My Not So Incredible Experience at Incredible Dave’s

Oftentimes when you have a bad experience you vent to a friend and you let it go, right? Sometimes, the issue is so ridiculous that if you let it go nothing changes. That’s okay if it’s not something that needs to be changed. If it is something that needs to be changed or if something is clearly wrong.  There are so many things that happened today that I am not sure what to address first. So I will start from the beginning and you can pick out the issue that needs to be address. Fair warning, this is fresh so it will possibly be long.  This is my perspective so my opinion is given. To separate my recording of events and my thoughts, things that did not happen or that are simply my thoughts will be italicized and the color changed.  I will do my best to keep the quotes true to their original form.

Tomorrow is my nephew Nugget’s birthday. Originally we were going to be celebrating in Cincinnati, but the weather changed that. Given the choice, he chose to have his party at Incredible Dave’s (9236 Westport Rd, Louisville, KY 40242).  So we went, the whole family. It was me, my sister C and her two kids and her grandson, as well as the client with intellectual disabilities, my sister T and her two kids (the birthday boy and his sister), my mom and her two clients with intellectual disabilities and birthday boy’s dad, Big B. A friend of the family and her two kids would be joining us later. When we arrive, Big B, had already gotten a table so we get our hands stamped and go back. (We did not stop at the hostess’s desk and we were not directed anywhere).  We get to the table and see that it’s cramped for space. We put the gifts and cake at an empty booth and sit at another table. Our server comes by and asks about drinks. We tell her that we need a few minutes, she says okay and walks away. For a while-long enough for us to start looking for her.  She comes back with the manager, Fred.  They stand there talking about how this is a big party and I assume they were trying to figure out how big it is. He points to the booth and asks her if the gifts belong to us or someone else. If there was a problem, why didn’t the server come to us? Was it really necessary for her to get the manager? If so, shouldn’t you talk to us and not about us? Then the manager, we would later learn his name is Fred, came and asked us how many was in our party. The table had been set for 12 people. After counting, and finding out who Big B included when he gave the number to the server who seated him, we told him that it would be 15 people, we were still waiting on two people.  We order food and drinks and eat. T is trying to figure out which order counts for the game card deal, and then we pay for our meals and prepare to go play games. We are still missing two members of the party.  TA arrives and sits at a booth, (not at the tables or at the booth with the gifts and cake). Her and her kids had not eaten, and she wanted to make sure that they had something before they started playing and before the cake part of the evening.  No one comes to the booth. No one.  She sends her son, to ask if they can have a server.  Before this goes any further, I want to say that this is not the first time we have been to Incredible Dave’s. We have never stopped at the hostess desk to be seated- EVER. A young guy comes over and tells her that she has to check in at the hostess desk to get a server.  I am at the booth with her, playing with her daughter. I see the young lady that was our server, so I say never mind that’s our server, and she’s part of our party. Our server, either she never told us her name or I don’t remember it, says that she has to check in at the hostess desk. I tell her that she’s part of our party (You know, the party who just spent over $100 on food and is about to spend more money to play /games). Server tells us that it’s policy and she could get in trouble if TA doesn’t go to the hostess desk and check in. TA asks to speak to the manager. The server says yes and walks away. About ten-fifteen minutes later, the manager still has not come by. TA is hungry, her kids are hungry and no one has come by to talk to her or take her order.  TA goes to find the manager.  At this point, I don’t know what is going on. TA has gone to the front of the restaurant either to check in at the hostess or to find the manager.  She is gone for a while, we do the song and cake and she’s still not back.  When she comes back, she’s pissed off. She tells us that the manager said that since we had paid she couldn’t be part of the party. She tells us that the manager told her to get out of his face and that our server was on break.  I point out that our server, who is supposed to be on break, is serving a white group that is in a booth beside the booth with the gifts and cake. Why didn’t the server tell us that by paying for the food we would be closing our party? And does that really matter? TA is a paying patron and wants to eat- she doesn’t have to have our server, she just wants to give someone her order. When asked about the corporate office, Fred says that there’s no one she can call to get him fired. She just wants to eat and be treated with respect.  Another server has come to help her, so TA apologizes up front, telling her that she’s upset with the manager and while she’s sure that Fred has filled her in, TA won’t take it out on her.  Fred comes over as the server is setting menus down. He says something, I’m not sure what it is. TA tells him that we told him that there would be two more people joining our party and he says that we didn’t. I interject and tell him that we did. Does its even matter at this point? At this point, listening to Fred has irritated me because he is being nasty. And while TA is not the nice and quiet patron that he may have preferred, she is nicer than I would be. Fred tells her to stop bothering his help with all of this. First of all, we did tell you that we had two more people. Secondly-again- does it matter? Thirdly, she is your employee, not your help. She is a server who works at Incredible Dave’s, not your help. You should not only treat your patrons with respect, but your employees as well. TA is angry and I am irritated. I am not sure what exactly happened when TA went to talk to him, but I do know that at this point it is time to go. Our server, who is supposedly on break is still serving the white group at the booth. Is this a race thing? I honestly, don’t know. There is another black party in the area next to ours.  And there are black employees working there.  TA and I go to the bathroom to calm down and regroup. It was an opportunity to vent and gather any remaining calm that she may have. After some talking, she decides that it’s time to go home. She had come out wanting to have a good time, but she refused to be disrespected when she’s spending money and all she wanted to do was eat.  At this point, details are leaving me. But there were three –no four- other things that happened. First, Fred went and told all of the servers and hostesses to not talk to us. What the hell?! Since when did this expand to all members of the party? Why can’t they talk to us?! What if we want something else to eat? Yep, they were told not to talk to us. I asked a server in the bar where Fred was and he said he didn’t know who Fred was. I told him that it was the manager. He told me that the manager wasn’t Fred. I went to the hostess desk and asked who the manager was that was currently working and they said it was Fred. Second thing, the police were called. Yep, your read that correctly. The police were called. It could have been a coincidence, except for the fact that he kept watching our group and he walked out a couple of minutes after we did to make sure we left.  If at any given point, we had done something wrong, as the manager of the restaurant Fred could have asked us to leave. If he felt that we had threatened him in some way, he could have waited for the police and then asked us to leave. He called the police, and had us watched. Hell, if you just didn’t want to be bothered with us, ask us to leave. It’s uncomfortable to ask someone to leave your establishment. I know, I’ve had to do it. They were angry when I told them that they had to leave and defensive when I told that while I couldn’t be 100% certain that they were a thief, they were using the same line as last time and I wasn’t buying it.  For about an hour and a half, the officer stayed in places where he could watch our group. No, the officer made no attempt to hide who he was watching. Third thing, even though the servers were told not to talk to us, they were free to talk about us. Again, it is obvious when a server is standing at a table talking and then everyone at the table turns and looks at you. I would say that this is just unprofessional. I mean you can make your servers stop talking to us, but you can’t keep them from talking about us to other patrons? Lastly, there was the passive stares of the servers, the officer and Fred to check to see if we were still there or if we were leaving.

