Saturday, December 17, 2005

"Why Are Restaurants So Sketchy?"

That's the question Lisa Arch asked in the first post in her blog, which inspired this blog (for better or worse). Consider this post the sequel to hers.

So I went to a restaurant in Burbank the other day for lunch with a friend of mine. It's not a restaurant I usually like to go to, for two reasons:

1. They have valet parking at lunchtime, which I hate. Plus, this place is definitely not fancy enough for valet parking, so it's doubly obnoxious. Plus when they don't have valet parking, their parking spaces are so narrow that no car but a Mini Cooper can fit in them, so it's triply obnoxious.

2. They have this sadistic policy where if you order a burger, the waiter brings it, then orders you to accompany him to some fixin's bar so you can embellish it. Ask for a burger with, say, onions or avocado? Nuh uh... The waiter will bring your burger bareback, then bark at you, no matter what conversation you're in the middle of, to follow him to the fixin's bar. Fuck that. So I don't order burgers if I go. Or most often, I don't go.

But on this day, I went. And I ordered a Diet Coke, and I was having a lot of trouble with the straw. I mean, I'm working this straw, sucking like [insert colorful Southern "prom night" simile here]... and nothing is coming out.

So before I throw an embolism or something, I give up on the straw and pull it out of the drink.

And it's closed at the other end.

As in bitten down.

Chewed on.


So before I vomit in the fixin's bar, I signal to our waiter that a confab is called for. I point out that my straw was chewed shut, presumably by a previous customer.

He rolls his eyes in a sort of disaffected way and says, "Oh, I'll get you a new straw."




I stop him. "Boy, I really would like a new Diet Coke."

He shrugs. "Oh." This possibility never occurred to him. "Okay."

Now, of course, the word, "Sorry" never crosses his lips.

One has to wonder where this guy gets this much attitude, by the way, considering he's slinging seven dollar burgers. I mean, he literally had an attitude of "I manage one of the finest restaurants in Paris" instead of "I refill ketchup bottles and put sawdust in the men's room puddles until I get enough for new headshots."

Needless to say, I was left asking Lisa's magical question: Why are restaurants so sketchy?

And I would encourage you all to make your burgers -- and pile on your fixin's -- elsewhere.


Beverly (dot shaw at gmail dot com) said...

I hate bad service. This is why I go to places with good service. :) (I am lucky enough to live in a large-ish city so I have a lot to choose from.)

Ever read Gives the other side of the story.

Anyway - it's late and I am rambling in your notes.

Michael Markowitz said...

Beverly, I'm so glad you're here, you ramble all you like! (and you weren't rambling)

And I've written other posts going on about how hard waiters have it. Also, my friends will tell you I am a waiter's dream.

I have seen My heart goes out to waiters, or anyone who has to interface with the public.

But a pre-chewed straw? I don't think there's another side to that story. :-)

No matter what you do: being a customer, a waiter, a clerk: do it well and do it politely, right?

Ken Levine said...

Go next door to Bob's. Better burgers, you can park yourself, and Drew Carey is usually at the counter.

Michael Markowitz said...

Bob's? Not my speed. A little ptomaine-y for me. I will stick to Gordon Biersch and BJ's!

And is Drew Carey behind the counter a GOOD thing??? Couldn't he go on a shooting spree at any given moment?

Lisa said...

Oh my god!! I'm saying it, if no one else is. MO'S IS THE WORST RESTAURANT EVER!! I HATE it there! I have NEVER had a good meal or good service in that place. And, here's a shocker: I worked there for two days about 10 years ago, and it is run so poorly, that it seems like they're TRYING to give bad service!! There's no system in place!! I had to leave after two shifts because I couldn't take it! And, Mike is absolutely a waiter's dream. And, having waited tables for seven years straight, I will say there is NO excuse for bad service or a bad attitude when you're working in the SERVICE INDUSTRY!!! Whew. That felt good.

Michael Markowitz said...

Thank you, Lisa, for backing up both my dreaminess where waiters are concerned and the service at Mo's.

I have had some good servers there, despite their screwed-up system, but this guy was a DISASTER.

On the other hand, maybe my good serving experiences were during the two shifts you worked there, before we knew each other? Wouldn't that be so weird?! Wouldn't that be so like on LOST??!!