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Emeril's : not very friendly... (moved from Florida board)

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sugarcube May 22, 2008 04:22 PM

My family and I decided to try Emeril's restaurant at the CityWalk location in Universal Studios.

Mom and sis had chilean sea bass, and dad the pork chop (suggested by the waiter to be cooked medium)--- although we ended agreeing that it was a bit dry. The sauce saved it. I had the andouille encrusted red fish. The crust leaned towards the dry side and fishy tasting in some areas.
While my mom and sister had 'hits' my dad's and mine were 'misses'.
In addition the service- which started off superbly, ended on a sour note.

Here is what happened (in her words):
"Overall, our dining experience was pleasant, and service was professional. However, one particular waiter named George, ruined our evening by being very rude to me. My family was celebrating my sister's graduation, so I pulled George aside and asked him if he planned on doing anything special for her. He stared me in the face and bluntly responded, "No." I waited several moments to see if he was making a joke, but this expectation proved very wrong. Up until this point, he had been friendly to me in front of the rest of my family members, so his rude and dismissive response shocked and made me extremely uncomfortable. Prior to this, I had made the same request to another waiter, who acquiesced; however, no celebration occurred, which is why I approached George. I cannot fathom why George would treat me in such a poor, unprofessional manner. But just because I am the youngest in my family and am not the one paying the bill, does not mean I do not deserve fair and equal treatment just like every other patron at Emeril's. I came into Emeril's with high expectations for such a reputable restaurant, but was extremely disappointed. I hope that in the future, you ensure that all your staff is trained properly to respect every guest dining at Emeril's. I look forward to hearing your response soon."

Caine, the assistant manager, requested we contact him upon our return to Florida. I hope that when we do, the service will be friendly and respectable to all members of my family.

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  1. m
    matt21sz RE: sugarcube May 22, 2008 11:18 PM

    At the risk of sounding like an ass here....why would George be aware of, and planning something for, your sister's graduation? If I'm looking for something "extra" from my experience at a restaurant, I let the staff know ahead of time. Perhaps there are some necessary tidbits of info missing from your description of the evening...but if I don't notify the staff of my wishes before the meal, I don't want them assuming what I want and don't want throughout the course of the evening.

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    1. re: matt21sz
      Richard 16 RE: matt21sz May 23, 2008 12:01 AM

      It's the attitude that makes the difference, at least that's what I get from sugarcube's post. I've certainly been to at least one restaurant I can think of that doesn't celebrate birthdays. But to be answered with a simple cold "no", being rude sand dismissive, is, well, rude. How hard is it to recogize that not every customer is aware of the restaurant's policy?

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      1. re: matt21sz
        karmalaw RE: matt21sz May 23, 2008 05:17 AM

        I'm with you on this one Matt21sz-- exactly what should the server have been planning to do "special"? It's more of a question of was something "special" ordered in advance and not received?

        I also think asking the server what he was going to do "special" borders on the rude. If nothing was ordered in advance, the question sounds of "what are you going to do free for us?" (sorry, but I don't think restaurants owe people free anything just because it's a birthday or other celebration -- if they CHOOSE to do something for a customer, it should be just that -- a choice -- not an obligation). The "He stared me in the face and bluntly responded, "No."" response, while not a sugar-coated response, doesn't seem so horrible to me: you asked for some undefined, non-pre-arranged "special celebration" and couched it in the manner of "what are you going to do?". There's a large difference between "what are you going to do for my sister's special day" and "it's my sister's graduation, may we order a special dessert for the table?".

        I think those horrid places with the sparklers and hand-clapping troupes of chanting/singing servers have skewed people's perceptions of what should be expected in a good restaurant.

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        1. re: karmalaw
          crazyspice RE: karmalaw May 23, 2008 05:35 AM

          Well said! I do not believe there is anything I can add to your comments.

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          1. re: crazyspice
            rockandroller1 RE: crazyspice May 23, 2008 08:38 AM

            ditto crazyspice. I echo karmalaw's post 100%. Why didn't you just go up to him and say, "What are you going to give us for free?"