 

I honestly don’t want to make this a race thing. In our section, we were the only black group, and the other groups didn’t seem to have any problems. Did they check in at the hostess desk? I am not sure, but I do know that they sat themselves and our server – who was supposedly on break- was helping one of the groups. Who do turn in a complaint to? After we leave, and we did after we got good and ready to, does it still matter? For me, it’s a human issue. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. And while I am not in the least bit tactful, I am aware of my flaws and of my own attitude.  I can’t say what happened when TA went to find a manager because I wasn’t there. I know TA well enough to say that she is, if nothing else, professional and graceful. She extends grace further than I would. I can say that everything that I saw after she returned from her talk with Fred, was disrespectful and uncalled for.  Maybe the police were called because Fred was afraid that she/we would do something. If that is the case, why let us stay in your establishment with the rest of your patrons for AN HOUR AND A HALF? If it is your policy that each patron checks in with the hostess desk, BE CONSISTENT ABOUT IT.  It shouldn’t be a strange idea to check in with the hostess desk – if that truly is the policy. And if it isn’t than make adjustments to help the person as they are. DON’T LIE about what you were told. If you forget or if you weren’t listening when someone told you how many would be in the party, be honest. Don’t simply say that no one told you, especially when the party is still there and know what they told you.  You shouldn’t assume that everyone who comes in to your establishments are idiots and will quietly do whatever you say. You shouldn’t expect people to sit back and take the dirt that you toss them while asking for more. A small issue was blown up to the point where 15 patrons left irritated with the establishment, when we all wanted to relax and celebrate Nugget’s birthday. 15 patrons left never to return to Incredible Dave’s again.  Our money spends just as well somewhere else, a place that will gladly treat us with dignity and respect. A small issue was blown up to the point that my tax dollars (and everyone else’s) paid for a police officer to come and watch me do absolutely nothing.   I know that being a server is not easy, and I know that sometimes it can be routine and aggravating. Personally, I couldn’t do it, and I don’t know make a big deal out of service. If I go somewhere and the service is poor, it is reflected in my tip. Yea I know that servers don’t make a lot, but I am not going to leave an awesome tip for a subpar server (and we still tipped our Incredible Dave’s server-nicely at that).  I’ve been a manager, and have a degree in management. I get that it’s not an easy position. But I have stood back and watched my manager get yelled at and cussed out, and she was still professional and respectful. She not only treated that person as a customer/patron, she treated him as a human deserving of dignity and respect. While I am not saying that it okay for customers to treat the workers of the establishment with any less dignity and respect, I am saying that your job puts you in that position, so what do you do about it? (Even if TA was disrespectful to Fred, why was our party treated the way that we were?) Why is it that Fred still has a job? Why is okay that Fred had the attitude of “oh no, here comes another one” and is still in the manager’s position? Obviously there’s a problem when an employee apologizes for their manager. Could we be the only one who has been treated this way by him? If so, what is so special about our group that we can treated so callously and so other and still be expected to be silent about it? Our clients with intellectual disabilities were there, and had to experience this as well. The children were there and also had to experience it. It’s not fair to them. It’s not fair to anyone.

On a side note, I walked out with TA’s little girl. I had to get the stamp on my hand checked at the door (no one else in the group had to) and they asked me if she had her hand stamp or if it was on the stroller.  I told them I didn’t know because I didn’t come in with her and she wasn’t my daughter. They still let me walk out the door with her. And my nephew walked out with his nephew without getting his hand checked for a stamp and they didn’t come in together either. Honestly, I don’t know what the hand stamp is for. So child safety is not a priority for those at Incredible Dave’s, which is ironic since it’s supposed to be a family kind of place.

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