Oh chickies. I need to talk to someone who would understand.
My husband and I went to lunch today at a sushi place near his office that he goes to very often. I don't like sushi, but there's other things on the menu that I like. So I wanted something on the child's menu, but the waitress said no, I'm not a child and I can't order that. I was surprised and quickly found something else to order--approximately the same thing, only a LOT more food. Food came, and I was still obsessed with the idea that I couldn't order the food I wanted.
I've been working on the idea that I can have whatever food I want, and not judge myself (good or bad) in the process. So I ate the amount I wanted, and left the rest. I ended up with half the lunch left over, and that really bothered me. I was doing this mental thing of "if they had let me order what I wanted in the first place, I wouldn't have so much left over!!" And this is where it gets bad. :o
The waitress brought over the bill, and I started this whole thing about how much food I had left and how they could charge me the adult price, I just wanted the AMOUNT of food on the kid's plate, and look at this food I didn't even touch and I didn't WANT and blah blah blah...meanwhile my husband is sitting there dying, the waitress is trying really hard to be accomodating, and I'm getting more and more frustrated with not getting what I wanted in the first place.
We paid the bill, the manager said next time just ask her and she'd give it to me since we're in there all the time, and went out onto the street. I apologized to my husband and he said, "yeah, your neuroses don't normally show so badly. I think you're getting worse." He went on to explain that in the past yes I had troubles, but I didn't make them other people's troubles, and he was uncomfortable and the waitress was uncomfortable and if it was all that much of an issue I needed to just remove myself from the situation or just NOT EAT IT.
Thanks. If I could "just not eat it", do you think I'd be here in the first place? :p
I told him I was surprised that it had hit a trigger, I didn't know it was there, and it wouldn't happen again. The more I think about it and the more I relive it the more mortified I am, and I'm not coping well. I cried all the way home and I don't know what to do now. I'm just mortified that I was that out of control and that out of line. And here I thought I was doing better! :o
Any advice, chickies? I'm really feeling horrible right now.
09-18-2009, 06:07 PM
I'll just go for the easy one - that restaurant doesn't deserve you should ever go back. "The customer is always right." ????? You should be allowed to order whatever you want. I think ordering an adult meal and offering to pay for only half of it is not on - but they should have let you order the small meal. Don't go back. :hug:
09-18-2009, 06:09 PM
Hugs for the mind part, no advice on that.
As to the portion issue, in some restaurants I either ask for an extra plate or a to-go box to be brought out with my meal so I can reapportion before I begin eating. I do low low carb, and there have also been times when I've asked them to just put the starch etc. in a to-go box and not even bring it to the table, then I would take it straight home to give away to carb-loving neighbors.
09-18-2009, 06:13 PM
I am CONSTANTLY irritated that you have to be 12 and under or 10 and under to order off the kids' menu. The portions on the kids' menu are most often too much food for what we should be eating. And I don't always want to take home my food. Fish is no good as a leftover, IMO.
I know it embarrassed your husband, but keep talking to restaurants about it. Maybe if enough of us start talking about it, they'll start HEARING it.
Shannon in ATL
09-18-2009, 06:19 PM
Oh honey, I'm so sorry. :hug: Don't cry.
First, let me say that you did a great job at not eating all the extra food. :) A lot of restaurants have policies like that, you could always just ask order the full sized portion and ask them to wrap up half when they bring the order, or ask for a box to be brought with the meal and package half up right away? It annoys me, too. Starbucks recently changed their policy here to where you have to be under 12 to order the short size and I almost blew a fuse when I found that out last week. If I ordered a tall hot chocolate I would drink a tall hot chocolate, I needed the short! :)
Now, I'll say I've been there, gotten wrapped around the axle about just that kind of thing. What was the trigger for you? The food itself or the fact that you had an expectation of one thing in your head and then got focused tightly in on that and the frustration of not being able to do something that seemed so simple? That is what happens to me - I narrow in on some small something and can't see the big picture. I then feel totally out of control and have to hammer my point home to whomever I'm dealing with. This happened just this weekend with popcorn - DH seasoned it when my back was turned and I asked what he put on it. He said "what I always do" and I proceeded to poke at it trying to get him to drill down to exactly what, how many shakes of what, etc. It bound me down so tightly I couldn't add anything else because he couldn't tell me if he had used one shake or two of ballpark salt. And, I kept asking and asking and making passive aggressive snips about it until he was frustrated, too. I could hear the crazy but couldn't make myself stop. I just pushed and pushed and pushed until we were both crazy. Much like I pushed the barista at Starbucks until I finally had to leave before it got out of hand.
