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Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Top 10 things the manager really means...

  When the slightly haggard man or woman approaches your table and asks,"How is everything tonight?" he is performing one of the essential duties of restaurant management known as the 'table visit'. Most companies include this task in any managers daily routine but the person is honestly asking because he has to know the good, the bad and the ugly to improve the operation. But there are times where the complaints are so far away from rational or helpful that the manager must bite his tongue and smile politely while assuring the patron they will address the matter right away. They are lying their ass off in some cases. My Top 10 responses that I would never say but have certainly thought are listed below. On a side note there is no reason to start a complaint with a disclaimer that you normally don't complain. We don't believe you.

10. My drink taste flat.-Manager says he will check the carbonation and get it fixed right away. What he really thinks is"so is your date, we just assumed it was a life style choice. We'll take a straw and create some bubbles and bring it right back to you".

9. It's too cold-Manager says he'll adjust the thermostat. He won't. He really wants to offer you a shawl or afghan, some warm cocoa and to rub your hands until they are warm. Never mind that the other 100 customers seem fine, let's turn the heat up until sweat breaks out on every one of them until your warm.

8. Could we have a different table-Manager says of course and moves you to a different table making sure to ask if the new one is suitable in a pleasant manner. What he is actually thinking is' sure, no problem because we assign tables completely at random anyway. Sometimes we just throw a dart on the seating chart to pick our next table. If this one doesn't work I can just take you on an endless loop around the restaurant until you get tired enough to pick one. At least you won't be complaining about it being too cold after we've run a few a laps around the salad bar.

7. The server said you are out of Mountain Trout.(or other item) Manager apologizes and offers another entree. The voice in his head is saying,' I'm not sure what part of the server statement confused you but even if we had David Copperfield, Siegfried and Roy and David Blaine working in our kitchen we still couldn't produce the trout. I could grab a pole and head down to the creek but that might take some time. How about you deal with feeling of emptiness and order one of the other 48 things on the menu.'

6. Adult asks if they can order off the kids menu-Manager politely informs the guest that the kids menu is designed just for children but he will usually make an exception. "I will let you order of the kids menu if you get the crayons and color all the pictures on the kids menu and sign it so we can hang it on the wall when you're done. Maybe I can bounce you on my knee after dinner so your tummy doesn't get upset as well. Do you ask for a sucker when your kid goes to the dentist too? Hope you enjoy your grilled cheese.

5. Male customers only, "I'll have a frozen virgin pina colada. I don't drink alcohol." Yes we can get that for you."  Because you probably don't stand up when you pee either. Let me see if we have any of those cute little umbrellas to put in your drink too.

4. There is no liquor in my drink. Manager will apologize and immediately inform the bartender to put the same amount of liquor in your drink except to float it on top of the mixer. There is also a very good chance the bartender will be very busy the next time you order a drink. If you want a double, order a double.

3. There is no way I spent that much money. Manager apologizes and then promises to check with the server or usually the bartender. He will check and 99 times out of 100 the charge is exactly correct. Maybe when you ordered those shots for the ladies at the bar you thought they were going to pay for them. Maybe you thought when you said bring us another round you thought it meant bring them a bill too. Sorry to shatter your dreams of equality but when you order it, you pay for it. Try just ordering what you want next time and I'm sure the bill will be more to your liking.

2. Just take the food off my bill. Manager might take the food off your bill and then again he might not. If you ask for medium and it comes out medium rare, the manager corrects the problem by cooking your food to medium in a timely matter he probably won't. If you eat more than half of your food and then say you didn't like it, he probably won't. If you tell him to take it off the bill he will do everything in his power to not take it off. He knows his job and doesn't need you to tell him to do anything. If you were at work and your client said,"just don't charge me for that" how would you react? A manager is no different, suggestions and complaints are great but demands, not so much.

1. We haven't seen our server since we sat down. Manager apologizes and assures the guest the server will be right with them. But in this case the customer is exactly right. It's not that the server hasn't been there. They approached the table three times even asking a question on the first two trips. If you had the common courtesy to glance up from that smart phone long enough to acknowledge your server you might have seen them. SMH. Not LOL here. How about giving your server a status update on what you want to eat and drink? Instead of checking in at Four Square try checking the menu. At least wait until you have ordered before posting the obligatory Yelp review. If  the truth be told the manager should tell you to take your over developed texting thumbs and stick them up your ass and walk out on your elbows but he is much more refined than that. He will merely smile and tell you thanks for stopping by.

Till next....

Friday, October 9, 2015

Do you remember where you were when....

