Canary In A Coal Mine (coaldustcanary) wrote in bad_service,
Canary In A Coal Mine

lazy-ass service.

Tonight my family and I went out for a nice dinner at the supposedly upscale, very nice place - the Dockside Restaurant in York, Maine. While the Bad Service we received wasn't the worst service I've had in a restaurant, it was pretty weak all the same. Let me tell you our story.

At about 4 PM I called the restaurant to confirm our reservation from the week before, and also ask if there was any chance it could be moved back an hour, from 6:30 to 7:30. I said, specifically, "If it'll be any problem, we'll keep the earlier time, but is there any chance of a later seating?" The reply? "No problem, not at all, we can seat you at 7:30."

Brilliant, I thought. My grandmother, who is in a wheelchair, had spent a long day travelling and needed some extra time to rest in her hotel room before dinner, and this made it easier.

We arrived, our party of nine, at 7:20. My mother went into the restaurant to inquire about our table, and was told that it would be ready in 20 minutes. Though this was a few minutes after our reservation, we were fine with it, and we walked out onto the dock and took in the lovely view, because my grandmother's wheelchair is unwieldy in a smallish space, as the restaurant isn't large. At about 7:35 we came back in, and were told then that it would actually be longer - in the words of the hostess, "Actually, it's going to be a bit longer than ten minutes. Probably more like a half hour. You see, the people at the large table were 45 minutes late for their reservation, so they're just eating now."

At that point, we shrugged and said we'd have a drink or two in the bar and wait, and the servers there hastened to pull tables together for us in the bar and bring bread and some munchy pub mix for the two little kids in our party who were hungry. We were still in good spirits - these things happen, and good spirits are easily buoyed by good spirits, if you know what I mean! Still, they were out of the first two bottles of wine we tried to order.

A half hour later, and the table is still occupied by people lingering over drinks and dessert. We order appetizers, and though they press us to eat in the bar, we came to this place for the view and some nicer ambience than that, so we ask to wait.

Ten minutes after that, a few members of our party scouted the restaurant and pointed out a table we could fit at, and we were seated there. It required that we wheel grandma outside and through a side entrance because of the wheelchair, but no matter - we were seated!

It took 20 minutes to get a wine glass for grandma. It took 45 minutes from when we ordered our appetizers for them to arrive (crabcakes, calamari, and a few bowls of lobster bisque). While the appetizer was being served, our waitress begged our patience and said she was sorry about the wait, but there had been some confusion about who was taking our table among the staff. We joked that it was okay, and we'd try to be good. What she said in reply wasn't perfectly clear, but to me it sounded like, "I know you'll be good, for parties of 8 or more the gratuity is added onto the check." I'm unsure of the first half, but I am absolutely certain of the reference to the gratuity being added in already.

My jaw dropped. Greedy much?

Our entrees did not arrive for an HOUR after the appetizers. During that hour we were visited once by the waitress about 45 minutes on - our water glasses were constantly empty and the salad and appetizer plates stood the whole time, cluttering the table. My dad actually stood and asked the waitress for more water and if some plates could be cleared, and she laughed, thinking he was being funny. When her amusement was not reciprocated, she nodded and hurried off to get someone to clear.

On the minor bright side, my seared tuna was fabulous, but the whole evening had been marred. It took us more than 2 hours and 45 minutes to get out of that place, and when another member of our party made a comment to the hostess about our wait on the way out, he was told that "an hour wait between appetizer and entree is the norm". Frankly, that's fucking ridiculous. Not to be snide, but I've eaten in some very highly-rated restaurants, and never had such a wait.

So, worst experience ever? Not really, not compared to a lot of the stories here. But I'll be damned if I'll go back there again. Just one crappy thing after another.

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