Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Critic

Something happened this weekend that I thought would make a good post. The more I thought about it, the madder I got, so I figured I would just skip it. Then this morning I heard something on the radio very similar to my experience, that infuriated me. So I'm now going to share it with you.

From time to time Jen and I like to pack up the boys and make a little mini road trip for a day, just to see shit we ain't seen and do shit we ain't done. Last Saturday was one of those days. We decided to make a trip to a sort of neighboring town for the trade days (flea market) they have once a month. On the way we stopped in a little town called Johnson City for breakfast. We went to a restaurant called The Hill Country Cupboard. This restaurant has been here for 27 years that I know of. Normally I wouldn't name names, but in the instance the guilty should bear their sins. DON'T ever eat here.

We walked in and the place was empty, yet it took about five minutes to get seated. We sat in the smoking section (since I'm trying to kill myself) which was really the bar section. Not a problem. We'll call the lady that sat us Waitress 1. We gave Waitress 1 our drink order (2 coffees and 2 OJ's). Waitress 2 delivered our drinks minus the cream. We asked for cream and she returned with a 1oz to go container with skim milk. After another 20 minutes Waitress 3 took our food order and poured more coffee. Once again minus the pseudo cream. We asked for more cream. She never came back. Eventually Waitress 2 brought our food and more coffee plus pseudo cream. I had ordered eggs over medium and biscuits and gravy (don't give me any shit, in Texas biscuits and gravy are a way of life and I don't ever get any). I dumped my eggs on the biscuits and gravy as Waitress 2 was leaving. I was looking at my plate and something didn't seem right. I stuck my finger in the gravy and it was cold. This is where I did something that is so unlike me even I was a bit surprised. Normally I'm a quiet kind of guy, I'm not the kind of guy that likes to draw attention to myself.

I pushed my chair back and stood up. I'm pretty sure I looked disgusted.
Trash: "Goddammit."
Jen: "What's wrong?"
Trash: "I'm tired of getting lousy service and worse food."

I walked of to the mens room to wash my hands and hopefully cool off or let Jen handle this, because I didn't need to wind up in a small town Texas jail. After I came back to the table nothing had changed except the kids said their food was cold too. I stormed around the corner and ran into Waitress 4 (are you keeping count?).

Waitress 4: "Is there a problem?"
Trash: "You bet your ass there is. I've had ice water that was warmer than that gravy."
Waitress 4: "We'll take care of that sir."
Trash: "Yes you will."

Waitress 4 took our food and I never saw her again. Waitress 2 brought our food back, gave us more coffee and pseudo cream. The second time around the food was pretty good, but the service was still lousy.

Now my rant. Every time I go out to eat I get the worse food the cook ever made. Something always goes wrong. It never fails. If by some miracle everything is good, the next time I go back it will be the most horrible dining experience of my life. Is it me? I don't know. Maybe because I'm a rather large guy, they I assume I'll eat anything. I wont. I have temperature issues where food is involved and I'm a very picky eater. I might look like I'll eat anything you put in front of me. It's not true. I'm big boned and I have slow metabolism.

I see it like this. I'm giving you money for service and a product. That service and product should be to my liking. I don't expect the waitress to read my mind or be there the minute my coffee cup is emptied, but I do expect her to check on me from time to time. I also expect the cook to ensure the food is prepared correctly and at the right temperature. I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I know being in food service is a thankless job, well I show my thanks in the tip. I don't figure 15%. I lived in Jersey long enough to know how to tip. I've had meals where the tip was bigger than the bill because I got great service. Then I've had meals like last Saturday. I hope she doesn't spend that dollar all in one place.

Now before y'all go crazy in the comments telling me what happens to food when it gets sent back, let me tell you I'm well aware of the stories. In fact this morning on the radio they had waiters, waitresses and cooks calling in confessing to their crimes. That's what pissed me off. I know Bubba the cook may have had Paco the dishwasher spit in the gravy, but this was a small town restaurant so I think it's less likely, plus I inspected the food. Normally I only send food back through the manager, with a warning. I like to think managers are above that sort of thing since they are semi-professional people.

I've decide from now on I'm going to name names, give addresses or whatever I have to do to bring attention to these people. I'm not taking it anymore (not that I ever did). When I pay you for a service, I expect good service, When I pay you for food, I expect good food (McDonald's is excused from that last statement, they couldn't serve good food it their lives depended on it). If I'm handing you money for anything you can bet your sweet ass I'm going to get my moneys worth, or your job. It's your choice.

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