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          2. re: karmalaw
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            dolores RE: karmalaw May 23, 2008 08:31 AM

            >>I'm with you on this one Matt21sz-- exactly what should the server have been planning to do "special"?

            Asked sugarcube what he could do to make the occasion more special, given the limitations of not being notified in advance.

            The guy was a jerk.

            sugarcube, I hope you tipped him 0%.

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            1. re: karmalaw
              sugarcube RE: karmalaw May 23, 2008 06:44 PM

              to clarify: we were served by three people (they told us it would be like that)
              my sister told one of them that it was my graduation and he said that he would do something to commemorate the milestone. this waiter then informed George, and he went over to me (at the beginning of the evening) and even said 'so i hear you just graduated... congratulations'
              then
              when my sister posed the question ("are you going to do something...") to George after entrees were served, it was then that he coldly said 'no'. We weren't expecting freebees/ something for free', we've been to enough dining establishments to realise that the cost is added to the bill HOWEVER this is not the point... it is about the rude and cold attitude George had toward my sister.

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              1. re: sugarcube
                pikawicca RE: sugarcube May 23, 2008 06:54 PM

                Would you please spell out what you were expecting? I just don't get it.

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                1. re: pikawicca
                  karmalaw RE: pikawicca May 23, 2008 08:42 PM

                  Exactly --there were congratulations by the wait staff -- what else were you expecting that they were specifically asked to do?

                  If there wasn't an item called "commemoration" on the menu, then someone needed to ask for something more tangible than "commemoration".

                  If you wouldn't merely reply "something" when a server came to take your order, then why assume that requesting "something" for a "commemoration" was going to bring anyone what they wanted?

                  I'd be cranky too if people expected me to serve them things but failed to specify what they wanted.

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                2. re: sugarcube
                  susancinsf RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 08:31 AM

                  huh? He DID do something! He came over and offered warm congratulations.....when you then asked if he was going to do something after he already HAD marked the occaison, I am pretty sure that he thought you were asking for a freebie.

                  And really, whether you realize it or not, you were asking for a freebie(IMO). Your sister didn't ask, 'Can we arrange something special?." she asked 'Are you going to do something?'. Regardless of your intent, I think, given that he had already done something, George thought you were asking for something for free. With good reason.

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                  1. re: sugarcube
                    Miss Needle RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 09:25 AM

                    Ok. In light of this new info, whether or not your sister was asking for a freebie (and from George's perspective, it kind of sounds like she was), I can understand why George got into a snippy mood, but should have kept his feelings to himself. He should have just kept a big plastic smile on his face and handled the situation in a more professional and graceful manner.

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                    1. re: Miss Needle
                      sugarcube RE: Miss Needle May 24, 2008 01:43 PM

                      thank Miss Needle, regardless of 'free food' or not, it was not the point of my sharing the story.

                      "He should have just kept a big plastic smile on his face and handled the situation in a more professional and graceful manner."

                      It was his unprofessionalism and cold answer. ...and i realise that different restaurants operate differently, some may want to give you i.e. dessert for your celebration and others not (and i respect that). if emerils lies with the latter, rather than coldly say 'no' the waiter simply could have just told us so. getting something (at our expense or theirs) or not is not the point. we even were offered by Caine a sort of meal compensation for our troubles but we declined because it wasn't about that, it was about getting spoken to in a harsh manner-- and to not have it happen again.

                      and in response to 'why didn't you book in advance' the story behind that is, it was our last day in Florida and we wanted to end with a nice meal. We saw Emeril's and gave it a try and since my recent graduation lingered in my family's minds, they kindly wanted to celebrate.. but i had no idea we'd be under fire for a request.

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                      1. re: sugarcube
                        ccbweb RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 02:15 PM

                        Oh come on now, you weren't under fire. A waiter gave an answer that someone found too curt. Ok, that's a fair thing to think "hey, that wasn't so polite" about. But that's it. Show up at a restaurant, no reservation, ask for some sort of "celebration" out of the blue without specifying what you might like that to be, have otherwise "superb" service and the assistant manager attempt to rectify the too curt response by someone else....and out of all of that, somehow the whole place isn't friendly and you're extremely disappointed?

