My mom never leaves the house to eat anymore because she's embarrassed about what her MS has done to her hands. She just randomly throws food or knocks her drink over or whatever, and it's a hard thing to convince her to go out in public now with this problem. So my aunt Shawn and niece Kimber, as well as my grandma, mom and I decided to go to dinner last night at our local Applebees. When we got there at 7:20, there was a 15-minute wait for a 5-top, so we got on the list and sat down on the benches to wait. Several other large parties walked in and were seated pretty quickly, but we remained sitting there until 8:15. Once during that interval, the hostess came over to tell us that we could sit in a bar-top, which are the very high tables found in the bar. My mother had to have help to walk into the restaurant (which the hostess saw) and there was no way that my mom and my 74-year-old grandmother could propel themselves up into huge high chairs that are like 25" off the ground at the lowest rung. So we told her that no, that wouldn't work, and she got very huffy and said "Well then it'll be another 20 to 30 minutes. We only have one table that is able to seat five, and it currently has people eating at it."
So at 8:20 the manager comes over and tells us that he can push a small table onto the end of a booth, if we'd like that. We agree only because we are absolutely starving at this point, and the mad dinner rush has slowed down enough to where we know we can get our food at a decent time. We are seated in the back corner of the restaurant, and we sit there waiting for 15 minutes before our waiter comes over to acknowledge us.
Our waiter's name is Jason, and he is a guy who used to work at TGI Friday's before they closed last week. He's also the guy who developed an insane crush on Zephra (my ex-roommate), and she led him on for several months before finally telling him "I would never date you". When he asked why, she said "Because I'm in love with my friend Amanda (me), and if she breaks up with her boyfriend I will go back to her in a heartbeat and dump you flat-out."
To be honest, I couldn't pick Jason out of a lineup, and I had no idea who he was until the manager said his name at a later time. Until then, nothing in my head clicked.
We gave our drink orders, and because it was now past 8:30, Shawn asked if we could just go ahead and order our food at the same time so that it could speed up the experience for us a little. He said sure, go ahead. We ordered as follows:
Shawn and my mom got the 2 for $20 special they're advertising; honey BBQ buffalo wings for an appetizer and two orders of crispy popcorn shrimp. My grandma got garlic-herb chicken and a side salad, Kimber got macaroni and cheese, and I got a New York Strip steak with mashed potatoes and a side salad.
We sit there for another 20 minutes with no drink refills, no "Are you guys doing okay?", nothing. Finally the manager comes over to ask if we're okay with the seating arrangement. By this time, the restaurant has thinned out to where Jason is only waiting maybe four tables, and yet he is never coming over to us or the young black lady sitting alone with her two-year-old at the booth directly connected to ours. We tell the manager "Yes, but we're really hungry and we need some refills, is there any idea what's taking so long?" He goes to check on our food. A few minutes later, it comes out. All of it. Salads, appetizers, and the entrees. We ask why the apps and salads didn't come first, and the manager said "Well, the salads are right here now. Sorry about that."
So now we're faced with no room on the already-crowded table, as well as the dilemma of eating the apps/salads and letting our food get cold, or trying to alternate what we're eating between bites. I start eating my salad, but then realize that if my steak gets cold it'll be useless, and I give my salad to my grandma to put into a to-go box later.
My steak was seriously like 80% fat. There was no 'trimming' the fat off; it literally was the most disgusting cut of meat I've ever seen in my life. Every single bite that I put into my mouth was gristly and tough and chewy. I ate maybe two bites, then finished my mashed potatoes and pushed it away. By that time, my salad was limp and soggy, and I couldn't eat that either. My mom's shrimp were cold in the middle and she couldn't eat most of them for that reason. And still, Jason is not coming over to check on us or bring us refills.
Finally we call the manager back over to complain AGAIN about the service and food, and he gets snippy with us. I show him the steak and say "Seriously, sir, would you consider this a New York Strip? I would understand if I'd bought the discount-menu $8 sirloin, but this is a $17 steak and it is absolutely gross. I can't eat any of this." Instead of apologizing, he studies the steak and then says "Well, I'll deduct it off your ticket and I'll take it out of your way then." He doesn't offer me anything else, or even say that he's sorry it happened. We ask for to-go boxes and then ask for a split check. Jason brings us a check that has everything all together on it, then hands over the to-go boxes and walks away. The manager had comped our drinks and the two salads, and he had taken a 20% discount off the entire meal, and removed my inedible steak dinner. Other than that, our bill was as normal. He never came back to our table to see if that was acceptable or anything else; we left a one-dollar tip on the table and walked out.
When we got home, Zephra texted me and said "I guess Jason recognized you at the restaurant, he sent me a really hateful text about it." I said "What did he say?" and she said "Well he said that I'd better keep you away from him and Applebees if I know what's good." Jason also told her that the reason he was so pissy with us was because from the moment we walked in, the hostess went into the back area and told the waiters that she was seating a 5-top of "fat people who haven't stopped bitching since they walked in" and the hostess complained that the fact that we couldn't sit at a high table messed up her whole seating chart/schedule. Jason said "It took them so long to get seated because her mom was too lazy to get up in a high table and probably too fat to fit in a booth." When Zephra explained to him that my mom is disabled and CAN'T get in a high chair, he said "That isn't really our problem, is it?" So I called back to the restaurant and told the manager that Jason had purposely messed up our orders and given us crap service because of a personal vendetta he had against someone in our party, and I let him know what the hostess had reportedly said about us. The manager then offered us a $10 gift card and when we turned it down, he got irate. We told him that we planned to call corporate and he hung up the phone without giving us the number.
Which was fine. Today I called corporate office as well as their regional manager; the regional manager was LIVID when I told him the story and he said that the night manager hadn't even mentioned any problems in his nightly report, he said that the whole night had gone perfectly smoothly. The regional manager promised me that he was going to see this all the way through and call a staff meeting with all involved, and he is supposed to call me Monday to follow up and tell me what was going on. He did say that they've had a problem with that particular hostess "tagging" tables as soon as they walked in the door, so that wasn't a surprise.
I honestly hope it costs the trio of them their jobs; the asshole waiter, the inept manager, and the rude, judgmental hostess. Because of them, one of my mom's first nights out after four months of being bedridden was completely sabotaged and it was an absolutely unbelievable experience.