The Wal-Mart of Restaurants

To reward ourselves for a weekend of hard work (spreading a VW-Beetle-sized pile of mulch around the house and deck), J.P. and I decided to go out for dinner tonight. Never mind that we ate out Friday night and ordered in last night; tonight’s meal was a reward (shut up)! He was having a craving for a restaurant that I don’t really like, but after negotiating a back rub in exchange, I agreed to go.

From the moment we arrived, it was like something out of a bad sit-com. In fact, it wasn’t unlike Roseanne. Everywhere we turned, there was another “interesting” character.

First, there was the girl standing around talking on her cell phone. She wore denim sausage-casing capri pants and green macrame-style high-heel shoes. Hmmm . . . wonder if she was talking “business” on the phone?

Then there was the couple in their fifties who came waddling out, he in a white grease-stained t-shirt and grimy red cap, and she wearing every necklace she owns. What’s up with the multiple necklace thing? I don’t get it.

The table next to us held a family whose children were in their twenties. One of the “kids” could barely put down his cell phone long enough to eat. As soon as he was finished with his mound of food, he picked it up and resumed his video game, completely ignoring the others at the table.

After we were seated, we waited and waited, and eventually our waitress, Kim, showed up. Her uniform shirt strained against the pressure of her pregnant belly, and it looked as if she could go into labor at any minute. We placed our orders, and I requested the half order portion of my entree.

When she returned, I couldn’t believe how much food was on my plate.

Sharkey: Wow, that’s a half order?!
Kim: It looks like a full order. Oh, but look (showing me the computer-generated ticket), I rang it up as a half order. See the H in front of it? You’ll only get charged for a half order.
Sharkey: That’s an unbelievable amount of food.
Kim: You can box up what you don’t eat and have it tomorrow, but we’ll only charge you for a half order.
Sharkey: Okay.
Kim: We’ll only charge you for a half order because that’s how I entered it in the computer, even though you’re getting the full order.
Sharkey: Really, it’s fine.

Ya think maybe somebody’s gotten testy with her over a similar mix-up in the past?

We finished eating, and Kim was nowhere to be found. J.P. joked that maybe she’d be back after she came in from pushing out the kid in the restaurant’s parking lot.

Finally, Nina stopped by to see how we were doing, and we asked her for the check. As she stood there waiting for J.P. to get out his credit card, she said, “I’m just here because Kim thinks she’s going into labor.”

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