After a stopover in Savannah the previous night, we made it into Myrtle Beach the following afternoon. We stopped in on our room to lecture Beth on the finer points of empathy, consideration, and not using your feet to push off on the side of the car to gain leverage against your father in obtaining more of the space in the back seat. From there we went to Planet Hollywood. Yes, they have one here too. We didn’t heed the first warning, that the Hard Rock Cafe next door had an hour wait and Planet Hollywood’s was ten minutes. No, for that kind of clue to work you’ve got be able to reach up with your hand, hold the big red flag out of your eyes, and read the neon sign that says, “DON’T EAT HERE.” We were just like so many tired, tourist-flavored lemmings marching to our culinary doom.
Cheryl ordered a chicken pasta dish that was heavy on the pasta and not so much on the chicken. She was the victim of a classic bait and switch. The menu pictured this dish that featured large, prominent cuts of meat. Reality featured two thin strips of chicken that were so well hidden they were only found with assistance of the waiter’s expert eye.
“See, it has chicken.”
“Not quite like the picture in the menu, though, is it?”
“Well, sometimes they just stir it up.”
“Stirring doesn’t explain the fist sized breasts of chicken in the menu, and two pinkie sized strips on my plate.”
Since Cheryl was sharing the dish with her mother, and neither one were satisfied with a single strip of chicken, they sent it back. Cheryl’s father ordered a hamburger, a seemingly safe choice. The problem was once again one of expectations. He was expecting a round patty, but instead he got a crescent moon. Now, I’ve got nothing against the crescent moon, but it makes a lousy shape for a hamburger patty. Not least of which because everything else on follows the circular paradigm of sandwich building. He sent it back.
Now I’m no expert, but I’ve learned from countless horrible tales of the restaurant business that you NEVER send your food back. Having sent two dishes back, I was beginning to worry that our next reservations would be at the nearest hospital.
With all of these problems, it is customary for a management type to come out and address the problem in one fashion or another. There go our expectations running wild again. One youthful management type stopped by our table to ask how everything was, and my wife answered, “cold.” We didn’t hear from him again.
A tip is a terrible thing to waste.