  Anybody over the age of 30 remembers where they were on September 11th, 2001. Everybody over the age of 60 probably can tell you exactly where they were on November 22nd, 1963 when President Kennedy was shot or the day Mr. Armstrong walked on the moon. Certain events are so remarkable that you can't help but remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when they occurred. But how about the memories you have that are much more personal to you, that mean so much to you over the course of your life that you will never forget when they happened? Did you know then the impact it was going to have or the long term benefits you would enjoy for years to come.Or did what happened seem like nothing at the time but would turn out to be a part of your life for years I suspect the answer is no.
  For me some of those memories remain as clear as the day they took place and others are clouded over time (and with music,other factors). My first live baseball game was at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis to watch the Twins play the Red Sox. I was probably 6 or 7 and from that point forward I fell in love with baseball and enjoy everything about it to this day 40 plus years later. Did I know then how much becoming a sports fan would mean to me. Of course not, I was much more concerned with getting hot dogs and popcorn than I was categorizing the significance of the event. On my 16th birthday I sat with my Dad and watched Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches from three different pitchers. It was a performance that probably will never happen again but I remember it best because it was my birthday and I was watching it with my Dad. A lifetime memory that just happened without any marking of the occasion. I didn't wake up the next morning and think to myself "I'll never forget that."
  The first time I met lifelong friends Steve Kneebone, Steve Harma, Joel Ciucci, Louie DePuydt and many others still remains fresh in my brain even though at the time a never gave it a second thought. I can't imagine how much less fun my life would have been without them. The point of the blog is that many of the things that turn out to be huge parts of our lives going forward are happening right now. But like most people I wonder if I am appreciating the things coming in to my life to the degree I should or are they just drifting by unnoticed; taken for granted as just another day. Are we aware enough to know how special people and events are in real time? Speaking for myself I fear I am not that introspective.
  Memories cannot be manufactured anymore than emotions can. But memories also can't happen without emotion being attached to them. My wife has tried to create some family memories by taking all the kids to various festivals and the like. The failures have been so epic that they did create the desired effect. The trip to Ellijay, Georgia to listen to bands play at a Friday night town square block party is legendary in our family. The event ended the week before so the only thing in the parking lot was an ATM machine that all the kids gleefully posed in front of for a picture to commemorate the event. To this day just the mention of an ATM sends them into tales regaling the empty parking lot. A memory was created that will last a lifetime, even if it wasn't the way it was planned. Pasty festivals, apple festivals and more have all crashed and burned. The kids will actually run and hide when she picks up a newspaper advertising the festivals for the upcoming months. But she has done exactly what she wanted, to create family memories.
  Maybe during our busy day we should take the time to just stop for a moment and realize how the little things that are happening aren't so little. I'm trying to enjoy the people, events and chores that occur during the day more, treating the seemingly mundane as exciting. When I look back twenty years from now I want to be able to say that I knew it right away and didn't take it for granted. Of course twenty years from now I probably won't remember who I am but at least I'll remember something.

Till next......

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

He who laughs last, laughs where?

  The older I get the more I try and find humor in things. George Bernard Shaw mused that you don't laugh less as you grow old but not laughing makes you grow old. ( I paraphrased) Much to my amusement and the disgust of those around me I find things that average people find sad bring me to laughter. Funerals included. There is even a name for that condition or disease or whatever it is. It's call Psuedobulbar Affect and even has it's own acronym: PBA. I thought that had something to do with bowling but a funeral and three games of bowling aren't that far apart so I guess it's okay. I have tried to avoid funerals and most other extremely serious or sad moments for this very reason. Does this mean there is something wrong with me?
  I'm sure that, combined with my sarcastic nature a therapist could make a fortune with me on the couch. Or it's possible that it is nothing more than a well defined coping tool developed over years of practice. Doctor asks, "Why do you feel the need to laugh at serious or sad events?" "Well Doc to tell the truth it seems like so much more fun than crying." "So you don't feel sadness?" "I'm sure I will when I get the bill. Of course I feel sad but not for very long." "I see. So how do you feel when you feel sad?" (That question was actually asked.) "Did you really just ask me that? Grant is buried in Grant's Tomb and George Washington's white horse is still white. I'd rather have Tim Conway as my dentist than you for my doctor." Suffice it to say that my therapy session ended after that question. Maybe I don't feel sadness much for a different reason.
  With the crossing of the 50 year old mark a few years ago more and more of my friends, customers, relatives and acquaintances have passed away. Really good people who left far earlier than they should have. Given the choice of dwelling on the loss or remembering the laughter, I choose the laughter. I don't give a crap if people think it weird or somehow callous. I try to never have the attitude that someone who has suffered a great loss should get over it. Grief doesn't have a timetable or come with a pie chart. Just because my method is unusual doesn't make me anything other than different from most. There are so many serious things going on in the world today that laughter is the only thing that makes me feel sane some days.
  Some people start their day out with prayer, meditation, yoga or just a strong cup of coffee and their computer. Try mixing a dose of laughter before beginning your day. I had a Far Side calendar for years and everyday started out with a laugh. It works wonders. They say laughter releases endorphin in to the bloodstream. I think endorphin is a funny word anyway. It's a win win. So go ahead and laugh as much as you can because I've seen this movie before and (spoiler alert) we all die in the end anyway.

Till next........  .