You cannot make this up. Two case studies.
Last night, with the Patriots playing like the St. Agnes School for Girls and being pummeled by the Jets, and the Giants beaten so badly by the Colts that someone should have used the Little League mercy rule, my wife and I decided we needed ribs. So off we went to Smokey Bones, a very good local rib joint, complete with loud noise and cheap drinks and amazing ribs.
Since we were able to park immediately in front of the place and there was no loitering crowd, I knew they weren’t packed. The hostess greets us and asks, “Would you like to sit at one of the high top tables?” I hate these, they are uncomfortable and in a lousy area. “No, I would not,” I reply.
“Are you sure?” she presses.
“Yes, I am,” I tell her.
She then confers with a colleague over tables on her chart, while I point out three empty booths right over her shoulder. “Don’t worry, we’ll find a booth,” she says, continuing the weegie board maneuvers on her seating chart.
When the assistant takes us to the back of the restaurant, I’m amazed to find 20 available booths.
“What was the big deal with the high tops?” I asked.
“Well, no one likes to sit there, so we try to convince people to use them.”
I am NOT making that up. That’s what she said.
“In other words,” I pointed out, “I’m such an unimportant customer, and you care so little about me and my returning here, that you deliberately try to seat me in your worst seats, not your best seats?”
“You got a booth, didn’t you?” she asked.
I wonder if we’re getting the inferior ribs, or the ones that dropped on the floor, or were suspected to harbor Mad Cow disease? Can management get any dumber?
This morning, on line at the Dunkin Donuts drive-through, my wife spots her favorite, pumpkin coffee, which they only offer this time of year (which is itself pretty stupid, since it’s hugely popular). I order one for her with two sweeteners and cream. But as we pull away from the tinny mike, she sees a sign, “Pumpkin coffee is pre-sweetened.”
“Find out what’s in it,” she said.
At the window, I engaged in the following conversation with a woman in a nice Dunkin uniform and visor, and this is the actual conversation, so help me Abbot and Costello. (If you can, play Sinatra’s “They Got a Lot of Coffee in Brazil” in the background.)
ME: Did you put sweetener in the coffee already pre-sweetened?
HER: Yes, you asked for it.
ME: But you didn’t say it was already sweetened.
HER: You didn’t ask.
ME: What is it pre-sweetened with?
ME: No, no—what’s in it?
ME: Is the Pumpkin coffee pre-sweetened?
ME: WITH WHAT?
ME: Is there a sweetener within the pumpkin coffee when you pour it?
ME: And what is that? Sugar? Sweet n Low?
At this point my wife says, completely audibly, “Oh, dear God, the poor thing.”
ME: Are you telling me that it’s the natural sugars that are found in pumpkins?
HER: It’s pumpkin.
ME: But if it’s the pumpkin itself, then it’s naturally sweetened, not pre-sweetened?
HER: It’s not naturally sweetened, it’s pre-sweetened.
ME: With pumpkin, right?
MY WIFE: Take the coffee and let’s go.
HER: Have a nice day.
© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.