I had breakfast with some of my friends this morning, and for me it was an unpleasant event from beginning to end. My friends are fine, and I will seek their company, no matter where we have our Saturday morning breakfasts. It’s kind of a romantic thing. However, the very popular and prestigious restaurant we were visiting this morning annoyed me on several dimensions.
I met one of my companions for our breakfast at the waiting area inside the garden. We were there a few minutes early, and the only ones waiting at that moment, because the stated policy was opening at 8:30. The management was courteous enough to provide coffee at the standing spot, but the heavy coffee mugs were quite cold, so the hot coffee was cold before it got to my lips. I had informed the seating host we were expecting a party of six, which he duly entered in his chart. We ended standing there for about twenty minutes while the garden tables filled up with other people; apparently they thought we wanted to stand there waiting for the other people to arrive. If one of them didn’t make it I suppose we would still be standing there. Finally I asked to be seated, and after another five minutes we were seated, or should I say benched on a camping table adequate for six. We were in direct sun, so the people facing the sun were blinded by the still low morning sunlight. We requested an umbrella, which came five minutes later. These could have been pre-positioned, because the sun is in the same place every morning, but they were still in their previous afternoon locations.
By the time it came time to place our breakfast order two more of our group had arrived who hadn’t signed up the night before, so we had to squeeze them in at the ends of the already barely adequately sized bench-table for six. The bench/table would properly seat four. With eight people it became a bit crowded for the seating, but we are all friends, so it was, more or less, okay. Everything on the table settings was very squeezed by the time our food was delivered.
I have enjoyed talking to these people at other times, but by the time we were all there all the other seats in the garden were filled with talking people, and it became so noisy I could only talk to those very close to me. Then a small band, with loudspeakers of course, was about to entertain us. It was too much noise for me and I left before they began their blast!
I had ordered the breakfast special, because last week the others had gotten that small meal, and it was only six dollars. Great, I thought, I’m not a big eater so a smallish breakfast would be just right. It was a bit disappointing though, just an ordinary looking burrito wrap, but the flavor quality was good. The shock came with the check! The wrap I thought cost six dollars cost fourteen, and that with the coffee, three more dollars, and a fruit side which I never received, unless it was inside the wrap, came to eighteen, with a tip, so the remaining two dollars of my twenty dollar bill was gone. It all seemed more than a bit too much. I could have gotten the same thing at McDonald’s for five bucks or less, but of course everyone considers that restaurant too common. Anyway, I asked the waiter why it cost fourteen dollars instead of six, and was told the price went up at 8:30, I said I was here at that time … but you have to be seated by that time to order … but I was standing there before 8:30 for nearly half an hour waiting to be seated, and there were plenty of empty seats … but, our whole party wasn’t there. Rather than fuss more, I just paid the twenty bucks and said to my friends I wouldn’t be coming back to this place ever again. Popular places are not always all that great; in fact I will avoid popular places that are noisy. My rationale is that with noise conversation becomes difficult and thus all the people are functionally deaf and dumb, and that is a symptom of incipient stupidity.
This was a classic bait and switch if ever there was one.