December 19th, 2006

buzzed, B&W


So, my roommates and I went out for a holiday dinner last night before everyone starts heading home and things. We went to what seemed to be a pretty decent restaurant (horrible Flash based webpage). The decor was nice and cozy, and the waiter seemed pretty good at the beginning, telling us about the numerous specials, and answering our questions.

Early on in the evening though, he accidentally tipped over the bottle of wine that Greg and Steph were having, and it spilled onto Steph's coat. He goes about getting some towels to clean it, and the manager/hostess person comes over, and mentions she has some wine remover, and offers to cleans to coat. Interestingly, in this process, the waiter never apologizes - we never hear an "I'm sorry" come out of his mouth. Greg and I talk about this, and how if we were in his shoes, we'd be profusely apologetic. The manager woman does ask while she's dabbing at the coat "What do you want to do about this?" and Steph responds that "I'd like to scream" and sort of laughs it off.

Now, this incident is the main focus of our conversation during the meal. We found it strange that they didn't apologize (the waiter did eventually say he was sorry, but it didn't seem sincere, and it was just kind of thrown in). They also didn't offer to make up for the wine that was spilled, or offer us any discount on our check. Steph and I talked about how neither of us is the type of person who's going to be the loud, irate customer, but really, should this be necessary? The restaurant wasn't super high-end (we had about a $120 check, which included 3 entrees, an appetizer, a soup, a salad, and a bottle of wine), but it still seems like you'd want to ensure that your customer was happy.

You're in the service industry - we shouldn't have to ask for you to make things better, you should be trying to do that already. I think my biggest grouse though is that they didn't apologize. I'm perfectly willing to accept that you're human, mistakes happen, and a bit of wine on a coat isn't the end of the world - but you should at least express regret over your action, and adding stress to our evening.

Tipping was an issue too. Steph and I tend to tip 20% plus, irrelevant of service, as we think it's appropriate to do. Now, in this situation, I'm not sure what I would have tipped if it were my coat, and I was the one paying. Steph ended up putting the whole thing on her card, and tipped around 18%. I think I may have only tipped 10%. I do know people who would have tipped nothing, and left a snide comment.

buzzed, B&W

Service, Part II

So, I just got an email from Delta. It's a boring email, but it starts off with the line "As 2006 comes to a close, we want to say "Thank You!" for choosing Delta and honoring us with numerous industry awards based on your high marks." Obviously, it's a marketing letter, and while it does thank me for staying with them, it also provides lots of information about their bankruptcy proceedings, the United offer, etc.

Delta, unlike the Stonehouse, is trying to keep me happy. I remember two years ago, when I was flying out of Helena for the holidays, they called me to let me know my flight had been delayed 90 minutes or so, and while I'm sure the operator didn't care, she at least apologized that I was already on my way to the airport, and the inconvenience it would cause me. (We'll ignore the fact that I only lived 10 or 15 minutes from the airport, so it wasn't a huge deal.)

After I got back from my trip, I also got an email from Delta, crediting me with 20,000 miles for the inconvenience. I didn't have to complain, they just wanted to show that they were apologetic. Granted, miles locks me into them, and keeps me as a customer, but if the Stonehouse had given a gift certificate to us last night for a future visit, I probably wouldn't be ranting about them.