In this modern world of technological marvels and huge screen televisions, electric cars and sooner than we think individual rocket packs, stuff is awfully expensive. The dollar just doesn’t seem to stretch all that far.
I was thinking this the other day after spending over 16 bucks at Whataburger for a couple of “value” meals. I went for the large size, so of course I was going to pay more. 16 bucks though? When fast food is becoming like going out to dinner used to be, who exactly can afford such a luxury? And on those times we do enjoy a meal at a restaurant, should we not expect the absolute best possible service, especially as prices rise endlessly?
In a perfect world, money grows on trees and the Cardinals had a winning season.
I am noticing more and more that when I do receive great customer service anywhere, it is a welcome surprise. It is like a little bonus that was not expected or sought, kind of like finding an extra twenty buried in all the receipts in a wallet or purse. Great service is no longer expected in our society, it is just sort of there every so often and we as paying customers are glad to have received it. Call me crazy, but if we are paying top dollar, service should always be great, every time.
More often times than not, the service is not good. The service is generally mediocre at best and on a few occasions, it is downright awful. It seems it is getting more and more on the awful side of things.
Let me impart on you a recent example. File this under Holiday Stress.
I ate at the Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo for Christmas dinner last week with my family. Buca is one of the few restaurants open for the holiday and you have to make a reservation. Our reservation was for 6 o’clock. Are you with me so far? This is the good part. Stress and tension are on their way.
Buca gets busy on this particular night. You would think a lot of people would want to eat at home on Christmas, but try thinking of Disneyland Main Street on a three day weekend and you get the idea. So, you make a reservation for 6, and maybe you are seated by 6:15; 6:30 at the latest.
We were seated at 7, and only after talking with the hostess station two separate times and finding out the second time that our reservation was no longer in the computer. They reluctantly sat us even then, as if it was our fault for inquiring about the wait. So what? Big deal! The place was busy and we sat down a little later than expected. Hey, I could deal with all of that. This gets better.
The hostess who sat us (who must have been a Psych major) spent a good five to ten minutes (it felt like an hour) trying to explain how our reservation might have been lost and why it took so long for us to get a table in what appeared to be an empty room. It had something to do with a faulty computer I think.
It is always the fault of the technology, never the ones who are using it. This hostess was very nice and kept talking and kept talking and I honestly felt like getting up and hiding in the bathroom for awhile, because I knew that sooner or later she might say the wrong thing.
And she did.
She told us that if we were so upset about waiting (some in our party were very passionate about this) then why didn’t we just make dinner and eat at home?
Oh no you didn’t.
This was pouring a little gasoline onto a fire. It was such an insensitive, rude and honestly stupid thing to say to a group of people who are already not too happy with you.
She might have well have said, “Hey, thanks for eating here tonight and helping to keep me employed, now go and take a flying leap off a bridge.” It was none of her business why we were eating out and not eating at home, but my aunt did explain to her it had to do with visiting my grandmother who has late stage Alzheimer’s and there is no time to cook before or after that.
I am guessing she was sorry she brought it up because she then shut up and also offered to have the manager come and speak with us. We said we didn’t need to see the manager, everything was good now that we were seated and food was shortly (hopefully) to be on its way.
But the manager did show up.
This should have been a good thing. The manager should have opened with an apology or an offer of a round of drinks or something, although we did get free salad but it was the server who told us.
The manager, I’m assuming to bring in some comic levity to the situation, acted like an idiot and started in with complaining about how many hours she had worked that day. She egged us on to throw as many complaints at her as we could come up with. No kidding.
At no time did this person offer an apology or admit on her part or her staff’s part of any wrong doing as if somehow letting us know that she knew they screwed up would have resulted in a lawsuit. I personally just wanted a little honesty. Maybe a little humility.
Maybe a little customer service that matched the high prices.
Hey, that’s all the admission we would get. It’s better than nothing. It’s better than a stick in the eye.
Next year, or to be honest, any time at all, will I be going back to this establishment. It will join a growing list of establishments that just don’t seem to really want or deserve my money. Expecting good or even great service is not expecting too much in my opinion. It is just the way it should be.
The hostess was right about one thing. Next year we will be eating at home.