Monday, August 25, 2008

Worst Restaurant Experience Ever

[I apologize to my LJ friends who also read along in my blog who have already read this story]

My office does a Fantasy Football league every year, and every year we have our draft at the same local brewpub - Third Base Sports Bar and Brewery. (I would link, but I don't want to help them out any more than I already have. I wouldn't even mention the name, but it's hard to complain about a place and spread the word without naming them).

We've been to the place numerous times and have always had a decent experience WRT food and service. The hub goes there once a week for Friday lunches with a group of coworkers, and has done so for nearly the 10 years he's been at his company. Some days are better than others, natch, but for the most part it's been a nice place to eat.

So last night I texted him when the draft was wrapping up to see if he wanted me to bring some food home for supper. He said sure and gave me his order.

I wrote it down and gave it to our [somewhat absent] waitress around 6:50 pm.

Around 7:20, the hub texted and asked why it was taking so long. Around 7:50 (it's now been an hour since I put the order in) I asked to pay so I could just get up and leave thinking "oh, it can't be much longer now."

At around 8:10 a table in the same area (who had ordered after I had) were getting ready to leave. In fact, there were three tables who all ordered after I did that received their food at least 10-15 minutes before me. At that time I had to stand up and move around a bit because I was getting very uncomfortable. Remember, I'm 34 weeks pregnant and the hub and I have a tendency to grow rather large babes.

By 8:20 the hub and I had texted back and forth at least 20 times (thank goodness we recently switched to unlimited texting!) mostly about how long it was taking and how freaky the closing ceremonies to the Olympics were (in my defense, the sound was off on the TV in the brewpub, so I was watching this weird light show in mute).

I was getting very worked up at this point and finally around 8:30, the waitress came walking out with my order. I got up and met her halfway to the door, grabbed the bag and didn't even say anything to her. At that point, it had been an hour and 40 minutes from the time I placed the order until the time I actually received the order. A To Go order, nontheless. That is Ridiculous.

I was extremely upset because 1) I was hugely uncomfortable, 2) I needed to eat and 3) I wanted to get home - by that time I'd been there for 4 hours (the draft started at 4:30). I was so worked up that I flung the exterior door open to get out and ended up hitting some poor little girl who had just walked up to enter the restaurant. She was crying and the parents were shooting me dirty looks like "who are you evil lady who just injured our poor delicate flower." I felt so bad about that I ended up crying hysterically to the hub when I called him to say I was finally on my way home.

I was still so upset about it when I got home that I didn't even want to eat the stupid food I'd ordered. I don't even know if I want it tonight. I couldn't get to sleep until after midnight and then when I woke up around 3:30 for my obligatory middle-of-the-night pregnant bathroom break I couldn't get back to sleep for about another hour because I was still thinking about it.

At this point, there's not much we can do. I have the receipt because I already paid (and even gave the stupid waitress a tip - not a great one, but still) but because I'd already paid, I couldn't tell them I wasn't going to pay anymore. Two of the tables that had gotten their food asked what I was waiting for and they were all incredulous that it'd taken that long. The hub knows the brewmaster fairly well, so he's going to complain to him, but there's not really anything the brewmaster can do either. The place is owned by a group that has 5-6 other bars in different cities in the state (including three others in my city), but they're really only interested in whether or not the place makes money.

I worked as a waitress for more than 6 years in a few different types of restaurants. I know sometimes things are beyond the servers' control, but I also know that if my customers had to wait longer than expected, I was keeping them informed of the situation and would at least offer some sort of compensation. An hour and 40 minute wait is beyond all reasonable expectation for a To Go order and my waitress only talked to me when I flagged her down. The other tables had issues with waiting, too, but they all also got their food before I did.

So I'm doing what all consumers do and sharing my story of my horrible experience at Third Base Sports Bar & Brewery. If it warns even one potential customer away, that's better than nothing.

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