Monday, January 16, 2006

Adult? In Charge? Please?

Don't know about you, but The Man and I have noticed an alarming trend in some restaurants...that there seems to be no one really in charge of things, and the meal and service sort of happen instead of having some rhyme and/or reason to it. Our experience on Sunday at a chain Italian place sort of sums up what's been happening:

First, you walk in and notice that one of the kitchen help is on the phone by the host/hostess station; no host or hostess in sight. He's slurping on a Big Gulp, snorting and belching, and saying stuff like "when yuh gonna get offa work?" in what he assumes to be a low and sexy voice. Not.

The hostess deigns to walk back into the foyer and notices the two of you standing there. "Like, two of you?" she says. Yep, 'cause we're sure not like asking the guy on the phone to join us.

In the dining room: there are about 4 booths occupied. Most of the others are covered in the detritus of meals...and it's 2:45 in the afternoon, well after the Sunday lunch rush. We had asked for a booth at the outset, and she had to clean one off for us. Guess it was national bus boy holiday. And, when we left, about an hour later, the same tables were still full of lunch dishes.

The twerp that was our waitron couldn't remember our table to save his little hamster brain. It was 1 of the only 2 tables he had. He kept walking by us, getting a step or two beyond, and then have to reverse himself to deliver whatever he had in his hand. However, he does get points for remembering that I asked for lime in my tea and bringing an extra.

The manager (at least that's who we think she was, because she had the biggest set of keys I've ever seen) kept wandering through, clapping her hands and saying "we need to get this place cleaned up, people!" in that overly cheery cheerleader rah-rah tone. "That's alright, that's okay, you're gonna bus our tables today" kind of crap. The Stepford Children of the Damned that were her staff just looked at her for a moment and went back to chewing their cud with vacant stares...cows of the damned.

We've started calling it "no adult in charge syndrome," and before you think I've become a crotchety old woman and hate all young people, by adult, we're meaning someone who's clearly in charge and makes the staff toe the line. That person could be 18 or 80 for all I care. I don't know about you, but I get uncomfortable when I am in a place like a restaurant that doesn't seem to have a real manager, because I wonder what kind of sanitation standards they, I don't really care about your teenage OC drama. I just want my damn food in a timely manner and no, I don't think it's cute for you to play grab ass instead of bringing me my damn bread.

Rant, rant, rave, rave...I guess this might be a by-product of becoming hyper-aware of the hospitality industry since starting school, but I really think it's a general trend in the decline of the civilization of customer service. Gah! Now I really do sound like a crotchety old lady...I probably sound like my mother...ooh, just put me out of my misery now, while you can still remember when I was fuuuuuuunnnnn!!!!

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