Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Really Bad Date Night....

Sometimes a Good Idea Can Be Bad..... Today when it seems like our dollars do not reach quite as far as we would like them to, it can be upsetting when we do manage to go out and receive really bad service. Now normally I won't criticize a waitress, counter clerk or even a cashier. There are times when the customer service is so bad you have to say something.
My husband and I do not get to go out to eat that often now. Between the kids, the store, his work and school we make it a point to go out for a “date nite” at least once a month. Tonight the opportunity did present itself so he and I slipped out to grab a bite at Red Lobster in Toms River. Every year my husband will wait for their annual shrimp festival. When you're married to a guy who is 6’4” you quickly learn that they do have an appetite and they can eat. “A Lot!”
One glass of water no refills. 
As a customer I  tend to be more sympathetic towards waitress, cashiers, and clerks in retail and eatery establishments. In part because I have been in their shoes, so I know what it’s like to deal with the drunks, the high maintenance customers, and still provide good customer service.
Tonight Red Lobster was slow, not a usual busy Friday night. There were several tables empty in our section and throughout the restaurant.
So I was rather surprised to have to look for their shrimp festival, which was located in the back of the menu on their dessert page in print. No highlighting of the promo, no additional advertisement anywhere. We asked our waitress Karen if it was still going on, and she did advise that yes it was. Now to try to be fair here neither Tom nor I ordered drinks tonight, he got a lemon water and I ordered an Iced Tea and a coffee. I say this with the thought in mind that perhaps our waitress felt she wouldn't get a good tip because we didn't order the extra’s.
 Not busy. 
What Tom and I were both put off by was was the attitude that started to emerge after she had brought our initial meal out and  it was time for the shrimp. Having come for this event yearly, we are used to our waiter or waitress putting in an order for two of the shrimp varieties at a time when they drop off your order. The conversation usually goes, “ Would you like me to put in an order for another order of the shrimp for you?” which most will do. Here is where its starts getting freaky. When the first plate arrived she put in an order for shrimp for each of us.A server brought them out and after we had finished the shrimp she came over to clear the plates and quickly disappeared without comment.We waited and waited and she finally came back. 
As I advised her my husband would like another order of shrimp we got the look and the tsk noise like it was a problem. Now mind you there were only customers at two possibly three other tables at this point in her section.
She then brought out his shrimp, and a refill on my coffee that I had asked for. Then without asking if he or I would like anything else she brought over the check. At this point I have to admit I was at the end of my patience with our waitress and asked  if she could please send over  the manager a very nice young lady named, Melissa.
I explained the situation to the manager, who handled it like a pro. “She provided good customer service.” Apologizing, offering to bring out more shrimp for my husband. At this point I think he had lost his appetite which is big. She was gracious enough to offer to adjust our bill, at which point my husband did chirp in let her know that wasn't necessary. It wasn't about the bill but the really poor customer service from our waitress. We both just wanted to leave, and did after waiting while our waitress tried to hand off our check to someone else to give to us.
Im a  good tipper, our check was only $39.00 and had she paid attention, provided good courteous customer service she would have gotten at least a $10.00 tip.I'm that lady who will usually look at the check even if i’m not picking up the tab, and will slip extra money on the table because I know how hard it can be working as a waitress. 
 I may be an average person, not dressed to the nines, because lets face it we slipped out to get dinner this wasn't planned. We were clean but casual. We didn’t drink and we were nice too our waitress even when she started to aggravate us. I was still trying to make excuses for her bad behavior.
The average person works too hard to get treated badly when they go out. We all work to hard, and although I have the utmost respect for anyone who does this either as a job or a profession the name of the game is customer service. If  you are incapable of providing good customer service you shouldn't be in the field. When you're working in that establishment you're representing the company you're working for. I know despite the managers attempt to make it right we will seriously think twice before going back to this location in Toms River.

We  still like Red Lobster, but this experience has left a bad taste in our mouth and I will hold off on going back anytime soon.I have never not tipped on a meal no matter how good or bad the service, but I was so irked by her behavior I paid the check and walked away. For the first and hopefully only time.

Here is the Lesson from this tail.
1. Do not judge a book by its cover.
2. If you treat every customer with a smile and respect you may be surprised by the outcome.
3. Never assume the man is picking up the check. (Big Mistake)
4. Treat every customer like they are a critic for the New York Times. (Because maybe they are.)

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As a recently married 46 year old I am in the process of finishing my degree. Working to take care of my family and live my life.Blogging, working, writing, and chugging along like most of us.  Who am I ? I am you, I am me, I am your mother, friend, the best and worst that we each have inside of us. I am a different perspective and find myself fascinated by the interesting moments in life.

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