Asylum Inmate (asyluminmate) wrote in bad_service,
Asylum Inmate

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... and bad clams.

My brother and his family were visiting last week so the whole family decided to go out for dinner one night.

We called ahead on Monday to reserve some tables and they said it would be no problem.  We set the date for a Thursday.  On Wednesday my mother called to confirm our reservation.  Again she was told that there would be no problem accommodating the 12 people we had in our group and that the reservation was confirmed.
You can see what's coming can't you?

So Thursday evening we all head to the restaurant which is in the next town but it's only a short, pleasant 20min drive to the ocean side town where it is located.
We arrive and it's quite busy but it's a large restaurant created to deal with the tourist trade and besides, we've got reservations.
Or so we thought.

The sign at the door said "Please Seat Yourself" so it took us a minute or two to get the attention of one of the busy waitrons.  My father let her know that we had a reservation so we assumed we would have to be seated where ever they decided to put us.  The waitron just stared at him and then replied "We don't take reservations on the weekends." and then told him we could sit where ever we liked and walked away.

Ok first of all, it's not a weekend, it's a Thursday.  Second of all the reservation was confirmed.  So my father went to the bar to speak to the bartender who seemed a little less busy and the bartender seemed equally confused about the reservation.  She also told him that the restaurant doesn't take reservations on the weekends.  He replied that it was Thursday and she just shrugged at him.  Then he explained that they had called to confirm the reservation just the day before and no one had mentioned that there was a problem at that time.
She went to the side and looked at what I assume was a reservation book and then informed my father that there was no reservation for us.  Probably, she said, because we don't take reservations on weekends.  Which is fascinating but doesn't explain why someone would lie and tell us our reservation was confirmed.
So then he asked her if he could talk to someone, perhaps the person who took the reservation.  She said she didn't know who took it but it didn't matter because [small fanfare] 'we don't take reservations on weekends.'
Then why, he asked still very politely, did they tell us everything was ok when we called to confirm?
Again, she shrugged at him.

Finally he asked her [politely] if he could please speak to the manager.  She slammed down the bottle she was holding and stomped off behind the bar and out of sight.  Honestly it appeared as if she just walked away in order to avoid speaking to him any more.
My dad is very old fashioned.  He's not used to being treated like a parasite for asking a simple question.  So he turned to us and said, "Perhaps we should just go, I don't think there's any point in staying here." 
We only took a second or two to mull it over and decided he was right.  It was pointless to stand around hoping that someone would actually help us when it seemed clear that they were hoping we'd all just disappear.

So we were about to leave when a man [the manager] approached and without introducing himself, started talking to my father.
Did he apologize for the problem?  Did he try to seat us?  No.  He started explaining why Thursday is part of the weekend and why WE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT, or at least ASKED when the person on the phone told us they don't take reservations on weekends.  [Which they hadn't actually done anyway]
My mother asked the guy why our confirmed reservation simply disappeared.  All he would say is "Probably because we don't take reservations on weekends."
Gee.  Where have I heard that before?
My father was polite and did his best to disengage so we could leave but the manager seemed determined to make him agree that he was wrong for not knowing Thursday was part of the weekend.
Dad finally just said, "Ok thank you.  Good bye." and turned to leave.
This is when the manager says, "Well I guess we could find you a place somewhere."
Oh GEE mr. godlike manager man COULD YOU??  That would be SWELL!  I know we sooooo don't DESERVE it because we're teh STOOPID and ignorant of the new weekend days and stuff.
But by that time most of us wanted to leave so we just kept moving toward the door while dad politely declined.

The manager tried to make some conciliatory noises at that point but my father was ready to go.  However the three kids with us were getting restless and after a brief discussion it was decided we would stay.  I really didn't want to.  Nor did my parents but others were saying "Well we might as well." so we agreed.
They managed to find a place where they could pull some tables together and we sat down.  It took a lot longer for a waitron to actually get to us but it was pretty busy so we just assumed it was a symptom of the brisk business they were doing.

Finally she approached and took our drink orders.
Another over-long wait later she came back and asked if we were ready to order.
Well, we might have been if she had given us menus when she took the drink orders.  So she sort of huffed and stalked away to get us menus.
It was like that for the rest of the night.
She was unpleasant, short and clearly not interested in serving us.  Now I could almost understand her frustration if we had been obnoxious or unruly but there were 9 adults and three kids and none of us were doing anything but sitting and chatting.  That included the kids.

It took an extremely long time to get our food.  I watched two couples enter, order, eat, linger and leave before we ever got a sniff of our supper.
I suspect they were waiting to fill the entire order all together because half of us got cold food when it did arrive.  Let me tell you, cold clams are not appetizing.

The final indignity is that most of us felt queasy later in the evening and my husband was actually physically sick.  We can only assume it was due to the food somehow.

We never received a satisfactory answer as to what happened to our reservation.  Why it was accepted and later confirmed.  Why no one told us at that time that they do not take reservations for Thursdays which are actually weekend days in their world.
I would like to post the name and location of this place but I'm leary of legal implications, but the title of the restaurant has salt water in it and not just because it's standing at the shoreline.
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