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Overreacting @ Restaurant Mistakes?


Sam Salmon
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Cycled down to a favourite ethnic place for lunch today, settled down @ a shared table and ordered.

The waitress seemed to be a bit confused about my order and I had to ask her to speak up twice- a lifetime of loud music and internal combustion engines have played havoc with my hearing.

So I finally got my plate of food and commenced to nibble-the 2 mains were lukewarm-not good at all. :hmmm:

Instead of waiting for service I took the thali up to the counter and told a staff member about the lukewarm food-she said "really"?

I grumbled back "Yes Really" and handed her the plate.

The I went back to my seat and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The place was becoming busier and I knew what was happening-my Afghan Eggplant and Alu Gobi were being reheated but my Dall soup and Afghan Rice were rapidly cooling off, the Roti was drying and my Salad was wilting.

So once a full ten (10) minutes had passed I up and slouched out.

Walked right by the counter where food is prepared/reheated-I could see my plate sitting there half empty as expected-no one noticed.

What's your take on this-did I overreact? :unsure:

As hungry as I was I couldn't speak to someone about the meal again without irritation showing in my voice so I figured I'd just give the place a few months until new Staff is hired-there's always a help wanted sign in the window-and try again rather than upset myself further.

Any/all relevant info/comment/opinion much appreciated.

TIA

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You did the right thing as no one cared it seems.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I think everyone should walk out of a restaurant at least once in their life. If for no other reason then getting a free meal.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Cycled down to a favourite ethnic place for lunch today, settled down @ a shared table and ordered....

Hate to think what you would have done if it hadn't been a favorite place - throw a plate across the dining room?

I wonder if the management made the waitress pick up the tab for your food -- not an uncommon way for restaurants to protect their bottom line while dealing with walkouts (though illegal in many states). Did you mean to cost her a substantial portion of her shift's wages? That will teach her to deliver luke-warm thali!

Oh, and "slouching out" never goes well with important declarations of principal. "Speaking out" preferably to management, and then striding out full of righteous indignation plays much better to the crowd.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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>I wonder if the management made the waitress pick up the tab for your food -- >not an uncommon way for restaurants to protect their bottom line while dealing >with walkouts (though illegal in many states).

This is called "negative reinforcement". Sometimes it is a better teacher than "positive reinforcement"; i.e. tipping.

Personally, I would have paid the bill and left no tip at all - and explained to the waitress and the manager why I wasn't leaving one.

>Did you mean to cost her a substantial portion of her shift's wages? That will >teach her to deliver luke-warm thali!

Well, maybe it will. More likely, she'll never understand why Sam was upset, and therefore nothing is learned

>Oh, and "slouching out" never goes well with important declarations of >principal. "Speaking out" preferably to management, and then striding out full of >righteous indignation plays much better to the crowd.

I couldn't agree more - but often, management couldn't care less. Unless you are a truly regular customer, and by that I mean you are at least known on sight to the manager, you'll probably get blown off. At least, that's been my experience - and at restaurants where I am a regular, I don't have these sorts of problems, although that my be partly because I AM a regular (and known to be a generous tipper).

Rob

Edited by rvanrens (log)
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>I wonder if the management made the waitress pick up the tab for your food -- >not an uncommon way for restaurants to protect their bottom line while dealing >with walkouts (though illegal in many states).

This is called "negative reinforcement".  Sometimes it is a better teacher than "positive reinforcement"; i.e. tipping.

Personally, I would have paid the bill and left no tip at all - and explained to the waitress and the manager why I wasn't leaving one.

>Did you mean to cost her a substantial portion of her shift's wages? That will >teach her to deliver luke-warm thali!

Well, maybe it will.  More likely, she'll never understand why Sam was upset, and therefore nothing is learned

Rob

Actually, it's called an attempt (and probably not a very effective one) at "negative punishment." Punishment is designed to weaken a targeted behavior (being ignored, in this case); reinforcement is designed to strengthen it. "Negative" means "decrease, avoid, or take something away" (payment, in this case); "positive" means "increase, or add something."

The problem, as you pointed out, was that the server most likely didn't know what the heck was going on because Sam opted to take the plate directly up to the counter and, from the sound of things, didn't mention anything to her about it. Ergo, no punishment (or reinforcement). Ditto for the management. However, the negative reinforcement here appears to apply to Sam -- he walked out of the restaurant without saying anything to management, thereby avoiding becoming more upset.

Personally, Sam, I think it's wrong to walk out without at least speaking with management about why you believe you shouldn't pay for the meal. I wonder why you were so concerned about irritation showing in your voice or about upsetting yourself further.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I think it sounds like Sam was just having a bad day. :sad: It happens. It doesn't sound like an attempt at punishment at all. It sounds like something I might do in the throes of some serious PMS -- but with a name like Sam, I'll assume that wasn't your problem! :laugh:

Pure conjecture, but I'd guess that if you were in a better mood you would have spoken directly to the server, she would have apologized and taken your plate back, and then would have re-served you with some good food. The guys at the counter probably had no idea which server was yours, so didn't know who to return the plate too, so just left it alone. (Is it still your favorite ethnic place?)

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Cycled down to a favourite ethnic place for lunch today, settled down @ a shared table and ordered....

Hate to think what you would have done if it hadn't been a favorite place - throw a plate across the dining room?

In actuality I'm a model customer-polite, friendly but self contained-open/communicative/appreciative and a generous tipper.

I wonder if the management made the waitress pick up the tab for your food -

That is strictly against British Columbia Labour Law and does not happen here.

Oh, and "slouching out" never goes well with important declarations of principal. "Speaking out" preferably to management, and then striding out full of righteous indignation plays much better to the crowd.

There's generally no Management on site @ lunch.The place is owned by a young Afghan woman who leaves the day to day running of the place to whoever is working the food counter that day-she shows her face around dinnertime.The waitress I initially dealt with was the senior staff member (I had never seen her on previous weekly visits) apart from the venerable dishwasher in the back-someone with poor English language skills and a timid manner-whom I doubt could have dealt with the situation.

As I said the place is notorious in the 'hood for constant staff turnover.

If the place holds true to form the food was plated straight into the garbage, the thali pitched into the dirty plates bin and it was business as usual for the rest of the afternoon-the Manager would have had no clue/no one to shout at.

Well not because of anything I did-she's quite the shouter as regulars can attest. :rolleyes:

Personally, I would have paid the bill and left no tip at all - and explained to the waitress and the manager why I wasn't leaving one.

Maybe you misunderstood-I hadn't eaten more than abite of Eggplant and a bite of Alu Gobi-why would I pay for a meal I hadn't eaten?

The food people/servers are the same people-it's counter with three people working together elbow to elbow and the restaurant seats 30 people tops.

Is it still your favorite ethnic place?

Somewhat spoiled for choice here-it's definitely one of my faves.

It'll be put on the back burner for a few months until the staff once again turns over-then I'll catch a whiff of their cooking while riding down 8th Ave and be back inside-hunched over the low tables/shouting orders to the servers while the music wails. :wacko:

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The only time we've walked out, it was before we ordered. We went to a franchise chain place, figuring we would get a late lunch pizza, it was about 4 p.m. No customers, except a couple of people at the bar. It took quite a few moments for someone to realize we needed to be seated, but that was understandable as it was between shifts. But in the empty dining room we were seated towards the back, next to the kitchen and rest room. :hmmm:

But again, we figured, no big deal. We will order quickly, eat and be on our way. Well, no one came to greet us or take a beverage order. After about ten minutes we decided not to bother and we left.

The host probably neglected to mention to the server that he/she had been sat. Or the host may have been doing double duty to cover the bar and the door and figured it was the server's problem to watch the tables. If it was a location I was going to frequent on a regular basis, I would have said something. But I chalked it up to it being a bit of an isolated situation where the manager was not very attentive and a nonchalant staff. And it wasn't a location I was likely to go to again anyway.

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My first reaction was that the cultural gap between the poster and the restaurant staff may have caused the problem. Certain cultures react differently to conflict--i.e. it's considered extremely impolite in Thailand to raise one's voice, so people just smile and poison their neighbor's dog if they're pissed at 'em. Do Afghans become sullen and passive if confronted by an unhappy white boy?

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There are only a few times I have walked out of a place because the service or food was bad. Mostly, if there is a problem with the food I'll just ask for free desert but will ALWAYS communicate with the server or manager. I have no problems returning food until it's the way I want it.

When I have walked out it was from the lack of service. Waiting 10-15 minutes for someone to take our drink order or waiting 10-15 for someone to take our food order after getting our soda's. But never because there was something wrong with the food. Of course, I rarely go to those small mom-n-pop places where communication is a problem. The problem needs to be remedied some how before I will just leave. I feel that if the server can't help, talk to the manager. If the manager can't help, then I will just not pay the part of the order I have a problem with and let the manager deal with it but I don't think I would walk out. I may have walked out in my past but I don't recall. If I did I would've been pretty pissed off for me to do it.

I can't comment on Sam's situation because there is so much that must be taken into consideration. Hindsight is easy to see. Not so easy in the heat of the moment.

Bob

edited because my brain moving faster than my fingers.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

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If i had eaten any of the food, I would have paid for what was consumed(probably by just leaving the money on the table) and have walked out without paying for what wasn't eaten.

Deadheads are kinda like people who like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but people who like licorice, *really* like licorice!

-Jerry Garcia

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How do you calculate the value of two bites?

gee... i don't know.. use judgement--if it's available to you? if you've eaten any of the dish, it's useless to them... so, I would pay for the whole item.

Deadheads are kinda like people who like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but people who like licorice, *really* like licorice!

-Jerry Garcia

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How do you calculate the value of two bites?

gee... i don't know.. use judgement--if it's available to you? if you've eaten any of the dish, it's useless to them... so, I would pay for the whole item.

But it was cold and inedible! So Sam should have to pay for a meal that was not up to standards and that he barely tasted and that he tried to have fixed? I realize that the food is useless to the restaurant now, but it was cold it was usless to Sam too.

Leaving 50cents on the table would have probably been even more confusing, not to mention pointless.

If I had received a meal that was no good, and tried to have it remedied to no avail, I would not be paying for any part of it.

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I have never walked out without paying. I like to think in that situation that I would speak with someone before leaving, but I suppose it could happen that it was lunch hour and I didn't have time. (Discussion about stuff like that can get kind of long.) In that case, I would telephone later.

I wouldn't feel I had to pay for food I'd sent back and which had not been returned to me, especially if it looked like no one cared. If food was till on the table that was inedible, I would carry it to someone myself and explain. I would still probably leave five bucks or something if I thought any honest effort had been made.

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I find this discussion very frustrating.

I can think of many, many times and many different situations that I've purchased goods and services and not been satisfied. For instance, I had diagnostic work done on an older vehicle to see if the air conditioning could be repaired. In one case it took me several days of driving back and forth to the dealer, hours of sitting in the shop and hundreds of dollars in labor cost, only to find out that my air conditioning could not actually be fixed without replacing a part that would run about $1400. Did I pay for the labor, in spite of not reaching a satisfactory result, and in spite of the fact that a certain amount of incompetence had cost me a great deal of time? Of course I did.

If you walk into a convenience store, pick out a bottle of soda, open it and take a sip, then find that you don't like it, are you allowed to leave without paying for it? How many other situations can you think of where you'd be prosecuted for receiving goods and services and leaving without paying?

I have been in a position to have people arrested for "theft of services" for walking out on their tabs. It is just as much against the law to walk out on your tab in a restaurant as it is in any other business. If you leave quickly, but the manager gets you license plate number, he can call police and have you tracked down.

Now, the thing to do if you are at a restaurant and are dissatisfied with your food is to talk to someone, and hopefully that person will fix the problem or comp your meal. Until that happens, you are still obligated to pay for what you ordered and what you were served. The restaurant has a legal obligation not to serve your plate of food to anyone else, and you have a legal obligation to pay for it.

Only in restaurants is it so easy to get goods and services for free, simply by talking to someone, and that's why it aggravates me so much that some people don't want to even do that.

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If you walk into a convenience store, pick out a bottle of soda, open it and take a sip, then find that you don't like it, are you allowed to leave without paying for it? How many other situations can you think of where you'd be prosecuted for receiving goods and services and leaving without paying?

All points taken, except I don't understand, if you have sent food back to the kitchen and it's sitting there-- and clearly nothing it being done about it-- why you would have to pay for it. I do feel like you should explain but I don't see that you owe them money for it.

Oh, and I think all bets are off if you've sent back for no good reason. But if they have agreed to take it back and fix it, and then they flake out, they really haven't delivered you anything.

