Customer Service At Its Finest

A lady I work with just celebrated her birthday the other day. She went to a great steak place. I find it funny that this entry is also about steak. Sure the past blog (yesterday’s entry) was a joke but it was still about steak nonetheless. Her going to Longhorn Steakhouse got me to thinking about a visit I had when I went there. It wasn’t a bad visit at all. It was a normal visit but instead of just having my waiter wait on me and my mom, I had the manager come out and surprise me with his presence. I felt honored. I felt like I was master of my domain just without the one-handed gestures.

It was my birthday too. This must be a great place to take people to when it is their birthday. My mother and I sit down to enjoy a cold beverage and a tasty appetizer of southwest eggrolls. If we were at Outback, we would have indulged in buffalo wings and stalks of celery. But we or I picked Longhorn Steakhouse. I am sure I chose that solely for the satisfying taste of the southwest eggrolls. They come highly recommended. Not from the staff or Zagat. That little tidbit of information of morsel of cuisine knowledge comes from me, the birthday boy. My mother and I both ordered a steak. She is a steak eater, just like the gal I went on a blind date with. She loved steak. I wish I could just forget that day. That date was horrible and I still wonder to this day, what happened to her and the brother that was soooo much like her.

We sip on our drinks. I think I had a soda and my mom had her sweet iced tea. I could have had a beer that night. My mother always says I can have one. I am of age and a beer wouldn’t be an issue. It’s not like I am breaking the law when I ask for one nor is my mom twisting my arm and pouring the barley and hops down my throat. I never get a beer though. I did but that was the first and the last time I asked for a beer when I was in the presence of my mother. She seems to think I am going to get drunk and make a scene if I drink one beer. The conversation I have with my mom when we are out to eat and the question is asked about drinks.

Mom: You can have a beer if you want.

Me: Okay.

The beer is ordered and I take a sip. Not but two sips later,

Mom: Are you going to be okay to drive? I just worry.

Me: I’ll be fine, mom. It’s just one beer.

Mom: I know. You can leave your car here overnight if you need to. I’ll take you to pick it up tomorrow.

Me: Waiter!? Can I please get a water?

Apparently if you get one DUI, you’re driving reputation is tarnished. No lie. My mom wouldn’t even let me drive her car around the block. She was twitching and hyperventilating when I made the first turn, failing to use the turn signal. The drive around the block was all but one minute. She clutched onto the dash in front of her and when the spin around the block came to an end, she requested demanded the keys. She swore to never let me drive her car again. It wasn’t because she was nervous or because she is a horrible back side driver, but it was because I made a mistake one night and thought that ten beers wouldn’t impair my judgement of knowing that the speed limit is 45 and not 70. Adding insult to injury. my sister, new to the world of having a license, was given complete access to the car. I can’t go around the block but my sister (who uses the driving manual while she drives) can drive to the moon and back. Granted, my sister didn’t get a DUI and I did,  but the sad thing about this whole driving enigma is she is still learning the placements of the brake and the gas pedal.

Sorry for going off topic. I do that a lot. If you read my blog normally then you should know that. If you’re new to this site or this is your first time here, then you’ll notice the topic shifts often. I might have ADD. Anyway, back to the steak story. So we get our meals. My mom and I both order out steaks medium rare. I can deal with medium and if I have to suffer, I will eat my steak medium well. I will not eat it well done. I will not eat it rare and I will not eat a blue rare steak. I am okay if my steaks moo’s a little but I don’t want the steak brought to me right off the bone. My sister (not the driving one) will flip if the steak has the slightest hint of pink to it. Any pink and she’ll send it back. She’ll gag first and make this face like she’s about to die then when she spots the waiter, she’ll use a knife to push the steak towards him, treating the steak like it’s the so-called Super Flu.

My mom and I wait for our food. While we wait, we talk about life, liberty, and the Pursuit of Happyness. My mom lets me know that if I want to have a beer, I can. I don’t have to drink soda. I am a big boy and it’s okay if I have a beer. That always comes up. She’ll mention it but I always decline her taunts of having a cold one. I rather not deal with the repercussions of her worrying about me pulling out of the parking lot.

