What Am I to Do?


No, this is not a rhetorical question. I really do need to know. What am I to do when I have a bad experience in a restaurant? Food is bad, service is worse, and there doesn’t seem to be any management presence to bring my concerns to (which, let’s face it, is why the experience is bad in the first place).

Help a guy out

Now, realize of course, that my number one priority is to stay married to my all-time favorite dining companion. This must be my starting point. So, how on earth am I supposed to manage those bad restaurant experiences without pissing off the person sitting across from me?

A meal out

Last week my wife and I were in Washington D.C. She was involved with a conference, so I thought I would tag along. A chance to re-visit our nation’s capitol.

We decide to splurge and stay at a very nice, upscale hotel, just a stone’s throw from the White House. A place we have stayed at before, and we were excited to stay at again. This place is known for their outstanding customer service, so we thought the extra money spent was worth it. Added value, right?

What happens when it is not?

When I receive my pancakes and they are cold, and they forget my bacon until after I am finished with my cold pancakes, what is my next move? Now another thing to consider is that for an order of pancakes, an order of eggs benedict, one latte, and one glass of orange juice it is $50.

That’s right, $50. I don’t mind spending the money if I am being pampered a bit, but when the value just isn’t there, what is a restaurant customer supposed to do then? Give the waiter a lot of grief? Not my style, and besides, we know that it is not the waiter’s fault.


Complain to the manager? Be the squeaky wheel and get them to buy something for us, and probably get the waiter in trouble at the same time? I don’t like that answer, either. Especially when there is no obvious person in charge who seems to be around. I have been that guy before, who calmly approaches the manager and breaks down my poor experience. I can’t tell you how many times that has made absolutely NO difference. I just end up as ‘that guy’ who suddenly finds he can’t go back to that restaurant again. Not because it is lame, but because now, all of the restaurant employees know me as the guy who complained. How dare I.


Just eat it?

Just walk away and write the whole experience off? Probably the best possible move, but I am one of those types that has a hard time letting go of such a thing. (Now is probably a good time to mention that after we left the hotel/restaurant, we made our way to the Lincoln Memorial where I found myself basically sobbing because I felt so bad about what had previously happened. Here I am looking at this massive, impressive monument to a man who literally gave his life so that generations could have a better life, and I am worried about cold pancakes and no bacon.)

Me and my first world problems

Lincoln aside, I would still like to find an answer to this puzzler. For now I will have to be satisfied with just filling out the obligatory customer survey that I will be receiving in my email. That does me no good. Who knows when I will be back in D.C., and besides that doesn’t solve my overall problem.

Any answers?


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jane says:

    Are you talking about Open Table surveys? I have never had one directly from a restaurant, at least that I can remember.
    We also recently stood at the Lincoln Memorial. I was getting ‘hangry’so we got seafood at the fish market. It was cheap and good. If I had paid a lot for cold hot food it would have ruined my whole impression of the city.
    I think this kind of incident makes you appreciate it more when you stumble across a gem. We did just that in one of the Smithsonian cafeterias of all places. Your gem might be your next outing. I look forward to reading about it.

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