When I find myself going to place like that it is always because I feel out of control. I have to consciously stop talking, take a few deep breaths and try to figure out what I feel like I have no control of. Then I try to decide if it is something important enough to worry about. If it isn't, I try really hard to let it drop. If I'm in a restaurant or with a group I often stop and drink a sip of my water, or pause and go to the bathroom for a minute. It gives me a little break - hits the 'stop' key for a minute and lets me refresh. :)
Don't feel horrible. A big part of this process is learning how to take control of our own situation and not let outside factors run the show. You are a work in progress. You have made such great progress in your loss, and you are always so positive and supportive in your posts. This experience should show you how far you have come, actually - you didn't eat the food!
09-18-2009, 06:29 PM
Starbucks recently changed their policy here to where you have to be under 12 to order the short size and I almost blew a fuse when I found that out last week.
That is absolutely outrageous! 'You have to be no taller than this to drink our hot chocolate'?????
09-18-2009, 06:31 PM
DCHound--thing is, I didn't want the food in the first place. When she came over at the end of the meal the first thing she said was, "wow, do you want a box?" It's not stuff that would have saved well, so I said no, thank you. I just didn't want that much food in the first place! I don't know why this is bothering me so much, I just...it's obviously a trigger.
Eumie--totally!! The kid's plate was more than enough food. I TOLD them they could charge me for the adult plate I just wanted the smaller amount. What is this, you have to spend a certain amount of money for your food depending on how long you've been alive? Then why are 55+ menus cheaper? Why do I have to get more food than I want just because of my age?? :p
Shannon--I think the issue was that she told me I couldn't have what I wanted. I had (in my mind) made such a moderate, reasonable choice, that was going to be enough food, that would be pleasing to me, that would give me control over my habits...it was a good choice for me and I was proud of it, and then she said I couldn't have it! Forget ordering off the child's menu as an adult, I ACTED like a child too! :o
I know what you mean about "I could hear the crazy". Definitely! I just couldn't seem to stop the crazy. Oi. :o
I kept trying to do the drill in my head all through the meal, tell myself "you can have whatever you want, no judgment". It very interesting to me that the "no judgment" thing swings both ways and encompasses how much I'm not eating as much as how much I am eating. It DID help, and I WAS impressed that I didn't eat [much] more than I had intended to eat. And ever more impressive is that the last thing I want to do right now is comfort eat. In fact, I'd rather not ever eat again if I can help it!
(Yes, I know that's unhealthy thinking too. THIS is why I'm in therapy.)
09-18-2009, 07:31 PM
That is totally annoying!! :mad: I would have told her to have the manager come over right then and there. I would have explained exactly what you said, that you would pay the adult price, but that for "health reasons" you only wanted the child's portion. No need to specify the health reasons!
I just want to add... that perhaps what triggered you so much was a matter of what's called the "locus of control." Instead of you being in the place of control, the restaurant was, when they refused your request. For a lot of people, this kind of conflict does, really, send them right back to a childhood situation. So, take it easy on yourself! Yeah, maybe you could have acted a different way--but that doesn't let the restaurant off the hook.
Do you have a therapist or other counselor you could talk to? Maybe some of those issues need some resolution.
I think you did GREAT not to eat all the food! I might have eaten it all in anger and then have been even MORE unhappy! :cheer2: :cheer2:
09-18-2009, 08:20 PM
Those of us trying to eat healthy foods in healthy proportions live in a hostile world, right now. Personally, I think all of us deserve forgiveness if we're occasionally hostile back. And, really, you got good results. Next time, you'll be able to order off the children's menu and maybe they will take a serious look at that policy.
We should start a movement. Yeah. Sit-ins. We won't leave until we're served appropriately sized meals! And, if that's the children's menu, then that's what we demand! :-) (apparently I'm in a revolutionary mood tonight)
Good for you for not eating more than you wanted.
09-18-2009, 08:51 PM
:hug: It really gets to me that some places won't let you order the kids meal unless you have a child with you. Can we just say "yeah, I have a kid in the car and it's for them" or "the kid went to the bathroom and will be coming back soon, I'm just ordering this for him" :dizzy: :p
Shannon, OMG about the Starbucks not letting adults order a short... that's not fair! I thought they were trying to offer costumers more health conscious options, it makes no sense. :mad:
09-18-2009, 09:35 PM
The waitress actually told me, "most people want big portions." I said, "look how much I left!". I've been thinking about it, and I think there was also an element of "look how much I'm not eating" involved here.
