Late For Lunch

December 16, 2016 Observations No Comments

Does this stuff only happen to me?

Can someone please tell me what’s happened to good old customer service and simple common sense.

I had an 11:30 am lunch reservation today at our local Ruth’s Chris. It’s not a regular stop for me, but one I probably use three or four times a year for a special guest or to have a quiet conversation.

Today I was lunching with UAB head football coach Bill Clark and UAB Associate Athletic Director Brad Hardekoff. Coach Clark is the only Division 1 head football coach in the country that hasn’t lost a game in two seasons. He’s also one of the very few who hasn’t won a game, either. Let’s not get bogged down into the trivial details but UAB dropped it’s football program after the 2014 season and due to an incredible public outcry, reversed that decision seven months later and agreed to bring it back for the 2017 season. Much to Coach Clark’s credit, with other offers on the table, he decided to stay and resurrect the program.

So, when I got to the restaurant at 11:25 am and checked in for our table the hostess who shall remain nameless- Allyson- clearly overmatched by the position, looked and looked, blamed a slow computer and then finally said she didn’t have the reservation.

I told her I made it on ‘Open Table’, something I use for dining around the country and I’ve never had a hickey with it. She asked for my confirmation number. Who the hell keeps a confirmation number? You either have a table for three for Berger at 11:30 or you don’t.

I peered over her shoulder. The restaurant has 200 seats that were divided into about forty tables. There wasn’t a soul in the place. Not one. She told me she was sorry but she didn’t have the reservation and there was nothing she could do about it.

I told her the lunch was important and I needed her to find me a spot. I was nice. Really I was. She apologized but said she had no tables at 11:30. To me that meant five filled Trailways buses were going to arrive in about four minutes as it was now 11:26 am.

I asked her what time she had a table available. She stares at the computer, much like the rental car clerk in the Seinfeld episode and said she had a table available at 11:45 and one at 11:15. I asked her for what day? “Today” she said.

It was now 11:27 am. I wasn’t sure I properly processed what just happened. Other than ‘huh’ all I could say was ” give me the 11:15 table and consider me twelve minutes late.”

She sat me at the 11:15 table. I still was the only one in the restaurant. Really. Coach Clark arrived promptly at 11:30 am, as head coaches are supposed to do. I told him what just happened. He shook his head.

“Well then” coach said, “I’m not sure if we are fifteen minutes late or fifteen minutes early.”

Neither did Allyson.

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