Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If I Had No Sense Of Humor....

...the following true experience would have made me mad.

A couple of weeks ago, B and I decided to eat dinner at a restaurant downtown that we have not much frequented lately. After the experience we had, which is not exceptional for this place, I doubt that we will be going back anytime soon. It is a restaurant famous for its' background music of 50's-60's rock and roll and for having waitresses in very short skirts.

The first thing we noticed when we sat down was that the three waitresses working were all new. To us anyway. And that the owner and his wife were not present that night.

We waited patiently as two of the waitresses stood on the street a few feet from our table and carried on their private conversation. Oblivious to the fact that we had even sat down. After what seemed like a few long minutes, one came to our table. The other went to the bar area to further gossip with the other waitress. It should be noted that the place was not crowded. In fact, there was one other table with two people. It should also be noted, and those of you who live in Mexico know this, wait staff in restaurants are always, always super polite. I guess our waitress had yet to learn this. The following conversation took place in Spanish.

W(aitress): Drink?
Us: Yes. He'll have a Margarita on the Rocks. I'll have the house special beer.
W: What house special beer?
Us: The one that is on special for 10 pesos.
W: We don't have anything like that.

Whereupon I turned in my chair, pointed to the sign that clearly said Victoria beer was 10 pesos tonight and translated it from English to Spanish for her. (This restaurant is a favorite of expats and I am sure all the waitresses are required to speak some English)

W: Oh. I will check if we have that.
Us: If not, I will accept any other beer for 10 pesos.
W: I don't have a paper and pen.

She then strolls back to the bar and engages the other two waitresses in conversation. A few moments later she returns.

W: Drinks?
Us: The same as we just told you.
W: What did you order?

I'm pretty sure that I responded with our original drink order with no hint of sarcasm or iciness in my voice. I can't be sure though. She left to get the drinks.

She returned, plopped the drinks down in front of the wrong person and promptly left to rejoin the conversation already in progress at the bar. I waved her back.

W: What?
Us: We would like to order dinner.
W: Yes.
Us: Do you have paper and pen with you?
W: No.

Back in a few moments with paper and pen in hand, she asked for our order. We each gave her our order. In Spanish. She just looked at us, wrote nothing down and walked away. I told B that I had a bad feeling about our food. After some discussion back at the bar, she returned with another waitress in tow.

New W: Did you want to order food?
Us: Yes.
New W: What would you like?
Us: The same thing we told her. (pointing to old waitress who had written nothing down)
New W: She did not understand you. She thinks you have bad accents. Could you tell me please?

Whereupon we repeated our orders in Spanish, refusing to speak English. The new waitress then said something in very rapid Spanish to old waitress, who busily scribbled on her pad.

Us: Did you understand our order?
New W: Yes
Us: Please repeat it to us in English.

Whereupon new waitress repeated it in perfect English and got everything right. Remembering that there were only two other people in the restaurant, who already were eating when we sat down, it took 45 minutes for us to get our food. B had a hamburger (so difficult to understand in Spanish) and I had a fish fillet.

Like I said, we won't be going back anytime soon.


Calypso said...

I give you two credit for perseverance. I wouldn't have made it that long - even with my new found Mexico patience ;-)

Linda Dorton said...

That sounds really bad, Wayne. Really bad. I'm afraid I'd have gotten really pissed.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, Wayne. More than once, i have ordered,but got something i didnt order. ha. But i ate it. Oh well. Once, with a group of about 10, I ordered 3 different times, everyone else got their food, but mine didn't come!! haha. I'm just glad you got your 10mp cervaza.:-))

Anonymous said...


Sam and Bob said...

I got my morning chuckle...thanks.

Also, I find when a business is not busy one gets lousy service. I agree with you, I wouldn't go back any time soon either. There are other places that are willing to take your money.

Anonymous said...

have had experiences like that too (not just in mexico) and my rule now is if you are getting bad vibes early on just politely get up and leave. In the cases where we have not we were sorry. Bad vibes...leave. Just not worth it.

MD in Texas said...

Before I finished reading the second sentence or so I KNEW which place you were talking about.

Try as I might, I just cannot figure out what the draw is to that place. Food is average, drinks are average, and service is spotty at best.

Too many other options to waste a meal there.


Tom and Debi said...

gads! and perhaps a word to the owners! i'm sure the tip was reflected by the service.


Jane said...

Personally, am not attracted to restaurants where I've encountered too many cucarachas.

Life's a Beach! said...

Never made it there on our last trip because we prefer eating on the water when it's hot. I think they have a loyal following and people eat there for the social aspect. I have to say, the owner and his wife were extremely nice to me last November when Ida went through. They let me plant myself at a table with my laptop, using their wireless while I watched the squalls. Wayne, I'm glad your sense of humor was intact because you needed it that night! (Mine is too since the verification word resembles lactating.)

Anonymous said...

I'm having a belly laff over this one. Not the situation...just your translation of it.

Thanks for the funny.

Roanoke, Virginia

Jonna said...

I'm afraid I would have turned into a Mexican on them. A few sarcastic por faVOR's and tapping my spoon on a glass for service. On the other hand, it's a shame as the owners probably have no idea this is going on. Since English is important the owners may read it, wouldn't it be fun to give them this URL so they can see what was said.

KfromMichigan said...

I would have left that place FAST! And I would inform the owners of such BAD service. I sure hope you didn't leave a tip!

IslaZina said...

OMG, this is hysterical! Mames o no?

Whodathunk said...

Sergio told a funny story a while back about his wait staff. He said that after hearing several complaints from customers he decided to take a look himself. On a day he was to be away he took a small boat off the coast of his place and observed the restaurant with binoculars. Seeing the waiters goofing off while customers were there, he called the bar on his cell. "Hey, how's it going? Are you guys busy?" "Oh yes boss, very busy." Sergio asked if they were doing all the chores he asked them to do. "Oh, yes boss, all done." Sergio called them lying SOB's as well as a few other choice things before telling them he was watching them at that very moment and that they'd all be fired if they didn't get going.

Sandia said...

LOL....I never understood why folks liked that restaurant! We basically had the same experience service-wise a few years ago....and the food was really not that good [VERY greasy chile relleno and fish with rum sauce that tasted like ketchup!]...nope, too many other great places...Sandia