Monday, May 17, 2010

Stale Bread and Dried up Ink: Bad Customer Service

I rarely get to take my mom out to enjoy all that life has to offer, due to my hectic schedule of my internship, freelancing as well as prepping for further schooling in June. When I do get the opportunity, I jump right on it. I just love making those who are closest to me happy (especially my mommy), because a smile brightens my day. A majority of my dampened mood usually results from my mom's constantly changing moods. She's like those mood rings that gives you more than one color, and you have to search what that odd looking color means. Even though she's my mom, and we're always together, I still to this day, never understand why she's angry or upset from one moment to the next.

Anyways, I got the opportunity to take my mom to Hawthorne Blvd. last weekend, to go window shopping and hopefully grab some useful items here and there in the amazing shops, but it didn't end on a good note. Now, Hawthorne is currently on my mom's hate list. I can't blame her, I was about to do some damage there myself that day. What happened you might ask? How could 'we' hate Hawthorne? What could possibly cause this particular hatred suddenly? It's not the shoppers, or the small shops or even the beggars on the streets, no. It was one particular *cough* cafe. I don't know if I should name them- but for the sake of getting this irritation off my chest, I'm talking about Bread and Ink Cafe. (If any of you have ever eaten there and loved it, I'm sorry, but I never got a single bite out of that place.)

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What happened was, mom and I got hungry after browsing for an hour in a half from one shop to the next, and it was past noon on a beautiful sunny Saturday. I felt my stomach growl in need of a much needed rest and fulfillment, and so did my mom's. I asked her, "What're you interested in eating today?", and she said "It's up to you." I looked around thinking, and there to my left, was Bread and Ink Cafe. So I grabbed my mom's hands and we walked inside. I'm not exaggerating when I say this, but the cafe had 10 people dining, and out of all those 10 people, there was only 3 tables that were in use. Mom made a comment that perhaps the shop just opened and people weren't as hungry so that's why it's not as busy. We stood there for a while because they had a nicely written sign that said "Please wait to be seated, thank you!"

Mom didn't take notice of this at first, but I did, this man (whom I don't know his name, it would be helpful for name tags, but hey, we're not in school) looked at us, acknowledging our presence, then walks off. He then returns, and looks at us again, this time, he went back to where he disappeared to in the first place and comes out, walking towards us with 2 menus in hand. You know when you look at someone, you just look at them with maybe a smile and ask them how they're doing? (Otherwise you look away and not make yourself out to be a creep?) Well this guy didn't ask us until he took us to our table. He didn't ask what we wanted to drink, instead he left and came back with 2 glasses of water and asked, "So do you ladies know what you want?" I then politely asked him for some time. He left to tend to the table right next to us and so forth to the next 2 tables.

Mom and I sat there for more than 10 minutes, already knowing what we wanted after 5 minutes of looking at the menu. So after 10 minutes (I checked my iPhone multiple times and when the numbers add up to be more than 10, I know for a fact this isn't a usual amount you give to your customers). I then turned around to search for the guy to try and make eye contact. He was standing near the door, talking to a couple of other workers there. If he was walking hastily in and out of the kitchen, by all means, take your time, but he had one of his foot crossed over to the other, and his hip slanted in a "leisure" pose. I then looked at the other tables that were served, and I felt weird if I raised my hands, since it's not a school environment I was in.

A very nice lady came to pour water for the tables that needed their cups replenished, and I told her, "We're ready to order", she giggles nervously and says, "Sorry, I'm only a bus girl, I don't take orders." She then hurries away getting the waiter, if he even is one to service our table. It's that same man who seated us earlier. Now I'm telling you, mostly on my observation in the guy's customer service, because my mom at that time was a bit red in the cheeks and her lips where turned down to a frown, as well as her nose slightly flaring. It's scary when you grow up seeing all of your parents expressions. (Or at least I feel that way).

The guy then walks over the the other tables and asks if everything was good, and if they needed anything else before he walked over to our table, not even acting or looking as if maybe letting a customer wait more than 10 minutes could be over doing the request, but hey, that's our problem. He asks, "So are you set on what you want?", I replied with as much courtesy as I can, "Yeah, I'd like Belgian waffles and a grilled chicken Caesar salad, thanks." He didn't collect the menus after he jotted down perhaps 2 or 3 words on his note pad and left.

I told my mom it's okay, but the way he was acting already poked a major hole in the dam. My mom told me that she's sick of the treatment and she lost her appetite. Never in her life has she been treated as if she didn't deserve to be serviced with respect, why did all the other customers receive the utmost courtesy (first time customers too), did we look like we don't have any money to pay for our food?

Of course we spoke in our Native tongue so nobody there understood a word we were saying, but they could probably guess by my mom's body language as she was grabbing her purse and getting out of her seat. "I don't want to eat here anymore, and I'm going outside, this place makes me feel ill." She walks on out, and for being a nice lady, I walked up to their bar counter and requested a different guy behind the counter (whom was more nice and understanding) that I wanted to put the order to go instead of just canceling the order all in all, and he said fine. I paid almost $20 bucks for the food. Did I leave a tip? No. He obviously proved himself unworthy of it. I told the guy I'll be sitting outside to wait so I can enjoy the weather, and he said it'll take no more than 3 to 5 minutes. (The time we spent waiting to be serviced, the food would have probably been more than half way consumed).

I hate seeing my mom upset (a majority of you would probably agree). As we were waiting, a lady walked by with her dog, and from out of nowhere, another dog lunged forward, broke free from its leash AND collar, and I swear, I thought it was going to maul that lady's dog. The owner of the loose dog grabbed it, and it almost bit him, until he grabbed it's ears and spoke in a scary tone, "How dare you growl at me?!" (If I knew any better, I wouldn't growl, even as a human at him). The dog coward itself, and seemed to calm down. To think that all that vicious chase was just to sniff the dog's butt. I'll never understand certain things.

So, back to the waiting, after the lady walked off, the bus girl came out with 2 boxes in her hand and handed it to me and said thanks, and ran back in. Mind you, I paid almost $20 for 2 simple meals, Bread and Ink Cafe never packed the meals in a bag, or provided us with utensil. (Maybe the guy got pissed off when he looked at the receipt and saw zero tip, and wanted to make his point- I guess we can help the environment and find friendlier ways on eating the meal, who needs utensil).

I tried to avoid looking at my mom's expression because whatever she was feeling, it usually doubles for me. I usually feel like it was my fault that certain things happen, and I just go on a frenzy with my unmanageable anger that can't seem to be expressed properly. We crossed the street to headed back to our car to go home, and after a distance, the bus girl runs after us and said, "Sorry, forgot the chicken" and off she went, back to the last place that ruined our beautiful Saturday afternoon.


  1. Sounds suspicious... hm... Did you eat the food?

  2. I did not eat the food. It didn't look appealing when you open it. It's like they didn't even try to make it like it was just made. Looked more to be microwaved and slapped on with the appropriate ingredients. *siiiigh*

  3. Youre a bitch huynh :D