Thursday, September 01, 2016

We Are Annoyed

Even though Blomkvist was used to Salander’s penchant for shocking clothing, he was amazed that his sister had allowed her to show up to the courtroom in a black leather miniskirt with frayed seams and a black top—with the legend I AM ANNOYED—which barely covered her many tattoos.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson
We do not have black tops with the legend “I AM ANNOYED” but if we did we would be wearing them.

We don’t often eat out at a sit-down restaurant with waiters, although I suppose the great pizza place in town does count, since a server does bring the food to the table even if you stand at the counter to place your order, but sometimes you want something else besides pizza (even if it the best pizza ever).

Unfortunately, we have had two rather annoying experiences the last two times we have had a meal in a real restaurant. In mid-August we had to go to Springfield so I could get the first injection of the new osteoporosis drug that the research studies say works very well with one I just finished. Although the drug is supposed to be administered in the doctor’s office, all of the doctors refer patients to hospital ambulatory infusion centers for the injection because the drug is too much of a hassle for them to take care of -- has to be kept refrigerated, would have to be ordered from the pharmacy in town in advance, etc. The doctor who prescribed the drug is in Springfield so we went to the ambulatory infusion center at one of the hospitals there. Had Not a Doctor Bob prescribed the drug, I could have gone to the local hospital, but that's okay -- I got most of the day off.

Richard's birthday was coming up ,and he said he wanted to have lunch after the appointment at the Mediterranean restaurant, where we have had lunch twice before and thought it was very good. 

The appointment was at 11:30 but I had to wait about 2 hours for the injection because they wanted to make sure my calcium levels were good before they could give me the shot in the arm and it took that long for the laboratory to run the test. My calcium levels were very good indeed, so I got jabbed and we left to celebrate his birthday.

One of my favorite things on the restaurant's lunch menu, which I had both times we ate there, was Greek spanakopita (spinach pie). I frequently make the wrong choice at restaurants – ordering something that sounds good but doesn’t turn out to be good after all – but this was not the wrong choice the first time I ordered it, and it was wonderful the second time as well.

Yes, indeed it was.

Unfortunately, when we went there this time, Greek spanakopita was not on the lunch menu. One time at another restaurant our favorite thing to eat was not on the menu but we asked specifically if we could order it, and we could. I didn't think to ask the waiter if the spanakopita was still available, so I settled for seafood lasagne, which I admit was good—but it wasn’t what I wanted.

Richard had spaghetti with marinara sauce Italian sausage meatballs. We don't have spaghetti and marinara meat sauce very often, so he was happy to order that and he enjoyed the food, but grumbled, “Why is it that Italian food, which is mostly pasta, is so cheap to make and so outrageously expensive in restaurants.”

So we were both sort of annoyed, him by the price and me because I didn’t get what I really wanted. He said he didn’t think he wanted to eat there again. Neither did I.

Yesterday we drove to Arkansas for my follow-up appointment with the surgeon, and we had lunch at Chili's – a popular franchise restaurant in this area (it may be nationwide, I dunno). We have had several good meals at Chili’s restaurants in the past and were looking forward to our lunch.

There was a small electronic tablet on the table with all sorts of choices on the touch-screen (games, menus, etc), and I thought it might be fun to play one of the trivia games while we were waiting… and waiting… and waiting… so I punched the screen for the trivia games, but before I actually selected a game and started playing, I stopped.

We have seen so many people sitting at tables in fast food restaurants and in waiting rooms, and even in real restaurants, ignoring each other while they fiddled with electronic devices – and not just teenagers but geezers as well. I realized I was being sucked into doing the same thing – ignoring my husband while fiddling with an electronic device. So I pushed it away.

The food arrived and it was great.
The texture and complexity of flavors, the aromas and commingling of ingredients, the act of masticating and swallowing- food is a sensual act, not mere science. Annelies Zijderveld
I mentioned to Richard as I was eating this wonderful combination of lime-flavored rice and black beans and corn salsa, grilled peppers and onions, and chunks of prime rib, how wonderful all of the flavors were and what a wonderful sensual act eating really was and we talked about the wonderful eating scene in the movie Tom Jones, and then we finished and paid the bill – using the handy dandy electronic device to swipe the credit card and print the receipt. How convenient.

And then about an hour after we got home, he noticed that tucked in there on the charge slip for $38 plus change, which included food, tax, and tip, was an additional charge of $1.99 because I fiddled with the electronic tablet. I don't remember seeing anything on the screen that there was a charge for this. I never would have touched it had I been aware doing so was going to cost us extra. He was uhhh… angry…  Me too.

We are very annoyed (but don't have the t-shirt to wear), and Richard says we will never eat at Chili's again. I pointed out that the food was good there and we weren't compelled to use the electronic device, but he says he won’t patronize a restaurant that uses those sorts of tactics to gouge a few extra dollars out of customers. I am cringing a little because I can’t say absolutely positively that there was no notice that using the device cost $1.99 but as my brother would say, “there you have it…”

It’s a done deal.


Far Side of Fifty said...

I would be annoyed too. I have never been to a Chilis but if I were you I would send them an email and complain. Seems to me that $38 for lunch is a tad high anyway. The places we go are usually about 21 -25 $ but they are not fancy and not a chain and have no electronic devices there.
Good lesson for all of us...:)

Maggie May said...

Seems a bit devious to me!
At least you enjoyed the food though and that was worth the other expense of the gadget.
I don't like these hidden extras though, and feel it's a bit of a con when they do that. Well, I've never heard of it before.
Maggie x