I talked about not being a victim the other day, even when something happens to you that you didn’t plan or want. Though it wasn’t as egregious (or as serious) as the Starbucks situation in Philly, I had an issue while traveling this week.
The only food options near my hotel were Ruby Tuesday’s and Cracker Barrel. Barf. Funny how there was a time when going to either of these places would have been a treat to me. When traveling to road games in college, stopping at Cracker Barrel was a big deal. My tastes have changed quite a bit since then.
I chose Cracker Barrel — the lesser of two evils — and ate there two days in a row. The second day, I asked to have my fries subbed for pan seared potato hash, the kind you’d get in a breakfast skillet.
The waitress brought my plate and the potatoes were baked and soft. I informed the waitress of the miscue and she went to the kitchen to get it fixed… then came right back to my table with an empty plate.
The waitress claimed that the cooks, upon being notified of the potato error, had asked, “where are the old ones?” She had brought the empty plate to take back the soft-baked potatoes. I jokingly asked what the plan was for the potatoes— they gonna eat them? She didn’t have an answer.
Another plate of potatoes was brought out about 4 minutes later, the food runner announcing, “potatoes, well done.” What you see in the photo above — that’s exactly how they were brought to me. They were still soft, on the same plate the old potatoes had been taken on, and I didn’t eat any of it.
This is the kind of service and food you get at a restaurant offering $9 meals. Chipotle, which I like, has similar prices —but no cooks, and no waitresses to pay.
I paid the bill and asked for the manager. The friendly manager came out and I explained the situation. The tackiness of taking the potatoes back — the execution of it felt like the cooks suspected me of trying to get an extra serving of potatoes for free. The unfriendliness of the hostess who failed to even make eye contact while asking “How many?” The General Cracker-Barrelness of it all. Buy cheap, you get cheap.
The manager admitted that they had dropped the ball on my entire experience, noting that he’d had that same issue with his hostess in the past, and the potatoes should never have been taken back that way. After offering me some potatoes to go (which I declined), he thanked me for letting him know and I left. He didn’t offer to refund the meal, and I didn’t want the $9.
For Your Game
- You should speak up when something’s not right. After you’re done speaking up, propose a conclusion or resolution to the situation — or not — and move on. It’s the prolonging of the speaking up that’s costing people lots of wasted time and energy. Mental Toughness is a key trait you learn in The Mental Handbook.
- People make mistakes sometimes; none of the Cracker Barrel foul-ups were made out of malice. In such cases, watch that your energy isn’t out of proportion to the crime. Have poise and composure.
- I’m on a 14-day raw vegan cleanse, and just talking about this, even Cracker Barrel’s subaverage food, makes me very hungry.
What do you when you have a bad restaurant experience? Do you say anything to the manager? Reply and let me know.