Saturday, August 15, 2009

A rant about service

A few pieces of background about me. I love beer. Often when I am eating alone the tab may be as high as when there are two of us, usually due to beer. Second, I tip well. My sweetie says too well, as long as I've been impressed. (Actually it's more that he thinks said beer is impairing my ability to calculate) Fail to impress and I won't tip well. Oh, one more thing, I have a pet peeve about the use of "we" by servers. You are not the queen, ask me how I am if you really want to know but do not ask me how "we" are. That just is often a signal you the server are not present and don't care.

Okay, here we go. I'm a wedding officiant, and do this all the time during the summer. I often travel alone because Harry has clients, and hardly ever sit down while I'm traveling to eat. Today was a little different, there is a wedding at a certain 500 acre ranch just outside of Winter Park. The view is so beautiful, every time I come I just stop and look at the mountains. All thought ceases, and it's only me and the mountains. Alas, a down side to the ranch, none of the employees want to be here. The first time I came I didn't know where the wedding deck was. I asked two employees, they shrugged their shoulders and turned away.

Today, I arrived 5 hours before the wedding rather than my usual 30 minutes because the road here was going to be closed for a parade most of the day. Not sure how I'm getting home but I'll worry about that later.

Ok, I arrive 5 hours early, walk in to the lodge, and say I'm here early is there a place I can sit for the time being? The woman behind the desk rolls her eyes at me (?! for real?) and directs me down a hall to some chairs. It's so beautiful here I don't care. I look out at the mountains and sigh.

After a couple of hours I go into the restaurant for some lunch. (See background above)
The hostess says, "How are we today", uh-oh here we go. "I am great, you?" "Fine,", she snaps. Oh boy. She takes me to a table and starts taking away napkins before I can choose a place to sit. I move the one napkin left to where I would like to sit rather than where she wants me to sit.
Should I say that I'm the minister for the wedding today? That may change the direction of where this is heading but I really shouldn't have to. I glance at her energy and she's bright red. Ok, maybe she found her boyfriend with someone else but again why is that my problem?
I wait and wait, 5 minutes go by. A woman glances my way and asks what I would like to drink, she's no longer looking at me but past me, peppered with lots of "ma'am". When did I become a ma'am? I seem to have skipped through miss with my eyes closed, a few lady, but ma'am?
I ask what my choices are, and she offers the range of sodas. Too bad they don't have beer. I'll stick with water thanks. She rolls her eyes. Oh boy.

10 minutes later she comes back for my order. Again, doesn't look at me. I order a Caesar salad with chicken.

The table behind me has a different server, happy, chatty. The guests at that table are drinking beer. Hmmm. Oh well.

Salad comes. Not kidding, 6 pieces of romaine, with white bread croutons thrown around the plate. The romaine is lightly grilled, nice. The parm is real through a little scant. The chicken is luke-warm. The whole thing takes half the plate.

My water is gone, I ask for a re-fill. No answer or re-fill. The server walks by, waits until I take a bite to ask me how everything is. Walks away before I swallow and answer.

She comes back, my knife and fork are in the air, I am about to take a bite and she says, "I'll get that out of the way for ya ma'am." I look around to see if this is a joke, feels surreal. "Sure" It's just not worth a fight.

So I pay, small tip, and go back out to my car to get my computer again, only 2 hours till the wedding now. The doorman grunts when I walk out. When I return he opens the door, looking away. I say thank you, he (looking way mind you) says, "Yep".

What else? I have been to locations where there is always some employee huffy because they're the one who has to fill the ice but this experience is by far the worst. Almost time to get dressed in my wedding garb, I almost wish I didn't have to go in that door one more time. Ugh. DTR, bite me.