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Chasing The American Dream

April 08, 2005

SERVICE WITH A SMILE?

Traveling provides me so many opportunities to be served. Three meals a day, and a hotel in the morning and again at night. Yesterday, I made a comment to our lunch group after we had eaten. The food was great but the service stunk. Some grumpy old maid with no personality had served us. We weren’t lucky enough to get the two other servers I usually get. And it made such a difference. I told my group it would have been such a more pleasurable experience if we’d had the other two.

And so this streak of lousy customer service began. This isn’t a woe is me post; I’m just stating the facts and pointing out stuff that happens. You know, mundane shit. Next stop on the customer service train is the House of Horrors Café where I had such a fun time a while ago with a waitress. Well lucky for us, we got a new girl. I know, you’re probably thinking, and unlucky for her she got me. She was in trouble right off the bat because she was new, the place was packed, and they were short-handed. Not a good combination.

There were four of us. The gal across from me ordered an Elaine’s Big Salad which included tuna, pasta, and fruit salads on a bed of greens. The guy next to her ordered a Chicken Wrap with Chips. The guy next to me ordered a Chicken Wrap, no tomato, with pasta salad. The girl then chimes in, “we’re out of pasta salad.” Now why she didn’t mention that when my friend ordered the Elaine’s Salad was beyond us? I mean, the pasta salad is a key part of the Elaine’s Salad. Why wouldn’t she mention the pasta salad outage right then and there? So my friend got into that line of discussion with the waitress and she says, “oh well you just get extra fruit salad.” My friend said, “but I don’t want extra fruit salad. I may not want the salad at all since I now know there’s no pasta salad.” She settled on some slice hard-boiled eggs in lieu of the extra fruit salad. Meanwhile, I ordered a Veggie Wrap, no ranch dressing. Pretty simple.

We expectedly waited longer than usual and then our food got delivered by someone else. Here’s what got delivered. Elaine’s Big Salad, no sign of hard-boiled egg. The no tomato guy got his Chicken Wrap with tomato. The other Chicken Wrap guy didn’t even get his, and I got my Veggie Wrap *with* ranch dressing, of course. Four orders, four mistakes. Our waitress was nowhere to be found. She never checked back with us to ask us how everything was. I finally did the rude flagdown motion with my arms to get her attention. That’s when it really got fun.

She gave us that, “is there a problem?” look. We all took our turns telling her what was wrong with our orders.

Friend: There’s no egg on my salad.
Waitress: Oh. We’re out of eggs.
Friend: Excuse me, but aren’t you supposed to mention you’re out of something BEFORE I complete my order instead of telling me AFTER the fact? This is the second time you’ve done this to me. I’m not trying to be difficult, but you really should tell your customers you’re out of something so they can have the option to change their orders.
Waitress: Oh. Sorry ‘bout that.

The waitress forced an apology for the tomato and the ranch dressing and went out seeking the missing wrap which was delivered after we were half-way through. Her apathy towards the situation irked me more than the food mistakes. Hey, everyone makes mistakes, and I’m cool with that. But it’s what you do *after*the mistake that makes or breaks the experience. She basically didn’t give a shit. So I let her manager know about it. I told him I could deal with the mistakes, but I couldn’t deal with her attitude or her lack of wanting to do something/anything about the situation. He took half off the bill which was nice of him. I would have comped the entire check, but that’s just me. I think I’m going to take a vacation from that place.

Lastly, we visit the Doubletree. My favorite hotel. The customer service there is exemplary. I got to know the front desk guy who’s the nicest guy in the world. But when I checked in, he wasn’t behind the desk. Instead, I saw a nightmare. A vision from the past. A customer service train wreck. I remembered her from the Hampton Inn where I used to stay. She has to be one of the most miserable people I’ve ever met. Totally rude, totally mean, totally abrupt, and sooo non-customer service-oriented. How in the world she got her job and KEPT it, I have no idea. Evidently, the Hampton let her go; and why the Doubletree would hire her was a contradiction in my mind.

