We have a Sunday morning routine where we go out to breakfast before grocery shopping. Over many years we’ve gone through a few favorite restaurants, but for the past year or two it’s been a deli in the same shopping center as a mid-sized grocery store.
The grocery store is not the best we’ve ever been to (smaller store, smaller selection) but their service is generally pretty good. The bigger stores with the bigger selection seem to also all have lousy service, so it’s a trade off. (There do exist stores with good selection and good service, but they’re much further away from home and tend to be more expensive… More trade offs!)
The deli is not the best we’ve ever been to but their food is decent and usually we’re okay with them.
We were in a bit of a hurry – the football game with my beloved KC Chiefs was starting in an hour, but we figured we had plenty of time. (If only we had known how badly the Chiefs were going to choke yet again, but that’s a story for another day.) More importantly, we were really hungry.
As usual we went in, were seated, and the bus boy (is there a better term than that these days?) got water for us. The place was less than half full and there were two waitresses. We started reading our newspaper, waiting for someone to take our order.
No one ever came by.
How long does one wait in this circumstance, particularly when you’re a “regular”? It wasn’t like we were off in a corner, we were right in the middle. We tried to catch someone’s attention, but got nowhere.
It’s not like the waitresses were overly busy. They both were chatting, schmoozing, joking around, having a good time socializing with both the other customers and the other employees.
It would be one thing if they had been busy. I’ve sat for far longer in places that were being slammed while being shorthanded. (Go to any large convention, science fiction or otherwise.) In college I worked in the food service industry for a while, I know how hard it can be.
But when we’ve simply been forgotten, or ignored? Hello?
Perhaps we should have been more aggressive about getting someone’s attention. Perhaps.
Instead, after about fifteen minutes, we just got up and walked out to go get our groceries. The owner/hostess at the door was wondering what was going on but I wasn’t in the mood to engage. The Long-Suffering Wife told her that we were leaving because no one had ever come and taken our order.
So here are the questions for the group mind – in such a circumstance, do you raise your voice, let someone know that you’re pissed (and hungry), set off a signal flare, or do you walk? And if you walk, how long do you wait before heading out?
Now we need to find a new place to eat next Sunday morning.