Sunday, February 17, 2008

NOT SHIRT NO SHOES - NO SERVICE - OH AND DO NOT SELF-SEAT!!


Fettit and I went out to lunch today. We do this every Sunday, but today, instead of being served margaritas, warm chips and salsa, we were treated to attitude and rudeness.

We are always on the lookout for the best margarita in town, or at least the latest one, and willing to try new places, but today when we went to the Tempe Marketplace, a new mega-shopping complex not far from the house, all we got was heaping helping of ire and disappointment.

Driving into the shopping center we spotted a sign for the San Felipe Cantina which intrigued us Margaritas and Mexican food. I've been fighting the flu so I haven't been drinking but the lure of a good margarita and some chips and salsa is all it took for me to drive the parking lot for 10 minutes searching for the ideal parking spot.

As we enter the restaurant I noticed that it was not busy. There were two tables inside that were occupied but most of the business was on the patio - exactly where we wanted to sit.

We stood at the hostess stand for a few minutes, well probably several seconds, and no one ever approached us so we walked over to the bar and asked if there was a host/ess seating people. The beautiful blond bartender told us yes but she didn't see her, so she handed us menus and sent us on our way to the high top patio table of our choice.

After being ignored for 15 minutes, with waitresses circling like buzzards but never landing, Fettit decided to go to the bar to get our margaritas - infuriating me.

As I watched him at the bar, waiting for our drinks. I got more upset by the minute and I knew I couldn't sit still any longer.

I pass him on his way back to the table as I am going to the hostess stand to request a manager.

Once at the front desk, I am again ignored for a couple of minutes, probably 45 seconds, until the two young ladies in front of me decide to stop talking. The hostess turned around and asks "how many in your Party?' I tell her where I am sitting, on the patio, right side, corner table, and ask to see a manager and she instantly glazes over and the demon hostess-bitch from hell takes over.

Snottily, with hand on hips, she snaps "Did you self seat?" "No,” I snapped back and retreated toward our flouted table.

The hostess was obviously annoyed by me and as I turned on my heels and sturdily started marching back to my table I knew I may have been party to, or perpetrated, the ultimate hostess crime.

In her eyes I had "self sat." I had been so bold as to pick my own seat, without being escorted by a hostwench.

Several minutes passed, and I endured the hostwenches looks of dread from across the restaurant, along with the extended glares of her co-workers, but yet no manager came to the table.

Finally, a five minutes after my meeting with hostesstien, the manager arrived.

I knew the second I laid eyes on him and his casual "I'm chill" demeanor that I wasn't going to find a sympathetic ear.

I explained that we had been sitting for 15 minutes while several employees passed our table and that in order to get a drink we had to go to the bartender directly.

The first thing from the manager's mouth, "Did you self-seat?"

My first impression confirmed, I knew there would be no satisfaction.

The manager mumbled something and then asked if we were ready to order to which I said, "no."

We never want to be rushed at a restaurant but we do like to be acknowledged - you know - I'm so sorry - I’m really busy right now and will be with you in a second.

Seems pretty simple to me – just acknowledge we are in your station.

No one ever came to our table for another 15 minutes, not even a look in our direction until, as I was talking to Fettit about their lack of service, the Bride of Chucky hostess approached without me seeing. As she placed the chips and salsa on the table, after overhearing me complaining, she felt the need to respond.

"Well" spewing venom she snidely spat, "you self sat," to which I responded, "no, we did not seat ourselves or else we wouldn't have menus. And by the way, you are very rude."

Ensuring she got the last word, she sneered, "No, you are rude" and continued on her way.

Even prior to my altercation with the unpleasant, uber-bitch hostess I was upset with the lack of attention from the wait staff, and lack of interest from the manager... Don/Sean/John, whatever it was, but this was the breaking point.

A few minutes later, after deciding to leave, the manager came back and I filled him on everything that had recently transpired. This time, unlike the first time, he was apologetic. I even told him that that I would be writing a letter of complaint to the web address on the menu.

Sean/John/Don offered to buy our margaritas but I told him we had gone to the bar to get them and paid already. He asked if we wanted two more but we declined (although in the back of my mind I was softening.)

He "confided" to us that they were short staffed because half of the crew was out at the Renaissance Festival (after having come in for breakfast), and that it was hard to find decent workers who took their responsibility seriously and didn't come to work hung over from the night before.

I guess after a few minutes of intimacies he felt we were buddies, and I allowed him to believe it, but it certainly didn't make up for the lack of service. What did intrigue me was the thought of the free margaritas, but when I asked Fettit if he wanted another he just gave me that knowing look and said, "No, we are leaving."

On a brighter note, we did end up at one of our favorite restaurants...Julio's in Scottsdale. Fettit had the fish tacos (the closest he will ever come to fish) and I found strength in my spinach enchilada.

