Is Bad Service A Sign Of Economic Improvement?
I have heard it said in certain business circles that one sure sign of an improving economy is an improving job market. And, one sure sign of an improving job market is a decline in the quality of employees at low to minimum wage establishments such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and other such places of business. Over the years I have come to believe that these things are true.
If, indeed, they are true, then the economy and job market in this part of North Carolina must truly be on the rise. Last week, K and I had our Saturday after church dinner at my old favorite good-food-fast diner style restaurant and I noticed the people behind the counter preparing the food did not seem to be up to the caliber that establishment has been previously known for. Nor were the servers, charming though they were, quite the friendly and attentive servers I am used to interacting with at establishment in that franchise. At the time, I chalked it up to an off night.
Then came tonight. K and I visited our new favorite good-food-fast style restaurant; the one I claimed has the best grilled chicken sandwiches ever. After tonight, they may have to relinquish that crown. Neither the quality of the food, nor the appearance and manner of the staff, is up to the standard I have come to expect at that place of business.
While things started well, something seemed off tonight. I couldn't put my finger on it, but as we waited an extraordinarily long time for our food - odd considering we were the only customers in the place at that moment - I watched the staff. I was not favorably impressed.
The fellow that seemed to be in charge was spending all his time chatting with a buddy of his who was swilling beer at the bar. They were talking, rather loudly, about football. The manager/supervisor/whatever-he-was, had hair down to his shoulders barely contained under a dirty baseball cap with the store logo on it, and nothing on his beard.
Okay, maybe he'd worked a long day. Perhaps he'd been there since the store opened. And his beard was short and tidy. But I could see from where I was sitting that there were things that could be done to tighten up the kitchen area and neither he, nor anyone else, seemed to want to do it.
When our food did get delivered, finally, the young man who delivered it did not bother to ask if we needed drink refills or if there was anything else he could get us. As it turned out, my drink was empty and he could have brought the bacon that was supposed to be on my sandwich. I wound up going and asking the m/s/whw if he could please cook me up a couple pieces of bacon to go on the sandwich, showing him where it had been requested on the order form.
I should have asked for some fresh lettuce as well. The lettuce on the sandwich was wilted and unappetizing. I'd taken it off. I'd also requested that my fries be crispy. A few of the were, but most were definitely not.
The young lady who'd originally taken our order did come by and refill my drink and apologize for the bacon being left off my sandwich. Knowing I wasn't happy might have been the reason she decided to forgo the customary inquiry about everything being all right when I checked out.
My displeasure was reflected in the gratuity. While I didn't stiff the young lady, or her co-workers - they practice tips sharing at this store - I wasn't nearly as generous as I usually am.
Either of these cases taken in isolation could be discounted as an off night for the store. Two weeks in a row is indicative, to me at least, that such places of business are losing better qualified help to employers who can offer them better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions. While this may indicate an improving economy, I shudder to think what it means for our Saturday nights out.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/sandwich-fast-food-hamburger-burger-434658/ by nahandro