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    Remember my birthday and the bad waiter incident?

    Turns out that had I complained, it would not have mattered. Not one little bit.

    The guy at my table who didn't get his order did complain after I left. The owner was on-site, and my friend let him know what happened. The waiter was called out on that situation, and he said in his defense that he simply didn't hear my friend give his order. The owner was satisfied with that, and quite literally shrugged the whole thing off.

    I'm sorry, but that's just ass.

    If you are in customer service, you are supposed to make eye contact with each of your clients. I know that as a waiter/server/whatever, your interaction with the clients is critical to receiving a decent tip, which might even put you over the full minimum wage if your tip is awesome enough. I fondly recall the old days when servers actually wrote down your order, noting all the special details, and then repeated the order back to you. This clown barely gave us the time of day. If he approached our table at all, it was because we rudely flagged him down.

    No, it wasn't rude of us to flag him down; he just acted like it was.

    On the other hand, the alcohol-swilling drunks out on the veranda received non-stop care and attention from the same server who ignored us all night. I guess one solution to my dilemma is to just become a public drunk.

    All I can say is that it will take a guarantee that Mr. A. Hole is not our server to get me to eat there again, and even then I will decline after I remind myself that Mr. A. Hole is supported unconditionally by his boss, Mr. WishyWashy Pants.

    We are not amused!

    Yesterday was trivia night at a local island-themed restaurant. The food is interesting, although their drinks menu is longer than their food menu.

    We always join others who regularly arrive anywhere from about 30 minutes or more ahead of us to halfway through the game. This is standard operating procedure for trivia night no matter where it's held, and the restaurant has been hosting the event for some time now. Nobody should be surprised by late-comers.

    The two who were already at our table were well into their meals when we arrived. In a series of long waits of at least ten minutes, we were offered a beverage but no menu, received our drinks and had to ask for the menu, were given the menu, and had our order taken. About 20 minutes later, our appetizer arrived, a simple dish of six shrimp in a coconut-rum sauce. A few minutes later, I actually managed to flag the server over and ask for a bread basket.

    By the time the bread arrived, our final two companions had joined the table but were completely ignored by our server until he delivered our main courses, which was about 20 minutes after the shrimp had been delivered--at least 40 minutes after ordering. Getting refills on anything that wasn't alcohol was negligent at best.

    Of the two who joined us last, one got her food, the other did not. Luckily, he wasn't billed for it, although I suspect that initially he was but then the server realized he'd never put the food order in. No apology was issued by the server at any time.

    We had the worst time trying to get his attention all night. One of us ordered fries, but the ketchup bottle we were forced to borrow from another table was absolutely empty. Another ran out of both salad dressing and cocktail sauce. Two wanted to order seconds on the peel-and-eat shrimp-by-the-piece special, but in the end had to get theirs "to go" because it was almost 9 pm when they were able to place that order. And still, one companion never got anything other than a glass of soda-pop.

    Meanwhile, there are two tables outside on the veranda where every Monday is the same group of people who sit for hours drinking alcohol and smoking cigars and cigarettes. Our server was also responsible for them, and they received prodigiously good care and attention in spite of the fact that while I was there, none of them had eaten any food. Perhaps they already had; I don't know.

    However, when it was time to hand out the checks, we could not shake this guy. He hovered around the table until each one of us had pulled out cash or card.

    And so I present this dilemma: Mister was so ticked off, he didn't want to leave a tip. I paid with cash on purpose so that my amount couldn't be changed later, and left slightly less than 10%. The owner of the restaurant stopped by our table because he is a personal friend of one of my tablemates, but none of us complained about the server.

    I didn't even know how to broach the subject. I've never had to complain about really bad service before, and couldn't start. I had hoped that one of the others would speak up, especially the guy who didn't even get the food he'd ordered. No one did. Also, I felt uncomfortable with the tip. I've never given so little, but then again, I've only once had just comically bad service from a brand-new server (which resolved itself happily and is now a running joke with my dinner friends). Last night's server, however, has been at that restaurant at least for as long as we've been going there.

    Please advise me on how best to proceed. By sheer luck I will not be returning to that particular restaurant again, but I still want to have my arsenal ready just in case this unfortunately happens again.


    I was browsing at a discount store last week and found this:

    Yes, my friends, that truly is an Inaugural Lava Lamp. It is also, in my opinion, yet another example of why the rest of the world generally disregards the United States of America.

    I'll take Insane Genius for $1000, Alex.

    Happy birthday to the late Nicola Tesla, a most magnificent genius and my first nerd crush. (Second was Carl Sagan, but that's another story for another day.)

    Too bad he was very all dead by the time I discovered his brilliance, otherwise I would have stalked him for sure.

    Self-Entitlement VS Stupidity

    A local grocery store is part of a larger shopping plaza. At one end of the building is a spur road that connects the plaza to the two main roads that it bisects. Where this spur meets the parking lot is a 4-way stop. Let's assume the plaza runs east-west.

    I was driving from the north and came to a stop as required by law. I noticed to the east a very large red SUV parked in the fire lane at the video store in the plaza. The driver's door was open, and my guess is that it was still running. Common sense told me to wait. A quick check of my rearview indicated that no one was waiting behind me.

    That hesitation on my part probably saved my car's life. The whole event was over in a matter of seconds beginning with my decision to wait.

    A well-manicured soccer-mom type bounded out of the video store, climbed quickly into the SUV, and then shot forward with no regard to the car that was legally coming up behind her in the proper lane. As she approached the intersection, she just barreled through it, not bothering to even slow down or look. She turned south, the same direction I was intending to go.

    The new car to the east sat waiting at the intersection, a look of shock on the driver's face. I caught his eye and he waved me on. I graciously waved back and followed Ms SUV through the intersection. I later watched as she rolled through the T-style intersection (with no merge spurs) to join heavy traffic on the main artery road behind the shopping plaza, headed in the same direction I needed to go.

    At the next intersection, the light turned red just as Ms SUV reached the crossing. She did not stop. Although it saddens me greatly to say this, fortunately the good people of the Asscrack of America are used to driving such as this, and no one popped out into the intersection until she had cleared it.

    Stupidity, self-absorption, or overweening sense of entitlement? I report, you decide.