My Birthday Party, Mitt Romney, and the Free Market

Yesterday Governor Romney said that he likes being able to fire people. And of course, that sound bite will be saved and played over and over by the entitlement crowd in negative attack ads.

As much as it irritates me to have to defend Romney, I gotta say that he’s right. He did not say that he enjoys firing people; he said that he enjoyed the ability to do so. He enjoys freedom. He doesn’t care for bad service.

What is wrong with that?

Last Saturday I fired a restaurant.

No really, I did. I will never be going back to this particular establishment, because the service was abominable. I will no longer give them money to provide me with delicious melted cheese and singed knuckle hair (that will make sense later, I promise).

You’re fired.

It was my birthday on Saturday, and I had an actual birthday party for the first time since I turned 21, but that one kinda sucked because I had to cut the night short to go home and nurse my 10-week-old infant because she wouldn’t take a bottle (she’s still just as stubborn eight years later, by the way).

This year I wanted a party. That’s it. I wanted to go out to a restaurant with my friends, order four cocktails, and generally be the center of attention for a night before going back to my glamorous life of wiping noses and working from my couch in velour pajama pants and chipped nail polish. A girl’s gotta live a little, after all.

My awesome and amazing hubby Leif done good this year. He planned a party for me, invited my friends to my first 29th birthday celebration, and even flew Ashley Sewell out from Texas to celebrate with me. It was supposed to be a surprise, but I totally figured it out. But it was fun to tell everyone that Leif got me an Ashley for my birthday.

We met up with everyone downtown and proceeded to make merriment. Our waitress seemed a little strange at first, but I blew it off because it was my birthday and besides, maybe she was having an off day. We’ve all had those.

The first *real* issue came when my friend Michelle ordered a cocktail with a sugared rim. Ok, so there’s this cocktail (at another restaurant) I love called a vanilla lemon lust, and Michelle fell in love with it too when we went there, so every time we’ve gone out together since, she asks me to order for her.

“She’d like a lemon drop made with vanilla vodka, and served in a cocktail glass with a sugared rim and a twist.”

That’s easy, right? Well this waitress asked me three times what a cocktail glass was before I finally gave in and called it a martini glass. Then she got it, and made some strange comment about why didn’t I just call it that. Uh, because a martini is made with gin and vermouth and served in a cocktail glass.

By the time she came back, so much of the drink had spilled over the edge that the sugared rim was virtually nonexistent. Michelle asked if I would send it back, and I said yes, because the sugared rim is the best part. She was kind of shy about it, which I understand because I usually am too, but it was my birthday, and I’m always better at taking care of my friends than taking care of myself (I think most chicks are like this) so I got the waitress’s attention.

“Excuse me, but is it possible to get this drink re-poured into a glass with a sugared rim?”

She stared at me and said, “It is sugared.”

Michelle pointed to the one spot of sugar and said as politely as possible, “Only in this one spot … it’s just that the sugared rim is the best part…”

The waitress came over and examined the glass, and again insisted that it was sugared. She said, “That’s the best I can do, because the sugar dissolves when the alcohol sloshes on it.”

Yes, she just admitted that she doesn’t know how to carry drinks.

“Could you please bring us another glass with a sugar rim, and we can just pour it ourselves?” My friend was going to get her sugar, gosh darn it!

At that point, Miss Sunshine rolled her eyes, grabbed the glass, and announced snidely, “I’ll take care of it. It’s just going to be a shorter pour.”

A shorter pour? Eye-rolling?  Uh… yeah, that just happened.

When it came time to choose our main courses, she insisted that we choose a certain style of cooking. We even asked about the other methods, and she told us that they weren’t important because they weren’t as good as what she was recommending. Ok fine, whatever. Later that evening when we got the bill, we found out that the methods she recommended cost extra. Of course.

Throughout the evening, whenever we could get her to wait on us, she acted like she was doing us a favor. The eye-rolls and generally bitchiness probably did quite a bit to prepare me for when the girls are teenagers, but for my birthday party, it was no bueno. There were multiple empty glasses left on the table, we couldn’t get extra sauces, and she almost lit Leif’s hair on fire.

Yeah, you heard me.

We were just starting on second dessert (more on this in a minute), when our waitress lit a shot of alcohol on fire and poured it over our chocolate fondue. She held it too close to Leif’s hair, and the entire table gasped. Did she apologize? Act horrified at her ineptitude? Nope. She just said out loud, “I haven’t had knuckle hair in years! I can’t even have acrylics anymore, because they kept melting off.”

Appetizing.

Several of us speared some marshmallows and tried to toast them over the fire on the chocolate, and the lady pushed past us to stir the alcohol (along with the fire) into the chocolate. No toasted marshmallows for us, no apology or explanation from Suzie Sunshine.

So let me get back to the second dessert part of the evening. Remember all of those empty glasses on the table? As dessert was being set up, our waitress had to clear some of those away. She lifted one carelessly and abruptly, which resulted in a hard impact with the hanging pendant light.

Glass went everywhere. All over the table. All over our dishes. In my cleavage.

At least she apologized for that one. She started clearing the plates of dippers for the fondue, and wasn’t going to replace all of the dishes. Everyone at the table was frustrated at this point. We’d stopped ordering drinks because we didn’t want to give the restaurant any more of our business. In between picking bit of glass off of laps, out of hair, and from in between boobs, we insisted that everything be replaced.

After that came the fire and knuckle hair comment.

Finally got to the end of our evening and got the (ginormous) bill, where we learned that our specialty cooking styles had cost extra. We also discovered that we had been overcharged for a few drinks. Our waitress had ended her shift at that point, and the new guy taking care of us took the extra drink charges off, but said he couldn’t do anything about the cooking charges.

That’s when I said something I’ve never ever said before.

I’d like to speak with the manager.

He seemed the decent sort of guy, and apologized several times to everyone as we all regaled him with the story I just told you. I told him that normally I’d let it go, everyone has bad days, but the service was atrocious, and it being my birthday and all, I just couldn’t. He took the extra charges off our bill, gave us a 10% discount, and told us that he would have a talk with Miss Grouchy Pants.

Now Mr. Manager couldn’t see because his back was to the door, but our waitress (who we thought had left for the evening) poked her head in the room THREE times to angrily glare at us. We were just the teensiest bit skeered of her. Chick obviously has issues and is definitely in the wrong line of work.

So yeah, I agree with Mitt Romney (ack! Never thought I’d be typing that…) on the issue of firing people. I’m glad that I have the ability to fire people. It’s not fun. I wish everyone could just be awesome and not suck at his or her job. The world would be a better place, and all birthday parties would be splendiferous. But that’s not how the world works.

That restaurant is so totally fired.

Comments

  1. I’m sorry the service sucked. I used to work in the restaurant business and I would have fired her on the spot. Pro tip: (I hope there isn’t a next time but,) next time don’t wait to ask for the manager. Causally go to the bar and ask the bartender who the manager is and then tell him/her about the situation and ask for the table to be transferred to another server. There is no way that a restaurant that is that expensive (I’m pretty sure I know which one you’re referring to,) should tolerate that kind of behavior from an employee who is actually serving customers.

    Oh, and so excited you got an Ashley for your birthday! I’m hoping for a Susan or Diane, myself. ;-)

    • We were in the back ‘party’ room… the manager had already been in once or twice. Which is why I was so upset that the service continued to be abominable. :-/

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