February 13th, 2006

Joshua Tree

Bad Service on heart day

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share a little story about some bad service (not terrible service, so don't go jumping down my throat) but it still makes me a little miffed a year later.

So, it's Valentine's day last year, and my boyfriend surprised me with reservations at a really nice Indian restaurant in Beverly Hills. We love Indian food, usually end up eating it at those hole-in-the-wall places that are really yummy-- so the idea of going to Beverly Hills' restaurant row was specifically for the romantic atmosphere of the place.

As per usual, restaurants on Valentine's Day tend to create special menus for the day-- a limited and more expensive than usual menu. That's fine-- once again, it was the romantic atmosphere we were paying for (and had really saved up for, too!)

We get there and I have to point out it was pretty empty -- it was us, two other couples, and a big party of four older people.

The two other couples were each seated a private tables for two, whispering to each other across the candle-lit table, yadda yadda. Where did the boy and I get seated?

If you guessed one INCH away from the big party of four old people, you're right! One woman's purse was practically on my lap (I swear, I had to ask her to move it so I could sit across from Josh.) The party was talkative and drink-y, and the woman who was almost on my lap? Couldn't really handle the spicy food and was making a horrible phlegm-y cough every five minutes. I swear! It was like, "Hawwwwggguuuhhhhhh. Oh my that's spicy! Hawwwwggguuuuhhh gugh gugh!"

Meanwhile, the other, private, small candle-lit tables remain empty and open the entire time we were there. The waitress practically THREW down our dishes and water and didn't ask us if we wanted to see the wine menu. I felt humiliated and I wasn't even sure why. It was like they didn't want us there... but um, hello? Valentine's Day! You should expect buisness! And it's not like the boy and I ordered a lower priced item-- you had to pay fixed price for the meal!

Anyway, YES, I know I should have said something and asked to move to another table (there were MANY empty tables for two around the restaurant-- even if a waitress had to step 5 feet from her section to serve us). I WISH I had spoken up!

The reasons I didn't were: I didn't want to insult the party next to us (looking back, I don't know why I cared) and make the phlegm woman embarrassed, and also, the staff were already treating us like we were a pain in the ass for just being there I didn't want to make it worse.

So bascially, we paid a bunch of money, the food was okay, but good Indian food isn't hard to find-- we were there FOR the atmosphere and it sucked. Other couples got romantic tables and we got phelgm lady! Whatever.

This year on Feb 14th, the boy and I are ordering pizza and watching movies. :-D
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Soot - Spirited Away

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My beau and I went Outback the other night.  After our waiter brought us our drinks, we noticed that everyone around us had that yummy rye bread on the table.  But we didn't.  Maybe it was in the oven?  So we waited and waited some more, not wanting to be pushy "OMG BRING US ZEE BREAD OR WE KILLS YOU!!!" type people.

Finally, I got up the nerve to ask our waiter about it.  He explained that bread wasn't normally given to parties of two or less, but he'd be happy to bring us some.  He was really nice about it, so technically it's not the "service" I'm complaining about (I tipped the guy $10), but...

Why is it that steakhouses like Lonestar, Outback, Sagebrush, etc. do this?  I mean, the bread is supposed to be a free enticement for people to come in, right?  And it's a tiny loaf, it's nothing that two people can't easily put away; especially if and when the place is busy, it'll keep customers happy while they wait for their food.  I can understand wanting to cut costs, but if you know that your restuarant policy is to give away these loaves of bread in the first place, don't deny it to people who come by themselves or with one other person.  I've never had to especially ask for tortilla chips when I'm by myself at a Mexican restaurant.  They should suck it up. I bet there's a lot of people who resent seeing other people partaking of the Bread of Much Tastiness but aren't bold enough to ask their waiter, so they assume the server just forgot or what have you and tip less because of it.