Letter to a manager--my very, very first, complete with editorial comments and names omitted.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I feel I should bring to your attention the service I received at the Granville Island location of Sammy J. Peppers, because I am certain that this is not the ideal way in which you would wish your customers to be served.
This evening, I arrived with a friend at about 7:35 for dinner with friends who were already there. Upon arrival, I waited to be acknowledged by one of the employees in a group that was having a conversation at the hostess stand, but after a few minutes was forced to interrupt and ask where I might find my friends, whom I described. The employees said to try the patio, and after I said that I didn't know how to get to it, pointed towards the wall, where presumably one might find the patio on the other side. [Because it's really that hard to stop talking about your boyfriends long enough to actually walk us over to the patio entrance.]
Upon seating ourselves with our friends, I waited for water to be brought to the table, but my first interaction with our server (A----, from the name on the receipt) was with her taking drink orders, not bringing out water or anything of the sort. I did order a drink, but then realized somewhat later after waiting for some water to be brought that I should make it a point to request water because it seemed that it would not come to the table if nobody requested it. [I thought water was free in this city.] To A----'s credit, our drink orders were promptly taken, as were our food orders, and the speed with which the food was served leaves nothing to be desired.
Before the meal, I requested that the overhead heater [which several other tables on the patio had running] be turned on because it was dark and getting quite chilly, but it seemed that communication was not clear because nobody turned it on, and when A---- returned a half hour later to check on us [by asking us how our meals were before we even had a chance to pick up a fork], she noticed that I was rubbing my arms and said, "Are you really that cold? You have a jacket. Can't you put it on?" [What. The. Fuck.] I was stunned by what I, as well as my three companions, saw as clear rudeness, and replied that my jacket was not comfortable to spend the evening in, and requested again that the heater be turned on. A helpful man came around to the table and turned it on promptly after that.
Between checking up on us immediately after our meals were served and about ten minutes after the last plate was pushed aside, we saw no sign of A----, though we were trying to catch her attention for refills of drinks and the like. [I guess that we were just not good-looking enough for her to bother actually, well, serving us.] After dessert, which (again to her credit) she brought with extra forks so that we could share it, she promptly dropped off our bill before we could request that it be split and then disappeared for at least ten minutes. We waited again to catch her eye, but it got to the point where my companions were irritated enough that they said that it made no sense to keep waiting to give our money when someone clearly couldn't care less about whether we were going to pay or not. The only reason that I did, in fact, stay behind and get the attention of another server to pay (she flagged down A---- for me so that we could settle the bill) was because what I see as unacceptable service nevertheless does not mean I should commit a crime by basically stealing food from the restaurant. [Although I wonder what would have happened if we all four just up and left. I'm sure she would have come over quickly enough in that case.]
Granted, it is a Saturday night and I understand that it is quite busy, but at the same time I believe that it is still a server's responsibility to make sure that his or her guests have everything they need. I do not require much from a server when I go out, but the most basic thing I require from one is that he or she be available, or at least visible, if needed, and that was not the case here.
Tonight was my first time dining at a Sammy J. Pepper's. The food was tasty and made with excellent speed, the prices were more than acceptable, and the outdoor heaters are probably the best investment that the restaurant could make in a location such as Granville Island. However, what would otherwise have been an excellent meal was flawed by what I and my companions saw as subpar service, and I hope that the next time we visit, whenever that may be, will be more enjoyable than tonight.
The part that I oh so badly wanted to include, out of spitefulness, is, "Please let A---- know that her low-cut jeans, sugary-sweet attitude when she actually bothers to show up at the table, and overdone makeup are not going to distract everyone she serves from the fact that she doesn't care enough to do a good job." Jesus. If you're really such a princess, do yourself and everyone else a favor and get another job that doesn't involve customer service, Your Royal Highness. If you're going to treat your customers like you have so many better things to do tonight, it's going to reflect poorly on you. This would be the first time I've ever tipped below 20%, but I think I would have choked on my own bile to leave a tip even remotely close to one for good service.
She didn't even have enough T&A to make up for the service, either. Although I'm pretty sure she was no longer jailbait. :P
EDIT: And here's the reply.