Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Drama -I'm too old for it.

What is it about some people that makes them hold other people up while they do something insignificant? or be the one person in a group who has a problem with the restaurant that everyone else wants to go to? Does it make them feel superior? -seeing they have the power to determine where the group goes or what they do? Or, perhaps, they just aren't good team players and lack the social skills to negotiate their own needs and wants with those of the group. Either way, these are people I don't wish to be around.

I spent a 4 day weekend with a group of about 12 people, on and off. Every time a decision had to be made personal issues that existed between Mike and Charlotte meant Charlotte threw a fit and either altered our plans, held us up, or otherwise made a scene. ...and if it wasn't her, it was Kris who had an issue with the plan and had to have it altered to suit him. If either of them put forth any effort at all to think about the other ~11 people in the group rather than just themselves, the weekend would have been awesome. Instead, we spent much of the time arguing over where to go and what to do because of a few people who just couldn't put their own selfishness aside for a moment and just go along for the ride.

There was even drama between the men. I actually HEARD someone say "Albert says he'll talk to Mike if Mike comes and talks to him first." PEOPLE! are we in kindergarten here or what!?!

It's a shame. I hope they grow out of it. In the meantime, I'll be limiting the amount of time I spend with them in order to maintain my sanity.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I got a $150 bill from my dentist in the mail and freaked out. See, I have dental insurance (from Great West), for free from my employer, so one day I figured that after 13 years since my last visit, maybe I should go to the dentist again. I had 2 cavities, needed a deep cleaning, and had some pockets they wanted to keep an eye on.

"Okay, fine, whatever. Take care of it" says I. -I was here to improve my dental health after all, the most obvious way to do that is to do what the doctor says.

So, I had the cavities filled and went back every 3 months for checkups like they suggested. Then I get this statement in the mail from my dental insurance company stating that they won't cover the entire cost of the resin fillings the dentist used to fill the cavities because they are in the back of my mouth and my checkup isn't covered at all because I'm only allowed a check up every 6 months.

Now, I wasn't given a choice about the material used to fill my cavities. I didn't even know a choice was available! How am I, as a customer, supposed to keep track of which teeth are considered "posterior" and therefore ineligable for resin fillings? I'd love to see a list of things that are or are not covered. How big of a book would that be? How much of it would I understand as a person who's not all that interested in dentistry. -Will I have my teeth for awhile longer? Good.

...And the worst thing is that this same exact thing happened with my Great West medical insurance in June. I had several bills that were denied or only partially covered and I ended up paying around $400 out of pocket. Needless to say, those little suprise bills hurt me that month -I have my money budgeted out pretty tightly.

Without the knowledge (or time) to figure out what's covered and what's not, a trip to the doctor or dentist is like a game of roulette with my money. Will this proceedure be covered? Who knows, spin the wheel, place your bets, and above all -Good Luck!

Ed's response to my rant -we should move to Canada. I'm totally for it at the moment.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The restaurant waiting game.

As I said before, we eat out a lot. When deciding where to go, my top 3 questions are:
  • What do I feel like/not feel like?
  • What area is most convenient?
  • What time is it?
The type of food and location are probably normal, and those of you who live in populated areas might be able to figure out where I'm going with the time thing too...

Saturday we were looking for a place to eat. It was 6pm, a borderline time for finding a restaurant with a short (or preferably non-existant) wait. The whole concept of having to wait for a table is annoying to me. I mean, if you're looking for a place to eat at 8pm on a Saturday night, you're hard pressed to find a Denny's without a wait. It's insane! ...So you wait 2 hours for a table at a decent restaurant only to get bad service because your server is as exasperated as you are with the number of hungry people packed into the restaurant tonight. The upside for them -tips. What do I get for my wait? Nothing. The same food I could have gotten Thursday night at the same price, but without the wait. I try to plan accordingly and hit "favorite" places at unpopular times, but like many people it's often easier and more relaxing to go out to nice places on the weekend. Something has to change.

Oh, right, back to Saturday night. As you can guess from the pre-rant above, we selected a restaurant (Texas Roadhouse in Joliet) and there was a wait. 50 minutes to be exact. So, we took a number, then sat down to discuss our options. In the end, Ed and Kris were starving, so we left and went to Panera Bread instead. ...but Kris never told the hostess at the Roadhouse that we were going elsewhere.

