We explain what we ordered, and we also speculate on what we got. He tells us what he and his wife ordered. He also mentions that he got a young attractive waitress. A couple of us (the single ones) offer to trade, but he says that he's fine.

The waiter returns with silverware. We ask for refills. Peter still hasn't gotten his tea and wishes he had kept the root beer. Nikki notices that both of her refills were Coke. I nod that mine were as well.

James and I finish eating first. We talk about getting dessert. The others are still eating.

The second waiter returns and clears away some of our plates. He doesn't ask how anything was. James points out that he never got his extra sour cream for his fajitas. The waiter apologizes and offers to bring it, but the fajitas are long gone by now. I ask for a dessert menu, but he acts like he doesn't know what I'm talking about. So, I order ice cream, because I know they have it. James also asks for dessert. The two of them talk, but Peter was telling me something "important" about what his 70th level rogue did on Warcraft earlier in the week. I ask James what he ordered, and he says that he has no idea. He didn't understand the waiter, and he finally just agreed to take whatever the waiter was offering.

We get our desserts. James likes his, and I comment that I think it looks really good and I wish I knew what it was. Paul says that he's going to get one, and that I can try some of his if I want.

FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER we haven't been approached by any staff. Dave and his wife are done and leaving. We say that we'll meet him at Paul's house as soon as we can get a check. Nikki is willing to leave without a check.

Dave catches the eye of his waitress and tells her that our table would like to leave but that we have no checks. A third waiter approaches us and hands out checks. The checks are just hand written amounts, no description of what we ordered, so we have no way of knowing that we got our own bills.

But, by this point, we don't care. We came in at 6:30, and it is now almost 9. As we approach the cashier, each of us tells her a version of what I told her:

Cashier: "How was everything?"
Theno: "It was tasty, but not what I expected. The food was wrong, we didn't have any silverware. I was one of two of us who got dessert, although all of us wanted some. It took forever for the two refills I did get on my soda. Service wise, it was absolutely horrible."
Cashier: "Oh! I'm so sorry."
Theno: "I just want you to know, I ordered a fifteen dollar combo, a soda, and a five dollar dessert. I didn't get the meal I ordered, so I have no clue if I'm being charged for what I ate, but I see that you are asking me for twelve dollars, so it can't be right according to what I ordered."
Cashier: "Your ticket doesn't say what you ordered."
Theno: "I noticed that. I thought that was unusual."
Cashier: "Would you like to speak to a manager?"
Theno: (filling out debit card receipt) "No. But, I'm showing you that I'm not leaving a tip. I would have if I had gotten even poor service. But this was downright awful."
Cashier: "I understand."

When we got to Paul's house, he and Nikki had stopped somewhere and gotten take out cake and ice cream. They both told the rest of us that when the cashier asked how everything was they complained that the waiter disappeared for 45 minutes and that they would have liked some dessert. The cashier offered to get something for them, but they both said that they would just stop somewhere else.

And, out of the 6 of us, the waiter got $5.01 tip. Five dollars from one of us, and a penny from another. Four of us didn't leave him anything. And, we usually over-tip. On a $15 meal, I usually pay $20 on the card after adding in tip.

our dinner group does have a veto rule that each of the 8 of us can declare a veto once every 6 months, and can nominate a location as "Dead to us" meaning we won't go back there unless the person who put it on the list isn't with us. This Mexican place hasn't officially been declared as "Dead to us" but two of us have talked about putting it there based on the service we got this one time.

I'm just ranting, not asking for anything. To be honest, if the manager had offered us a free meal, we would still be considering it for a "Dead to us" nomination. And, out of 8 possible spots on the "Dead to us" list, we've only talked about putting three places there, and we've only put one place there (and that place did give us coupons for free meals that we're never going to use).

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