“Are you okay? You look like, scared or something.”
“Oh…no, I…just look like that.”
“Are you okay? You look like, scared or something.”
“Oh…no, I…just look like that.”
Sometimes I think I might have too many things going on.
Yesterday I started eating a bag of M&Ms, then actually got so distracted I thought I had finished them and started chewing gum.
Then I looked up and saw this:
A single M&M, staring at me like, “Yeah, moron, I’m still here. Thanks for making me feel like crap.”
And now I can’t even remember if I ate him after all or not. This is why I need to document my life.
In other words, Latin for “I came, I whined, I conquered.”
Listen, I don’t want to brag, but I’m kind of awesome. Like, there are skittish peasants somewhere who want to build bronze statues in honor of my bravery.
WHY, you ask? I’ll tell ya why.
I’m not an especially confrontational person (understatement). The only fights I genuinely enjoy are strangers’ public breakups and battles of pretension between freshman philosophy minors and junior women’s studies majors.
When it comes to my own grievances, I’m much more likely to sit and stew than to do something about it.
And then yesterday happened.
You may have read my post negatively (understatement) reviewing Grand Lux Cafe yesterday. (You didn’t? Ok, go ahead. I’ll wait…. Ready? Ok.) Well, what you might NOT know is that I sent an edited version of that post (same points, fewer jokes) to the company’s corporate office.
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really expect too much to happen. I mean, some free stuff out of the deal would have been nice, especially after the ridiculously bad treatment, but I wasn’t holding my breath.
Then my phone rang at 2:53.
“Hi, I’m looking for Justine? This is Travis, the manager at Grand Lux Cafe in Roosevelt Field. Do you have a second to talk?”
I didn’t (am I the only human who works full time? People always call me in the middle of the afternoon and sound shocked I can’t talk. But I digress…), so I asked Travis to call back at 6:30.
On the DOT of our prearranged time, my phone rings. It’s our buddy.
Long story short, corporate had sent him my email and Travis felt pretty bad about the whole thing. He apologized about eight times, assured me that that was not how business was normally done at Grand Lux, and then he said those magical words:
“So, Justine. What can we do to make it up to you?”
Me: Well, what did you have in mind, Travis?
Turns out Travis had a lot of things in mind. Because unlike our friend Damien, Travis understood that as the manager of a restaurant, there is a LOT he can do.
Starting with a $100 gift card so I can bring the girls back for a redo, and Travis’s personal number so I can call him when we’re coming in and he can make sure they “take very good care of us.”
So, essentially, Travis is going to do everything Damien and Bernadette SHOULD have done. And I would venture to guess that’s why he’s a good manager.
So the point is, I’m giving GLC another chance (although Travis did say that if they fail me again, we NEVER have to come back…he’s such a kidder! …but seriously.). And I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson here.
I don’t mess around.
You know how sometimes people say something was “laughably bad”? As in, it was so bad you pretty much had to laugh…to keep from crying.
My experience at the Grand Lux Cafe last night was laughably bad.
I should preface my critique by saying that most of yesterday was laughably bad. Except I wasn’t laughing. In fact, I spent most of yesterday convincing myself that my evening at GLC would make the rest of the day, if not worthwhile, then at least a gentle memory.
Then I actually arrived.
Two members of my party had actually arrived half an hour prior (not everyone has to take a half-hour-delayed train to get home), but when they asked the hostess if they should put their name in, she assured them there were “plenty of tables” and getting seated “wouldn’t be a problem.”
I like to call this Mistake #1: Lying to your customers.
We then proceeded to wait almost two hours for a table. Two. Hours. We were a group of eight women, all of whom had arrived with the intention of eating and drinking. It was 8 p.m. on a Monday night. We waited two hours. Mistake #2.
Around the hour-and-a-half mark, we asked to see a manager. It was at this point that Damien entered our lives. (I think it’s relevant to note that when I typed “Damien,” my predictive text thought I meant “dampen.” Because really, that is an extremely accurate description of what he did to our moods.)
What manager Damien didn’t do? Manage. Anything. No, Damien’s idea of customer service was limply shrugging his shoulders, not making eye contact, and repeating that there was nothing he could do.
Au contraire, mon petit Damien! There is actually so much you can do, some might describe it as laughable! You could push some tables together. You could buy us a round at the bar while we wait. You could give an apology for making us wait this long. (Mistake #3: Shirking responsibility.)
You know the ONE thing that is NOT going to make up for everything? Giving us four salads (to be split between the aforementioned EIGHT people) and a lazy waitress.
Here’s the thing. I went in to the situation determined not to take it out on the waitress. I’ve worked in food service, and some of my best friends have been/are waitresses. It’s a difficult job, and I don’t want to make it more difficult. (Plus, I have a hard and fast rule that you don’t mess with the people who touch your food when you’re not in the room.)
