Went to a Seinfeld episode last night! Not a real one just felt like one – this was an episode of high farce. The occasion was a visit to a local restaurant, having visited this place earlier in the week and being impressed with the service, prices and menus we decided to visit again as Elvis was coming to Town. Robert from Edmonton is a local impressionist and if we wanted to see him we had to reserve a table. Ken from 11a, on his exercise route, a couple of days ago, did just that and we were all set to go.
Arriving on time and at the appointed table the party of eight settled into the start of conviviality. The wait for drink service was long but we wrote that off as a harried waitstaff. We should have realised that this was an omen of the night. The first thing we noticed was that the regular menu had been replaced by one with much higher prices, with the warning that a minimum charge of two hundred pesos, per person, was in effect. Feeling a little miffed about the doubling of the food prices we thought that the extra cost was to pay for Robert - wrong he passed the usual tip jar. Good times flowed and occupied the wait for the food orders to be taken. The waiter did take the food order but not the drink and so we sat thirstier than normal.
Finally some food did arrive, but three of the eight were left looking as we ate up. But the food arrived before the utensils did, so we just pretended we were in India and finger-food ate it - the utensils did turn up but after eating half the plate. Complaints to the waiter did not improve anything and the three still did not get food. The only thing that moved the management was a text to their website that told them in no uncertain terms that table sixty wanted their food! As the management rushed over to find out what was going on they were told by the three that it was too late to wait and they no longer wanted any of their food. At this time we were all told that things would improve as they had fired the waiter!
Now we waited to find the replacement waiter to tell him to bring the bill. Waiting for many minutes the level of frustration with the place and some anxiety about the accuracy of the bills rose. When the bills did arrive, again after telling the most lingual of the waiters that table sixty was really POd the discussion turned nasty and one member of the party did resort to a loud voice and a couple of f-bombs. The problem here was that the Manager only would handle on bill at a time and three had to be adjusted. Our bill was lower that it should have been, no complaints there but I did write on the bill “no propina” (no tip) and carefully counted out the correct amount and left it on the table.
At this time, two bills adjusted and one paid out, Ken from 11a was the only person let clutching his bill. Now faced with another waiter, a younger bilingual one, and the only woman waiter, who spoke no English but was really ugly about the whole affair and who couldn’t wait for us to leave fast enough, the younger one said “Do you want to see the Manager and write a comment about this?” Write a comment? We asked ourselves as I was standing with Ken from 11a – why not!
Wending our way through the now clearing restaurant we came to the Cashier’s desk where the Manager appeared and proceeded to attempt to clear up our misgivings about the experience. Asked again if we wanted to write a comment we answered - "Why, what would that do?" "It would tell us what you didn't like!" was that answer. With the younger bilingual waiter translating the Owner now appeared at his side. After explaining the complete failure of the management systems that night Ken from 11a asked what was he – the Owner, going to do to make amends for the complete fiasco. At that point the Owner told Ken from 11a that his meal would be free. I was asked if I wanted a free meal but refused as I was satisfied with the food but nothing else. My satisfaction was not giving a tip in a public manner.
Finally we left with the assurance from the Owner that the next time we would be given the VIP experience, but this being Mexico we wondered just how this would happen without a voucher – “Who are you Senor?” All we could say was the experience was taken in good spirits and we agreed that tomorrow all of this would be funny – and it was.