So if you follow my Twitter or are my friends on my personal Facebook account, then you saw an abbreviated account of my time at Bob Evans this week. Let me preface this by saying that I love eating at Bob Evans. Since there isn’t one where we live, whenever I go back home, I always make sure I stop at one. The food is good, not expensive, consistent quality, and every one I have been in has been clean with good, prompt service.
On Thursday at a little after 5pm, my mom & I took the girls to the one close to our house. I’ll freely admit, the Hoo was being a bit cranky, not her usual self. She was hungry, and when she had woken up from her nap right before we left, she had told me that her mouth hurt (2 year molars cutting). She didn’t want to sit in the booster seat but wasn’t screaming about it. She did get out all the sugar packets, but helped me put them back by counting how many we had of each color. She played her games on my phone and chatted with my mom & I until our salads came, where she ate our croutons. Our main courses came, and she shouted “Skettis! Skettis!” in excitement. The table next to us was smiling at her and no one seemed bothered by a two year old being, well, two. Towards the end when she started playing with her food more than eating it, we started to wrap things up. She was protesting a bit, but not loudly or anything. My mom took her to go wash her hands, which at first she didn’t want to do, but after some reasoning (okay, Grammy will go without you type deal) she followed my mom to the bathroom. The waitress came back with our box & started clearing the table. I (half joking) told her to get as much stuff as she could, because the less the Hoo had access to, the better. She starts walking away as my mom & the Hoo come back. She is crying slightly, and asks me for the candy that is by the bathrooms. I tell her no. So what does a two year old with a wicked sweet tooth do when she is told she can’t have any candy? She throws herself on the ground and starts crying. Now the Hoo has thrown tantrums so bad & so loud that she has made herself sick. This was nowhere near that. I just picked her up without saying a word and walked to the register to pay, with her crying along the way. That was it. She had stopped by the time we got to the register. Pipes had been been making happy little baby noises the whole dinner and playing peek a boo with me. As I am waiting for the hostess to come back to ring me out, I hear from the waitstaff/kitchen area (the whole set up is open)
“I hate waiting on kids. I hate screaming, crying kids. Parents should have better control over their children. I wouldn’t let my kid act like that. When I have children, they will NEVER act that way.“
It was our waitress, laughing and talking with the other waitstaff. She said some other stuff too that I missed. At first I was like whoa, what is she talking about? The I realized she was talking about my child. She even had the nerve to be talking about my children as my mom was walking by her with Pipes in the carseat! The Hoo’s behavior wasn’t even that bad. It is Bob Evans. It is a Thursday, at 5:30. There is a reason why my meals since I have had kids have been limited to chain restaurants & family friendly local places, all pretty much before 7pm, and hardly ever on weekends. And most of the time, I go at odd hours, like 10am for breakfast, 2pm for lunch or super early for dinner to minimize any potential disturbing of other customers. My kids are far from perfect. I want to vomit sometimes watching the Hoo eat. We are working on our inside/outside voices. She is impatient, impulsive, & headstrong. She is two years old, for christsake. And besides, how is she to know how to act in public if I never take her out?
The hostess returns and I tell her to inform our waitress that next time she wants to talk about my children’s behavior, she might want to wait until I am out of earshot to do so. I fill in a 10% tip, and tell the hostess to please inform her that her behavior affected her tip. The hostess apologizes to me and tells me that they have had complaints about her before. I am seething at this point, so I ask to speak to a manager. He was very nice, apologized profusely, and explained he recently came to the restaurant and was trying to shake up the waitstaff. He repeated what the hostess said-she had been complained about before. Okay, so how many complaints does one need to get fired? He then went into this off shoot about how he has been trying to tell them that anything they say can be heard in the restaurant due to the open design, and you know, they are just college kids, they don’t get it, etc. I told him that I wanted to take my tip entirely off. He apologized again, and we left. It was the first time I had never left a tip.
I immediately vented to both Facebook and Twitter, mentioning Bob Evans in the tweet. I didn’t realize they had a Facebook fan page too, or I would have tagged them in the post. Once I started really thinking about it, what the manager said upset me too. It was almost like he was making excuses for his waitstaff. And it wasn’t very respectful to the college waitstaff that might not have been a nasty idiot like our waitress (if he had any….). I was a college student waiting tables. When my parents finally cut me off, I paid for my own tuition using nothing but the tips I got. Did I talk about bad customers? Yes, sometimes I did. I’m not going to lie. Anyone that has ever worked in a public/service industry has a bad or funny story about people they have dealt with. The difference is that I never said while the people were present, and it was for really bad stuff, like the woman that tried to return a nightie at Victoria’s Secret with semen stains, or the parents that wouldn’t control their approx 5-6 year olds from playing tag at my restaurant, causing me to bump into them while carrying a tray of food, not a 2 year old acting like a 2 year old that got told no. And I have even uttered the ‘my kids will never act like that’ phrase (this pathological liar of a little girl that baby-sat for once). I think everyone does pre-parent. It is the only way you can talk yourself into having a child (and then it turns into, well, the second one will be better-haha!). And even when I didn’t have kids, I still tried to be sympathetic towards parents with small children. I have younger siblings. I baby-sat. I worked in the church nursery. If you don’t like children, you need to get out of the service sector or not wait tables at a family friendly restaurant.
The next morning, I had a direct message from Bob Evans to contact their relations department with the full details of the incident. I did, and spoke to a very nice woman who was shocked at what was said and also that the manager didn’t do anything to make up for it. Gift cards are in the mail, and the Regional & District managers have been notified. And she told me that their ‘Hospitality Crew’ will be coming to the place for some ‘retraining’ of the staff. I can’t help but think of this commercial-
I’m sure their retraining won’t be the same, but I can’t stop laughing at the thought.
This was never about raising hell to get gift cards, free stuff or anything about that. I didn’t care about free food. This was all about taking crap about my child & my parenting. She may be two, but she deserves respect and kind treatment especially from someone who we are paying to treat us that way. Don’t poke the mama bear. I bite.