My wife teaches math in a local high school. Today was the end of their first week. She came home and flopped on the bead and said (laughing)… “Only thirty-five more weeks!”
She asks what I want to do for dinner ’cause she is not cooking. After a couple of whatever you want honey… I don’t know. What do you want? I asked her to order take out from Outback Steakhouse and I will go out to get it. It’s been raining all day, the streets are nasty and… traffic is kinda stinky.
So she goes on-line to check their menu and sees that they now offer on-line ordering. Sweet! Or so we thought. She decides that instead of calling to place the order… may as well do it on-line. It’s pretty cool you can see the billing just as if you were in the restaurant. It also gives you the time your order will be ready and asks what kind of vehicle you drive. Pretty detailed stuff.
So I arrive just a couple of minutes early and park in one of the take out spots where the surveillance cameras show the take out servers which vehicles are waiting for their order. After waiting for just a few minutes after the order should be ready I decide to go inside.
There are a couple of people ahead of me so I decide to be courteous and wait. I’m just that way. After five to ten minutes the manager comes into the little take out room and says to the guy on the computer/register “Let me see that on-line order.” Uh oh. “Are you talking about my on-line order?” Then I give the manager the receipt we were directed to print out and take with us to pick up our yummy food. Now remember I’m hungry customer with a wife and children waiting at home to eat. So hee takes the receipt and says “Sir, we just started using this system yesterday and there seems to be a glitch in it. I can see that your receipt has the food items on it but when we see it on our end all we see is the amount of the total purchase.” “So, you only know how much money you want from me? You don’t actually know what I want for that money…is that it? So that part on-line that told me the time to be here to pick up my food was just a hoax?” I replied smiling. Then I said, “I don’t want you to misunderstand my being good-natured about this to mean that I am not annoyed. I have a family at home expecting to eat dinner soon and…” He cuts me off “Sir, I’m terribly sorry. I just put your order in and it will be out in five to ten minutes.” So I decide that at least I deserve a complimentary sweet tea to drink while I have to wait for my food. After all it will only take five to ten minutes. Riiiiight. Okay so what, that’s not really taking advantage of the situation. Is it?
So I’m waiting, I finally get the iced tea after about ten minutes. Mean while a couple of more people have come in. I’m joking around with them, asking them if they ordered on-line, my wife should have listened to me and called in the order. The phone company is much faster than the internet. The manager comes back in and I ask if he could make sure we get some extra bread and sauce for our Bloomin Onion. “No problem, I’m going to take care of you. I’m going to fix you up.” He turns to the guy on the computer cash register and says “Don’t ring him out, I’ll take care of it.”
One of the ladies that came in after me was a rather “large” woman. She gave one of the servers forty dollars and the server says that she will be right back with her food and change. I think this server was on Australia time. Or “right back” in Outback speak is a bit longer than the average hungry customer that has just forked over forty bucks thinks it is. After a while the manager comes back and he too has an iced tea for me. Since I already have mine I give it to the lady who’s now getting rather annoyed that her food and dollars and change hasn’t shown up yet. So I asked her if she would like the tea. She accepts and says that she will drink it with her dinner. Of course I couldn’t resist and say to her, “That may be a forty dollar iced tea… drink it slow.” lol (I do so enjoy myself when I’m out).
Now my five to ten minute order that will be right out is over half an hour. The forty dollar lady is getting anxious about her money disappearing. She’s asking the other two servers coming in and out who the girl was that took her forty dollars. They have no idea what she’s talking about because they (supposedly) are the only ones working the take out orders. Now the whole take out order section is in a tizzy because I’m having a ball with the entire situation. This poor manager comes back in to the room and the forty dollar lady asks about her food; she gave a girl forty dollars… she has a witness (and points to me). I said I really wasn’t paying much attention (I really wasn’t). Then one of the girls says “I’VE GOT IT! (holding the ticket in the air)”. So she cashes the forty dollar lady out, gives her her change, she promptly stuffs it into her bra (left side up high). Now if only she can just get her food.