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How do you calculate the value of two bites?

gee... i don't know.. use judgement--if it's available to you? if you've eaten any of the dish, it's useless to them... so, I would pay for the whole item.

It doesn't matter if you've taken two bites or twenty bites or none at all. Once the food has been placed on your table it cannot be served to anyone else.

This is why, when the server forgets to sub a baked potato for your fries, he will leave or offer to leave the fries on the table at no charge. He's not doing you a favor, the fries are absolutely useless to anyone else.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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So I finally got my plate of food and commenced to nibble-the 2 mains were lukewarm-not good at all. :hmmm:

Instead of waiting for service I took the thali up to the counter and told a staff member about the lukewarm food-she said "really"?

I grumbled back "Yes Really" and handed her the plate.

The I went back to my seat and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

At the risk of sounding like a dumbass, when you told the staff member your food was cold, did you also ask her to reheat it? Although most people would find it obvious that you wanted it reheated, some really need to have it spelled out.

After waiting too long for orders/corrections, I will usually tell the waitstaff that I've been waiting too long, and that I will have to leave. Usually they comp the meal, since I never received it or was unable (because of their error) to eat it. However, sometimes the order is just about ready, so they wrap it up and I pay for it.

It's possible that the staff with whom you spoke did not expect you to pay, since she seemed to have considered your meal as returned. However, I would probably not have walked out without paying, offering to pay, or offering an explanation, but that's just something I've had drilled in since childhood.

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All points taken, except I don't understand, if you have sent food back to the kitchen and it's sitting there-- and clearly nothing it being done about it-- why you would have to pay for it. I do feel like you should explain but I don't see that you owe them money for it.

Oh, and I think all bets are off if you've sent back for no good reason. But if they have agreed to take it back and fix it, and then they flake out, they really haven't delivered you anything.

Well, there lies a big question. What is one person's idea of "lukewarm" food versus another's? Not trying to say that Sam is unreasonable, but having worked in restaurants a good bit, I've seen cups of coffee sent back, described as "ice cold," and when I looked at the cup, there was steam rising from the surface of the liquid. And I've seen people order steaks medium-rare, "but cooked through." :wacko:

So all I know is that the food was reasonably good, but the wrong temperature, and he took it back and nothing was apparantly happening to rectify it. And I think that if he couldn't eat the food, he shouldn't have to pay for it, but a manager should be notified before leaving the restaurant. Just talk to the manager, tell him that you can't eat the food, and why, and it will be comped.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've gone to a retail store, gotten less than standard goods and services, and it took forever and a day to even get someone to ring up my check so that I could pay, much to my own inconvenience. By comparison, the service I get at restaurants is immeasurably better.

But here's another thing where I admit that I'm definitely a weirdo: I have never, ever gone to a sit-down restaurant with the thought of being back at my desk in less than an hour, even when I have held a desk job. Never, not once, and I never, ever would. If I go to a sit-down restaurant, I go to relax, and I make sure I have enough time to do so. If I only have a half hour or an hour, I pack a lunch, period. I know that must make me a weirdo, because I see people all the time who actually bring an 18-top from basically their whole office, walk in at noon on the dot, expect to be seated immediately, want to order everything with heavy modifiers, and then complain if they're not out in less than 45 minutes.

So I guess I am a freak in that way, so I'd never be in a situation where I was trying to talk to a manager or pay my tab, and couldn't wait long enough to speak to someone. However, I consider setting aside a couple of hours to eat in a sit-down restaurant to be nothing compared to setting aside basically my whole day to get my car serviced, which costs at least 5 times as much and takes forever to get the bill rung and paid. I guess it's all a matter of how you look at it.

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because I see people all the time who actually bring an 18-top from basically their whole office, walk in at noon on the dot, expect to be seated immediately, want to order everything with heavy modifiers, and then complain if they're not out in less than 45 minutes.

I see that someone feels my pain. Welcome to my world.

I had this happen with a regular guest who brought in a large party, created their own items from the ingredients of the menu items. When it took too long, she marched into the kitchen and asked why it was taking so long. I lost it !

I told her this was not a &%$#@ buffet, or a connect the &%$#@*? dots menu. I told here every item except one on their order was a complete special order and that takes time. I told her never to do that again as everyone in the restaurant was suffering at this point !.

She slinked back to her table with her tail between her legs and sat quietly.

She still comes everyday.

Advantage : Chef !!!!

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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