To start, I look younger than my age. I am 24, and easily look 15 (I'm very small in both height and build, and have a high voice. Annoying now, but I'll love it when I'm 40 I'm sure). This is relevant, unfortunately. I also had not one, not two, but three legal and valid forms of ID with me: my passport, my MA Liquor ID (a photo, state issued ID), and a non-photo driving permit (which in MA is paper, but still a form of ID).
The other night I went out to dinner with friends to the Cheesecake Factory. I have eaten at various locations and have always enjoyed it. Well, this time was one of the worst experiences I have ever had at a this restaurant chain.
I was with six friends, all of them older than me (26 years +), and all of us order glasses of wine or cocktails. The waitress asks to see everyone's IDs. No problem, standard procedure. She then takes my MA Liquor ID and scrutinizes it for far longer than anyone else, occasionally glancing up at me in an awkward way. She hands it back to me and says she cannot bring me a drink, my ID is fraudulent. This is not true, and I hand her my passport saying that I have another form of ID that can prove I am 21+. It's not a big deal if I can't have a mojito, but it was unfair that I was being singled out. She doesn't even open the passport, just hands it back saying she refuses to serve me and walks off.
I immediately go to the hostess and ask for the manager, who comes quickly. I explain what happened and he just flat out says, without looking at either ID I offer him, that it is "her right to refuse me beverage service." Excuse me? I have two government issued valid IDs in my hand. Keep in mind neither person has checked my passport yet. I calmly explain that I feel slighted here, and feel that I am being discriminated against because I appear young. Both IDs are valid. I offer my permit as well, showing I have THREE government issued IDs that state I am of age, and at this point I just feel like I am being picked on. Yes, I was taking it personally, but it was also embarrassing to me as I just wanted a nice meal with good friends, and the fact I was singled out made me uncomfortable and I wanted it rectified.
Again, he refuses, doesn't even look at the IDs, and tells me if I ask for alcohol again I will be asked to leave. So I return to the table, and by now everyone has their drinks. I don't want to ask people to leave since I know they'll be charged for their drinks since they've already arrived. So I suck it up and have a glass of water and the waitress returns to order my food.
This time she takes my order last, and it was a dish that contained one item I do not eat. I requested no peppers, and she nods and says alright, but rather curtly. Fastfoward to my pasta arrive and, surprise! It's full of peppers. Now I am really upset. I don't understand why she was being so rude to me. Perhaps because I went over her head? It was as if she was ignoring me. We hailed her back to the table and she is really apologetic and says she'll get me a new dish. 20 minutes pass, no new dish. Everyone else has finished their meals. She comes back and I tell her I do not want my dish, and to please strike it from the bill. She says it will be right out, I again insist I don't want it, I just want to leave. My friends are as aggravated as I am. We request the check, which she brings out, and see that I was charged for the dish I never received.
Not going to lie, I flipped out. I told her this was unacceptable and demanded a new check, and at this point I went outside to wait for my friends. They paid and left an appropriately diminished tip (as in, roughly 2%, because I feel leaving no tip just speaks poorly of us, but a poor tip speaks poorly of her), and left with the bottom part of the check that had the corporate number.
I called this morning and left a message on a comments line requesting someone get back to me. I have the server's name and store location, as well as the manager's. I hope they do something because the entire meal just made me feel awful and picked on and I don't understand it. All I wanted was a simple drink with a meal, and instead I was punished? It was so messed up, I have never been so disrespected in a restaurant in all my life