                        This is a mole hill.

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                        1. re: sugarcube
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                          dolores RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 02:55 PM

                          >>It was his unprofessionalism and cold answer. ...and i realise that different restaurants operate differently, some may want to give you i.e. dessert for your celebration and others not (and i respect that).

                          Of course you're right. I would reacted in exactly the same way.

                          The guy was a jerk.

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                          1. re: sugarcube
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                            Rick RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 07:45 PM

                            Since when is "no" harsh? Responding to your request with a "yeah right" or "are you kidding" would have been harsh, but not "no."

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                      2. re: karmalaw
                        EWSflash RE: karmalaw May 25, 2008 12:25 PM

                        You got it- what if it was the waiter's birthday? What were you going to do for him?

                        They owe you abso-effing-lutely nothing in that regard. How did he even know you were telling the truth? Do you think waiting tables is such an easy job that the staff just sits around waiting for a customer to celebrate something so they can reach into their bag of freebies and give something away or sing a song?

                        I go way out of my way to avoid restaurants that do that kind of crap. If you want that kind of absurd spectacle, go to a place that is famous for it.

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                      cavandre RE: sugarcube May 23, 2008 05:40 AM

                      I'm on the restaurant's side on this one.

                      To blind side a waiter like this (in effect, demanding a freebie of some sort), in a restaurant (I'm assuming) they've never eaten at before & then calling down the management on him (while admitting that prior to this the service was "professional") is beyond rude in my opinion. I just hope the waiter doesn't get in any trouble. No mention was made of how busy the restaurant was at the time. Imagine a full house, the waiter is doing all he/she can to keep everyone served & then you get hit with this request out of left field. Now you have 2 seconds to respond!

                      The one time I've eaten at Emeril's, I found the service to be both professional & personable.

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                      1. re: cavandre
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                        LargeLife RE: cavandre May 23, 2008 05:54 AM

                        Sorry to pile on....But these folks are right!!......Going to Emeril's and expecting the wait staff to perform this kind of function without prior notice borders on inane....Emeril's is a fine dining establishment....I've dined at that particular location 4 times and each time was nothing less than oustanding.....If you were expecting the staff to put on a show....this isn't the place for that.....You're looking for that to happen at Chili's...Outback Steakhouse.....Tony Roma's....Perkins....The Clock....The Waffle House.....Bob Evans...etc., etc.......

                        EMac

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                      2. CFByrne RE: sugarcube May 23, 2008 06:07 AM

                        Then there is the simple logical problem with this post...

                        1) "I asked him if he planned on doing anything special"

                        2) "I deserve fair and equal treatment just like every other patron"

                        Which is it?

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                        1. re: CFByrne
                          Richard 16 RE: CFByrne May 23, 2008 12:10 PM

                          I don't see a logical problem, but perhaps sugarcube can help us out.

                          I'm guessing that "But just because I am the youngest in my family and am not the one paying the bill, does not mean I do not deserve fair and equal treatment just like every other patron at Emeril's." refers to attitude, not restaurant policy. Obviously we were not there, but a simple & polite response may have made all the difference.

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                          1. re: Richard 16
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                            dolores RE: Richard 16 May 23, 2008 12:23 PM

                            >>but a simple & polite response may have made all the difference.

                            That was my impression.

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                        2. Miss Needle RE: sugarcube May 23, 2008 08:25 AM

                          What type of arrangement did you make with the other waiter -- have a cake be brought out? Have the staff sing "She's a jolly good fellow?" Sounds like there was a miscommunication between that waiter and George and George never was aware of any celebration planned. He probably thought you were somebody who felt a sense of entitlement that because this was your sister's graduation that you guys were expecting a freebie or special treatment. And I'm sure George gets asked his quite often because it seems like a lot of people want something for nothing. But even if you were looking for a freebie (and it sounds like that wasn't the case), George should not have spoken to you or your sister (who are we talking about here? your post is a bit confusing) in that manner. Sorry you guys had to experience that. As a waiter, no matter how ridiculous a request may sound or how obnoxious a customer is, he or she needs to be polite to all of the customers, paying or not. But I don't think it really sounds like an age thing. I do think it's miscommunication.