I notice the latest issue of Cosmopolitan laying on a side counter. It’s opened to some kind of sex question page about “Your Man” this or that. I start flipping through the Cosmo making comments about how it’s really just soft porn for women. “I mean, look at how scantily clad these women are dressed and the positions they have them in. They aren’t selling shampoo here.” A few giggles around the room.
I want the servers to be able to make more money ’cause they are working hard and have nothing to do with how things come or don’t come out of the kitchen. So I turn my attention to the blue shirted, computer, cash register guy. “So… do you guys in take out still make a low hourly rate and depend on most of your income in tips?” “He says, well actually, we do only make two thirty an hour. So yes we appreciate tips.” Now I look at the forty dollar lady who has stuffed her dollars and change into her left bra pocket and say. “Man, can you imagine working for two dollars and thirty cents an hour?” She replied, “I didn’t know that. I’ll have to tip them next time.” Really? I said. “Yeh, I order take out once a week. Next time I’ll have to tip them.” “I’ll bet they would really appreciate that” I said. She still has that dollar and change glued inside her bra. Well I tried.
Finally she asks when her food is coming out. They haven’t brought any new orders out in the last ten minutes or so… about when she got her change for the forty dollars. One of the servers ask for the name on the order. “Tameka.” The server checks the bags… right next to the forty dollar lady. Oh, here they are, I’m sorry the girl said. Haha, make it known in advance of getting your food that you aren’t tipping your server and…. but I’m sure it was just an over sight and not intentional that Tameka’s order had been sitting there the entire time! 😉 Off goes Tameka with her two bags of food, her dollar and change stuffed in her left bra pocket and don’t forget, her free iced tea that she is going to drink with her now cold dinner. lol
Of course I am still waiting for my five to ten minute magical disappearing on the internet dinner. Finally, here it is. So I give the server girl a nice tip, thank her and off I go.
I get home and my wife and nineteen year old daughter are, by this time, starving. I come in the front door and have been gone so long I say. “Okay, y’all ready for breakfast?”. We unload the bags check all of the containers twice… They left out my daughters dinner AND THE EXTRA BREAD THE MANAGER PERSONALLY PROMISED ME! So I get the phone number off my receipt and Josh answers. “Josh, are you the guy in take out with the long sleeve blue shirt?” Yes sir was the reply. “Hey, this is the on-line order guy.” “Oh (pause) yes sir?” “Josh, I can’t believe after all I just went through the kitchen left out one of the dinners.” He apologized profusely. I explain what was left out, tell him I’m coming right back and then hit him up for some complimentary fries with cheese melted on top. I also tell him that I need to speak to Robby the manager when I get back.
I pull out the drive way and reset my odometer so I can let Robby the manager know just how many miles I had to drive for their Boomerang Shrimp and Alice Springs Chickens. Six and a half miles it was. Not that big a deal but it sounds awful when you say you drove over twenty-five miles to get dinner from Outback tonight. Robby is apologizing again, I show him my receipt from earlier. “I know I’m not in the restaurant business but let me ask you something. (showing him the receipt) These items here with the check mark next to them. That’s saying that yep those items are in the bag? And this item here without the check mark? That’s the one we send the customer home without? Is that pretty much how it goes?” Yes sir that’s exactly what it means, says Robby the manager. “Whats your name? (writing it down on a special form) Address?” “Hey,” Robby the manager exclaims. You live in my neighborhood and tells me which street he lives on. When I moved into my house over twenty years ago his house was a patch of woods. So I wanted to correct him and tell him that based on residential occupancy seniority that it is more like my neighborhood but he had enough to deal with. Now he has all of my information so he can “send me something special in the mail next week”. I asked him for his exact address in case I don’t like what it is he sends me. BWAAAAHAHAHAHA, you should have seen the look on his face. I was just joking I reassured him.
I got home, my middle daughter is just about to leave… and she’s eaten half my dinner while I was gone! But at least I got the other dinner for my daughter (which she promptly took out of the bag and left with her older sister) the extra bread and not one but two orders of cheesy fries.
So the moral of the story is two-fold. Never ever, ever trust the internet and especially the newly operating system for on-line ordering at Outback Steakhouse. Secondly, don’t stress about things you have no control over. Have fun with it!