The Ordeal of Free Meals

Twice in the last two weeks, I have gotten free meals, but they still came with a price. One experience was at a tavern named after a fancy neighborhood in Cincinnati and the other at a Mexican grill, chain restaurant in Kentucky overlooking the Ohio River. Each time the restaurant was selected for its outdoor seating and then menu without any question of the lack of customer service we might encounter.

Both times the server forgot to put our order in and we were left waiting while others around came, sat, ordered and left before we received our food. Then there were the lame excuses that flew out of the servers’ mouths prior to finding out what really happened: the bar is busy with drinks, the kitchen is backed up, the oven isn’t working, etc. I understand busy, but I don’t understand how others are being served from the broken oven and we aren’t!

But it was not just that they dropped the ball on putting in the order and failing to own up to their mistake, it was that when the long-awaited food arrived it was terrible. I’m talking hair in the sandwich, a so-called grilled cheese sandwich that was 3 slices of cheese (and I know that because it wasn’t melted) and cold food unnecessarily delivered with a potholder.

In the first case, the manager listened to our situation and acted on it, comping the meal, which he needed to do because we did not eat the food. In the second case, the manager told us what happened, said our meal was put in and then asked us what we would like, more drinks? (um yeah, pepper upset women with more drinks so they cannot drive home – seems responsible). We waited another 25 minutes, got cold food so the friend sitting closest to the manager who was dealing with another upset table walked over and got his attention, again, and he finally agreed to let us walk out without seeing a bill. But throughout it all, we had to contend with our server who became increasingly annoying in wanting to explain to us why she was having a bad day, what she was going to do to make it better (honey, it’s 8pm, at this point hang it up and try again tomorrow), more excuses and apparently no communication with her manager or she would know that I mentioned we were annoyed with having to listen to her excuses!

Needless to say, we will not be eating at either place again…

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