How not to plan ahead…

Mar 8, 2009

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a very patient man.

So I can be very understanding when a place is very crowded and, therefore, the service is a bit slow.

However, there are times when it becomes completely ridiculous.

Let’s say you are the owner of a Sports Bar in downtown Toronto, and you are located between the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre.

Let’s say Saturday nights are usually fairly busy because people do tend to go out on Saturday nights; you know, with the not working tomorrow and all.

Let’s say that on one Saturday in particular, Canada would meet USA at 2 pm for their first game of the World Baseball Classic and 40 000 tickets were sold the eve of the game.

Let’s say that on the same Saturday, the Oilers are visiting the Maple Leafs, and that at every Leafs game, the 18 800 tickets are sold.

Let’s say that on the same Saturday, there is another baseball game at the Rogers Centre, this time between Venezuela and Italy, and that there are over 200 000 Italians in Toronto, and 20 000 Venezuelans, and that neither population has ever had such a chance to see their national team play in Canada, and that even if you were a pessimist you’d probably agree that at least 10 000 people would show up?

Wouldn’t you want to make sure that there was ENOUGH STAFF TO MAKE SURE THE PLACE DOESN’T STOP OPERATING?

I don’t mind lining up a little bit before I can sit down for a meal when things are very busy.  The wait was about 10 minutes –  and we looked for different places, and the wait seemed to be similar everywhere.  So we ended up picking Philty McNasty’s on King street.  The four of us lined up patiently, and we got a booth within 10 minutes, as we roughly expected.  And, low and behold, there was even a TV in the booth that we quickly switched to the Panama-Puerto Rico game.

The place was packed, but I have seen worse as far as sports bars go.  There were a few empty seats here and there, and nobody was standing in the middle of the aisle, drinking and spilling beer everywhere.  So we waited patiently for our server to come and say “Hi, how is everyone? My name is Ingrid, and I’ll be your server tonight. Any drinks to start?”

We quickly noticed the one who was presumably our assigned server.  She kept breezing by totally ignoring us, avoiding eye contact, hands empty or not.  We were, however, not very pro-active at getting her attention, as we witnessed the futile attempts of the guys in the booth next to us.  They were given a complete brush off, or a very not sincere “I’ll be right with you.”  They wanted her attention and were not getting it, so one of them ended up STANDING UP in his booth.  Same results though.

After 10 minutes of waiting time, the hostess came by and asked us if we had been helped.  She was smiling uncomfortably, being very pleasant in explaining that she didn’t know what was going on, and that, no, she couldn’t serve us.  She came back 5 minutes later, same engaging smile and apologetic eyes, and assured us that someone would take care of us soon, but we understood that it likely wouldn’t be our assigned person.  The hostess hinted that she was losing it back there, but stopped herself from actually saying it.  Too bad.

She finally got another server to come to our table, and she was obviously not very happy about the re-assignment.  ”Busy tonight, huh?” I asked cheerily.  ”Yes, it is getting there,” she replied, clearly wishing to be elsewhere.  We ordered some drinks, and wanted to order food.  And that is when she announced that the food would take at least an hour to show up.  Awkward silence.  Broken by Theo, who stated that it wasn’t going to work for us.

Unfortunate, and incomprehensible.  With the economic crisis and all, I would have thought that business people would have wanted to take advantage of such an opportunity.  But being a social-democrat, what do I know about business after all?  Well, I know enough to take it elsewhere.

I had never seen such a gong show.  We left, and went to Dunn’s, next door.

Meanwhile, Philty McNasty’s is the second entry on The Waffle’s Black List.

.Philthy McNasty's on Urbanspoon

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