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Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Retail and Restaurant Rants

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


Attention restaurant managers: Please require your waitstaff to use an order pad.

We went out for lunch today. The waiter stood and nodded as he took our order, then asked me the inevitable questions on my burger: How do you want it cooked? Which type of fries? When the meal arrived the fries were wrong. I said something to the guy who put the food down on the table, but he apparently didn't hear. It's a little thing, but what if I had a specific, food allergy-related request that never got to the kitchen?

Is it supposed to be a sign of excellence when the wait staff doesn't take notes? I'm sorry, but it turns out to be a sign of incompetence. Our state lottery used to have an ad campaign with the theme, "What are the odds?" One memorable ad showed a waitress taking orders from a table of about 20 people. Someone asked if she shouldn't be writing it down. "Oh, I can remember it all!" As the ad asked, what are the odds?

We decided to see if the problem was with the waitstaff or the kitchen. The waiter showed up to ask how everything was and he didn't even notice that my order was wrong. When I pointed it out, he went into abject apology, suicide with the dinner knife mode, but I refused his offer of another side of fries. I had no plans to finish the order I got. What did I need with a second order that probably wouldn't be ready until I was nearly finished eating? I appreciated the offer to make it right, but it should have been right in the first place.

Our next stop was Fry's. I needed a longer monitor cable. It would be nice to actually reach the computer without having to go through contortions to do so. Fry's has two sections of cables. If you go to the monitor cables where you'd expect, the least expensive DVI cable in a 10-foot length is $30. If you go over to the parts area and dig around you can get one for $18. Paul found the same thing with a retractable audio cable to use in the car with his phone: $15 vs. $5.

Of course, my cable was in a clamshell package that was impossible to open without utterly destroying the package. I used to work in retail, and I know that people will be more likely to buy a product that's been brought back if the packaging is in good shape. I suppose some bean counter somewhere thinks these packages deter theft. I'm here to tell you that a determined theif can and will take darn near anything they want. It's very simple to distract the salesperson and have your accomplice walk out with an item. Once I chased down a group that stole a high-end piece of electronic gear using that method. Yeah, I shouldn't have chased them down, but they weren't expecting to have to run off with the gear and dropped it on the ground. I got lucky. They could have had a gun. But my point is that very little is theft proof.

And in this day and age, there's no reason to not make recyclable packaging. I'm just sayin'. HP ink may be more precious than gold, but all of their packaging can go in the recycle bin and I can take the cartridges to the office supply store for recycling. Or, I can give them to one of the school groups that does it for fundraising. Which reminds me: I have some extras. I need to drop some off at the high school.

I have an audio play that I've promisde I'd write today. And yes, I'm procrastinating. I'm gonna hit the grocery store and then get to work. The Cowboys season opener is tonight, and it's as good an excuse as any to step away from the computer and look at something else.

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Filed under: Life            
9/7/2008 3:48:08 PM
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