beloved of monsters and women made free (popelizbet) wrote in bad_service,
beloved of monsters and women made free

Perkins can be good service, but not last night.

So last night I was in Memphis to see a show performed by a dear friend, and after we had broken down the equipment and all, there were quite a few hungry band members and friends of the band requiring sustenance! We decided to go to Perkins', a Memphis-local (I think) 24-hour chain that is somewhat like IHOP, so that the folks who had long, long distances to drive could be close to the interstate. Through no real fault of our own, our party of what ended up being about eighteen people showed up in waves - first the band manager and folks, then a group of friends-of, then finally the artists and the people who had finished up the loading.

Now, showing up in waves at a place like that often makes life difficult for the servers, especially when your large party isn't considerate. We let her know that even more were coming when Wave 2 arrived, and asked very nicely if it was all right for us to move tables together, since other than us and one police officer having coffee, the entire place was deserted. She indicated that was no problem. However, either this lady was just having an off-night or she's a very poor server. (I'm willing to bet it was the first one, as she wasn't totally incompetent and it seemed like she had been working there for a long time.)

Food for the first wave comes out right after the second wave has ordered drinks. The drinks for the second wave take twenty minutes to arrive. Twenty minutes. Four drinks, plus a water.
It's not really OK when the food orders are then delayed by ten minutes and  take another thirty minutes to arrive. The eggs benedict looked so nastily overdone that the person who ordered them wouldn't eat them. By the time food arrived, we'd been there about the amount of time I intended to spend there in the first place, but I'm hungry, so I eat. People who asked for meals that included muffins waited forty-five minutes because she set them out and "forgot" about them.

Somewhere in there, Wave Three arrives, with some very hungry, tired musicians in tow. They get drinks, but instead of letting them get their orders in, the waitress decides that it's now time to figure out the bills for the other end of the table, the first wave, none of whom have indicated any need to leave. (Again, if we had had staggered leaving-times, or anyone was asking for the check, that would have been different.)

This is where it got really ridiculous. She kept trying to figure out whose food went onto what ticket. If I had realized they weren't doing separates to start with, I would have asked her from the beginning, but I'm not a native Memphian so I didn't know. Finally one of the people in Wave 1 just pays for their entire group's food to avoid the madness, and lets the other people throw in the tip.

Again, no one has said to this lady that they need their check, need to leave, etcetera. She starts trying to figure out our division of food, which was actually pretty easy - of the six people in our group, one had his meal and drinks for two others who didn't eat, one had her food and drink, and I had my own food and drink plus that of the girl with me.

It took four checks printed and six explanations before she could grasp this. Meanwhile, there are starving artists at the end of the table eating leftovers from the other folks because they didn't get dinner before the show and are now ravenous.

When she finally gets food out to the band, it so happened that the artist I'm closest to had come to our end of the table to eat. I noticed that her hard boiled eggs looked a little funny. One of them kind of had a dent. But I don't eat eggs, so I didn't say anything. Once she bit into it, I didn't have to.

It was moldy. So were the other two in the bowl. And she had bitten INTO it, not just nibbled. The girl sitting next to me commented "That's what eggs look like when you boil them and then put them in the fridge for two days or so." (EW.)

This isn't as bad of a bad_service as it could be, although instead of just comping the eggs the waitress felt the need to accompany the comp with a running commentary on how she's NEVER seen that happen and it's not her fault because she's not the cook. Which, OK, that's valid, but when someone who doesn't eat eggs can look at what's on the plate and go "Those...look wrong" before they're even cracked open, I sort of expect the waitress to be able to do the same. (I would have comped her whole meal had it been me, since she didn't really feel much like eating after biting off half a rotten egg, but since she didn't get particularly P.O.ed, I won't get righteously indignant on her behalf.) I didn't feel much like finishing my own food after getting a whiff, either.

I still tipped her, but not what I normally would on a night when I was with a pack of people. I'm usually very sympathetic to servers dealing with large parties, staggered arrival times, etcetera, but having to whiff rotten eggs makes me less generous, I guess.
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