A month or so ago, I’d purchased a $25 gift certificate from restaurants.com for Joe’s Garage. A few years ago, Joe’s Garage used to be a weekly stomping ground of mine when I worked my call center job at Best Buy. We’d drink our customer service blues away and have a good time. Since I quit working at Best Buy, I’ve been four times, including what will be my last visit in quite some time tonight.
The General, The Boy, and I decided to go out for dinner. We’d both had really good days and decided just have a nice night out. We got there around 7:45 and it looked like the Happy Hour crowd was just heading out. We stood at the podium, where one would think there would be a host/hostess, for about ten minutes. Normally, I would have seated myself, but in all the times I’d been there, someone’s always seated me. I didn’t figure it’d be any different
After comparing everything in the restaurant to a game of Diner Dash, we were seated in the backroom and given menus. Another ten minutes rolled by before our server, whose will remain anonymous since I’m nice, dropped off our waters. She came back to take our drink orders (two Cokes, one Sprite) and as she brought them to our table, some other employee came bounding down the stairs, slamming right into her. Carbonated drinks went everywhere and it took another 5-10 minutes to refill them and bring them out to us. By this time, we were more than ready to order.
The host that eventually seated ended up bringing our our appetizer round – a basket of fries for The Boy and I, a starter salad for The General. The food? Pretty amazing, as usual. They use sea salt and fresh cracked pepper on their fries, making them so good that I kinda didn’t want to stop eating them.
An ample amount of time passed before the same host brought out our burgers and the lovely gift for the boy. The General had ordered fries, but instead wound up with mashed potatoes. The Boy and I were set with our burgers and garlic mashed potatoes. As the host was getting us situated, the server came over and The General pointed out the incorrect side dish that was brought out. Instead of, you know, apologizing or saying “my bad”, the server says “I thought you said fries” and walked off. We assumed she was getting more fries, so didn’t think too much about it.
(Fries. Garlic mashed potatoes. Just wanted to double check and make sure they didn’t sound the same.)
Eventually, The General’s fries came out and we were pretty much set on stuffing our faces with as much food as possible. The burgers? Holy Lord, they were good. We’d all opted for bacon cheeseburgers and were kind of in love with dinner.
It took a while for the server to come back, but she eventually, after we were all sitting in completely over-stuffed mode, asked if we needed dessert or coffee. We said no, and I handed her our gift certificate. When she brought the tab back, it had the original dollar amount on it with her handwritten “-$25” underneath the total. No big shake, I thought, and handed her my debit card.
She ran it and came back with the receipt for me to sign. I looked at it and noticed she’d charged me the complete total of $61.28. I waited for her to come back, thinking it was an honest mistake, but as soon as she saw me looking at her, she came over. The only word I could get out of my mouth was “hey” before she responded with, “Oh, did I put the whole amount on your card?” She grabbed the card and receipt before I could really say anything and walked off to fix it.
I got a completely uneasy vibe off of it and so did The General. It was almost as if she’d done it time and time again, just to see if she could get away with it. We’d specifically discussed it with her when I handed the certificate over to her, making sure she knew what it was. When she originally handed the receipt back to me, she said she took the $25 off. It was just an incredibly weird vibe; I just got a funny feeling from it all and not in a good way.
And the more I’ve thought about it in the 45 minutes we’ve been home, the more pissed off I keeping getting. Sure, it could have been an honest mistake, but I just didn’t buy that with the server. It seemed way too rehearsed when she brought the amended receipt back and said, “Both charges will show up on your statement as pending, but this first one will eventually fall off”. That’s nice and all, lady, but now I’m sitting here with $100 worth of pending charges, meaning that’s a lot of money I don’t have access to, because you’re either A) a world class scammer or B) completely retarded and inattentive to what you’re doing with customers’ credit cards.
Whatever the case is, Joe’s Garage has me feeling really icky right now. I love them and can’t imagine it being a restaurant-mandated rule of trying to fuck over local patrons. I’m probably overreacting, but I’m just super angry at their server’s unethical actions.