Here’s the sitch: in the little town I live in, there are two diners within walking distance, one sub shop (attached to a 7-11) in walking distance, and one diner within easy driving distance (five minutes). Every other place one may wish to eat out in is a good half-hour away.
There’s a diner right around the corner from me. I’ll call it Jackie’s (not the real name, but a woman named Jackie co-owns it, and plays a major roll in this tiny drama).
My sister moved in with me about four months ago. She has breast cancer. She’s had surgery, and is currently undergoing chemo treatments. She doesn’t know from one day to the next what her tummy will tolerate. But she could always tolerate (and even love) Jackie’s chicken noodle soup. So about six weeks ago, I was at Jackie’s on a Thursday. I used to go there every Thursday, for lunch, because they serve this awesome bean with ham soup, with a big slab of home-made corn bread, and a soft drink, for $6.00. I asked, while I was there eating bean soup, what other soups they had that day. They said ‘chicken noodle’. Immediately, I called home to talk to my sis. She said to bring her three carry-out orders of chicken noodle soup, plus a vanilla shake.
As soon as I got home, I put the containers of soup on the counter and handed her the shake. When she went to open the soups later, two of them had broken/cracked lids. Broth had run all over the bag. Two of them had no chicken whatsoever. The third had one chicken dice. She immediately called the restaurant. The girl who answered the phone said they’d send out replacements immediately. Then a few minutes later, the same girl called back, very apologetic. Seems Jackie herself dished up that to-go order and everything was fine when it left the diner, therefore, whatever went wrong must have gone wrong between the diner and the apartment. They would be happy to replace the soup, but only if we were willing to pay for it.
Ummmm, no. I walked straight home from the diner. Didn’t drop the bag, slam it into a wall, etc. So we kinda decided we wouldn’t give them as much business as we had been.
Fast forward a few weeks. I told my 10YO mudgirl we could go out to dinner, the two of us, wherever (close-by) she wanted. She wanted Jackie’s. I ordered my BLT on whole wheat and a bowl of chili. Mudgirl ordered off the kid’s menu: chicken nuggets and fries. That runs $3.50, but a drink is not included. I had also told her, before we ordered, that she could order dessert.
So our dinners come. My BLT was fine, and the chili was good (though for some reason, even though they charge you the same price, if you order a side with your sandwich, they don’t give you the chips they list on the menu). But mudgirl’s dinner was three chicken nuggets, not much bigger around than a quarter, I swear. And a handful of fries. I mentioned something to the waitress about the serving size being tiny. A little while later, I notice Jackie making her rounds in the place. Finally she gets to our table, and the convo went like this:
Jackie: How is everything?
Me: Well, mine is fine. But hers, well, the nuggets are tiny, and there are only three of them. And that’s a very small order of fries.
Jackie: Well, the children’s menu is meant for, like, three-year-olds.
Me: Well, it says ‘10 and under’. . .
Jackie: Well, children 10 and under can order from it. . .but it’s really meant for very young children.
Me: I see. Well, this, combined with the problems that my sister had a couple of weeks ago, makes me wonder about management decisions. . .(PS: this is a very small town. Please be assured that when I said “my sister”, she knew exactly who and what I was talking about).
Jackie: How about some dessert?!?
Mudgirl: what do you have today?
Jackie: Well, our special today is cherry chip cake. It’s a cherry pound cake with chocolate chips.
Mudgirl: I’ll try that!
Jackie: I’ll get it for you!
So I had thought that maybe she meant to give us the cake, to kind of compensate. But no. She didn’t write it on our check. But when we checked out, Jackie herself rang us up. And charged for the cake.
At that point, I decided to boycott the place entirely. It’s not like they’re the only game in town.
But dammit, in two days, it’s going to be Thursday again. And I won’t get the bean and ham soup with corn bread!