i wanted to get my boyfriend tickets to the baltimore ravens vs the cincinnati bengals game for his birthday (the game is the weekend before his birthday and they're his favorite teams - perfect!). single game tickets went on sale this morning at 10 am EST; I logged into Ticketmaster at 10:01 and there were no pairs of tickets to be had. commence minor fist-shaking; i'd expected some trouble. so i kept trying for the next 20 minutes (no luck), then decided to hoof it to my local Ticketmaster Retail Outlet, which is in a department store at the mall.
i walk into the customer service/gift wrap/Ticketmaster office/counter and there are two other people in the room: Middle-Aged Clerk Lady and 30-something Guy. she seems to be finishing up with him at the customer service/gift wrap counter, so i stand kind of between that counter and the Ticketmaster counter (it's the same counter, about 20 feet long, and gift wrap is at one end, Ticketmaster the other). and wait while she giggles and LOLs with him.
and wait while she pages someone (for all i know, that was legit; whatever, i'm patient). she LOLs with 30-something until a manager pokes his head out of his office to say "hey, next time please transfer [whatever your page was about] to [this other extension instead of mine], kthx" at which point she goes insta-serious and stops kidding around with the guy. she shakes his hand and turns on the "Concluding a Transaction" vibes. so i move closer to the counter. this exchange has taken approximately five minutes.
she walks the 10 feet or so over to me, saying "can i help you? ^_^"
me: yes, please; i was wondering if you had any ravens tickets left. ^_^
MACL: *before she even gets to the ticketmaster desk or the corresponding computer* no, sorry. we're all out.
me: ... *a little flabbergasted* ...i'm sorry; like, completely out?
MACL: yes, honey; when i say all out i mean all out!
me (WTF why the attitude, lady?): *says nothing; i wasn't about to leave until she at least made eye contact with her computer screen* *waits*
MACL: *harrumphs* ...well, was there a specific date you had in mind? >:O
me: november 5th.
MACL: *looks at the computer; taps on some keys* no, that's sold out. you'll have to go to the box office. *starts to turn and walk back to 30-something guy*
me: um, thanks.
sorry that i OMFG DARED to ask you if you were sold out, since there was NO ONE else in line and since you couldn't be arsed to check. and that i interrupted your lame, transparent flirting.
(note: i wound up getting tickets through someone other than ticketmaster; calling the stadium revealed that the only way i might get tickets through the box office would be to wait until the wednesday/thursday before the game and try my luck. i wound up paying a better price, anyway.)
so later today, family wanted to treat my boyfriend and i to a kind of "pity dinner" (that's a long story i won't go into); he declined but i said "hokay" so we went to the local don pablo's [a mexican restaurant kind of on par with macaroni grill or ruby-tuesday-minus-the-kitsch]. get there, and as soon as the waiter comes over i know it's going to be trouble.
he's standing like four feet away from our table (keep in mind the restaurant has like a 30' ceiling, and everything is concrete or brick so it's very noisy) when he introduces himself in a standard speaking voice; i can hardly hear him and i know my dad (who refuses to admit that he's getting hard of hearing) probably couldn't hear him at all. but he walks over closer at the end of his spiel and says he's going to bring out chips and salsa and can he take our drink orders? we all order something very simple (dad went last so he figured out what was happening); i order a diet coke.
brings back the soda but not the chips/salsa. whatever; it's kind of busy, so when he walks by our table next dad mentions it. he brings them out with an apology for forgetting, and i ask for a refill on my soda. ...he brings me back a water, then disappears. o_O um, what? the next time we see him, he's troubleshooting another "oops!" at a different table nearby, but disappears into the kitchen before i can get his attention. and stays disappeared for about five minutes - so we explained the situation to another waiter who must've noticed our "is that our waiter?" stares. and he apologized, said it was no problem, and not only took my glass and the water but promptly brought me back a diet coke - with a smile! our waiter hadn't smiled at us yet.
normally i'm forgiving of waiters not being super-perky or flubbing a drink, but today really sucked.
a runner brought out our food on one of those huge trays that they put on a stand while they're serving the plates (did that make sense?). and just as he was handing out the last plate and our waiter was approaching to make sure everything had come out okay, someone (a hostess, i think) crashed into the huge tray and oop there went the refried beans, sunny side down on the floor. ugh. all the servers involved in the incident apologized, made sure that none of us had gotten hit by an errant anything... and then went on their merry way.
and the refried beans (sans their dish) were left on the floor for the rest of our meal. believe you me that a blob of refried beans on the floor is NOT appetizing. our waiter (who still hadn't smiled, and had to be reminded to bring a replacement dish of beans) even stepped in it once and didn't look down or make an effort to clean it up. the food was good. but no one could be bothered to clean up the beans, until mom finally couldn't look at it any more and put her napkin over it. the only thing our waiter did correctly all night was promptly bringing me a box for my quesadillas.
after we asked for the check and he brought it, it took him about 10 minutes to come back to get my dad's credit card - during which time dad and i left the table (me to make a phone call, dad to ask for a manager). when i walked back in, dad was finishing up with the manager; he told me that the manager had "handled the situation perfectly."
"so he gave you the 1. i am so sorry that this happened 2. the problem will be corrected immediately and 3. is there anything i can do to restore your confidence in don pablo's? spiel?"
"no - i told him i wasn't doing this to get anything for myself; i just said that at some point in the corporate ladder there's someone who cares about stuff like this." and i frowned and mentioned the awesome waiter who'd happily refilled a soda for a table that wasn't even his.
anyway, we went back to the table and mom was waiting for the waiter to bring the receipt back (again, it had been something like ten minutes - more than enough time to retrieve the bill and print a receipt). we chatted a little, and a girl came by to prebus the table - she seemed to notice mom's look of concern because she asked "is something the matter?" and mom explained to her about the floorbeans. she immediately wiped them up using mom's napkin and asked a passing waiter to get a damp towel from a busboy. waiter just sent a busboy over, and he looked puzzled when she asked him for a towel. mom suspects the girl was an assistant manager incognito - and when waiter came back to retrieve his receipt/tip, the assistant manager said she would explain the penny to him.
i know the waiters/waitresses here disapprove of the penny-tip because so many things are not a server's fault - but ignoring us for a while (we were sitting for almost 10 minutes before he noticed us), being unfriendly and distant (i'm not asking for a lifestory, but it wouldn't kill you to stand at normal waiter-distance before you start your introduction), forgetting something standard (the chips/salsa), refilling drinks incorrectly (seriously, how does diet coke = water?), and not automatically bringing a replacement for something that was dropped right in front of you (in addition to not cleaning up the aforementioned dropped thing, or finding someone who could clean it up instead) is all on his shoulders, and the only happy experience i had tonight with the employees there (besides seeing a friend from high school) was the waiter who promptly brought me the correct soda.