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Mar 21, 2014 07:36 AM

Small things I can't stand at chains or other......

Had to meet someone for lunch yesterday he suggested a TGIF as the meeting place. It was his call so I agreed. This is how my dipping "sauce" arrived. How long would you estimate that had to be sitting for the film to form? Does the runner not check the plate before serving? Ugghhhh

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  1. for now, here are a couple of things i can't stand, i'm sure that i'll think of some more later:

    1) attempts at upselling.
    really, i can see that you sell desserts and starters.
    truly, i don't need or want a "reminder" to order coffee.
    what next? are you going to remind me to wear my jacket when it is cold out?

    2) ridiculous things written on the charge slip like little smiley faces, or a "thank you!!!" or ANYTHING else.
    the charge slip is NOT a place for you to try to bond with me after the meal is over.

    3) crouching when talking with me so that our faces are at the same level.
    this is not a preschool. i am not 2 years old. it's just so WEIRD. normal adults DON'T DO THIS WITH OTHER ADULTS. it is STRANGE.

    4) touching me
    you are NOT my friend. do NOT feel that it is ok for you to physically touch me in the normal course of taking my order.

    these kind of behaviors so turn me off that i will avoid any establishment at which they are practiced.
    i like my servers to behave with a little bit of dignity.

    fortunately for me, there seems to be a positive correlation with these sorts of server behavior and lousy food. . . . .

    14 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      I cannot possibly imagine being angered by someone thanking you for visiting a restaurant.

      Nor can I imagine being angered by someone getting down low so they can hear you better in a noisy restaurant.

      Nor can I imagine being angered by someone asking me if I want dessert or coffee at the end of my meal. Matter of fact, I can't remember going to any restaurant, ever, that didn't ask me if I wanted dessert.

      1. re: Boston_Otter

        asking if i'd like dessert is one thing,
        trying to sell me on dessert by giving me an unrequested recitation/description of all of the dessert offerings and a testimonial about how awsome/fabulous each one is, is, completely uncalled for.

        asking if i'd like anything else is one thing.
        going through the litany of exactly what "anything else" could be is another.

        it is simply an obvious attempt to upsell.

        1. re: westsidegal

          I think that it's part of the server's job to tell you what's being offered for dessert, and I always appreciate knowing what's available -- and especially their opinions on what's worth ordering.

          If you specifically say "I don't want dessert," and they insist on running through the menu anyway, that's poor service. But I've never had that happen anywhere.

          1. re: westsidegal

            I have to agree - "Will we be having dessert?" "No thank you, I couldn't eat another bite." "Are you sure? There's the chocolate...blah blah blah."

            Also the faux-sneaky upsell - "Have we decided on an appetizer?" No "we" haven't. We are not ordering an appetizer.

            I hate the upsell more than anything. Offer once, fine. Then leave it alone.

            1. re: NonnieMuss

              NonnieMuss: your appetizer example is called the "assumptive close" technique: they start out "assuming" that you are going to buy an appetizer and by doing so, put you in an uncomfortable position of having to refuse.

              some consultant probably sold the chain on the idea of forcing their servers to use this disgusting technique.

            2. re: westsidegal

              This bugs me as well. Also there are times when it is clear you have ordered what you want, period.

              For example, on rare occasions I stop at the Panda for quick take-out "Chinese" food. This is a case where everything on offer is out there like a buffet for all to see. I say what I want and anyone paying attention would realize that I am done with ordering what I want. At literally every "station" in the line I'm asked "egg rolls, pot stickers, <etc>?"; and then "drink, soda, bottled water?" NO!

              I get it that the empoyees at the establishment are required to do this, so I do not blame them. But it is a huge turn-off.

              I actually quit a waitstaff job at a regional East coast chain many years ago because the corporate parent really pressured its employees to "suggestively sell." The budding foodie in me simply could not find enough things on the menu I could recommend! (Also, this was early days of sous vide, and the chain made a lot of stuff at a central kitchen which it then delivered to restaurants. When customers asked for even the most trivial and minor modifications, we'd embarassingly have to say that it couldn't be done, and struggled with avoiding having to admit the food was boil-in-a-bag.)

              1. re: westsidegal

                We were at an Olive Garden once where they were RELENTLESSLY pushing the wine from the moment we walked in. Surprising since this is the Deep South where there are a good number of religious types even in this day and age who frown on such things. I'm not one of those but I am a grumpy person and finally I said "Look, I am a recovering ALCOHOLIC and I'd appreciate it if you would stop trying to get me to drink alcohol!" The look on that girl's face was priceless and we didn't hear another word about buying their damn wine!

                1. re: Bliss149

                  Maybe they realized customers who drank were less likely to notice food quality.....!

              2. re: Boston_Otter

                I echo Boston_otter here.

                I have been in customer service professions, in one way or another, on and off throughout my life. It is my opinion that there is a substantial minority of people who enter a customer situation expecting, looking, and actually HOPING to be ticked off about something. While I enjoy much of what I read on Chowhound, my time on this site has borne out this opinion.

                A substantial number of threads on this site include over-the-top statements of anger or disgust entirely out of proportion to the matter being commented upon.

                Items 2 and 3 in this case say more about the complainer than the restaurant.

                1. re: Boston_Otter

                  Oh gotta love it when they try to force you to buy dessert "are you sure? We have ..."

                2. re: westsidegal

                  ...OR, WSG, those things put me into the mood where the food tastes even worse than it really is. Good set of observations.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    I'll go with numbers 1 and 4. Smiley faces and getting closer to hear me in a loud setting are not bothersome.

                    Upselling, especially when done so sloppily that you know chef has over-prepped and needs to move out yesterday's fish ASAP is an annoyance. You want the duck. Eyes roll. "You must try the fish." No...I was really...

