Saturday, July 08, 2006

Service With A Smile

When did this old cliche' originate? Late 50s, possibly? It used to hold truth, nowadays ... it's just an old cliche'.

We have a favorite restaurant in High Point where we eat quite often. They're building chains of this Italian restaurant all over the Triad, all franchised and operated by different owners.

Michael and I stopped at a book signing in Kernersville tonight to support Dixie Land who wrote SECOND CHANCES and Lynette Hall Hampton with DUO OF OPPOSITES, both Sisters in Crime members and great writing friends. Hungry, we left there and decided to have dinner in Greensboro. Hungry, yet not starved ... you know the feeling ... just wanting a simple dinner, not wanting to take a lot of time--grab a quick bite and then head home.

So we stop at this new franchise, this new Italian restaurant, and get a good booth by the window. We order ... we wait and wait and finally ... Mike's sandwich comes out without tomatoes (he loves tomatoes) and my order was wrong. My order goes back to the kitchen and Mike proceeds to eat his tomatoeless sandwich, which he admits tastes pretty good. I just watch--because I have no food. But hey, the water was tasty. :-)

Then he discovers his fries are soggy, but after waiting again for tomatoes, ketchup for fries, and a refill on drinks ... he proceeds to finish his meal without me anyway ...

And I wait some more.

Finally, a half hour later ... the waitress comes over to admit it was her fault and offers to get me "some bread." She says she'll check on our order and huffs off. Just as Mike is putting the last bite of his 12 inch steak sandwich in his mouth, my order comes out. The waitress says, "I'm giving you a $2 coupon toward your next visit." No smile. Nothing.

I don't say a word ... just smile, as my husband--I know--is not going to settle for a $2 coupon. I look at my food, it's burnt on top and impossible to cut into. It's overcooked. I wonder, how can something I've been waiting on for nearly an hour be overcooked? The waitress says, "Wow, that looks overcooked." No sorry, no apology, just a comment.

I put my fork and knife down and hand her my plate. "Just bring us our check and take my meal off the bill," I say.

Finally, the owner comes out ... and to make a very unecessary story short ... gives Mike a free meal. He's very apologetic, and we smile, and say thank you and leave. We'll go back and give them another chance ... maybe.

I thought about ordering a pizza on the way home, but when I called and the person on the other end at Pizza Hut sounded like the female equivalent to Forrest Gump, I decided ... you know what? Maybe I could miss a meal tonight. It won't kill me. So I cancelled my pizza order.

Service with a smile? ... I smiled real wide as I served myself some peach cobbler when I got home ... at least I didn't miss dessert.

Blessings to you and yours.

1 comment:

Dena said...

My favorites are the kids at the grocery store who chew and smack on gum and talk about their weekends in front of customers. Most of them are good kids. They just obviously haven't been taught basic customer service skills.

My favorite was when I was standing in line at K-Mart and 2 cashiers were talking about the one who had just found out she was pregnant. She looked all of 15. They were shrugging their shoulders and giggling about it. I almost had a cow.