secret shopper returns

31 10 2008

It is time for the secret shopper to come out of her cupboard again. The subject of this report is another restaurant in Wilmington and another dismal report. Seriously, there are a ton of eating establishments in this town which means that there is a lot of competition for our patronage. Call me crazy but I don’t think there is a whole lot of room for error in this economy. If you are not going to provide a good dining experience, there are enough other restaurants in town to spend our money in.

Thus, I am compelled to share this experience with you.

This afternoon, I entered Ruby Tuesday on Market Street. I was promptly greeted by a hostess who asked my seating preference. I told her I would like to be as far as possible from the smoking area. Here is where she seated me.

That is the bar… where the smokers sit…like right in the green booth to the right of the picture… which was occupied by a couple of smokers enjoying their right to smoke in the smoking section… which happens to be right behind the salad bar.

Alrighty then.

I was seated at 12:10. For the next ten minutes I watched while some of the wait staff served the tables around me. Two waitresses were chatting and slowly meandering to the hostess station where they chatted with the hostess for a couple of minutes and then slowly meandered back toward the bar. Still, no one had come near my table. One waitress actually smiled as she was coming toward my table and I thought she was going to be the one, but lo and behold, she passed me by.

 I am still suffering the last dregs of a cough and had a bit of a coughing spell during this time. It would have been nice to get a drink of water. At 12:20 the manager walked past me so I waved him over. In my calm but firm tone, I asked, “Is someone actually waiting on this table? Because I have been here for 10 minutes and have not even been offered a glass of water yet.” He was all apologies and assured me that he would send someone right over, which he did. A very pleasant young man came to ask if he could get me something while I waited for my friend to join me and while he was getting my drink, my friend arrived. I had all good faith that the situation would be turned around.

Our waiter informed us that the manager wanted to give us a free appetizer because of the wait. Sweet. We ordered our food and I settled back for some precious fellowship with one of my girl friends. As we chatted, I reached over to unwrap my silver ware from it’s napkin. This is my napkin.

No, I had not used it. Yes it was wrapped around my silver ware and, yeah, I wasn’t so hopeful of salvaging this dining experience anymore.

It may sound like I had a miserable lunch but nothing could be further from the truth. This lunch date was with my good friend Pam and we know how to enjoy ourselves what ever the circumstances. After all, we both work in the film industry and we both love Jesus with everything we’ve got! We laughed, we shared some personal stuff and I asked for a clean napkin. Oh yeah, and we prayed over our food. Thanks Pam, for being a good friend, picking up the tab and for my celebrating my birthday with me. (my b’day was October 3rd and this was our first chance to get together)

Dining experience…. 4 out of 10.

Fellowship experience… 10 out of 10.

Will I go back this month… no.

On a positive note, Ed and I went to Outback Steakhouse on College Road for dinner and the meal and the service were very good. Even saw some other friends there. Yeah, we eat out a lot whenever I am working.



2 responses

1 11 2008

ummmm…. wow. there’s no explaining away that napkin, is there? wow. (oh, i just said that, didn’t i. wow.)

i find myself more and more shocked by how oblivious people are on the job. i mean just completely disconnected. it’s sad, really.


1 11 2008

Gross about the napkin. The Ruby Tuesday’s here in my area aren’t very good either. Pretty much the same experience you had and there are 3 within a 35 mile radius from me! I have to say your Outback in Wilmington is the best. Since I left there I haven’t been to any here that compares to that one in Wilmington. Ours here are as bad as the Ruby Tuesdays!!!! For those who care,I live in Hampton Roads Area of Virginia.


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