                    Also, being shoulder-embraced by an impatient, hip-swishing waiter who thinks I've taken too much of his time deciding what to order is an affront, especially when staccato tapping his pencil on his tablet and whispering "I'm waiting! I'm WAITING!!!"
                    (FYI Philly Hounds: that happened at "two chimneys.")

                    1. Hahaha Ewww. I would have just asked for a new sauce

                      Here are a few of mine.

                      1. Asking for a sauce that was supposed to be included in the meal and not getting it. Only to have the server come back with a thimble full of it.

                      2. Asking if you've been here before and when you say yes, they still go through the first timers spiel.

                      3. I've noticed recently that wing places will not give celery and dressing unless you ask for it. Plus they charge for it separate. I just want my buffalo wings they way they were intended to be.

                      4. A charge on the bill for the higher cost of health care which they are passing on to the customer. Yes this really has happened.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                        If in San Francisco, the health care surcharge is legally mandated. Whether it actually goes for employee health care or gets skimmed by management is another issue.

                        1. re: mwhitmore

                          We just had an issue down here in Orlando Florida with a franchise. One franchise owner has decided to charge another one in the area isn't. It has created quite the confusion. and the charge is not the norm here in Florida.

                        2. re: Sandwich_Sister

                          Health Care surcharge?
                          Are you serious???

                          What other business expenses do these owners explicitly pass on to their customers?

                          If there is a rise in the cost of TP or hand soap is that cost advertised and passed on to the consumer as well? Good grief.

                          No wonder I prefer t cook at home.

                          1. re: pedalfaster

                            The few that do it here, it never turns out well for them. People stop going and consider it political issue that the owner is mad about.

                            It just doesn't work.

                            1. re: pedalfaster

                              Well, several of the companies that "serve" me tack on a fuel-surcharge. And lovely Waste Management has such a hard time processing my check they charge me an 'administrative fee', since I don't pay electronically

                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                Hey, FCF ... if you're talking about Allied, and if you're paying more than $72/quarterly, we should talk.

                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  No.it was Waste Mnmgt......who just today took over yet another of the remaining local companies.so I suspect soon I'll be up in the stratosphere

                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                    Pretty soon there will be just one company doing trash pickup for the entire area. The reason for my comment, though, was because I recently spoke with a neighbor of mine who had been paying $164 for the exact same pick up service, from the same company, as I pay $72 for. A quick phone call and she got the $72 rate, too.

                            2. re: Sandwich_Sister

                              O hate when you ha e to ask for any item that should had come with your meal. And for what ever crappy excuse you get it when your done or almost done eating and they expect or think that you would be happy. Al's if you do say something about how long it took. Then they will try to make you feel as it us your fault. And the manager does the same too.

                              1. re: whoeverdroid

                                Well that's when it's time to scratch that place off your list of possibly returning to.

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  Dine along with Joe's crab(or crap) shack took an hour and a half to vet food after ordering they blamed it on a large party

                            3. That photo really just makes me wonder if that "food" is actually safe to eat..... Looks way too much like melted plastic to me.

                              Personally i can't tolerate waitstaff that lies to me. I often have questions about the menu due to dietary restrictions and have had waitstaff tell me what they think the "right" answer is, and then i find out they did not give me accurate information. Go ask someone in the kitchen!! Don't just make up shit because you *think* you know the answer!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                Just a FYI that was from lunch on Thurs the 20th and I'm still alive and kicking! So I guess it was safe to eat, although very dissapointing.

                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                  My first visit in1976 to the new Red Lobster in NE Philly had even less appeal. I saw fresh Blue Point oysters as an app and ordered them. They arrived as little shriveled filaments more akin to wood ear mushrooms than oysters - obviously shucked and chilled on the half-shell days ago. I sent them back with my 19-year-old waitress' retort being: "Well, I don't eat them slimy things and I don't know what thems s'posed to look like."
                                  I say first visit as, in 1996, my dear old Dad wanted to go to the lobster fest, and I relented. That was THE last.

                                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                                    i recently was at a Red Lobster for the first time; it was for
                                    lunch and I ordered the wood grilled shrimp tacos (3).
                                    I was AMAZED to find it was pretty good, with a couple of really good accompaniments @$7.95

                                    1. re: VenusCafe

                                      I actually love the fish tacos at Ruby Tuesday!
                                      Fish tacos + salad bar is $9.99.

                                      You can't beat it!

                                2. Hardly a halcyon surface. Small craft warnings should be in effect.
                                  But I used to eat pudding skin.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    Pudding skin is a delicacy my friend.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      as is the skin on any dish with sauce/gravy that's been sitting for a while

                                  2. That definitely looks like sauce that's been sitting under the salamander for awhile while the other tables' dishes were being finished. Not pretty! But about what I'd expect at TGIF.

                                    What do I hate?
                                    - Poorly managed waitstaff. There's nothing more frustrating for people waiting a half-hour to be seated than being able to see an entire section of the restaurant empty, with tables totally unused, because the server for that area is on break, called in sick, whatever.
                                    - Fake "specials". Try our new $9.99 steak! (fine print: it's a 5 oz. steak with no side dishes. For $15 bucks you can get an 8oz steak with a side and a freakin' lobster tail but we hope you don't do the math.)
                                    - Increasingly insane cocktail prices. Now that 'craft cocktails' are all the rage, it's become common to see drinks like manhattans for $10-14 at chains.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                                      Learned years ago, Specials are not very special.

                                      1. re: treb

                                        Special means " need to get rid of"

                                        1. re: whoeverdroid

                                          That's what I use to tell my mom about my brother.

                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                            And I bet that didn't work. And mom said then "who will take out the trash"

                                            1. re: whoeverdroid

                                              That's what my brother would say when Mom told him to take me outside to play.