The food arrives. The waiter places down the food and we salivate as we lecherously eye the steaks in front of use. I have mashed potatoes and some steamed vegetables. I don’t ever eat all the steamed vegetables. I don’t care for squash or zucchini. I’ll eat the carrots and the broccoli. I always have this panic attack when I am finished with the meal. The whole plate will be licked clean except for the remaining pieces of squash and zucchini. I shouldn’t worry about it but I do. I worry that the waiter will turn his nose to me because I didn’t finish my entire meal. I don’t want that. It’s strange but that always happens. I need to fix that problem. Come to think of it. I have lots of issues.  Crap. Off topic again.

So…my mother got her normal asparagus and her baked sweet potato. I’ll pass on both of those. I don’t care for asparagus and I have already talked about my hatred for the spud. Some of my hate for the potato has changed recently. I may need to fix that or update it later. Whatever. We are ready to eat. The waiter smiles and tells us to enjoy our meal. Oh, we will. I will enjoy every bite of that amazing looking steak in front of me. God, I love steak.

My mom cuts into her steak. It’s perfect. It is nicely cooked with that red center we both like. I cut in to mine. That’s not good. I see blood. Why is blood seeping from my steak? Did I just cut into a living animal? It looks like my verbal request of,

Me: I want a medium rare steak

Sounded a lot like,

Me: I want a rare steak. The bloodier, the better.

Yeah, those sound the same. I look at my mom and she looks at me. I will need to get this fixed. I will flag down the waiter the next time I see him walk past. My mother, bless her for still being a mother and caring for my needs, will hunt the waiter down herself. I won’t be her 20-something year old son anymore. I am now this 8-year-old kid who needs his mother to defend him when I am wronged or hurt by someone. The waiter is flagged down and before I can utter a word about the lump of flesh in front of me, my mother will point out that,

my son’s steak isn’t medium rare like he wanted. 

Yes, my mother will defend me and make sure I am happy with the food I ordered. Sure, I am treated like a 8-year-old but she means well. She will make sure I am happy even if she has to suffer in the process. The waiter apologizes for the mistake and promises to bring back a steak that is ‘seared outside with 50% red centre’. I wait and watch my mother munch down on her steak that was properly prepared for her. I eat my vegetables (without being told) and sip on my soda while I wait for them to try again at fixing my steak. I don’t complain very often about food if it is wrong. I feel like I am always in a hurry and they are too. If I demand my order to be fixed, that’ll put them behind and also put me behind as well. There have been a few times that I have returned or asked for my order to be fixed but that is rare, you know, like how they cooked my steak.

I don’t wait much longer and this time I am waited on by the manager and not the waiter whose hearing is slightly below par. The manager says he is sorry for the steak not being the way I asked for it. It wasn’t that big of deal. I would have eaten it if I had to but my mother is there to make sure her little boy gets what he wants, even if the waiter gets her aced reamed for effing up my order. The plate is placed in front of me. The manager asked me how it looks. It did look good. Looks can be deceiving and there is still a chance that this beautiful looking steak in front of me could have a center that looks like the inside of a jelly-filled doughnut. The manager leaned down and placed his hands on his knees. He half-knelt and with a cocked head, he asked me, in this voice like he was talking to a non-English speaking child,

Go ahead and cut into that steak. Pick up that knife and just cut. Tell me how that looks.

I do as I am told. I cut into the steak. No blood. The steak looks good. It is the perfect color inside and out. I smile and tell him his job is done and he can leave. I rather not have someone watch me eat my food. I don’t like people watching me in general. There is no way in Hell I will let someone watch and be intrigued as I chew on the perfectly cooked steak placed before me.

That’s great! Now, take a bite. I want to watch you enjoy that steak I cooked myself. I want to witness you eat and savor that cut of meat. Go ahead. Take that bite. 

I take that bite.

How is it? Is that not the greatest steak you’ve ever tasted?

Sure, dude. You just turned my dining experience into a creepfest. I’ll take another bite for you but if you ask me to put any lotion in a basket, I and my mom are leaving. Ask me to meet you for pizza and I am leaving. It’s okay! The steak was fine. It wasn’t undercooked or overcooked.  It was perfect. Hate to say it but the manager did a great job. The whole thing went creepy when he wanted to watch me take that first bite. My meal ended up being free. It turned out good for my mom. She was buying me dinner that night. Lady luck was with her that night. The meal was good and we left satisfied and full. My mother ended up tipping them pretty well that night. It was because they took care of us (mostly me) and the great service we had that entire night.

Aside from the baby talk and the voyeuristic interest in watching me eat, I’d say the night great.

Well done, guys.

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I like food. I like the smell of cinnamon.

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