For those people who might be new, or fairly new, to read this here websity bloggy blogger site of mine, there are a couple of things you should know about me... well, there are a dozen things I could tell you about me, but most are uninteresting... however, for the purposes of this little jag, know this--I don't like spicy foods. I don't like fried chicken white meat, but I do love dark meat chicken. And bad customer service annoys me.
On Monday, The Lovely Steph Leann left town for a couple of days to do work in the A-T-L, leaving me to my own devices, not only for entertainment but also for food. And on Monday evening, I had a hankerin' for some fried chicken.
There are three main chicken establishments within a reasonable distance from The Cabana, that being Bojangles, KFC and Popeye's Chicken n'Biscuits. Bojangles is a little far to drive, and the two times Ive been there, I haven't been wildly impressed. There are two KFCs that I know of, one on Green Springs, which is on the edge of ghettoville, and the other near enough, but its attached to a BP station. Of my few rules of things that you do and don't do, one of them is "Never eat at a fast food franchise when attached to a gas station."
Sometimes, you can find some great food at a local gas station, because many times its cooked there, and kept hot and fresh. They have names like "Mama Nell's Diner" stuck on a Chevron, or "Billy Jack's Pizzaria" sharing a hallway with a Shell. But when its a McDonalds on a Marathon Station, or a Subway on a Amoco, or a KFC on a BP Station, the answer is no.
The other chicken choice is Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits, though in some places its called Popeye's Louisiana Grill, which I've noted before is a bit presumptuous. Anyway, its the closest, and normally its a good meal. I go in, order, sit and eat my chicken, listen to whatever on my iPod, refill my Co-Cola and then leave.
On this Monday, a few days ago, I went in. I noticed that they had a $3.49 special that included three, count 'em three, pieces of dark meat--a wing, a drumstick and a thigh--on a plate, along with one of them delicious biscuits. Drink was extra, but overall, I got the meal for about $5.50.
"...you okay with a breast piece? We outta thighs," she said, uninterested.
(cue record screeching sound, like the needle just slid off the vinyl LP)
"I said we outta thighs."
Now, to her credit, Sabrisha offered me a piece of fried chicken that most would consider equal or higher value, but the problem is, I don't like white meat on fried chicken. I find the breast piece to be a little too dry for me, so I was sorely disappointed when the thighs were gone.
"Can I get another drumstick instead?" I asked with a sigh. Sabrisha didn't bat an over-sized eyelashed eye, she just tossed the piece on there and handed me the tray. It was good. Should have been a little more food, but I dealt.
So, Tuesday evening rolls around, and I'm thinking about going to the movies. The Lovely Steph Leann won't be back until tomorrow night, so again, I'm seeking some entertainment. Of course, I dilly dally around and by the time I get up to go to the theater, for a 5:10 show, its already 430. I'm kinda hungry, so I'm thinking I'll just pick up something on the way really quickly, then get some popcorn at the picture show.
What's on the way? You got it. Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits.
The Lovely Steph Leann has this thing where, if she has a certain type of food or a certain restaurant one day, she's good for a few days. She doesn't want to replicate for at least four or five days. Me? If I like it, I'll dig in several days in a row.
As I pull into the parking lot, my dear, beautiful, wonderful friend Melanie rings me on my celly, and I end up sitting in the parking lot talking for about fifteen minutes. The time is now 4:50, and I'm not making a 5:10 movie, not when I haven't even eaten, and not through traffic. Tis okay, I can save the money--at least I'll get the fried chicken, and hopefully they will have thighs!
Nicole is this blonde chick behind the counter, and let me tell ya, she loves her job. I mean, she loves being there, and you can tell she is so jazzed that she's having to work now. Sarcasm is free.
I again order the $3.49 combo, and can see across the counter into the chicken bin where there are piles and piles of chicken thighs.
"Mild or spicy?" she asks me. I tell her "mild" immediately. She punches it up, tells me my total, I pay Nicole, and step to the left. LaKwanzah puts my chicken in the basket, tosses it on a tray and hands it to me. As I step away, I notice the piece of breast meat sitting in the basket. I turn back and simply say, "LaKwanzah... I'm guessing you are out of... wings?"
"Would you mind, can I get another thigh piece instead of a breast piece?"
Rule of thumb... when a restaurant, fast food or otherwise, has its food leave the counter and goes into the customers hands, if said food is forced to return back across that counter, then said food is disposed of. This is actually going through my head as I watch LaKwanzah grab the tongs, pick up the breast piece and toss it back in the chicken pile. She then tosses a thigh into the basket.
Smiling to myself at the ridiculousness of LaKwanzah's chicken toss and Nicole's apathetic ethic, I get my sweet tea and sit in the corner. I chomp down a huge bite of my thigh piece she just gave me, and immediately, my mouth burns. I just open my jaw and a half chewed chunk of dark meat falls out on the tray. A few gulps of the sweet tea, and I take my tray back to the counter.
Nicole sees me, and her face says, "What now?"
"Excuse me," I smile, "I hate to be high maintenance, but the piece that you gave me--its all kinds of spicy. Can I get a mild piece?"
LaKwanzah looks at me, confused. "You wanted a mild piece?"
"What did you order?"
Uh, common sense would tell you that if I bring back a piece to you that was spicy, and am requesting a mild, then I probably ordered mild. Just sayin'.
"I ordered mild."
"Well, cause all them pieces is spicy."
"Well," I say, having a harder time holding in my impatience now, "I ordered mild. I can't do spicy." I look over at Nicole, who just shrugs.
I got my chicken right, finally, and though it was good, and hot out of the oven, just something about the whole experience just hindered the taste of the meal.
What happened to pleasant service? The customer is always right? Working in a retail food establishment, I can tell you, the customer is NOT always right, and in fact, many times the customer is a putz. But, that doesn't mean that you, as the representative of the business you work in, the face of the company you are employed by, can just... well, not care.
And yes, I just spent an hour typing (and you spent fifteen minutes reading) about my chicken dinner. Why use 500 words when 2,000 will do?
And though I can't be sure, out of the three pieces I brought back to the counter, covered in spicy spice, one half-chewed, I think two of them went back into the chicken bin for later sale.
Ah, Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits.