Beware the wrath of the Little Red Hen

Remember a few months ago when I attempted to teach my kids a life lesson about the value of good customer service by complaining to a restaurant manager? And my kids decided instead that they’d prefer to avoid the embarrassment and humiliation of being associated with *that* mom? And they remained ignorant heathens by running like bats out of hell to sit in the car so they could pretend they were orphans? Except that they were only half orphans because their heathen of a father sat right beside them, pretending to be a widow?

Last Saturday, life went déjà vu all over us in local restaurant, one that we frequent whenever I start defining marriage as 101 Different Ways to Cook Chicken which is right around the time my family starts reciting grace as Dear God, we thank You for this food. Andy hey, if You could see to it that all chickens are run over by trucks the next time they cross the road, that’d be great. Amen.

The four of us were seated and had our orders taken almost immediately and then we waited so long before we saw our server again that I think Helena might have started puberty by the time we got our breadsticks.

Another eternity passed and I was about to enter full-blown menopause when the following events occurred:

  • Our server suddenly appeared out of nowhere to tell us that our meals would be right up, they were just “working” on my steak.
  • Three sets of brown eyes turned to stare accusingly at me.
  • I discovered I never got the memo about spontaneously morphing into a vegetarian before I ordered.
  • I pointed out that the menu specified dinners were “cooked to order” and how was I supposed to know that meant they grew their own cattle from scratch every night?
  • They continued to stare at me so I got all defensive and reminded them that the steak in my “steak and caesar salad” was only four ounces and not an entire bovine so really, the steak was more like a garnish than an actual steak, and since I ordered it medium, it probably took ten times longer to make their pasta than it did to throw my four ounces of garnish on the grill for 45 seconds. Then I demanded that they stop acting as if I ordered a 36 oz. filet of Brontosaurus because last time I checked, I wasn’t wasn’t wearing off-the-shoulder animal fur and sporting some red beehive bouffant and married to some chubby loud mouth with fat feet who insisted on calling me Wilma whenever he wanted to get his yabba dabba doo on.
  • Helena asked what a yabba dabba doo was and could she have one?
  • The three of them feigned starvation and started licking the bread crumbs off the table.
  • I may have said something to the effect that if they were that hungry, they could bite me. I’m a little foggy on this one.

Shortly thereafter, our meals arrived and I discovered my four ounces of garnish were cold. At that point, the following events occurred:

  • I scanned the room for ten minutes playing Where’s Waldo with our server.
  • When she finally came to our table, I politely explained our predicament.
  • She pursed her lips, sighed, rolled her eyes, grabbed my plate and walked away in a manner that was 65% huffy and 35% puffy, leaving me 213% flabbergasted.
  • I spent the next few minutes searching for my jaw which had fallen to the floor.
  • Nate, Zoe and Helena played a game in which the winner would get twenty dollars if he/she guessed the last time I went out to eat without incident.
  • No one won twenty dollars.
  • Our server returned five minutes later with (1) my original plate of steak and caesar salad and (2) a shitty attitude.
  • I immediately noticed that my four ounces of cold garnish had been replaced with three ounces of lukewarm, shriveled up, gray leather.
  • The server disappeared but not before noticing my dismayed expression, shrugging her shoulders and explaining that to make it hotter, they had to cook it longer and I BET YOU’RE WONDERING IF I SPIT IN IT, AREN’T YOU? Except she didn’t say that last part with her lips, just her eyes.
  • I fought the urge to chase after her and throw hot pepper flakes into her mouthy eyes. But just barely. It helped that I was sitting in the inside corner of the booth and Zoe flatly refused to let me out.
  • Three of us ate our meals.
  • One of us made a squinchy face and ate expensive lettuce.

While Nate settled the bill, which included far less than a 20% tip, and my kids walked fifty feet in front of me lest anyone think they were related to the hungry woman with the squinchy face behind them who was about to CALL ATTENTION TO HERSELF IN THE NAME OF A LIFE LESSON, OH MY GOD, WHERE’S THE NEAREST EXIT, I took my squinchy face up to the hostess stand and politely asked to speak to the manager at which time the following events occurred:

  • Nate came over to stand beside me and my squinchy face.
  • I gave him the benefit of the doubt by believing that he did so out of a parental desire to set a good example for our kids by participating in a life lesson instead of doing so out of a carnal desire to score a little yabba dabba doo later that night.
  • The manager came over to us and I quietly and politely explained what had transpired and he profusely apologized, assured me to my squinchy face that they don’t make a habit of tanning animal skin and having waitresses in serious need of attitude adjustments serve it to their customers. Then he gave me his card and promised that the next time we visited, he would personally take care of us.
  • We went in search of Zoe and Helena and found them hiding behind a large potted plant.
  • They asked how soon it would be before we were escorted out by Homeland Security.
  • I explained the outcome and in their excitement and anticipation of all of the free breadsticks they’d consume in the very near future, they suddenly and conveniently forgot their quest to find a new mother.
  • As I brushed leaves and twigs from their backs, I reminded them of the story of the Little Red Hen and how she worked all day to make bread and none of the other barnyard animals helped her and at the end of the night, she declined all their offers to help her eat what she alone had made and she wound up eating every morsel of bread herself while watching Real Housewives of Orange County but only because she was trying to teach everyone a life lesson and not because she was bitchy. Although, she had every right to be bitchy, after having spent an entire day slaving away in a hot barn and only taking periodic breaks to push rock hard spawn out her bahoodle doodle. Wouldn’t you be bitchy? Then again, I might have left out that last part.
  • I then informed the girls that while I loved them to pieces and had the stretch marks to prove it, Nate and I would be eating the Little Red Hen’s bread, as well as her cannelloni and chicken french and lasagna and hot molten brownie surprise, all by ourselves since we had been the ones to theoretically help her cook it all and doing so was going to hurt us a lot more than it was going to hurt them. I don’t think they believed that last part though because it’s possible I might have been perusing a menu as I said it. Also, I might have been lying.
  • Although it wasn’t the one originally intended, the girls did wind up learning a valuable life lesson that night, to wit: If you didn’t reap it, you ain’t sowing it. Also, if you hide behind foliage when Mom is channeling pissed-off poultry while wearing a squinchy face, you get what you get. Or not, as the case may be.



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14 thoughts on “Beware the wrath of the Little Red Hen”

  1. Avatar

    Oh my heavens! Thank you, Andrea, for making me aware that I am not the only one. I must forward to all members of my current family so that they know I am NOT the only squinchy faced mom.

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    Never one to withhold my opinion, I think the manager committed a serious customer service boo-boo. The last thing I would want is to come back to this hell hole – how is he “personally taking care of us” going to help? I don’t want to return! He should have asked what you wanted done and gained a better customer for it. And usually (although I’m sure this is not Andy) most customers would ask for less than a new free meal. Good for you for standing up Andy!

    Stan at Scrappers Workshop

  3. Avatar

    Yay! Go you!

    I wish more people would complain/comment on crappy service (as well as speaking up about nice service). It might make business owners start acting to correct the problems instead of hedging their bets that their customers will suck it up and keep coming back anyway.

    Enjoy your date night dinner! 🙂

  4. Avatar

    I figure since I do make a point of rewarding good service, both with tips and comments to the manager, I need to also point out the bad if it happens. When the manager does their walk around to all the tables thing that they do they will hear if the service has been prompt and cheerful and the food is excellent. They will also hear if we haven’t seen the server since we placed that appetizer order 15 minutes ago.

    It doesn’t seem to embarrass the kids if I do it then, if I have to ask to see a manager they hide under the table, leaving DH & I looking like cheapsakes who order off the kiddie menu

  5. Avatar

    Oooh, beware the wrathful meat-deprived sqrinshy-faced mom! I hate snarky waiters & waitresses too. Although, considering what they’re paid, I don’t entirely blame them. However, if they were less snarky, they probably would get paid more…

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    Honestly? Kind of all I can think about now is bread and breadsticks. Especially free bread. So I’d like to get an invite to dinner with you so I can enjoy the free bread at this place. Well bread and the hot molten brownie surprise. Because I don’t like tanned animal skins.


    PS – Have you heard from AC yet? Any flowers or anything?

  7. Avatar

    You handled that really well. I hate it when I have to ask to speak to the manager. My kids hate it even more. It just baffles me sometimes. If I had a job where I received tips, I would try even harder to provide great service!

  8. Avatar

    You rock my face off.
    I am one who never says anything, unless the service is horrendous. I *do*, however, speak up when my order is not right, and will not let up until it is to my liking. I *AM* paying for it, after all.

    All the while, not caring a whole lot what the kiddo thinks. He’ll learn. 🙂 I do make sure I do it respectfully, though. Even if the server is not.

  9. Avatar

    Your post reminded me of a steak incident we had. I’ve since learned to just cook the damned things at home myself. We have ONE restaurant here who can cook a good steak, and it’s an Italian restaurant, not one of the steakhouses. Who knew? Otherwise you get shoe leather or still mooing.

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