I was nice to her. She was as mean and unfriendly as ever. I asked her if my friend was on duty, and she told me he was eating. She gave me the room cardkey and off I went. I opened the door and nearly gagged on the smoke smell. How nice! The bee-ahtch gave me a handicapped smoking room. I quickly returned to the front desk and asked her if she had any non-smoking rooms? She disappeared without a word and out came my friend.

The first thing I told him was that I couldn’t believe they would hire this woman. I told him I had known her from the Hampton where all her employees hated her. He told me they had already received numerous complaints about her. I told him she was as rude as ever and that she gave me a handicapped smoking room. He was puzzled because he said he’d already set me up with a room. So he gave me a better room. The next day I tried a little banter with bee-ahtch but to no avail. The day after, my friend was back and he told me they fired her. Too many complaints. He then told me the real story of what she did to me.

Apparently, she thought I was trying to pull a fast one by requesting a corporate rate for the company I’ve been consulting for. She thought this back when I was at the Hampton and didn’t like me because of it. So she told my friend that I was trying to pull the same stunt here. My friend told me he had me set up in the penthouse suite and she purposefully switched me out and gave me the worst room in the house. Unbelievable! Who does this shit???

I’ll tell you who. It’s people who take these customer service jobs and have no business doing so. Hey everyone, if you don’t like people and you can’t deal with them, do me and the rest of the world a favor and choose a different line of work. Deal?

10 Comments:

  • Word.

    ROFLMAO. This post was hilarious. At least it was for the readers. :)

    By Blogger Extra Strength Surfing Fingers, at 10:23 PM, April 08, 2005  

  • Bad service totally sucks! I get it all the time - at restaurants I feel like they seat me in the bad section on purpose!

    By Blogger Roni, at 12:37 AM, April 09, 2005  

  • Amen to that. What are people who hate people doing in the hospitality business?

    I couldn't help but wonder what you did about the tip here.

    By Blogger Jewels, at 12:51 AM, April 09, 2005  

  • Ahh, bad CS. One of those small things that make me crazy. Because I think it's an example of the demise of the American culture and our business edge. Why everything is outsourced to Banlagore and now Canada also. Although they are not more effective then their American counterparts, they are more polite. Meanwhile, what ever happened to pride in one's job, regardless of what it is? Like the terrific taxi drivers in London.

    So, as someone else asked, did you tip?

    By Blogger Urban Barbara, at 8:34 AM, April 09, 2005  

  • DON'T even get me started on customer service people.

    By Blogger Mari, at 11:40 AM, April 09, 2005  

  • I struggle with being a nice guy and teaching someone a lesson. If I give her a good tip, what has she learned? If I give her a lousy one, then I'm an asshole as so many pointed out previously. My general standard is 10% for lousy service. It's not great, but it's *something.* My hope is that she'll wonder what she did wrong. Hopefully, her manager will tell her.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 12:46 PM, April 09, 2005  

  • love this post!!

    -island girl

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 PM, April 09, 2005  

  • I'm surprised everyone is so cynical. Despite the bad service at the restaurant he mentioned a previous waitress who gave him good service. At the doubletree, he got extraordinary service from his "usual" front desk guy. I think we just remember the bad experiences the most.

    By Blogger Gatsby, at 9:14 PM, April 09, 2005  

  • While I agree those kind of people have no right taking CS related jobs I do have a pile of notes and stories from when I worked at a large rx chian in the northeast. What some of the customers do is also unbelieveable. It almost makes you want to act not as nicely as you could towards them.

    By Blogger Lyss, at 8:36 PM, April 10, 2005  

  • Totally agree. I LOVE working with people and that is part of the reason I took my job and love it so much. I wonder why in the heck people like that would take a job when they obviously dont like working with people??

    By Blogger Elle, at 11:35 AM, April 14, 2005  

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