July 23, 2003


The Cynic and His Crew Exacted Vengeance Upon: Perkins

Last night my best friend, youngest brother and I had the joy of going out to eat at the local Perkins. I had a nagging thought in the back of my head that this might not be the best idea ever considering that the last time I had been there the service hadn't been so hot. Regardless, just about all alternatives for late-night dining were closed and so we went. In hindsight, we should have gone to Big Boy.

We knew it was going to be an interesting night when the greeter started talking. He seriously sounded like he was taking estrogen supplements and was about 40 years old and female as opposed to late-20s to early-30s and male. The demeanor and carriance indicated that he was an incredibly out-of-place (and out-of-costume) drag queen. The cognitive dissonance was such that I couldn't stop glancing back over at him every time he talked, but I wouldn't say that it really bothered me. The same could not be said for my companions who couldn't stop giggling every time he talked... which provided for amusement as our dining experience consisted of 2 hours of mostly waiting. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We were seated and the waitress arrived about 15 minutes later... wonderful. We placed our orders and waited another 15 minutes for my coffee and their waters to actually show up. Mind you, Perkins coffee is toxic and I really didn't feel like coffee especially, but the trick is that when you get coffee you also get a pot of coffee to keep yourself going. So about 20 minutes later, I still had half a pot of nasty coffee that needed four sugars per cup to make it drinkable, but my counterparts were out of water.

Now, when this particular little motley crew feels neglected and ignored by the server, boredom kicks in and destructiveness is the rule. After I had used all of the sugar at our table in my coffee, it was decided that the sugar should be replenished... with the salt. That accomplished, Tim took a little single-serving creamer and squeezed it into a cup, wherein it practically exploded. Eyes bright with excitement, he and Jonny each grabbed a creamer to replicate the process on the underside of an adjacent table. Yes, I know, it was destructive and juvenile. I already told you that... but we were bored and had been there for the better part of an hour without so much as a whiff of our food and only 2 visits from the waitress (1 to get our orders, 1 to deliver our only round of drinks.)

So, an hour and a half in, our food arrived. And it was cold and terrible. How you make someone wait for an hour and a half for cold food I'm not sure, but we choked it down and the quality was reflective of our experience up until that point. And, yes, it was still go time. Perkins had invoked the wrath of the vengeful diners and there would be no getting out of it by serving us bad food in an untimely manner! The syrup was tempered with Tobasco, the Tobasco with salt and the surrounding environs were decorated with a coat of creamer, delivered in a manner most satisfactory to the erstwhile painters. I will note at this point that I did none of this, I merely made suggestions. I do have some level of decency, my best friend a lesser level, and my youngest brother virtually none.

Unfortunately, at some point we ran out of ammunition. Having destroyed every condiment within 2 tables of our own and growing anxious of discovery, we began casting anxiously about for our waitress. And after another 15 minutes or so of that, I went hunting for her to demand my bill. We'd been here for over 2 hours at this point and my companions were threatening to take things to the level of physical demolition at this point. After a 5-minute trek through the restaurant and another run-in with our lost drag queen, I found the waitress and managed to get her to give me my bill.

I should take this moment to note as an aside that I know how hard food service is and that late-night dining restaurants are a poor combination of terrible customers, bad understaffing and useless help. And really, I could see that our waitress was being overworked to the extreme last night, but I began to suspect that part of this was a simple lack of caring. I mean, really, if you aren't going to at least try and get back to me with water 15 minutes after I request it, your tip will suffer.

In the end, we vastly over-tipped by leaving a dollar tip (mostly out of guilt on my part) on a $25 tab and left. Jonny half-heartedly suggested lighting the place on fire but I really couldn't see what good that would do beyond forcing the owner to actually put money into the place. As we sped off into the night, I vowed never to return there if for no other reason than they might have figured out who added Tobasco to every syrup server within our section. Yes, it was immature but it was also 2 am and we were getting no service at all... what do you expect from a group of two bored college students and a bored high schooler?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at July 23, 2003 10:48 AM