                          And I haven't been to the Emeril's in Universal, but his one in Miami Beach really sucked. Service was fine, though. And the service and food at his New Orleans one was fine.

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                          1. re: Miss Needle
                            Axalady RE: Miss Needle May 23, 2008 12:13 PM

                            Sorry Sugarcube, but I'm with those who wonder exactly what you were expecting George/the restaurant to do. Free cake? Singing? I think that his blunt "no" should have been followed up with an explanation from him as to why. I don't think his disrespect was in any way due to your age. I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill and this is a classic example of a knee-jerk reaction. Ultimately it was up to you, or your mother or father to request something "special" be done at the time your reservation was made.

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                            1. re: Axalady
                              Midlife RE: Axalady May 23, 2008 01:44 PM

                              I'd agree with Miss Needle and Axalady on the principle that the restaurant should not be 'expected' to do anything in this situation unless it was arranged ahead of time. However.......... taking Sugarcube at face value, (and not having enough info to know how the exchange actually 'felt' as confrontational is it reads) I would have hoped that George might have said something more like: "I'm sorry. I wasn't aware that you had requested a celebration.[And depending on policy] It isn't our policy to provide something gratis, but I'd be happy to do add a dessert to your bill and/or do whatever we can at this point". Even if Sugarcube was out of line and showed some attitude, the server should always maintain control and be polite.

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                          2. m
                            madisoneats RE: sugarcube May 23, 2008 02:24 PM

                            "Prior to this, I had made the same request to another waiter, who acquiesced; however, no celebration occurred "
                            What kind of celebration did you expect?

                            I don't know-- maybe this should have been a clue that it wasnt that kind of a place???
                            As I see it-- unless you called in advance-- mistake was yours.

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                            1. re: madisoneats
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                              marcia RE: madisoneats May 23, 2008 05:08 PM

                              I would love to hear a tape of the conversation. Often what is written is not the way it's spoken--IOW perhaps the writer was a tad demanding when approaching George? We'll never know, but I spent a few years with someone whose interaction with waitstaff was never less than respectful and polite should one just read a transcription of their conversation. However, his condescension, by way of body language and tone of voice, came across loud and clear in person.

                              Not saying that's the case here, but food for thought, so to speak.

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                              gloriousfood RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 05:56 AM

                              sugarcube, it sounds like there was a miscommunication and both sides--including yours--could have handled the situation better. I hope George did not lose his job over something like this. And I hope that service at any restaurant would be "friendly and respectable'' to everyone, not just members of your family.

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                                BN1 RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 09:42 AM

                                Sometimes it goes the other way to create a lasting memory and goodwill. We were staying at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington in Pasadena when my daughter graduated from college. My wife and daughter wanted to have tea to celebrate but it was fully booked. However, when my wife expressed disappointment because of the special day, the staff made room and invited them to come. During the tea, they were surprised by the plate below for my daughter from the chef and staff.

                                 
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                                  Bite Me RE: BN1 May 24, 2008 11:12 PM

                                  That was lovely. I am glad that you had the picture.

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                                2. m
                                  mpalmer6c RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 10:00 AM

                                  Is something missing here? What is meant by "something special"? A mariachi band at the table? A cake? A serenade by singing waiters? And what's so rude about the word "no"?

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                                  1. re: mpalmer6c
                                    Catskillgirl RE: mpalmer6c May 24, 2008 10:41 AM

                                    LOL! I have to agree - if you wanted something special after dinner, it really needed to be arranged prior to your arrival! The first waiter who "acquiesced" was probably taken aback, as was poor George. The both reacted poorly, could have been a bit warmer, but honestly the error was with you, not with them!

                                    "Pulling George aside" wasn't very smooth, was it? And yes, especially since you weren't the host of the affair.

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                                  2. r
                                    Rick RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 11:39 AM

                                    Sounds like a young kid wanted to act like a big shot and make something happen for this celebration and after being shut down, he no longer felt like a big shot and blamed the waiter for being rude rather than realizing how rude he was being in asking for something special. I've been to the restaurant in question and had absolutely no problems with the service.

