My father ordered pasta primavera and my mother ordered a chicken fajita. I ordered a chicken club, requesting no pickle, and asked if I could replace french fries with onion strings. The server verified my order twice, which impressed me. We also ordered spinach dip for an appetizer, requesting that there be only pita chips, instead of pita chips, tortilla chips, carrots and celery.
What we got? Well, after quite a long time, the spinach dip came with a very small amount of broken and soggy pita and tortilla chips, as well as carrots and celery. Strike one.
About twenty-five minutes after we sat down, my mother and I saw my sandwich sitting next to the heat light. And it sat. And sat. And sat. While about four different servers picked up the order ticket to look at it.
We had been commenting to ourselves about the state of the appetizer, but my father was too much of a coward to say anything. I wanted to, and would have if I'd been on my own or with friends rather than my parents, but I deferred to him. Finally, ten or so minutes after we had seen my sandwich appear next to the warmer, the server brought the tortillas for my mother's fajita.
S - server
M - Mom
Me - self-explanatory. :)
M - Is that my daughter's sandwich over there? I've noticed it's been sitting out for quite awhile now.
S - Well, uh, it's a cold sandwich.
M - It is?
Me - Well, it is cold, but it's on toast.
S (sourly) Well, if you want (expression implying we'd damn well better not) I could ask them to make you a new one ...
Not wanting to wait another half hour for a damned sandwich, I declined, thankful that I'd substituted onion strings, because hey, at least they're good cold.
Finally, FINALLY, the food comes. The pasta? Luke-warm at best on an ice-cold plate. My club sandwich? Well, luckily, the bread wasn't too soggy yet, but the fries I'd requested to be substituted with onion strings tasted rather gross soaking up the juice of the pickle I'd asked them not to put there.
The real kicker? On top of the sandwich were, count 'em, two onion strings.
*sigh* Not only would my father not let me complain, he insisted on tipping 20%. Now, it takes outright rudeness for me to tip anything less, myself, but if there's bad service involved, I at least make sure to inform the server, quietly and politely, just as I always make sure to tell a manager when exceptional service is involved. This server has no idea that she cost herself a 25-30% tip (as my father prides himself on tipping generously) and probably thinks she rendered good service, to boot!
Now, I know some of this could have been the fault of the kitchen. Obviously, too, a portion of the blame must be attributed to us for not speaking up. I certainly don't expect servers to be mind-readers. But I think it still falls on the server to notice obvious mistakes (the tons of broken, useless chips with the appetizer, the fries with my sandwich when I had requested, and she had verified twice, onion strings)
Gah. I seldom complain about food service, but I really wish I'd been able to convince my father to here.