Recently we visited one of those establishments where you can dine on casual fare and the kids can choose from a plethora of electronic games to play. We used to refer to this as the “Eatertainment segment”. Since my kids are grown, I hadn’t been “eatertained” in quite some time. I was impressed with the quality and variety of the games and they all appeared to be in working order. We were surrounded by friendly service-oriented employees. The vibe was positive. I was there with a friend and his 10 year old daughter. Most of our time was spent following her around this expansive space observing as she racked up points playing her favorite games.
It was my pleasure to be her personal valet. I had my hands full with her jacket, purse and soft drink when we meandered into the little store where you cash in your points for various prizes. I was surprised when the employee behind the counter caught my eye and asked if I’d like a bag to carry my stuff. This may seem like something she should do, however in my experience this type of service is out of the ordinary. Do you think this specific behavior is encouraged somewhere in a training manual? A) I doubt it and B) If it is this employee probably hadn’t read it. I believe her proactive gesture was instinctive. She naturally wanted to be of service. I accepted her offer and went over the top to praise her.
It was getting close to lunchtime so I took a seat at the bar for a well-deserved beverage and a plate of nachos. It was immediately apparent that the bartender could care less. He sauntered over and asked me what I wanted (I should have said a bartender who gives a sh–) instead I asked for a menu. I thought it ironic that we were surrounded by happy, service minded employees and we end up with a dud for a bartender. From the moment I saw him saunter, I had a feeling the service would be in slow motion (which it was). By the time the piled high nachos were delivered they they were luke warm at best. I was pretty hungry by that time so I didn’t complain.
When I got halfway through the portion my astute buddy noticed that I was staring at a plate of chips without any of the good stuff – quac, cheese sauce, sour cream, jalapenos, pico de gallo… I was not bothered by it because I was feeling rather full. My friend however was not happy so he summoned the bartender. “Excuse me, would you mind adding more of the good stuff to this plate of nachos. He’s only half way through and its nothing but chips!” Bartender responded, “Sure, but that will cost extra”. SOUND THE BUZZER! WRONG ANSWER! This little announcement caused my friend to go from moderately dissatisfied to on a mission. He caught sight of a manager and rushed off to show him the plate of half eaten nachos. I saw the manager nod his head yes and 15 minutes later a server delivered a full plate of nacho condiments to dress the rest of the chips. A pretty good recovery but not enough to overshadow the poor response by the bartender. Besides the manager never stopped by to ensure we were satisfied and the bartender didn’t acknowledge us again until we waved him down to get the check.
I like this place. It’s great for the kids and overall the experience was positive. My friend’s daughter had a BLAST and that was our primary objective. The employee behind the counter, in the little store, saved the day. She completely out shined the bartender and the manager. Because of her I’ll probably go back. For another customer the nacho debacle might have ruined the entire visit and caused him or her to say adios and never go back. Based on what you’ve read, would you cut em some slack or never go back?
Ones more chance sue to other positives and Wow from counter worker. Can’t let one bad apple and one mediocre one ruin an overall good outing. Thanks for sharing Bill. I always enjoy your musings.
Fix my typo….*due. 🙂
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