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                                    1. re: Rick
                                      rockandroller1 RE: Rick May 24, 2008 02:00 PM

                                      And I know it's no defense, but when you work in a place like this, and I have, there are a steady stream of people who expect, demand and ask for freebies, particularly free cake because it's somebody's "whatever" (birthday, anniversary, more than likely it isn't even really a special occasion, they just want the FREE CAKE) you get tired of it after the 800th freebie request of the night and it's about all one can do to struggle out the word "no," possibly behind clenched teeth because you're sick of everyone asking for something for nothing. It's not the olive garden for God's sake. 99% of the time you CAN keep the plastic smile on your face, but waitstaff are humans, not robots, and nobody is perfect 100% of the time.

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                                      1. re: Rick
                                        Richard 16 RE: Rick May 24, 2008 02:25 PM

                                        Geez oh Pete! She was relating a story about a poor attitude! The assumptions some of you posters are making regarding the circumstances are, well, silly.

                                        I was a waiter for years and years, including at a four star restaurant. It is a service profession, and if you can't keep your cool and smile and suck it up (in the front of the house, anyway) then you (the hypothtical "you", BTW) should consider another line of work.

                                        I read nothing in the post that shows she had a bad attitude. Maybe she did -- we'll never know. I read nothing in the post that indicates she wanted a freebie. Maybe she did -- we'll never know. I read nothing in the post that indicated she expected the waitstaff to drop everything and come running with gongs and whistles to scream out a tacky song. Maybe she did -- we'll never know.

                                        Sure, cheaper place are more likely to publically celebrate. Doesn't make them bad. And even the four star restaurant had a small birthday cake -- paid for by the customer -- either ordered in advance or, if they had more (they usually did, just in case), for unplanned celebrations. And I've worked places that didn't.

                                        Attitude, attitude, attitude. Most servers have good attitudes, at least publically, but I've certainly worked with those that didn't. From her angle pulling George aside - rather than being nasty in public - was not only smooth but appropriate.

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                                        1. re: Richard 16
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                                          Rick RE: Richard 16 May 24, 2008 07:40 PM

                                          Richard, are you sure you read the some post the rest of us did?

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                                          1. re: Rick
                                            Richard 16 RE: Rick May 24, 2008 07:57 PM

                                            Well, I read the OP and her follow-up. Presuming ya'll did too, the answer is yes.

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                                      2. nofunlatte RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 02:15 PM

                                        I would LOVE to hear George's version of this tale. Seems to me that it might not be so melodramatic.

                                        Perhaps Emeril's should keep a stack of lollipops to hand out for "special occasions". My dad's bank handed out lollipops to the kids whenever we accompanied him for check-cashing on Fridays.

                                        I hope the waiter didn't lose his job over something this silly.

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                                        1. Withnail42 RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 03:24 PM

                                          There's nothing to this. The more the OP makes the case the weaker it gets right down for the reason for no booking. If it was your last day wouldn't that be a reason to book a big night out and not show up randomly?

                                          Like the vast majority here just was were you expecting the waiter to do. you asked him to do something in the middle of the meal (and perhaps a busy service)? "Hey give us something!!!!!!!!!!." Then have the nerve to get the manager involved when your bu**s are kissed quick enough.

                                          Sounds like the real problem here is you were told no. The tone had nothing to do with it. You just didn't get the awnser you wanted.

                                          Look at it this way; Now you know how to go and do things properly next time.

                                          I feel sorry for George.

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                                            Lizard RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 04:19 PM

                                            'So I pulled George aside and asked if he planned on doing anything special for her'

                                            Yeah, I fall on the side of those who dn't understand the upset.

                                            The story suggests a demand and an assumption that the waiter is prepared to dole out freebies and whatever else. That the waiter seemed taken aback might appear rude, but seems nothing more than shock to me, and an honest answer. Had your sister asked for action, that would be one thing-- but you all asked if he had anything planned. Why would that be the case?

