Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tame the Savage Beast

Anyone that knows me pretty well knows that I'm usually a pretty even person. I don't enjoy getting upset. I don't enjoy conflict. However, there are times that my inner demon emerges looking for its pound of flesh.

Last night I took my nieces, Sierra and Keyanna, to the movies. It was a post-birthday celebration for Sierra--she just turned five on the 23rd. I promised that I would take her out this weekend. She wanted to see Stomp the Yard. So me and Neese, Sierra's mother, headed downtown to catch the 5:20 showing. My nephew was on punishment, long story, and I was not about to ask for him--considering his punishment was deserved (I didn't want to reinforce the behavior that got him into trouble).

The movie was entertaining (and expensive--but anyone that takes children to the movies already knows this). We arrived a few minutes late and had to sit in the front row. However, once we got into the movie it wasn't the cause of any concern. Sierra ate about 85% of a large popcorn (that looked like it was an extra large). She seemed to be a professional eating champion, don't worry we'll prime her for Nathan's. Kobyashi look out.

The movie went by quickly. It followed a similar formula as Drumline or any movies from this genre. I personally love step dancing. I fell in love with it the first time I saw people in our high school step. They had some great fraternities, but I wasn't willing to go through the humiliation that my high school peers went through--for a high school frat. I never quite got myself in position to pledge in college. I had numerous invitations, but I didn't accept any. I even have a comment in my high school yearbook that said they'd better see me in the national step dancing championships, based on my dancing talent.

We called my mother to tell her the movie was out--to see if she was going to be there on time. She wasn't, no big worries. I snuck the kids into Epic Movie for about half an hour and then headed over to TGI Fridays.

There was a huge line. My mother had put us down on the list. We stayed a little too late at the movie, but it was okay because there was supposed to be a 20 minute wait. Twenty minutes passed. Parties of 2 and 3 were seated left and right. We sat by calmly. The hostess came to us about 20 minutes later and said we were going to be seated in ten minutes upstairs. It's not hard to figure out, based on the blog title, that this didn't happen. The hostess basically ignored us for another twenty minutes.

The manager was tucked away in the back, trying to keep the kitchen in order. People were asking to speak to him, the hostess would not let this happen. She was even snotty with one man who asked about the service and speaking to him--and she said tell him yourself.

The manager sent out a sacrificial lamb, the nicest waiter you can ever meet. Now at this point my mother had spoken with the hostess a couple of times. I was trying my best not to be a control freak--and to not explode. I was pacing back and forth, steaming. Well I saw the very educated black men speaking to the lamb. I went over to speak to him as well--wanting the manager to come out to speak to us.

At one point my voice began to carry. I think that prompted the manager to scurry from his hole. He was a bit flustered, overwhelmed by a short-staff, haven't just started eight days ago, and finally with the other manager MIA due to sickness.

He initially brought out a poor attitude. He started working on fixing the situation however, after a few of us threatened to speak to the corporate office. My mother tried to speak to him, especially because she said it was ridiculous that it was over an hour and a half and you had 2 children waiting to eat.

I'll fast forward a bit. My mother was still steaming and so was I. The lamb was really good in letting us vent. He seemed like he should've been the manager. At that point I said to the lamb that his manager was like a turtle that stuck his head out and then popped it back in. He had said he needed to take a breath. My mother had waited and asked if he had, wanting to know what they were going to do about the wait, he said know and had walked away.

After we ordered I told the lamb that I was the one that was paying for this bill and before I signed my name I expected to have the manager back upstairs and to apologize. I said for him to relay that every minute that he took his breath I would continue to get angrier--that he had let the situation escalate instead of dealing with it.

The lamb brought the children's food out first and our very needed drinks. Towards the end of the meal the manager came back upstairs. He had a new tune, probably relaxed by now. We were seated at 10, after being at the restaurant shortly after 8, and left at about 11:30. He was calm and apologetic. He showed me the old bill and then the bill after he applied a 50% discount to compensate. He told us that he had spoken to the hostess about her deplorable behavior, having heard it from multiple parties (all she needed to due was go to him once she'd seen that the situation was getting out of hand). He even gave me a card offering me half off our next meal. That was even better than I had expected.

So the inner beast took a nap--and ultimately we had a wonderful, despite trying moments, night out with the kids.

My niece peed in my bed this morning (circular stain fashion)--which almost brought the beast back out!

I'm even again, after a bout at the laundromat. Still can't put sheets on or a blanket until the stain dries--cleaned it as best as I could. Now I know why people put plastic sheets on their beds when kids are over! I guess I can't even get mad, because just about any kid that has slept in my bed has marked their territory with their urine fingerprint.

Enjoy the SuperBowl! Go Bears.


coldploy said...

This situation is very annoying. Sometimes 50% discount for the meal can't compensate for the bad feeling we got from the restaurant. Well, at least you had a good time with your family.. that does really count..

Excalibur said...

It sure was exhausting. Thanks Ploy for understanding.

Excalibur said...

As an addendum to this post--we went back the following Monday and had amazing service at the same restaurant.

Upon providing the discount card at the end of the meal our server apologized, though she had nothing to do with the treatment that we received. She told us that the service was terrible that Saturday and that they received a lot of complaints.