Bad restaurant experience + Tuesday news

When I was 8 years old, I badly wanted an Arkansas Travelers pennant. They were the Little Rock Double-A farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals and my mom and I had season tickets. Finally, one Friday payday she caved and gave me the money to run down to the souvenir stand at the game. She asked if I wanted her to accompany me, but I was 8. I was a big boy.

I got down there, and the lady who worked the souvenir stand – who I had bought from many times – had a friend in the booth. And despite me standing there holding my money, and the lady clearly seeing I wanted to buy something, she chose to ignore me and continue her conversation with her friend. The conversation continued on for 5, 10 minutes, as many kids – probably a line of 20 – piled up around the booth. All of us waving our money, all of use eager to make our transactions and get back to the game upstairs. Finally the conversation ended and I got my pennant.

“What took you so long?” my mom asked, having become concerned for me.

I told her what had happened. “I guess we didn’t matter since we’re just kids.” My mom disagreed and went to the front office and complained.

Last night I walked into a restaurant about 7:30 PM. I pulled up an empty chair at the bar, laid my jacket on the back of it, and proceeded to sit. The bartender was behind the bar at the time. We made eye contact. Clearly I intended to be her customer. She did not hand me a menu; she did not ask my drink order; she did not ask if she could start me off with an appetizer. Instead, she walked out from behind the bar and went to a table, where she remained for the next 5 minutes.

Not a big deal, I reasoned. Bartenders often double as servers on slow Monday nights when it’s winter and the Grizzlies are away. She’ll get to me when she can.

After a few minutes, the guy to my left asked how I was doing. “Well, I’d be better if I had a bartender,” I replied. I turned around and looked at the table the bartender was at. It was not a difficult table full of indecisive guests, taking some time to order, as I had guessed was the case. No, the bartender was chit-chatting with one of her co-workers, knowing full well I was waiting at the bar and had not been helped.

I got up out of my seat, put my jacket on and started walking. The bartender and her manager then both made eye contact with me. “Don’t even bother,” I said as I made my way to the door. I will not visit that restaurant again.

Footnote: I had nachos at Huey’s Downtown for my dinner. I was asked what I wanted to order within seconds of sitting down. When I left, I thanked the bartender for great service last night and dozens of other nights over the past 10 years. I left him a 50% tip.

It’s not OK to ignore your customers – kids or adults – to conduct your personal business. Those of you who have a similar experience, vote with your feet and your wallet.

The Orpheum has announced its 2018-19 Broadway season. Love Never Dies, sequel to Phantom of the Opera, will start things off. Next up will be School of Rock, Les Miserables, and Waitress. Following that will be On Your Feet!, Fiddler on the Roof, Anastasia, and Hamilton.

DNA president Will Norris will speak tonight about the DNA’s vision for 2018 at the monthly Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting. It will be held at the Brass Door. Light snacks compliments of the Brass Door, with happy hour prices on beer and wine. Social at 6, program at 6:30.

YOGA! Downtown Yoga is starting a new program at the 409 South Main food hall the first Thursday of every month.

Cosmic Hate Destroyers will play The Dirty Crow Inn deck Saturday at 9.

Sunrise Memphis on Jefferson is hiring both front of house and back of house. Apply at the restaurant.

USA TODAY has an excellent article about John Shuster, skip of the USA men’s curling team that recently won the USA’s first-ever Olympic gold in that sport.

Redbirds mini-membership packs are now on sale with guaranteed giveaways.

That’s it for now. My interview yesterday seemed to go very well. I have HVAC repair people coming so I am going to give myself the day off. Back tomorrow with more news.