                                            I dont' know. I just don't see the insult here. But maybe that's just me and the others who have also responded,

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                                            1. Midlife RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 08:22 PM

                                              At the risk of beating this to death....

                                              here's a quote form sugarcube's second post:
                                              "my sister told one of them that it was my graduation and HE SAID HE WOULD DO SOMETHING to commemorate the milestone. this waiter then informed George, and he went over to me (at the beginning of the evening) and even said 'so i hear you just graduated... congratulations'

                                              I missed that earlier. Clearly her sister had 'arranged' for something with one of the original servers to commemorate the occasion (which, in any restaurant, would me more than a "so I hear you just graduated"). That server had told her it would be done. When George took over as the key server she assumed he had been told about that plan and was taken aback by his brusque refusal. I think I would have been as well.

                                              This isn't about whether they were looking for a freebie. A server agreed to do "something". Free or not isn't the issue. Whenever I arrange for a special commemorative dessert I never assume it's free, and there's nothing in the posts that suggests these folks were assuming that. It was simply about something that had been agreed to not being done, and with no explanation given.

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                                              1. re: Midlife
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                                                dolores RE: Midlife May 25, 2008 03:01 AM

                                                Exactly. A 'no, I'm sorry we can't' would have been acceptable.

                                                The guy was a jerk.

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                                                1. re: Midlife
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                                                  gloriousfood RE: Midlife May 25, 2008 07:37 AM

                                                  "my sister told one of them that it was my graduation and HE SAID HE WOULD DO SOMETHING to commemorate the milestone. this waiter then informed George, and he went over to me (at the beginning of the evening) and even said 'so i hear you just graduated... congratulations'

                                                  Maybe that IS what the waiter did to "commemorate" the event. Maybe he felt that was enough--a simple acknowledgement. I mean, come on, if you're not going to get more specific about what you would like, is the waiter now supposed to be a mind reader and an event planner as well?

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                                                  1. re: gloriousfood
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                                                    dolores RE: gloriousfood May 25, 2008 08:22 AM

                                                    Then George could have pointed out, 'I'm sorry, no, I offered my congratulations and anymore than that we cannot do'. Rather than 'no'.

                                                    George was a jerk.

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                                                    1. re: dolores
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                                                      gloriousfood RE: dolores May 25, 2008 12:00 PM

                                                      Poor, poor George...not only does he have to be an event planner, a mind reader, but now, a speech writer for himself as well (be perfect on the first try! No mistakes for you, server boy!).

                                                      I respectfully disagree with you. I don't think George is a "jerk" any more than I think the OP or her sister was a jerk for requesting what they did. Sounds like a case of simple miscommunication, although, as we can see, there is really no such thing as a "simple" miscommunication.

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                                                      1. re: gloriousfood
                                                        Richard 16 RE: gloriousfood May 25, 2008 12:20 PM

                                                        All George had to be was polite. It's part of the job.

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                                                        1. re: Richard 16
                                                          Withnail42 RE: Richard 16 May 25, 2008 04:22 PM

                                                          Given the OP's own apparent lack of social graces it is hard to gage just how the 'no' was delivered when she asked/demanded half way through the meal for 'something.'

                                                          Again it sounds like the OP didn't like the awnser she got.

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                                                  Saddleoflamb RE: sugarcube May 24, 2008 08:48 PM

                                                  I do not want waiters to aquiesce,,,,I want them to accommodate......what were we expecting....Pomp and Circumstance revisited,,,....troubadours, midget jugglers....

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                                                  1. re: Saddleoflamb
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                                                    birgator RE: Saddleoflamb May 24, 2008 09:05 PM

                                                    Besides all of which, it really wasn't a graduation dinner and nothing to indicate to waitstaff that it was other than a pleasant last night on a Florida vacation with an acknowledgment that one of the party had recently graduated. Sorry, if someone came up to me and asked "so, are you going to do something for my sister," I believe my answer would have been "no" as well -- particularly if this was not the "head of the table" making the request. So, mental note to fellow chowhounds, don't sit at birgator's table.

