Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Real Life Ursula Fails at Serving

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
So, having dinner with Mike is always a treat.  We gab, we gossip, we dish.  But last night at a certain diner in the Meatpacking District, we were assaulted with egregious idiocy in the guise of our server.  She was a real-life Ursula* - not the sea witch but Phoebe's unfortunately incapable sister from Friends and Mad About You.

It took her a few minutes to come to our table, not unusual during the dinner rush (unfortunately the dinner rush was about an hour before us).

"What can I get you for dinner?" She asked.  This was followed by quizzical looks from me to Mike and back again.  "Can we order our drinks?  We're not quite ready to order our meals." She was immediately confused but didn't react, just kept her pen to pad and waited.  We tried again, "Just five minutes please."

She got the "hint" and parted so that we could look over the menu without her lurking.  After a while she came back ready to go.

"I'd like the double patty melt please." I asked.

"Oh, we don't have any." She replied.


"We don't have it.  Just the single patty melt."  Note that the menu does not even offer a single patty melt... just a double.  Also note that a double is only a double because the cook puts two patties on one sandwich.  Simple right?  Not for our Ursula.

My questions about the inability to put two patties on one sandwich were met with confusion.  Mike politely smiled at me, then to her, then to his menu to hide what I can only assume was uncontrollable giggles at her lack of a Mensa certificate.

Knowing I was not going to get anywhere I asked her for a few more minutes so that I could select something that was not only on the menu but also capable of being put together in the kitchen.

Again, subtle hints did not help.  But she eventually grasped that I needed another moment and left us.

She returned a few minutes later, very excited.  "I checked with the kitchen and they can make a double patty melt.  They just have to put an extra patty on the sandwich."  Ladies and gentlemen... pass this server a Degree in Common Sensology.

So the meals eventually came, and were delicious, and then... the bill came.

Mike and I were splitting the check.  I was nervous... this could send Ursula over the edge.  Math would be involved.  So we made it simple.  "Put XX on this card and then XX on this one."

She seemed to understand and hurried away to process the charge.  She came back a minute or two later, much slower though as she was studying the receipts.

"So, here's this one for XX" and slides the card and receipt to Mike.  "And here's this one for XX" and slides mine to me.  Here is where disaster struck.  She had charge me for the full bill and charged Mike for his share.  These were not the instructions we gave her.

"Miss, you seem to have charged me for the full amount."  I said, pointing to the total on the receipt.

"Huh?" She looked, again confused, "Oh."  I knew from our 45 minutes with her that this Oh was not an acknowledgment of understanding.  "You should only have charged me XX but you charged me the full amount.  I need this corrected please."

"OH!" a ha, an acknowledgement Oh, "I thought it looked funny.  I'll be right back."  She hurried away and then some minutes passed.  She popped by, "Sorry it is taking so long.  It should be fixed soon."  Really?  I thought, You're, no doubt, making this far more complicated then necessary.  

She finally returned and had my correct bill, which I signed.  Before I could ask for a copy of the voided amount she was off, never to return.  We waited a few minutes and then finally gave up, "I just want to get out of here," I said to Mike.

That was MY mistake.

This morning I get an alert from Chase that I have two pending charges from the same vendor.  And without hesitation I knew it was this diner.  Yep.  Two charges... ridiculous.

I immediately called the restaurant and, after a second with the hostess, was handed over to the General Manager.

"Oh she should NOT have done that."  Really??  "She should have handled that much differently."

"Yeah, well, now I have an overdraft because of your server's error and I just want this fixed, please." (Yes, pre-payday and the funds are dry... don't judge.)

We talked for a minute about my experience there, for which he apologized profusely... he seemed to understand when I told him who our server was.  He assured me that the incorrect transaction would be voided and should appear in my account by Monday and that if I was charge any overdraft fee he would reimburse me out of Ursula's paycheck/tips.  She can afford it since she got a NICE WAD of tip by charging me twice.

Epic fail Ursula.  EPIC FAIL.
*Not her real name.

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