dacross71 (dacross71) wrote in bad_service,

Apologize for length ahead of time.

Last night my wife and I got the worst service we've ever received at Applebees. Granted, it wasn't the worst experience out there, but it was bad enough for me to get upset, and I'm an easy going guy.

We were at the 13th Ave. Applebees in Fargo, ND (there are 2 on 13th, this was the one NOT across from WalMart). It was 7 at night on a friday, the last day of finals week in a college town. We expected to have to wait to be seated, and to have to wait for our food. Luckily, we got sat almost immediately, and the wait for our server began.

From what I've read on these communities, the servers have a small window of time to "greet" you with your beverage napkins and to take a drink order. It was around 8 minutes before our server showed up (a news show was on the TV with a clock in the corner. Not that I was watching the time, but I did glance up to see the news stories (my wife could see it too)).

Server shows up, no apology for the wait (oh well). Immediately gets into the crouch position to get our orders. Does that position bother any other diners? Keep in mind it's busy, and the area we are in is narrow with servers trying to bring out trays of food, so he did have a small line formed behind him taking our order waiting to deliver.

Instead of delivering napkins and asking for beverages, appetizers, explaining the specials, etc, we get:

Me: duh
Wife: the gorgeous beauty that she is
Christ: 'cause it's his name silly

Christ: Hi, I'mumumumble umble server
{assumes crouched position}
Christ: {to the wife} mumble mumble you like?
Wife: {orders her usual}
Christ: {to me} mumble you?
Me: {my usual}
Christ: OK, I'll go put this in for you
{starts to walk away}
Wife: Could I get a Raspberry Lemonade please?(hey, she has 10 days before she's old enough to drink)
Christ: Sure
{starts to walk away again}
Me: I'm sorry, but could I please get a root beer as well?(old enough to drink, choose not to)
Christ: Yep, no problem. Anything else?
Me: Yes, an order of Mozz Sticks (gotta love the fried cheese) please? Before the meal.
Christ: Got it
{finally gets away from us}

I understand it was busy, but we've been in there during busy times before and never got this type of service. From what we could see, he had a party of 4 (mid-20's college kids), a camping party of 2 (a mom and her late teen daughter), and 2 tables of 30-somethings, plus us. My wife and I went out to eat kind of spur of the moment while out shopping, so we weren't REALLY dressed up, but we weren't in t-shirts either. The wife had a nice sweater on and I was in a Polo. I have hair that I can't do anything with. It's thick, bushy, and does what it wants the second it's dry. Top that off with a big bushy beard and I can sometimes look like a dressed up homeless man (according to my sister).

I hope he wasn't stereotyping us into the non-tipping teenager group, but we were the youngest table he had (I'm 21, the wife is 20).

Several minutes later, another server brings out the wife's lemonade. Still no beverage napkins. Glance at the time, have been there for nearly 20 minutes. Another 5 minutes pass and my root beer makes an appearance. Still no beverage napkins.

Food comes out relatively quick after that. I normally have my root beer 3/4 of the way gone by time food comes out, I had more than half this time (YAY FOR THEM!!!) but a different server brought it out again. (yes, I know about runners, I work as a cook at Perkins, and he was bringing out the food for the party of 4 at the time)

She asks if we need anything, and we mention our appetizer. Christ pops his head over other servers shoulder and does a quick apology saying they didn't get dropped, but they should be out shortly. (either the cooks dropped the bomb or he did) Delivery girl notices we still don't have silverware (we didn't notice until then either) and brings us a set.

Food was excellent, no complaints there. Kind of salty, but I had most of a rootbeer to calm that.

Finish our entrees, still no appetizer. Christ checks back on us once during the meal to tell us the app. should be out soon (but not to offer refills on our near empty drinks. We didn't say anything because he was there and gone. Before people jump on me that we have to ask for refills, this restaurant has always asked. Plus, he caught us with food in our mouths and was gone before we finished masticating the deliciousness)

A few minutes after we finished our entrees, out comes our basket of cheesy delight. Another drop and dash before we could ask for a take-home box (the wife gets the take 2 steak and ribs, and has the ribs for lunch the next day). The sticks were still hot, so they hadn't been sitting in the window for long. They were good, but we were full from the meal and couldn't finish them.

Christ does a quick drop with the receipt, without asking about dessert (not that we wanted any). Mentioning he'll be back shortly to pick up the check he's gone. Dig out the checkbook and realize we have no pen (my bad for swiping it). Finally make eye contact with him after he bussed his second table (and there were bussers running around), and he comes over and gives us a pen. We left about a 7-8% tip (less than $3 on a $33 and change meal. Worst tip I can ever remember giving) and left.

I know I should probably have talked to someone about it, but I'm a very poor complainer (except to people who have nothing to do with it). We pleased and thank-you'd our way through the meal (the way we were both brought up), and yet we noticed the drinking, rowdier table was getting better service. (more food, more drinks, more tip)
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