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                                                    1. re: birgator
                                                      Richard 16 RE: birgator May 24, 2008 10:46 PM

                                                      The assumptions some of you are making seem to have you creating an entire scenario that is simply not in the post.

                                                      One example: (This is in quotes, as if it -- and the attitude implied with it -- are directly from the post)

                                                      "so, are you going to do something for my sister," was posted, but was not was written in the post.

                                                      "My family was celebrating my sister's graduation, so I pulled George aside and asked him if he planned on doing anything special for her."

                                                      … is what is there. This is after another waiter had "acquiesced".

                                                      This seems pretty straightforward --
                                                      1) The sister asked a waiter if a "celebration" (and we don't know what specifically was requested) could be held, and a waiter apparently "acquiesced". At this point it would be logical to have expected something -- we don't know what -- to occur.
                                                      2) Nothing occurred, so she asked their waiter. Seems appropriate.
                                                      3) Instead of expressing his ignorance of the previous waiter's answer, and/or explaining restaurant policy, he chooses to cop an attitude..

                                                      We know nothing about her attitude when she asked, and to be frank it means little in terms of how the waiter responded. He needs to learn how to say "no" to requests that can't be met. He needs to learn how to fake sincerity...

                                                      All of this is based on the OP. It is entirely possible a different scenario occurred, but there is nothing in the post to indicate that the sister had any of the bad attitude and/or expectations some of you seem to assume happened.

                                                      So, sugarcube, given other people’s positive experiences – if the opportunity occurs, you may want to give the place another try. And wish the graduate “good luck” from me!

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                                                      1. re: Richard 16
                                                        karmalaw RE: Richard 16 May 25, 2008 01:24 AM

                                                        "so I pulled George aside and asked him if he planned on doing anything special for her."

                                                        we've had over 40 posts and all we know is George was asked "if he planned on doing anything special".

                                                        If the original poster can't tell us by now what was specifically asked for and not received, I think we have confirmation that there was definitely a communication problem.

                                                        I reiterate: if you're asking for "anything' or "something" then you have no grounds to complain when the something you get isn't what you expected.

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                                                        1. re: karmalaw
                                                          Richard 16 RE: karmalaw May 25, 2008 12:12 PM

                                                          A polite attitude.

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                                                        2. re: Richard 16
                                                          m
                                                          marcia RE: Richard 16 May 25, 2008 02:05 AM

                                                          In the end, there are three different sides to a story, yours, mine, and the truth. We don't really know what happened. Did the original waiter convey to George that a celebration was expected, or did the OW just mention it to him? As the person below me says, as have others, clearly there was a communication problem.

                                                          I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. And remember, "No" is a complete sentence. You might not like it, might think it's brusque, but nevertheless, it's technically not rude.

                                                          Furthermore, the OP (or her sister) made one assumption herself, and that is she said the reason for the the perceived rudeness was because she was young.

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                                                    2. jfood RE: sugarcube May 25, 2008 05:07 AM

                                                      Add jfood to the list of what were you expecting. You asked a question and received an answer. You did not pre-arrange anything and then expected them to pick up where you did not. If you wanted something "special" then it is up to you to prepare for it.

                                                      OK the restaurant could have placed a candle in you dessert, but they did come over and congratulate you.

                                                      Instead of asking so what are you going to do for me, you should have taken the MOD aside and told him about the graduation, asked him if the servers could sing or put a candle in a dessert or something. But no you asked them to do the planning as well.

                                                      Sorry but your planning should not be a reason to blame the restaurant. You want something for a celebration from a restaurant, call ahead and plan for it. Don;t wait for the last minute and then when the restaurant says "no" (the tone obviously can not come across on the boards) you trash and blame them for doing exactly what you did. Hey, you said no as well.

                                                      sorry

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                                                      1. re: jfood
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                                                        moh RE: jfood May 25, 2008 05:25 AM

                                                        "Instead of asking so what are you going to do for me, you should have taken the MOD aside and told him about the graduation, asked him if the servers could sing or put a candle in a dessert or something."

                                                        I must admit, I'm not sure that Emeril's is the kind of place that waiters sing. I think she would have gotten an even odder response if she had requested that!

