I always eat at the diner on the weekends. The food is great but the service... This morning, I sat for 15 minutes with no water, no coffee and no server. She finally comes over to the next table to set it up, looks over and asks me if my table is in her station. How the heck would I know that? So shouts across the diner to find out if my table is in her station. She finally takes my order and I gets me my beverages. Then she takes off to a different station and leaves me with a new waiter. He thinks being effusive makes up for service. He is flowery when he asks if everything is okay. But he too disappears. The table across from me waited 10 minutes for beverages. I waited 20 for my check. Breakfast should take no more than 45 minutes and that is at a leisurely pace. My breakfast took an hour and a half. Most of it was sitting there waiting. It was definitely bad service since at the hour I went to breakfast, the diner was almost empty.
Once upon a time my friends and I did our normal 'hanging out late at night' thing which would normally end with a trip to IHOP for a bite to eat. After the last time we went all I can say is I will never go into another IHOP ever again. Why?
It was 3am. There where two waitresses and a 'host-type person' in the service portion of the restraunt. It was Sunday night so there was only one other group in the entire restraunt. Strike 1) It took them a half an hour to take our orders, while one of the waitresses wondered around randomly cleaning the place. Strike 2) The restrooms = unusable. They were so vile they made me sick. Strike 3) It took over an hour to get our food. Strike 4) DEAD FLY ON MY PLATE! Strike 5) Acting as though it was a favor for them to remove the cost of my food from our overal bill(at that point I personally would have just given the customer the whole meal for free... whatever) Strike 6) My friend had to send back part of his meal because it was cold. Strike 7) When I called back later in the day to speak with the manager he just brushed me off and gave me a line about 'giving them another chance' Hells no... never again.
On a more minor bad_service note, I was slightly annoyed at being judged by an employee of a bookstore where I'm normally given great service. Yes, I look around 16 but I can assure you I'm 20(not that it should matter anyways) and if I want to buy a book on 'lesbian pregnancy'(more for my mild curiousity and desire to know lots of random stuff than because I'm gay because I actually don't wish to spawn) does not mean you should stop talking all nicely to me the moment you see the cover of the book, give me a dirty look, and clam up to the point you just point to the total on the little screen rather than talking. You work in a store that sells books on everything from sex to religion to children's books to sci-fi, so on and so forth, if my book offends then I really don't see how you can manage to work there.
The IHOP post below reminds me of my favorite horrible service story:
Scene: April Fools Day, 2005, after a couple drinks at the bar, my boyfriend and I decide to hit up the IHOP, arriving around 3 AM.
First of all, it took about 10 minutes to even be acknowledged, much less seated. The hostess was AWOL in the back, doing who-knows-what.
Second of all, it then took an HOUR AND HALF to get our food. It was such a long wait that we actually asked the waiter (who at this point seemed to be a nice guy, and according to him the wait was the fault of the kitchen people screwing around instead of doing their jobs), "is this the April Fool's joke? We order and don't get any food?" Other tables, who had been waiting up to 2 hours at this point, were threatening not to even pay, but we just smarted off to the waiter, and not in a mean way, just trying to spin some humor into the situation - and he seemed to take the comments in stride and gave his explanations.
Third of all, after leaving a semi-deserved (at best) tip in cash on the table, and then paying at the register with card, we were on our way out the door around 5:00 when the waiter comes to accost us and accuse us of not paying! So first they wouldn't seat us, now they didn't want us to leave! I'm thinking, why the heck would I leave a tip if I didn't pay??, but held my tongue and showed him the receipt and it got straightened out.
I did eventually go back about a year later on the late shift, and apparently everybody was new - they fired all of the old night staff because of complaints like this! Unfortunately, the new ones aren't too much better than the old (still one hour waits minimum), so I avoid that IHOP like the plague now at night.