But the thing is, Bernadette was a bad waitress. She knew we had been waiting two hours and had already (repeatedly) expressed our dissatisfaction to “management.” And YET, she STILL left us for half an hour before even taking our drink order. Not, “was bustling around helping other tables.” Disappeared. (Mistake #4, if you’re keeping track.)
For those of you playing at home, this means we were coming up on 10:00 p.m. without a single substantial thing to eat despite arriving at 7:30. Everyone caught up? Moving on.
At this point, what I like to call “Commuter Justine” showed up to the party in full force. Commuter Justine, as you might guess, is who I become whilst commuting in Manhattan. She is not friendly, she has no patience, and sometimes she just wants a gin & tonic and a plate of lettuce wraps without giving up three hours of her life.
So I found our buddy Damien, kindly (I swear) explained that we had not seen Bernadette for about 30 minutes, and asked if he could help. Not only did he give me a sour look (Really, Damien? You’re going to give me sass?), but then he walked into the dining room with me, spotted Bernie (as I like to call her) across the room, and said, “There she is!” As if my only problem was that I was just so concerned that something might have happened to her, and all I wanted was to know that she was all right.
At this point, I swallowed the bubble of rage boiling in my throat and said as sweetly as I could manage, “Yes, but not at our table.”
Again, this was not me being an ugly restaurant patron. The place was not busy. (It had conveniently cleared out after we were seated.) Bernadon’t was neglecting us.
Then, as if I needed a piece de resistance, Do-Nothing-Damien rolled his eyes at me (Oh, I’M sorry, did I come into your restaurant with the intention of paying for polite service and a meal served at a reasonable time? How rude of me! MISTAKE NUMBER FIVE.) and went to tell Berns-a-lot that we were ready to order.
At this point, it gets a little depressing. We waited too long for sub-par food (TWO of the meals were cold. They were soups. We sent one back and then waited another twenty minutes for it to be returned. Really?! We all know you just nuked it for thirty seconds.), they didn’t refill our water glasses once, and we waited another half hour for the bill. (Too many mistakes to count.)
I have this friend James who does this thing when he is not being served in a way fitting someone who is a paying customer. He sort of makes a stabbing motion with his hand from his chest to about a foot in front of him, implying that the waitstaff is actually ripping his heart out. For some reason, this whole ordeal made me think of that.
I mean, I know I’m not from around here, but I always thought you had to actually provide something to be considered a “service.”
It wasn’t all bad; the company itself was delightful, and we managed to have a good time regardless. But you can bet your soggy free salad I won’t be patronizing the Grand Sux Cafe anytime soon. (Zing!)
Oh…hey. So, remember back when I was a shining example of regular blogging? Someone other bloggers could look up to as a peer AND mentor?
Me neither. But I did used to be better. Sorry.
The thing is, today was not one of my best.
It started out ok, as bad days sometimes do. I woke up on time, got ready, etc. etc. It was drizzling, which my hair loooved, naturally, but I got over it.
But then…I don’t know. Work was weird. Everyone was kind of “stabby,” as my brilliant coworker Susan put it.
Then I started getting texts from everyone I know that all of the LIRR trains had stopped running.
I think some of you might have read too fast to appreciate the gravity of that last line, so I’ll repeat: ALL of the LIRR trains had stopped RUNNING.
The LI stands for Long Island, where I live. I need the LIRR to get to where I live. I NEED THE LIRR TO LIVE.
Now, let me preface by saying it all worked out (well, thus far…I’m writing this on the train), but that doesn’t mean I don’t think I’ve earned a grown-up drink today.
At least I blogged though, right guys?
***Disclaimer: I’m writing this post on my phone on the train — turns out I have less time to blog at actual computers than I used to — so there may be a few more errors than normal. My apologies. /Disclaimer***
Wow. So guess who left you for days with a post about a sandwich? That would be this girl. I suck. Sorry.
You know what else sucks? Impulse buys that don’t work out. Especially when it’s something you’re going to feel obligated to use anyway.
Case in point, two days ago I bought a lotion that promised “luminous” skin. (Total disclosure: It also has self tanner in it. I’m tired of being glow-in-the-dark, folks. And I’m averse to getting cancer. Thus, here we are, with me perusing self tanner in Duane Reade trying to figure out which one is the least likely to turn me a shade of Snooki.)
So anyway, I had used this particular brand before, so I was pretty sure the color would agree with me. And luminous? Sounds great, right?
Apparently what they meant by “luminous” was “your skin will sparkle like a Cullen.” (Get it, lazy pop culture references.)
At least the glittery bits are pretty fine…if my skin had resembled a Spice Girl circa 1996 this may have been a two-shower morning.
I think I’ll be ok if I avoid direct sunlight…like a Cullen.