Friday, January 15, 2010

Confessions of a Cranky Would-Be Diner

You may recall that I've complained more than once about the poor quality of customer service in the District. I've been lucky enough to encounter the opposite of that recently - at Founding Farmers, for example, where our server, Cory, was the epitome of awesome.

Cue the good old days, though. A friend just invited me to join her Restaurant Week reservation at Vidalia, where I've never been. Annoyingly, I couldn't get the menu to load on my computer, in any browser, & a couple of my friends couldn't either. I'm a picky eater but also a Restaurant Week lover, so I gave Vidalia a call to see if I could have a RW menu faxed or emailed to me (extreme, I know). The hostess I spoke to transferred me to (a man whom I assumed was) a manager.

When I explained my problem to him, he answered, & I'm not exaggerating: "I have a lobby full of people here. Is there something you want from me?" When I told him I was hoping for an alternate way to see the menu - or, just to be kind & tell them their site wasn't working! - he said something to the effect of, "Do you have a reservation here or are you just looking?" Well, sir, even if I didn't, you're certainly not going to get a reservation out of me like that.

"Other customers use our website just fine," he told me matter-of-factly. "So it's not from our end." When I assured him I felt it was, he repeated (imagine the tone for yourself), "I have a lobby full of people. I don't have time to deal with computer problems." In a tone that was a struggle for me to maintain, I told him I wouldn't be dining at Vidalia if he couldn't treat his would-be customers with a little respect. And I hung up.

I still want to go there, if only because I like the friends who invited me, & I promise to update my cranky Yelp review as appropriate. But for now, the manager at Vidalia could use a few lessons in customer service.

Dear DC: Teach your employees how to be nice, will ya?

Edit/PS/Note: I didn't necessarily need them to DO anything. I was trying to be helpful, mostly, & probably could've done without a menu or checked back later. A simple, "Thanks for letting us know. I'll check in with our Webmaster" would've done the trick. But then again, perhaps I am too demanding.
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