This eating without judging thing is hard. :sigh: I wanted to be seen to be content with the childs portion, I guess.
And now I totally want to go to Starbucks, where I NEVER go (I hate coffee anything) and order a short something just on principle.
09-18-2009, 09:51 PM
He went on to explain that in the past yes I had troubles, but I didn't make them other people's troubles, and he was uncomfortable and the waitress was uncomfortable
See, I just disagree. This was not you making your problem into someone else's problem. It was you making them address *their* problem. That was ridiculous. Next time tell them someone is meeting you with a child, and you're not eating :D. Oh look, they didn't show up and, gee, I think I'll eat after all. Wouldn't want it to go to waste. The waitress *should* have been uncomfortable. If it's somewhere you like to go, you might try writing corporate (if it's a chain), see what policy really is. Sounds unusual to me.
09-18-2009, 10:19 PM
:hug: Hang in there. I'm used to confrontations with waitstaff since I am a vegetarian. I often ask for a customized item/portion.
I almost always ask if I can get a "half order" of something. If they say no, I will usually try to order something that I can get a carryout box for. That being said - in restaurants that I frequent, I EXPECT to be catered to. I EXPECT to be able to customize my order.
The places that treat me well, get repeat business. Those that don't, won't.
We have our absolutely favorite coffee house staff trained so well that they make special appetizers just for us during the wine tasting events. They will make vegetarian options for us. They will also customize any entree for us.
We also tip accordingly. For outstanding service, we feel it should be rewarded.
I hope you put this in perspective - and celebrate that you left all of that food. Kudos to you! We are proud of you!
09-18-2009, 11:03 PM
In my opinion, the manager acted appropriately, your waitress did not (it may have been an honest mistake, but I'm guessing she knows better now). I wouldn't worry about your actions too much, but in the future in a similar situation stay calm and ask to speak to the manager (or "whoever can authorize custom orders," to state your case. My guess is that you will be accomodated more often than not. My husband and I have been.
My husband and I often order custom orders (even for things that aren't even on the menu at all). We're usually accomodated, quite easily. The manager of one restaurant actually sent the cook out to talk to us to make sure he understood what we wanted and could do it.
Sometimes waitstaff will tell us a custom-order "can't" be done, yet when we speak to the manager or owner, it suddenly becomes doable. Usally it boils down to the waitstaff not knowing any better (I really think some of them are thinking, "No ones ever asked this before, so the answer must be no.")
That being said, when we do have problems, it's usually a large chain, probably because finding someone "authorized" to make exceptions can be difficult, but that's not always the case either. We eat at Applebee's occasionally, because (unfortunately) it's one of the few places in town that serves a decent french onion soup. I love onion soup - but I don't want the crusty bread and cheese topping (sometimes I order a little bit of cheese). I save several hundred calories by ordering the soup unadorned, but it has flummoxed some waitstaff. I've had to explain it a couple times that yes, it definitely "can" be done, because I've done it quite frequently on previous visits.
I do understand that senior and child discounts are often seen as "special-exemptions," and so some restaurants are reluctant to give a discount to someone who doesn't "qualify," but generally I've never had a problem in privately owned or even small chains when I've spoken to someone actually "in-charge."
09-18-2009, 11:27 PM
I guess I am mystified at why an adult can't order a child's meal. If her husband had come in with a child instead of with Sidhe, they would have sold the SAME amount of food that Sidhe ate for the child's price. Same thing with the inability to order a short hot chocolate. That's simply ridiculous that now retailers are trying to FORCE us to eat/drink huge portions by preventing us from buying the smaller ones! Lucky for Sidhe, she is strong and was able to simply not eat what was on her plate but I would be PISSED if I was forced to buy a huge portion of something that won't reheat well (like fish).
I would have a heart-to-heart with management about their policy and if they refused to make exceptions, I'd have to think twice about going back.
