Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Rest of the Johnny Rockets Story

Over at, I am posting a sweet story this Friday about eating dinner at Johnny Rockets at Greenwood Park Mall and betting on which child would cry on Santa's lap after waiting an hour to see him. (OK, maybe that's not your idea of fun. Given the right stressors, I define it in sadistic ways, I guess.)

But I left out a big chunk of the story, mainly because I trashed another restaurant earlier this week and didn't want to get a reputation for being a Scrooge. And believe me, it was one of those classic get outta here moments for 2009.

<-- But is it safe to eat?

We were very upfront about why we chose to eat there, and specifically asked for the booth where we could play our game. The hostess was quite perky, telling us all about how her own daughter was one of the screamers. She also passed this information along to our waitress, who started out equally as chipper.

But the more we watched the seasonal entertainment, the more she tried to interrupt our meal with conversation threads that were just weird. For instance, when she brought the patty melt, she asked me to critique it for her. Was it as good as Steak n Shake's? She loves Steak n Shake -- did I like Steak n Shake? She really should have ordered a patty melt for dinner, because she likes it without onions, too, but she kept passing out so she ate chicken.


On the next pass through to make sure we were well stocked on ketchup, she again felt compelled to give us her health report. "Yah, I haven't eaten in like 8 days. Maybe that's why I'm passing out? Why do you think I'm passing out?" I was starting to wonder if I had the Red Cross symbol tattooed on my forehead or something. Believe me, at no time have I ever been mistaken for a medical professional of any kind. Not even a receptionist in the waiting area.

I pulled my eyes away from the Santa scene long enough to suggest she could try drinking water if she'd been drinking soda, as many people don't realize Coke actually dehydrates you. "Oh, I never drink sodas. Well, today I've been drinking Sprite because I threw up and thought that might settle my stomach."


Where do you go with the conversation at that point? Ask her to describe the scene? Suggest foods that can be vomited easily? Invite her to select a child to bet on in the Santa line?

I realize garnering sympathy for your situation is one approach to earning a bigger tip, but she wasn't even accomplishing that. Frankly, I was afraid of her. And if I am suddenly sick for the holidays, you can blame the dumb blonde with the tag saying she's from Whoville.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Disney Finally Apologizes

I just received an online greeting card from Walt Disney Travel Company, bless their little hearts. I'm going to watch the animated Mickey Mouse ears appear on the snowman, who fades to a frosty castle scene at least 84 times to make sure they're really saying happy holidays this time.

You see, last Christmas Eve, we came home from New Albany to find a message from Walt Disney World on our caller i.d. How cute — Mickey wanted to thank me for being part of the team and wish me a happy holiday. Those folks at Disney sure have customer service down to an art form.

<-- You owe me, Mickey.

Except the message wasn’t that lovable squeaky voice. It was Teresa informing me that the Wong family vacation would be canceled by 5 p.m. if I didn’t contact them with final payment. I nearly passed out – this family of five would be on a plane in a handful of days. We’d spent hours selecting the right hotel and getting dinner reservations. I had a receipt for the final payment, so obviously there was a mistake on Disney’s end — but that wouldn’t matter to a hill of mouse droppings if they had, indeed, erased the reservation and opened up the slots to the throng of holiday vacationers qued up for their shot at happy holidays.

My only hope was to be the first caller on the agent line on December 26. Try worrying that over in your mind for 24 hours – no, that wasn’t excitement fueling me on Christmas. I was nervous, jumpy and sick to my stomach (which explains some of the hideous photos Ron managed to take of me. Except the ubiquitous butt shots he likes to snap). And once the world resumed normal operations — yea for me, I was the first caller, unlike my luck with radio contests — it turned out they’d assigned two numbers to the same reservation. My client was fine all along.

But come on, Santa, I still think Mickey needs a time out for that little scare.