There is a lesson here to be learned though.

Along with:

Thou Shall Honor Thy Mother and Father
Though Shall Keep the Sabbath Holy
Thou Shall Not Steal
Though Shall Not Kill

Do Not Jay-Walk
Always Use Your Blinkers
Do Not Pass on the Right

Never Leave the House in Dirty Underwear

I learned

DO NOT SELF-SEAT

I’ve sure I will be using it often.

18 comments:

Liz1971 said...

oh, chris! i love how you write!!! i felt like i was right there w/ you guys! sorry the service sucked hardcore... but i'm glad you found strength in the enchilada at the other restaurant! :)

Gpawilli said...

Thanks Liz...... thats so sweet.

I should not have been drinking though because I am not over whatever I have....

everythingsjustjake said...

i would have made sure that i flung my scarf round my neck- after i put my sunglasses on- and made a scene whilst storming out. totally would have done the same. free margaritas are not the cure-all, although they do seem to help sometimes! glad you stuck to your guns!

cannylass said...

Chris you must be much more patient that I am! I would have left that restaurant after the first altercation with that 'hostess'...the one that called you rude! Before leaving I would have complained to the manager, but I would not accept free drinks as an apology for the rudeness and bad service! I work with the public and it is hard to be smiling and polite all day every day, but the way she was is still un-called for. If any of our employees were like that...well lets just say they wouldn't be working for us!!!

I'm glad your day wasn't entirely spoiled though! Hope you feel well soon

Andrea

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people died in Iraq while you were geeting bad service? Just wondering!
ISM

Anonymous said...

Oh and you could have just solved the whole problem by calling the restaurant directly and asking that a manager come to your table because you were being ignored by the staff. Oh wait you guys have already tried that one!! Do you think this was a "hate" crime? You know they dont like bald guys!!
ISM

Gpawilli said...

ISM -

Last comment.....

NOT SO MUCH!!!!!

palestar said...

i will be nicking your article and posting it on mine - the word should be spread about those idiots that call themselves running a restaurant.

i would have done the jakers thing too with his flair.

wimomz said...

thanks 4 sharing ur woes chris...
u 2 weren't out in ur gay invisibility cloaks were u? sometimes i think we r seated where we won't b seen

shoulda flipped the rude comment from the wait staff...i'm sure the franchise owner would love 2 see it

Gpawilli said...

Kari -

No.. it wasn't a gay thing....

As they say NO BODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER... and nothing could be more true with us.

We only sit where we want to sit, in the case the table that we wanted was the one we chose... it just wasn't chose for us by the hostess with the leastest.

The restaurant in question in a chain of three - one in Flagstaff, Scottsdale and this one. So its not like a big francise mother....

I did in fact write a complaint but it went directly to the restaurant instead of like a corporate office, as there wasn't a corporate office email....

I will let you know if I heard back from my complaint.

Scott-O-Rama said...

You stayed much longer than I would have... even with the lure of free margarita's!

It's disappointing to hear about your bad experience there as I was thinking that was a restaurant I wanted to try. I'll probably stay away from them though for awhile as a matter of principle. I don't believe in patronizing places that give bad service.

Unfortunately I find bad service like that all too common anymore. I'm not sure if it's a Phoenix-thing or not. When Buckaroo and I were in Vermont, we found the service there to be extraordinary. It was the same in the small community where I grew up back in Illinois. Phoenix just seems to be home to bad service.

Gpawilli said...

I think you are right Scott - overall we get poor service in Phoenix, but I don't think it is limited to just Phoenix.

I've seen all over the place, and Im talking large cities, with the excpetion of New York City. Off the top of my head I can't remember getting shitty service.... I mean they may look at ya a little funny and they seem gruff, but they give good service in the big apple.

With the exception of the places we frequent often, where they know is, we usually get just mediocre service.

I stumbled across this review (and subsequent comment - you will see I left one as well). It appears we weren't the only ones who were ignored:

http://www.ecollegetimes.com/media/storage/paper991/news/2007/12/06/Nightlife/Review.San.Felipes.Cantina-3136984.shtml

Bobby said...

Chris,
Another amazing story of life. You put it so well. I even sent a link for my mother to read. You handled the situation much better; than I would have. Good to know you posted the name of the Restaurant. That girl should have been FIRED!!!
Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Gary

poor service is not limited to food service, it's everywhere. take your hard earn dollar to a place where it is appreciated.

I'd just write a letter to the editor of your local paper when the topic of service comes up.

word will travel fast on how bad of a place it it.

Scott-O-Rama said...

Chris-

Some other websites you might want to leave a review of the place on:

http://www.yelp.com/

http://local.yahoo.com/

http://phoenix.citysearch.com/

I often use these sites to discover new restaurants as do other people. To get a bad review on one of them will definitely make people think twice about eating there.