09-18-2009, 11:44 PM
IMO, I don't think you over reacted. And, I don't think you were being neurotic. I don't think you were out of control or out of line. We live in a country that is becoming more and more obese. Over sized meals are the norm. You are different now. You see this whole situation in a new light. That is a good thing! And, you didn't need an oversized meal. And, why should you be required to pay for more food than you wanted to eat?! I've noticed that more restaurants in my area are offering 1/2 size portions on their menu. And, if it's not on the menu, I get the option when I ask....for a reduced charge. My daughter is a vegetarian. Our servers are always willing to offer alternatives for her...and these alternative are usually not on the menu.
Personally, I'm aggravated with your husband for making you feel neurotic and not supporting you in this. You are not a mouse. You are a woman with a voice.
09-19-2009, 02:04 AM
I'm a bit calmer now, though I'm still feeling slightly rattled. I still asked myself what I wanted for dinner and told myself, "whatever you want, no judgment." I decided I wanted a Smart Ones beans&rice with a bag of chips from Chipotle. Ooooookaaaaay...so I got everything, ate what I wanted, pulverized the chips that were left in the bag and threw them away.
09-19-2009, 04:11 AM
Restaurants are having a hard time with this recession. To make a profit they have to change some policies and one of them is to not serve cheaper children's meals to adults. Let's face it,they aren't responsible if we have a food problem. I know most places want to please their customers and might make an exception if you explain calmly. I know what you mean though; when I go to the local ice cream place and order a kiddie cone at the window, they look behind me to my car to see if there's a child inside, so I park on the side. Ha. They never ask.
About your behavior. I wish I didn't understand so well. But, if I don't keep a close watch on myself I too have a problem with getting mad and being a little too agressive to press my point. I have tried to control this and TRY to count to ten and then try to picture about ten minutes ahead to see how I will feel if I speak up. I'm not always successful. All I can say is that if you are aware of it and not trying to be a "right fighter" as Dr. Phil says, then you have won half the battle. Be easy on yourself. I have an aunt and a monther who embarassed me so many times when I was growing up with this behavior and I swore I would never, well, for example, complain about the food in a restaurant (too tough, underdone, overdone, blah, blah, blah) when I grew up. One time I spoke up in a line at the store because this guy ahead of me called over his two friends to get in line with him and I got mad. It was late, the line was long, I was tired. So, the consequences were that I was afraid to walk out to my car because I was afraid these three men, who looked like Russian thugs, might take exception and decide to beat me up. It was stupid. I am much better than I used to be, not that I was the neighboorhood weirdo or anything, but I've tried to be more mature and consider if my behavior would achieve myobjective or not. Usually not. We all have our things. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many people out there in therapy! ha. No one was hurt. Next time you'll think about it first. You are forgiven.
09-19-2009, 01:22 PM
Restaurants are having a hard time with this recession. To make a profit they have to change some policies and one of them is to not serve cheaper children's meals to adults. Let's face it,they aren't responsible if we have a food problem.
I so disagree that normal size portions are a food problem :). And sure, they can have whatever policy they want. But I would certainly not give them my business if they do. I think it's quite absurd. I haven't run into it yet, but I'll probably blow a gasket too when I do.
09-19-2009, 01:52 PM
I have a friend that has had Weight Loss Surgery. Now, of course, she can't eat an entire adults meal from a menu. So, she has an 'official' card that says she had the surgery and should be allowed to eat from the children's menu.
What's that all about?? So, one has to have surgery to qualify for a small meal??? It's really not fair.
I wonder...if it doesn't actually say the age limit on the menu, can they technically not offer it??
I am sorry you went through all this.
09-19-2009, 01:58 PM
Restaurants are having a hard time with this recession. To make a profit they have to change some policies and one of them is to not serve cheaper children's meals to adults. Let's face it,they aren't responsible if we have a food problem.
My immediate thought is, "why am I responsible for their profit margin?" I could sit there and not eat anything and just take up space while my husband eats. I could order a $1.75 bowl of miso soup and NOT give them the $6.75 for the kid's meal, and they wouldn't question that. Why would me ordering a cheaper bowl of soup be more appropriate than the more expensive kid's meal??
I don't think they're responsible for my food problems. I'm not responsible for their finances, either.
09-19-2009, 02:10 PM
I'm not a huge fan of Ralph Nader, but he once said something that has stuck with me for years He said that we consumers have become complacent. We no longer demand quality customer service. We no longer demand respect. We have allowed retailers to adopt the attitude that they are doing us a favor when they provide more than the very basics of service. Until we learn to demand our rights as consumers, customer service will continue to be subpar.
