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[personal profile] jamesq
So I'm depressed. I'm not going to get into the why of it, for assorted good, personal, reasons. However, it does inform my mood as the evening approached.

It's Saturday, and I've been a reasonably good boy regarding Weight Watchers. I figured I'd splurge on calories. Looking up places to eat, I find out a new restaurant from the folks who made an earlier favourite of mine.

I get seated immediately, and that's when the waiting started. Five minutes. Ten minutes. My server comes by and finally takes my drink order. Three women come in and are seated at the table next to me. They order their drinks. My drink arrives. They order their food. Fifteen minutes. I silently resolve to leave if their food gets to their table before the server takes my food order. Twenty minutes. Twenty-five minutes. Server comes by and takes my order, walks it to the open kitchen, hands it in, grabs food and delivers it to the table with the three women. Now I'm more angry because I irrationally feel my opportunity to walk out in a snit has been stolen from me.

Did I mention I've been depressed? I get angry and snappy when I'm depressed. Also, I emit lime green energy and start referring to people as "insignificant fools" like a Disney villain.

Here's the thing with the server - It's not like they just vanished. No, they were giving really good service to everyone else in their section. It's like, if they saw that anyone else in their section needed anything at all, that would take priority over me.

I'm not sure why they decided that I was the necessary sacrifice to give everyone else good service. Maybe it was because I was a solo diner. Maybe it was because I was reading a book. Maybe it's because I'm a monster. I can't read their mind, so I don't know. All I do know is that I was singled out.

My food showed up in a reasonable amount of time, relative to my order. My meal was small, but good. Unfortunately, by this time I'm hangry. I wolf the sandwich down, and don't really get an opportunity to enjoy it to its fullest. Eating it does take the edge off my hunger. Under other circumstances, I'd have stuck around and burned a ton of points on carrot cake. Instead, I just wanted out of there.

Naturally, I paid my bill just as the owner showed up, removing the option of a quick getaway. I guess I could have lied to her, but I have a difficult time lying convincingly.
"How was the meal?"
"The food was delicious."
...
"and the service was awful."
Immediately concerned, she asked how. I give the quick version of the above. I get up from the table and grab my stuff to leave. I realize that, although I'm not raising my voice, I have the undivided attention of everyone nearby. And suddenly, I'm severely anxious.
"Let me make it up to you."
"Thanks, but I've already paid my bill." (I just want to go outside)
"I'm sure we can work something out"
"No thank you." (I don't want people watching me for another second. Nothing you can give me is worth that)
"It'll just be a moment for me to get a gift certificate"
"No, that won't be necessary." (I'm going to snap at you if I have to stay here another second with everyone staring, and you don't deserve that)
I break away and leave, seconds away from an anxiety attack.

Another reason for not wanting a gift certificate is that I want them to understand that I really am disappointed in the service, and I'm not just trying to scam a free meal.

Looking back, I was clearly angry about a lot more than this meal. Did my server really deserve the shit they no doubt got? Yeah, they did. I was prepared to have a quiet, pleasant meal, and then I got ignored in favour of everyone else. My observation skills weren't so impaired that I can't recognize a snubbing. Also, It's not like I started snapping at people before all this happened. I was quiet, polite, and I'm not a high-maintainence customer - I don't expect my servers to bend over backwards for me. My restaurant needs are small. None of that should translate to ok-with-being-ignored.

Will I go back? Yeah, I will. The food's too good to give up. But If I get that same server, I'm asking for someone else.

In the mean time, I have to work through my current depression flare-up.
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