                                                        I would also say that I never expect any restaurant to do anything special, regardless of the occasion. Now, they often do, and when a special gesture is offered by a restaurant, be it a candle, a free drink or dessert, or even a kind comment of congratulations, I accept it and I am grateful for it. But I never expect it. I guess that is what makes it special! It doesn't happen every time.

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                                                        1. re: jfood
                                                          Midlife RE: jfood May 25, 2008 12:24 PM

                                                          I usually think you're spot on jfood, but here I think you and many others are parsing things a bit too tightly. In a restaurant, when a party is celebrating a special occasion, the 'standard' participation of the house (unless I've been on a different planet most of my life) ranges from a chorus of song through a candle in a cupcake to a dessert from the menu. Sometimes the dessert is comped, sometimes not. It certainly helps if the house is told in advance of arrival, but I wouldn't think that turns the request into anything really difficult to accomplish.

                                                          I don't think this is about the guest not being specific enough. I think it's simply about one server saying the house would do 'something' and another server not doing it (lack of communication, house policy, two different server interpretations of policy, George not really getting the message that HE was responsible for whatever had been understood between the OP and the original server??).

                                                          In any case, there was a lack of communication on the house side. I would hope that the staff would be sensitive to the fact that a party was expecting 'something' and feel an obligation to, if nothing else, explain what any options might be. It just sounds like nobody took on that task and the guest had to ask again. At the very least, any restaurant could present something for a special occasion even if the guest had to be told it would be on the bill.

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                                                          1. re: Midlife
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                                                            Blueicus RE: Midlife May 25, 2008 01:47 PM

                                                            But this "George" character (according to Sugarcube's clarification) did do something... he personally sent his congratulations to the lady after he was informed of the fact. He was apparently asked again (sometime later that evening) if they were going to do something, upon which time he replied with "no".

                                                            I would think that if I was the waitstaff I would be interpreting in my mind that she expected a freebee or a song or something in which case I really don't think there's any way of saying no that wouldn't be construed as an insult... even if he went on bended knee and apologized (with bitter tears in his eyes) that he couldn't do anything more.

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                                                            1. re: Blueicus
                                                              Midlife RE: Blueicus May 25, 2008 02:18 PM

                                                              I guess we'll just have to disagree. Even if you're right......Unless Emeril's is so high-end a restaurant that it should be known by all that they don't do ANYTHING substantive for a celebration, a server would have had to live under a rock all his life to not get the idea that a group celebrating something would need an explanation of why a quick verbal congrats was all that could be done. At the very least, after Sugarcube approached him, George should have gotten the clue that the original server had raised enough expectation of "something" that a verbal congrats wouldn't be enough.. I just can't buy that stopping by with a quick congrats is what people would think appropriate in 99% of the restaurants in this country. Anybody here know what French Laundry does if someone's celebrating an occasion??

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                                                              1. re: Midlife
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                                                                Fru RE: Midlife May 25, 2008 04:41 PM

                                                                Man, is civility going down the toilet? Many of the responses are nastier than George's "NO". I wasn't there and maybe he was polite but the OP took it the wrong way. It doesn't matter. That being said, it's all in the delivery. Regardless of how the OP asked, part of George's job is to be polite.

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                                                        2. pikawicca RE: sugarcube May 25, 2008 05:01 PM

                                                          I just celebrated my birthday at the best restaurant in town. They knew we were coming, and that it was a special occasion. They provided an extra dessert (for someone who had not ordered one), and the chef brought out my dessert in person, and wished me a "happy birthday." (No candle, thank you.) I was touched and delighted, but would not have been offended if these gestures had not been forthcoming. I did not feel entitled to anything, and what made the experience special was that the chef (Dave Tallent, of Restaurant Tallent, in Bloomington, IN) felt like making the gesture.

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                                                          1. The Chowhound Team RE: sugarcube May 25, 2008 05:28 PM

                                                            Folks, everyone has had a chance to air their views on this one, and the exchanges have gotten a bit too heated for the light, fun focus we like to maintain here, so we're locking the thread.

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