Josh said...

Well, I'm afraid I have to admit that your entry gave me a little snicker. I could just see the whole thing go down....cuz I've been across the table from you in similar situations. :) I guess we just cross that one off the list for marg's on Sundays.
Oddly enough Steven and I had some of the worst service of my life here in Maui. We inadvertently stumbled across Whalers Landing (or something like that), it's a big resort community with restaurants and shops all charging more than the view is worth. We needed a bite after snorkeling all morning, so we stopped in at one of the few eating establishments....LuLu's. 20-25 min. wait?? It's after 2pm?? Ok, give me the buzzy thing, and we stroll down the beach. As we walk in front of the entire outdoor seating section I see at least 4 open tables??? Did she say 25 mins?? As you can tell my stomach was altering my personality a bit, and I'm becoming impatient. Finally get seated and Mai Tai's, salads, spring rolls ordered (I memorized the menu by then). Drinks come fine....later she asks if we want more drinks, yes, they arrive.....where the hell is my food? Everyone elses food was coming and going all around us, and I've been waiting to EAT in this establishment for near an hour. Wave Stephanie down. Can you check on our salads?? 10 mins. later (really 3) she comes back sorry they'll be right out. RIGHT OUT!! It's salad and an appetizer!!! Now! Another 10 mins (maybe 6) the food finally arrives, and it looks SOOO AVERAGE. I'm in one of the most beautiful (and pricey) places in the world and you made me wait an hour for iceberg and super-oiley spring rolls. For the first time ever in my life I left no tip. Stephanie clearly forgot to order our food, then tried to put a rush on it and we were short changed.
Fortunately, I was able to quickly divert my frustrations with a beautiful view. Next time your coming with Gpa in case we have to work over our hostess. I think we would've been better off if we had SELF - SAT.
S.W.A.K - Josh & Steven
p.s. this might proven to be your first edit ever considering its length.

Gpawilli said...

NOPE Josh... No Editing!

Sorry to hear about your dining mishap but can't wait til you get home. We miss ya!

I know you are having a wonderful time and we can't wait to hear all about it and see pictures.

One now about Hawaii..... It is one of my favorite places on Earth, but the food and the restaurants are not noteable.

Although I can't recall having bad service there, I can't remember many memorable meals.

Memorable Mai Tai's DEFINITELY!

Gpawilli said...

Scott of Scott-o-Rama fame sent me this review of the lovely San Felipe Cantina....

I think it is safe to say we will not be back.... Thanks Scott...

To start, we were told it would be a half hour wait. Okay, not a problem. After all, D&B was a 2-hour wait! So we waited directly in front of the hostess bar. 30 minutes passes, 45 minutes pass... we go up and ask what's the ETA. "Uh...." They erased our names from the wait list on accident!! We ended up waiting a total of an hour before finally being seated.

We're still cool. Not too hungry, but ready for drinks. We wait. Then we wait some more. At this point (estimated 10 minutes after being seated), I pulled out my phone and begun to time how long it would take to get waited on. Servers continue to pass us, so quickly, we couldn't stop them even if we tried. 20 minutes later our waitress says, "oh! I am so sorry! I didn't know you guys were here!"

Irritated at this point, but we smile and put in our order for drinks and food. We have 5 people total and she brings us 4 waters. My friend asks for a water... she never brings it.

Four of us order the fish bowl. Yummy drink but WATERED DOWN. That huge thing didn't even give me a buzz, and I am a light-weight, being that I only drink every few months. The other girls agreed. Yummy, cute bowl, but no alcohol.

Our food finally arrives. Again, she brings us four plate settings for five people, completely skipping over the girl that didn't get a water. At this point, we all conclude that she doesn't like her. The girl asks for silverware, and again, her water.

My mom and I order the $18 fajitas. I figured $18 fajitas would be large enough for us to share. I WAS WRONG. The was the most SKIMPIEST plate of fajitas I have ever seen, but double the price. My mom eats like a bird and even commented, "it's not even enough for me, let alone two people." We had to dig through the peppers to find a couple of slivers of steak, it was PATHETIC! We ate what we could and concluded we would be making a Jack in the Box run after our movie.

Eventually my friend got her fork and knife, but never got her water. In the end... we had to ask for her to rinse our fish bowls... but she never returned. We waited so long we had to ask someone to get our waitress so we could pay and go. She returned with our check but not our fish bowls. We also asked her to split the check in the beginning, but she didn't do this. She was annoyed when we reminded her we wanted our check split. After we all paid and were ready to go... we had to wait again. Finally she showed up and we reminded her about our fish bowls. "OH YEAH!" Five minutes later she returned with our fish bowls completely wet... but whatever. I couldn't get out of that place fast enough.

I would never recommend this place to anyone, neither will I ever go back!!