Ralph Nader is correct. Why should we pay our hard earned money for less than the best? Why should we be made to feel like bad people for speaking up for ourselves? It boggles my mind. It truly does.
09-19-2009, 03:53 PM
To some degree, I believe the restaurant's profit margin is my concern, because it's in my best interest to do what I can to keep a restaurant I enjoy in business. Some restaurants take a loss on children's meals in hopes of the adult meals compensating for that loss. The obvious example is restaurants that offer "children eat free." In such a case, if an adult wanted food from the children's menu (which of course, would have no prices, because "children eat free"), it would obviously be unreasonable for the adult to expect to get the meal free. However, if the restaurant is taking a loss on a meal, it's harder to express that loss to the customer, especially since the cost of the food is a small fraction of the costs of running a restaurant. I think restaurant owners are in a bind in that if they offer the children's meals at a higher price to adults, as many customers will feel "ripped off" because they were charged more, yet if they don't charge more, and have to take a loss, it can threaten their ability to stay in business. However, most restaurant owners/managers are willing to accomodate special requests - so when you have a special request don't be afraid to "go to the top," if waitstaff says "no."
My husband and I expect excellent service, and we generally get it (and if there are problems in more than one visit, we don't return to the restaurant - and explain to the manager when we're leaving why we won't be coming back). Part of getting excellent service, is making our expectations clear and when we get it, we reward it (and I'm not only talking tips), and when we don't get it, we speak to the person making the mistake and to the manager explaining the problem, and what we would expect to see done about it... and we almost never have to get angry during the process.
My husband worked for many years in fine restaurants in the kitchen and as staff manager, so he understands both sides. Yet, because he worked in some of the best restaurants, he expects good to excellent service no matter where we go, even if it's a tiny restaurant with only one cook (as in our favorite restaurant).
It may not seem "fair," but the best way to get excellent service is to be friendly yet confident. If you "ask" for a custom order in an uncertain and submissive tone, the waitstaff will feel more comfortable saying no. Hubby has chided me several times for asking for substitutions or accomodations in a way that says or implies that I don't expect them to be able to accomodate me - or implies that I will be just as happy if they won't give me what I ask for.
Our friends often comment that we get treated "like bigshots," in many of our favorite restaurants (whether it's a cheap diner or a nice restaurant), and it's because of how we interact with staff and management. Once, at our favorite restaurant (a small thai restaurant with a very tiny kitchen with one cook, the owner), we overheard a woman at another table say in a very snippy, jealous (almost angry) tone "I wonder who THEY are," because the owner came out and greeted us like friends and brought out a new dish for us to try and give our opinion on.
That incident got me thinking about why we're treated like "big shots." The woman's implication was that you have to be someone very important to get excellent service, which doesn't fit us at all. We do eat out regularly, but we choose inexpensive, small restaurants (they usually do serve insane portions, but we've both learned to get three or more meals out of a restaurant meal). However, we are friendly and social. We "chat" with staff and when we find something we like (whether it's service or the food), we praise the staff specifically (my husband appreciates beverages being refilled quickly, before he has to ask, so if he gets it - he remarks upon it and thanks the beverage-bringer). My husband will even peek or call into the kitchen to make a compliment when the food is to his liking. He will seek out and speak to the owner about things he likes and doesn't like to see in a restaurant.
When we get something we don't like, we're generally sympathetic (at least the first time), but we expect it to be fixed, and fixed promptly and properly. If a dish isn't to our liking, we do send it back. Often it is just a matter of taste, so instead of saying "this is horrible," we say "I really don't like this, could I get something else," (in a tone that says, I know you want to make us happy, not could you please do us a big favor and we'll be indebted to you forever). We've never had a restaurant NOT accomodate us.
Yes, we act like bigshots, I suppose. Friendly, loud, confident, chatty big shots. I know that's not everybody's personality style, but anyone can learn to ask for what they want in a pleasant, but confident tone. If waitstaff say no, before getting angry ask to speak to the manager and make the request again.
Saying nothing and just never coming back is the least effective way to respond to an unsatisfactory experience. Rants "after the fact," aren't usually particularly helpful either, as you've had to endure an unacceptable experience. If waitstaff isn't accomodating, talking to the manager about what you want, and asking how he/she can get you what you want, is much more effectve and more pleasant. It works more often than not, so much so that I don't remember the last time a restaurant couldn't or wouldn't accomodate my request.