There Is Mushroom For Improvement

, , , , , | Working | April 9, 2019

(There’s a certain restaurant that I always frequent when I want Chinese food, be it for sitting in or taking out. On this particular takeout, among my order is their signature chicken dish, which is served in a sauce and normally comes with, among other things, mushrooms. I can’t stand mushrooms, however, so I always get it without since the sauce makes it hard to tell what’s on my fork. In this particular instance, the order is almost entirely sauce and mushrooms — not one piece of chicken or any of the vegetables to be found, and I dump the whole order onto a plate to check. So, I call up to complain, and by chance, the person who answers is the current owner’s wife, who, for a few reasons, I’m on a first-name basis with. It’s also worth noting that her father was the original owner of the restaurant, and he gave it to her husband when he wanted to retire.)

Wife: “[Restaurant], how can I help you?”

Me: “Hey there, [Wife], it’s [My Name].”

Wife: “[My Name]? Didn’t you just pick up an order?”

Me: “I did. And I hate to be that customer, but I have to let you know about a problem with my [Chicken Dish].”

Wife: “They gave you mushrooms, didn’t they?”

Me: “They did. I wouldn’t have minded so much if there had been some chicken or vegetables in it, though.”

Wife: “You got nothing but mushrooms?”

Me: “Maybe one cashew, but otherwise just mushrooms and sauce.”

Wife: “I’m so sorry. That’s completely unacceptable. Bring it back in, and I’ll make you a fresh one myself.”

(I box it back up and drive down. As it’s rush hour, what’s normally a ten-minute drive instead takes about twenty minutes. In this time, [Wife] disappears somewhere, and instead, greeting me at the counter is her husband. Also of note is that the restaurant is fairly populated, but clearly not in a rush.)

Owner: “How can I help you?”

Me: “I called early to complain about this [Chicken Dish] you prepared for me. Your wife, [Wife], asked me to bring it in.”

Owner: “That’s not our food.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Owner: “That’s! Not! Our! Food! Get out of here! You’re not getting a free meal here!”

(By the time he’s finished, the whole restaurant has turned to look at us. One waitress, his daughter, emerges from the kitchen with a takeout order in hand just in time to hear most of that. She looks like she is about to die of embarrassment.)

Daughter: *hushed* “Dad? What are you doing?”

(I take this opportunity to grab my phone.)

Owner: “I’m putting this scammer in his place!”

Daughter: *puts the bag in my hand* “This is [My Full Name]! His family’s been coming here since before he was born! They’re some of our best customers! He and his dad even know the entire staff by name!”

Me: “I also went to high school with [Daughter] and graduated the same year.” *holds up my phone* “Here’s a photo of us on graduation day posted to Facebook. It was her profile image for a few months after graduation. And when I finally got my black belt from the martial arts school up the road, I had my celebration dinner here. There used to be pictures of that day up on the wall here, along with many stills of the other events this restaurant used to schedule. So, believe me: if I wanted free food, I have a much easier means than faking a screwed-up order.”

Owner: “But that doesn’t look like our food!”

Me: “Y’know, I’ve been saying that for years! Ever since you took over from [Original Owner], you’ve used lower-quality food stuff, the portion sizes have gotten smaller, you’ve fired almost every cook and waitress, and yet you still jacked the prices. I kept coming here out of loyalty to [Wife], [Daughter], and [Original Owner]. And this is how you treat your loyal customers in front of a crowd? [Daughter], thank your mom for this remake, but let her know her husband doesn’t want my business anymore.”

(I held true to those words. I found a new restaurant and I now get my Chinese food there. I work at that martial arts school now, so I drive past this restaurant every day. Business has been going down considerably. I also found out from [Daughter] that a huge part of the problem was that her father lost a ton of money playing the stock market. He even had to sell their house, and they now live on the top floor of the apartment building he also owns.)

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