talk to me

We are not jumping into dining-in anywhere. We have created one exception, and it’s the ice cream parlour both of our kids work at. Otherwise, it’s take-out or homemade. For Father’s Day, we ordered delicious Mexican food from a nearby locale.

Traditionally, this restaurant is fast. Hubs joked that the food would be ready before I even got into the car. I set a timer so I’d get there when the food was predicted to be ready.

Even though it’s a hot day, I took the dog with me. I left her in the backseat with the windows partially down. After all, I was only going to be in for a moment, to pay for and pick up our meals. As I walked toward the building, I realized I had forgotten my mask. I keep it on the gearshift of my car, so I retraced my steps and grabbed it.

I was comforted by the sign on the door that indicated masks are required in the restaurant. To me it’s saying “we are wearing a mask to protect you” and my mental response is, “it’s the least I can do to return the favor.” {That’s my opinion/stance. It’s okay if you see it otherwise.}

A group of four behind me entered sans masks. They asked to sit outside, but the patio was closed since we are expecting rain today. So, they were seated inside. I kind of wondered what was the point of the signs, if they weren’t going to enforce the policy. Hm…

I paid, and added a tip to the receipt. And then waited. And waited. And no one talked to me other than to say, “It’s not ready, it will be just a couple of moments” immediately after paying.

After about ten minutes of standing alone in the lobby, I saw the girl that cashed out my order. I asked her the status. “He’s bagging it up right now.” False. The mask-less manager handed that order to a delivery driver that arrived after me. I asked the manager from behind my sweaty mask, “Could you please check on my order? It’s #59.” He disappeared into the kitchen.

I waited for an additional ten minutes. I kept checking on my dog. When I saw her trying to climb out of the car, I knew I had to get her out. I didn’t have a leash- because, again, it was supposed to be a 5 minute ordeal.

I walked into the restaurant with my dog. She’s very obedient and sat down right beside me. The server at the counter was ringing out some customers and sternly told me, “Your dog needs to be on a leash.” I replied, “My food was supposed to be ready 15 minutes ago.” I glanced around the lobby and added, “All of these people are supposed to be wearing masks, also.”

One mask-less customer said, “Yea, because Corona is real” with thick sarcasm.

Thankfully for everyone, my food was handed to me at that moment while I held onto the collar of my dog. Unfortunately, what should have been a triumphant walk out of the restaurant ended with her walking into a glass door. Oops!

I stood here long enough to notice the ceiling, the rolled carpets on the bench, and the empty sanitizer dispenser.

This entire unfortunate situation could have easily been avoided with proper customer service and good leadership. I’m guessing this restaurant isn’t a great place to work. For one thing, all of the hand sanitizer dispensers were empty. There is something horrible happening above the ceiling. And at some point I heard two servers saying, “Did Breanna put the order in? I thought she did.” I got the feeling there wasn’t a strong team spirit here.

I made these observations while nobody spoke to me about my order. Generally, when a team is well managed, the workers want to do well by the customers, even when they’re not sitting in their designated section. Tipping is not just a momentary possibility, if you think about it. It works like this: even though I’m not in your section right now, if I leave happy, I’ll likely return, which will increase the possibility that I will sit in your section in the future. And that will result in a tip. (Not to mention the tip I added to the carry out order. Who knows who got that?)

How could this trio of fools made a better experience for me when clearly there was a delay in the preparation of my food? Talk to me. Let me know what’s going on. This establishment is about three minutes from my house. With information communicated, I could have made a better decision about my dog- such as driving her home and then returning ten minutes later. But silence lets the imagination wander. And not knowing how much longer my food would be, led me to decide to bring my dog into the air conditioned building.

It also led me to decide that I will not return to this careless establishment. And I really wish I could ask for that tip back.

I love words. My head swirls with words. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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