Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I didn't know Jesus was in the Shnitzel business

My family and I just spent a beautiful fall weekend in Helen, GA, a town rich in German food and culture.  The foliage was beautiful, the sky a clear blue, the sun warm as we walked the streets of the quaint town.  On our second evening of our stay, we joined up with 5 of my cousins at a restaurant on the edge of Main Street.  It was around 6:15, we figured we could grab some dinner, and then take the kiddos back into the main stretch for funnel cakes, which is really the only thing the 5 youngsters REALLY wanted (hey, if you put fruit topping on it, it's almost healthy!)

Our table of 11 sat down right around 6:30.  After 20 minutes, a waitress finally took our drink order. After 40 minutes, we saw our first crusts of bread.  After 60 minutes, the kids got their plates of cold fries and overcooked fish sticks.  After an hour and fifteen minutes, I finally grabbed a waitress (not the one who, in theory, was waiting on our table) and asked if I could speak to the manager.

A woman came up to the table and I recognized her right away.  (She had been in the parking lot when I, the first of our party to arrived, pulled in.  The entire 20 minutes I was waiting outside, she was having a loud, pretty obnoxious, phone call).  She said to our table "I just yelled at my staff for taking so long.  I'm going to send out some free dessert".  I replied, "Dessert really is not necessary. We just want to eat and take the kids out for funnel cake." She got offended and started yelling at me for not accepting her offer to make it "right".  I calmly reminded her that dessert will not help us get back on schedule.

After another 10 minutes, we were still waiting, so when she came back around I said "you know the kids have already eaten, and we are still waiting, so please bring them dessert"  She gladly obliged and raved that they had the best desserts in town.  The 5 kids put in their orders.  Several minutes later, she came back with 1 small chocolate cake for 5 kids.  I explained to her that we needed 3 chocolate cakes and one crepe for the Birthday Girl.  She proceeded  to yell at me, saying "I'm not a mind reader you should have told me you needed that many"  I was at a loss.  She had asked the kids what they wanted, each child gave her their order, I told her my 3 and 5 yr old would split a chocolate cake, and she seemed to comprehend the request at the time.

At this point she started to tell me that I had a bad attitude.  In the middle of the restaurant, that she Owns, she bellowed out that "you are a very pretty lady but you need to smile more.  There is no reason to have an attitude with me.  I am a Child of God and you are not.  I heard you using "GD" with your son out in the parking lot"

At this point, I want you to imagine me using every bit of strength in my body to hold myself back.  What this Brilliant Business Woman was referring to was a moment when my son Jack darted out into the parking lot in front of a moving car and I grabbed his arm, pulling him back to me, saying "G-D it stay next to me!"

Now I have spent the entire day hiking around town with my children, taking them horseback riding, out to lunch, up to a beautiful cabin in the woods to spend some quality time with mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and the cousins.  All I was looking for was a nice dinner and a walk thru town to get my 11 year old cousin a birthday funnel cake.  And this woman was calling me a bad mother.  In front of the entire restaurant.  This Child of God was sure to tell us that she had YELLED at her staff for not performing up to the standards she demanded, and then turned around and ridiculed me for cursing when my 5 year old ran in front of a car.

At this point my husband, who is the most level headed person I know, was up out of his chair, telling her how inappropriate her behavior was.  She continued to yell at the top of her lungs "just pay your check and leave.  I need you to pay your check and leave".  I took my children out of there as fast as I could. 

After I got them into the car I sat and waited for the rest of my family to emerge, and as I did, this Child of God came out of the restaurant and lit a cigarette (her God Given lungs are probably praying for mercy).  Apparently she had done all of the training of her wait staff that she was going to do for one evening.  For her, I guess Ownership begins and ends with a piece of paper. She clearly was not taking Ownership of the dinner crowd debacle in her establishment.

When my husband finally joined me outside, he shared what I had missed.  That the owner yelled at her entire wait staff, repeatedly using the "f-word", and then yelled about our party, saying "who brings kids out to dinner anyway?!"

Now I want you to understand something.  I used to work retail, I used to manage a multi-million dollar business.  I was raised Catholic, and then attended a Baptist Church all thru High School and College.  I was even baptised as an adult in the Niagara River.  But I would never, ever, tell an unhappy customer that my Religion or beliefs trumps their dissatisfaction with my service.  And I would never, ever, take a customer's moment of weakness, such as mine in the parking lot, and turn that against them, as if they somehow deserved less than exemplary service because of it.

And if you happen to dine at that same restaurant, tell them Jesus makes a mean schnitzel.

5 comments:

Melissa Lynn D said...

My goodness, what a horrible experience! Just please remember that this woman would be like this no matter which religion she'd chosen. I'd say she acts like this IN SPITE OF her religion, not because of it. There's a few bad apples in every group, but they're the ones who give that group a bad name - it's very unfortunate.
I hope this episode didn't ruin what otherwise sounds like a very pleasant day. :)

Wax Beach Artist said...

She will most likely be out of business before you visit again. That's the worst behavior by a business owner I have ever heard.

krystyna81 said...

Melissa...yes, I agree. Her behavior is an exception to an otherwise wonderful group of people. And YES - the rest of the weekend was wonderful! I highly recommend hiking up to Anna Ruby Falls if you are ever in Helen.

krystyna81 said...

WBA - I agree. A friend forwarded some reviews of the same restaurant on-line, and most are horid. I just wish I had seen them BEFORE we dined there :)

Laura said...

Yikes! I just read all that to my husband, telling him we aren't going to Helen after all!! Just our luck, we'd end up in that very restaurant. We hadn't been there in about 15 years and were thinking of going to see how much things have changed.