When we were finished eating at Panera I noticed that it was about 10min or so until our number would be called at Texas Roadhouse... Hmm... Ed and Kris were disappointed that we didn't go there. They've been wanting to go all week. Who else is in the same position? -It's 7 o'clock now, the wait's probably an hour and half at least. Could we sell our number to a new or recent arrival? I wonder how much someone would pay to get seated immediately? Is there a potential business selling spaces in restaurants? I, for one, would pay $5 to reduce my wait from 45min to 15min. $10 to go from 1hr to 5-10min? Hmm...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Customer Rant?

I ran into the waiterrant blog a few weeks ago and read the whole thing! Considering Ed and I eat out almost every night, it's interesting to hear what goes on behind the waiter's smile and accommodating attitude. But what about the customer???

I've seen firsthand how rude customers can be, but I've also experienced bad service. I think we need a customerrant! I doubt I'll be that blogger, but a dining experience last night was worthy of ranting about...

We found ourselves in Plainfield looking for food. Ed and I have driven past Main St several times, noting the cute restaurant called Baci's that looks like a church. So, we decided to give it a try.

We had no idea what to expect, so we opened the doors, walked through the arched doorway, and were greeted by an 18 year old host dressed in a heavy metal t-shirt. Mmm... Okay, well, perhaps they're understaffed, I thought.

We were shown to a very private U-shaped booth that'd seat up to 6 people. On the wall was an adjustment knob for the music volume and a slider to adjust the lighting. Nice touch! The rest of the ambiance was... well, not great, but it's an old church, so what would you expect? It's kindof lodge-looking with wood paneling everywhere. It looks like they've got room upstairs and in the basement for parties or other gatherings. The bathrooms are in the basement, which might be a problem for those with mobility issues, but then again I think the only entrance had stairs too -I'm not sure.

Looking over the menu, there was the usual fair. Pizza and pasta mostly, but the choices were good -vodka sauces, gnocci, chicken, veal... You can even get pesto sauce on your pizza, which I'd love to try! The prices were high considering the ambiance, but were about right for the quaility of the food... once we got it...

Now, usually we're indecisive and have to ask servers to come back for our order, but last night we were waiting and waiting to put our drink order in. didn't look like they were overstaffed at all and the place was far from mobbed, so we had no idea what the problem was.

When our waitress finally made it around to our table, we put our drink orders in and ordered our food at the same time. Once again we had to wait awhile for our drinks, but they came with bread and roasted garlic, so -cool! We downed the bread and our drinks and waited for refills. Refills took forever! While waiting we witnessed our waitress arguing with a customer over whether they said no onions on their appetizer. She swears she wrote it down right, the kitchen must have screwed it up. -Whatever, just fix it -it wasn't drawn out, but it was an indication she was having problems with more than just our table...

Finally she came around to get Ed a refill on his diet, no ice. Now, it's not unusual for servers to get the 'no ice' wrong on the refill -it's okay, we know it's just habit to put the ice in. We politely pointed out the mistake, and she left to go get a new soda. Again it took her forever to get back with the refill. She dropped it off hastily along with more bread and dashed off towards the kitchen again. -Ed takes a sip of the soda and it's regular, not diet. ...Now we're getting frustrated.

We set it on the edge of the table as an indication of a problem, but she doesn't notice. While we keep an eye out for her, we notice the smell of someone smoking... Our friend Kris points out that there was a "No Smoking" sign when we came in, but it's the HOST that's smoking! Nice... Everyone who worked there looked like they were in high school and acted like it. Their behavior would have been considered normal at Chili's, but considering the prices and quality of food, I found it to be unprofessional in this setting.

Eventually Ed and I both got refills and we started on a 3rd loaf of bread while keeping an eye on our watches. We arrived at the restaurant around 7:30pm, it was 8:30pm and we hadn't gotten our food yet! When it arrived, there was no explanation for the delay. -I understand that there are sometimes nights where a restaurant is short-staffed or the waitress is just having a bad day. As long as there's communication about the problems and status of the food, it's not a big deal. But we never heard, there was no appology, it was just bad service...

The food, on the other hand, was excellent. It all tasted great, wasn't totally overcooked (like I've found the Olive Garden lately), but we also all agreed that we wouldn't be back because of the service. It's unfortunate; I really wanted to try that pesto pizza!

Luckily, we didn't have to wait for the check! (I think they were looking to close soon.) Payment went quickly and smoothly, but I had to fight my tablemates to leave a tip (they wanted me to leave nothing). Maybe I should have, I don't know, but I left 10 % and we got the heck outta there. -It was past my bedtime! Who would have ever thought pasta could take that long???

Okay... Maybe that was more of a restaurant review than a customerrant. I don't know. This is a topic-less blog, deal. :)