setting the stage: little over a year ago. myself and five friends are in town for a (fans invited) acoustic studio recording by our favorite band. (band is from oklahoma, in case you're wondering why this wasn't in NY or LA! ;)) we're all from different states, so we never get to see each other. so we're happy people, this night. giddy, i would even say. walking-on-air, nobody-can-bring-me-down moods.
after the recording, we hang out in downtown tulsa for a bit, then decide we're all starving. DENNYS it is!
our server was horrid. HORRID.
i've worked in the food industry for years, i've witnessed it all, and when i say "all" by god i do mean ALL. i've seen what happens to a server when a table runs out on a $150 check (she has to foot the bill) i've seen people demand a manager for a server who "didn't smile _enough_" (wtf??) and what happens to a server who "brought the salad with the dressing MIXED! IN! ALREADY!!!!!" (why didn't you ask for the dressing on the side, you EB cunt??) and if anyone knows how hard a servers job is, 'tis i. reason why i have never waited tables. i've dished, cooked, prepped, hosted and bussed - i will live in a box in the alley behind the neighborhood bar before i am a server. no joke.
i have never, NEVER not left a tip before. even lackluster service gets SOMETHING.
it started annoying, and working it's way up to degrading.
*she got every single drink order wrong. for a party of... FIVE. i mean, really. come on. giving the diet dr pepper customer a pepsi, the pepsi customer a sprite (nobody at our table even ordered a sprite, but ok), the tea customer a lemonade, and the two regular dr pepper customers a diet pepsi?? wtf? but ok. this is what's going on in my head at this point: i'm rationalizing. she looks to be about 50, and maybe (for all i know) she's on a double 12 hour shift and is just TIRED, and is actually older than she appears - for all i know she's 70. whatev. we correct our orders, POLITELY and good-natured with a little "oh, don't fret! no big deal!" she just grunts at us (yes, GRUNTS) and i think it's over. it's not.
*i ordered cheese fries with extra cheese and bacon, prefacing my order with "i'll pay for the extra, don't mind at all" just because i know majority of customers will order something with extra-fillintheblank and then shit a brick when their bill is $1.25 more than they thought. every single order - out of the FIVE PLATES ORDERED - was wrong. i don't remember enough details at this point to say what everyone ordered and didn't get, but i do know that she brought two orders of fries even though i was the only one that ordered any sort of fries, and gave my cheese fries to someone else who had actually an entree. after we all took it upon ourselves to switch our plates around, the aforemention friend who ordered an entree was left with... nothing. somehow. we advised the server, who AGAIN just grunted. GRUNTED. ok. now i'm irritated. but she walks off leaving us with the assumption that she is retrieving the entree, so problem will be solved in a moment.
*my other friend ordered a meatloaf entree, and after we had switched our plates around and requested that the MISSING entree be brought to us asap, my friend is eating her meatloaf.. for a moment... and then... she pokes me in the arm, silently, with a horrified look on her face, and what's in her meatloaf? what is it? well, i won't keep you in suspense : it's a HAIR. a LONG, DARK, HAIR. chillin' on her meat. she's gagging a little bit, and i'm comforting her, and during that our waitress comes back to...
*refill our drinks. refill WHAT, exactly?? we spent so much time straightening out our plates that we have _JUST_ begun to eat, and you're here refilling our 90% still-full glasses while ONE customer at our table is still waiting on her FOOD WHILE WATCHING US EAT OURS? (it would be different if she had SPOKEN. like, "hey guys, just here to check your beverages, and don't worry - the cook is working on that entree right now and it will be right out" but no, she was mute) and the OTHER customer is GAGGING ON HAIR? i'm beyond irritated now, but i'm STILL rationalizing. the hair is most likely from the employees who prepared the meal, and not the server, so even though the server SUCKS at her job, don't lose your temper with her. remember how often servers get blamed for kitchen error!
*i rigidly, but _calmly_, inform her of the hair in my friends food. she looks at it, GRUNTS, and walks away with it. not an apology, not an "i'll fix this right away!" not a NOTHING. we're left in the dark - is she going to bring a new meatloaf entree? is she going to offer a different entree as a replacement? WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS? HELLO!
*she brings that original missing entree, FINALLY, without a word about the wait. without a word about my friends hairy meatloaf. i ask her (i'm the only one in the group addressing these issues, because my friends are shocked and don't want to be mean - god knows why, i was ready to slap her at this point!) about the meatloaf entree and whether she is bringing my friend a new one, and she says "yeah" and walks away.
those are the main points... she eventually brings the meatloaf, still without an apology. but my friend has that disgusting image in her head, and ends up not even eating her new meatloaf. she can't. considering the callous treatment we received, how is she to know that it's even new? maybe it's the same old meal, transferred to a new hot plate, hair removed, with extra gravy? how the hell do we know at this point? our meal was also interrupted numerous times by drink "refills" on drinks that were FULL while some drinks were EMPTY and she IGNORED THE EMPTY GLASSES. that is just absurd. i was PISSED, and needless to, confused. wtf, indeed.
our check was wrong too. not only did she never apologize for the long wait on one entree, she never apologized for the hairy entree, and charged us for the extra order of fries she brought in the beginning that NOBODY EVEN ORDERED. and. AND! my friends meatloaf was on the bill. call me crazy, but i assumed that even though we witnessed no remorse for the shitty experience, i actually ASSUMED (silly me) that my friends hairy meatlfoaf would be FREE since we sent back the second plate uneaten (and explained that her appetite was just gone, she couldn't eat it without picturing the hair). but no, it was on there.
i flipped my shit. i've been getting angry all over again, just writing about it, so excuse the nasty language throughout this post, but oh my god, did i FLIP. OUT. my (way too nice) friend is telling me forget it, because it's a cheap meal anyway, let's just pay and GTFO, i say no way in hell. no.
i march up to the register, and get a manager. i had the extra order of fries removed, explained the entire ordeal of shitty service, and end with the hairy meatloaf, but somehow keep my tone at an even level and my hands at my sides even though they want to gesture wildly to accentuate the nightmare service. and then stop and take a breath. manager then voids the meatloaf... and that's it. silence.
what? i just told you ALL THIS, in a RATIONAL manner, when i know DAMN WELL that 90% of your DAILY customers would be SCREAMING THEIR HEADS OFF AT THE THIS POINT AND YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE AN "i'm sorry you had a bad dining experience" reply???? WTF. INDEED.
i paid the bill and TOOK MY CHANGE.
i should have called corporate. sigh.
TL;DR : hair in food, every single request wrong, no apology, grunting attitude-ridden server = no tip from this bitch!