Spectacular Fail

I had a nice early holiday at Grandma’s. Me, Mom, and my Aunt all chipped in and got her a 26″ LCD flat screen to replace her 21″ tube TV which was slowly dying. Sophia (a vendor of mine in China) sent a beautiful walking cane for her. By far the nicest gift of the lot. Sophia has adopted my grandmother and she’s very sweet. Everything went swimmingly well. Then we were to go to Houston’s for dinner but somehow the ladies decided Outback would be a better idea. And that was a decision that will be forever rued. Been to the Outback in North Miami Beach a number of times and while the service is often slow, it’s never been bad and certainly not incompetent.

There was a 20-minute wait for the table which is what they promised us, so there’s no valid complaint there. We sat down and some 10 minutes later our waiter blew by and said he’d be right with us. A few minutes later he was. He took our drink and dinner order since we had plenty of time to decide. He brought back the drinks and the bread in a reasonable amount of time.

My drink ran out — those of you who know me, understand that’s an issue — and I pushed it to the edge of the table hoping he’d actually stop by and do something. He did come by the other tables but not ours. I accidentally knocked Mom’s wine glass and my drink glass off the table (making a spectacular save on both glasses, leaving my ice still in the cup and half her glass of wine still in the cup). Several waiters came, walked around it, pretending there was no puddle of wine on the floor. We asked the bus boy at the next table to clean it up and get our waiter. He cleaned it up. No waiter.

Some 20 minutes later (too long for what we ordered) someone else brought our food. Or I should say my Grandmother’s food and my food. Mom’s food didn’t arrive. We waited a few moments, figuring he’d at least stop by. Mom told us to start eating so it didn’t get cold. After about five minutes, I had enough, went to the maîtress d’ and said we had a problem and to find the manager. She moved quickly to the back to fulfil my request.

The manager showed up, we explained what had happened so far and she acted suitably appalled and asked what was missing. Within two minutes, the drinks were there along with mom’s food. She apologized again, with our waiter standing over her shoulder saying nothing. She said that she’d comp Mom’s food (I thought she should have done the wine too, but that’s her choice). Now, if you know someone’s complained to your boss you figure you’d be on your best behaviour from thereon out. We finished and waited. And waited. And waited. He finally showed up, we asked for a box and our bill. Quite Some Time later he brought a box — a small burger sizes box for quite a bit of food so he had to go get another box. While he was gone, I noticed the bill was wrong and told him so when he returned.

Mom mentioned to him how bad the service was, and he blamed the kitchen and then I mentioned had he come by the table he’d have noticed there was a problem. He was unapologetic, and we waited on the manager (again). She fixed the bill, gave grandma a coupon for a free bloomin’ onion, and we paid. Grandma wanted to leave a tip anyway and a fight ensued. We ended up leaving a dollar over my objections, so I wrote in pen on the store copy — REALLY BAD SERVICE. And that concludes that story. A perfectly good day ruined by a shit-ball waiter. If anyone from Outback reads this, fire the waiter. Seriously. If it were my restaurant and the manager had to visit a customer’s table TWICE, the whole meal would be comped. Seriously. I rarely decide to leave zero tip, maybe 3 or 4 times in my life, so you know how bad this was. (It was bad compared to European service mind you.) Enough of that.

If you read yesterday’s post on Overstock.com you should read the comments as there are additional developments. I am checked in for my flight, but I am still not packed properly. The balloon boy’s father is getting jail time. I don’t care technically, but I am pleased anyway. DirecTV did not call me back as promised over my signal issues (dish alignment). When I return these is going to be a very big fight. I’m going to tell them I’m cancelling and switching to Dish if they don’t do it. I’ve been a subscriber for 14 years. Every time I call, they’re impressed by that. I did the math on how much money that is and was appalled.  Finally, let’s talk about Liz’s cat (technically it’s Liz and John’s cat, but as you know the final determination is made by the cat and therefore it is Liz’s cat.) Prudence is a cute, soft, attention-whore of a kitty with the attention span of a gnat. Actually, I’m not sure her attention span would outlast a gnat, but I like Prudence. Now you can see Prudence in this video, running time just under four minutes. Please leave a nice comment on the video. Liz doesn’t like my idea of teaching Prudence to ice skate. I don’t know if she realizes I’m only half joking. (She being Liz and not Prudence as I am not daft enough to ever try to actually train a cat. Some things are doomed to failure.)

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