It usually takes a lot to put me off a place. I have to have a couple of bad experiences there, as I’m usually willing to give an eatery a second chance, figuring anyone or anyplace can have a bad day once. Some of my friends refuse to eat at places because of bad experiences they have had, but I still eat them because, well, it wasn’t me who had the experiences and I like the food. LOL
For example, a group of us from the office was having lunch at a local steak house once. We all got our food in good order, the servers were friendly and fairly prompt, even though it was packed, and the food was good, or at least not bad. One of my friends had ordered clam chowder and was about 1/3 of the way through it when she came up a very chewy clam. She chewed and chewed and finally spit it into a napkin, to find that it wasn’t a clam but the tip of a rubber glove. Apparently, a prep chef had inadvertently cut it off their hand while preparing soup ingredients.
Now my friend, understandably, was very upset. The manager came over and apologized … but didn’t offer to comp the meal — not for her or any of us. I think we ended up getting a 25-percent discount. She was so pissed off over that — combined with the fact that she’s heard of stories about how other customers (usually white customers) complaining about less nasty experiences got their full meal comped. For example, the chicken wings were cold. What, cold chicken wings? Free meal! What, rubber glove in your soup? Slight discount.
Anyway, I bring this up because of an experience I had on Friday. I was planning to go to one of my favorite places to have a nice, thick steak for lunch, to spend some of my poker winnings. But some co-workers were going to try out a new small little restaurant that basically serves a few kinds of sandwiches and a few kinds of pasta. Eh, what the hell, I thought, I’ll give them a shot.
The restaurant is very near our offices, though the four of us drive anyway, in one of the co-worker’s car. The place looks nice on the inside. It’s clean, it’s very chic and modern looking — great ambiance for a small place. Plus, they didn’t cram things in, so even though it was small it didn’t feel cramped.
The menu is small but interesting. Let me start off by saying that under their list of sandwiches, it clear stated that they charge $1 per substitution.
I decided I was going to try their “Denver” sandwich — roast beef, cheese, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and sprouts on multi-grain bread with a spicy au jus sauce. Sounds good, huh? Well, I don’t like lettuce on sprouts on my sandwich, so I order it like that.
Waitress: “I’m going to have to charge you $2 for the substitutions.”
Me: “Excuse me? You count not putting ingredients on as ‘substitution?’”
Me: “But I’m not substituting anything.”
Waitress: “Well, we have a process for making the sandwiches and when we get really busy (which it WASN’T), it throws things off in the kitchen, so we have to charge $1 for substitutions.”
Me: “I’m actually making it easier for the kitchen. It’s two things less to put on the sandwich.”
Waitress: “Sorry. So would you like the sandwich?”
Me: “No. The coffee’s fine (I’d ordered it beforehand).”
Lunch companions: “What? You’re not going to eat?”So then one of my co-workers calls over one of the owners. He gives us the same spiel — there’s a sandwich process, substitutions fuck up the process, blah, blah, blah. So I repeat my point to him: I’m not making a substitution. After about 3-4 minutes of this, he agrees to have them make the sandwich the way I want it — sans lettuce and sprouts — if I still want it. I say OK, mostly just to avoid dragging out the scene further.
Me: “No. I’m going to drink my coffee, walk back to the office, get in my truck and go get a steak or something.”
Lunch companions: “Come on. Try the pasta. Or take the stuff off the sandwich yourself.”
Me: “No, that’s bullshit. If I was actually making a substitution, I’d pay for it. All I’m asking for is for them to not put something on my sandwich, something I don’t want to eat. Hell, what if I was allergic to one of those ingredients? I would get charged for that? Bullshit.”
It’s funny, because I get my “special-made” sandwich before everyone else gets their pasta. It’s also a pretty good sandwich. Good ingredients, tasty, etc. The pasta wasn’t too bad either.
But you know what? I don’t see a reason to go back there ever again. I mean, the sandwiches weren’t THAT earth-shatteringly good. And that policy, in terms of how they implement it, is ridiculous. It’s stupid.
Am I being a little petty here? Maybe. But it really pissed me off that fucking much. So if I get in the mood for a sandwich, I’ll head to one of the other sandwich shops/delis/coffee shops that offer sandwiches. Or I’ll just come home to make one of my favorite sammiches in the comfort of my own apartment.
Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The Chamorro word for land is “tano.” Taotao tano translates into “people of Guam.” It’s also used if asked you’re what village you are from. For me, I would say, “Guahu si Duane, taotao Anigua,” which means, “My name is Duane, from Anigua.”