Monday, August 18, 2008

Gratitude Monday – The Gift of a Day

I went on a successful cheese-collecting expedition to Edmonton last week and got to spend the day with Sibu’s human aka Reb from Sibu Pegasus Power.
Reb directed me away from Edmonton’s Top Construction Sites and made sure I knew in plenty of time what lane I had to be in. I’m grateful for that. We had a wonderful day together of laughing, eating, and ethnic food shopping.
We had lunch at a White Spot. It was the closest thing to a blemish on the day.
Our server greeted us as “guys.” Well, give our vintages it was inappropriate, but I can get past it.
She messed up my order. I’d pointed to the quesadilla with half-caesar salad as I ordered, but she bought me the appetizer version sans salad.
Server and I discussed it. Even as she offered to make it right she said, “Most people specify.”
The bill was $24 and a minor bit of change. I paid with a $20 and a $10 and we waited.
And waited. And then we waited a bit more.
Finally we flagged her down and I asked for my change.
She made us wait a bit longer and then brought it, noted it was the exact amount of change, and said, “Most people specify.”
Reb thoughtfully grabbed a brochure on the way out. I’m grateful because it helped when I searched online for contact info.
I emailed the restaurant’s manager the next day with my complaint which included a stern reminder that tips are earned, not assumed.
He called me within two hours. He was apologetic, suggested it was inadequate training, and apologized again.
These were proper, full, and clear apologies. He took responsibility for the incident and in no way minimized my experience.
I’m grateful for that, too, because it’s good to know there are people who still know how to treat a customer who’s irate for a legitimate reason.
After apologizing yet again he wanted the chance to make it up to me. I said sure and now some gift certificates are on the way.
I’m grateful for that, too.


Crabby McSlacker said...

I've had the experience where a good, sincere apology can actually make me like a place where I've gotten bad service. Hope the "Most People Specify" b*tch got a little retraining. With that attitude, she's not going to have her job long!

Leah J. Utas said...

Crabby, I'm sure MPS will get some retraining. The manager's apology helped considerably and I'm willing to go back someday, gift certificates in hand, and give them another chnace.

the Bag Lady said...

There is nothing more infuriating than this "entitled" attitude as far as tipping goes.
What has gone wrong in our society that the attitude nowadays is that you HAVE to tip your server, regardless of the service?

"But", the servers say "That's how we make our money - through tips! Our wages are piddly."

That is not my fault. When a lunch (without alcohol, because I know neither of you drink) for two people costs in excess of $20.00, the restaurant is obviously making money, so should be able to pay their wait-people a decent enough wage that they don't have to stoop to stealing customer's change!!

A tip, originally, was something a customer CHOSE to give a wait-person as a personal thank-you for a job well-done. When did it turn into something REQUIRED and EXPECTED?!

Oh, dear, the Bag Lady went on a wee bit of a rant there...oops.
Is it obvious that this very same thing happened to her once, only she never did get her money back because the waitress went off shift and took the Bag Lady's change with her?

Okay, sorry - back to Gratitude Monday - the Bag Lady is grateful that it is raining a little bit here this morning. Just little showers, but they are helping cool things down and may eventually provide enough moisture to bring some green back into our lives!

Leah J. Utas said...

Oh, yes, dfBag Lady. Server had an overhealthy amount of self-esteem.
Until such time as the gratuity is included in the bill I will still see it as something earned. Had server brought our change of her own accord I would still have left her something.

Missicat said...

"most people specify?" Whaaa? That would pretty much ensure NO tip from me, and I usually always tip!
I agree with the Bag Lady, maybe this whole tipped employee thing should be changed.

Leah J. Utas said...

Oh, we stiffed server, Missicat.
She used up all my goodwill when she suggested people specify when they want their change.
No. They specify when they want server to keep it, not bring it.

Mark Salinas said...

I am very grateful for the fantastic weather in MN! :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Mark - I hope you get a chance to enjoy it.

Melissa said...

I have been trying to get rid of all the bad habits of the Southern Belle and keep all the good ones (actually I can't think of any good ones at the moment) since 1995. I started dating my husband around then and he played me a tape of some self-improvement lady who said you should aim to be a Queen and not a Princess. This seemed like good advice.

So by now I pretty much don't take any s*** from anybody. Especially waiters.

Melissa said...

Now that I've said that, I should explain that I am a generous tipper to both waiters and cab drivers. I just hate it when people make no effort.

And you know what else I hate? When waiters sit down in the booth with you when they take your order. What's up with that?

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Melissa. Those who make no effort should be rewarded accordingly.
I don't think I've had a server sit down with me yet. Something to look forward to perhaps.

Reb said...

Leah, thanks for the link cousin. We did have a great day didn't we!

I'm grateful that you didn't ask me to go anywhere I hadn't already been. ;)

I glad to hear the manager called promptly and offered apologies and gift certificates.

I have had the "joy" of the server sitting down to get the order - in a booth no less! I second Melissa, what is up with that?

Leah J. Utas said...

My pleasure, Reb.
Can't imagine what to say about a server joining you in the booth. Seems a bit too friendly for my tastes.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Leah,

It is one of my minor missions in life to bring poor service to the attention of management.

Sometimes it takes me months to get around to it. (You were so prompt.)

I don't understand why anyone would treat a customer, client, patient, etc. without courtesy.

I am grateful for this post, which lets me know I am not alone in my quest for decent service.


Leah J. Utas said...

dfTerrie - It's good to have a mission and I support you in it wholeheartedly.

Hilary said...

I have a relative who almost always makes a point of finding something wrong with service, no matter how minor. She takes pride in the fact that she often earns herself a free dessert or some coupons because of it. Occasionally it's merited but far more often than not, it's just embarrassing. That having been said, the server you described would have annoyed me too. I'm glad it worked out in the end.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks. I don't usually get annoyed with servers, Hilary, but making her assumption my fault went too far.