by Jackie K. Cooper
This is an absolutely true story. I kid you not. A few days ago my wife and I decided we wanted Italian food for dinner. We went to a chain restaurant whose specialty was Italian food. When we entered, the receptionist asked, "How many?" I replied, "Two for non-smoking."
She immediately took us into a side room where there was one other couple eating. They were sitting in a booth against the wall. The receptionist seated us at a table right inside the door.
"Could we have a booth?" I asked.
"No," she responded. "We don't have any servers for the booths."
"What about in the other sections?" I asked.
"No," she answered.
"What about in the smoking section?" I asked, getting angry.
"Nope, I just checked. None there," she said.
"Well, how about putting us in the booth next to that couple and then the waitress serving them could serve us?" I asked, keeping my temper in check.
"No, that booth belongs to another server," she said.
"But you said the server wasn't here," I stated.
"He isn't, but he will be here at five thirty, and that is his booth," she said, as if it were all very logical.
It was now five after five and I didn't want to wait for twenty-five minutes, so I did what I should have done from the start. I asked to speak to the manager.
The receptionist left, came back in a short time, and said, "He will be here in a little bit."
Meanwhile, the waitress who was waiting on the couple in the booth came up and asked what the problem was. I explained the whole situation to her. "I can serve you," she said. "Go ahead and take the booth."
When we were seated, I told her, "I still would like to talk to the manager."
Now, I appreciated the manager coming over and agreeing with me, but what happened to making the customer feel better about the inconvenience? He didn't actually apologize to us. He didn't offer to give us a free meal or even a free beverage. It was just okay, I agree, and then he was gone.
In this world of much competition you would think businesses would try to please the customers, but sadly most do not. It is mostly just a "come on in and pay your money" concept. Have a good time and don't ask for anything special or, even in some cases, ordinary courtesy. And as long as we put up with it and keep frequenting places of this type, this situation is only going to get worse.
Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is the married father of two sons and the proud grandparent of a boy and a girl.
He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have also been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.
and be sure to visit his excellent web site: jackiekcooper.com.
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