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Posts Tagged ‘bad service’

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We had our carpets cleaned yesterday so I was holed up in my kitchen with the cat. I’ve been avoiding having them done because it means pulling everything up off the floor, moving the small furniture, and hanging around for a day watching the carpet dry. Being somewhat of an “A” personality hanging around waiting is not a the top of my list of fun activities as you might imagine.

The bill was just under $200 for the three bedrooms, hall and stairway. All in all around three hours work. While writing the check, we were talking about how expensive it is to live these days. Believe it or not there was a time where you could buy a loaf of bread for less than the sticker price of a Lexus. To really date myself I can remember getting a loaf of bread for around thirty-eight cents. I know!

People seem to be hunting out bargains, flooding on-line sales, cutting corners, and looking for ways to stretch what money they have. I stood in line at CVS yesterday behind a woman with a bulging three-ring binder taking up most of what I call “the baby seat” portion of her shopping cart. Reaching the front of the line she began madly flipping back and forth between pages in the massive volume pulling out coupons from here and coupons from there. Mission complete, she handed the man at the cash register a pile of coupons equal to the size of a small phone book. Why is it I always end up in the line behind someone like this? It’s a gift really. I don’t begrudge anyone their fair time with the checker, but really? There can be ten lines open and I will end up in the only one with the customer waiting for a recently hired bagger to locate an item somewhere in an unfamiliar store. Last week I stood behind a man with broken eggs. The bagger dispatched to replace the eggs came back with the wrong carton and so had to go back to retrieve another. The week before the machine ran out of tape just as they were going to print my receipt. If there’s a customer who either has a complaint or simply enjoys the sound of their own voice, I seem to seek them out and step obediently in line behind them.

As expensive as grocery shopping has gotten I certainly applaud people straining to squeeze their money’s worth out of their purchases. While in one of the major grocery stores recently I got in line in the only lane with a light on. People quickly began to line up behind me and the usual muttering began about the lack of available cashiers. I try to avoid this store for this very reason. However, their store brand bottled water happens to be Rick’s favorite so I sacrifice myself for the cause whenever he runs out. As I moved into the number two slot and placed all my groceries on the conveyor belt two lanes opened up on either side. Sigh. Waiting patiently the woman ahead of me began to complain to the cashier. From the gist of the conversation, a number of her store coupons didn’t match up with the in-store price on the items in question. Fine. I finished the afghan I began knitting when I first got in line and moved on to a sweater for my Mother for Christmas. Just kidding, but it wasn’t far from the truth. After the slip was reviewed and corrected, the lady then had a return. Naturally. Also, it appeared the store had moved things around during their recent renovation and she couldn’t locate the aisle with the denture cream for her husband. The bagger was dispatched, and I completed the sweater for my mother and went on to a hat for Rick which was finished by the time she returned. Now there were four people behind me. The rather bored looking store manager watched the goings on from behind the customer service desk. Finally, my eyes boring through his head, he sauntered over and removed all my items already on the belt to a check out area two aisles down and checked me out himself. They need to consider renaming the customer service department something more appropriate, say….. the “We Really Don’t Care, We’re Getting Paid Whether You Are Happy or Not Department”. As I was leaving the manager offered me a free coupon for a cup of coffee at the Starbuck’s on the way out. Coffee in hand I noticed the woman was still at the check stand mouth moving as I left the store.

This is the same store where on my last visit the lady in the deli department gave me trouble with my lunch meat. Lunch meat need not be a difficult order. Rick likes his lunch meat cut thin for sandwiches. I asked the rather put out looking lady behind the counter if I could please have a half a pound of peppered turkey sliced thin. Reaching under the counter to the pile of turkey already sliced, I stopped her saying that the precut meat was too thick and she would have to cut it fresh. From the look on her face one might have deduced I’d ask the woman to go out in the back, chase down a nice bird, wring the poor thing’s neck, cook it and slice it in thin slices. Next I was told it would shred. I suggested we dial one up from shred and give that a try. Leaving it on shred she held up a piece of mangled meat nodding her head as if to say I told you so. I said, once again, “One up from that should work”. Seriously?  Now I’ve gone from being in a delightful mood to somewhat less sunny over a piece of processed fowl. She repeated it would probably still shred to which I responded, “go ahead, I feel lucky”. Good Lord. Give me the slicer and I’ll do it my damn self.

I try to be nice. I really do. If I want me turkey sliced thin at $8.99 a pound, PLEASE CUT IT THIN!!!!!! Sorry.

This is the perfect comfort food to soothe my ruffled feathers. I had a lb. of ground lamb, a lb. of ground beef, and some leftover mashed potatoes. Hmmmmm. Why not? I found I really liked the mix of the lamb and beef. As a note I usually precook my carrots slightly in the microwave to ensure they are cooked through.

Lamb-Beef Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed Red Potatoes

4 red potatoes, skin on, large cubed
2-3 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped chives
1 Tbsp. butter cut in pieces
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and continue on low boil until potatoes are cooked. Mash with potato masher. Add butter 1 Tbsp. at a time. Using hand mixer whip on high speed until potatoes are fine. Add sour cream, milk and seasonings. Whip until smooth. Stir in chives Set aside.

Meat Mixture

1 carrot, chopped fine
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced.
1 lb. ground lamb
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/4 cup beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground oregano
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/4 tsp. ground rosemary
1/8 tsp. mint leaves

Preheat oven to 375

Place carrot in microwave for 2 mins. on high.

Add carrot, pepper, onion, garlic lamb, beef, salt and pepper to large skillet. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Return to pan. Add flour. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 min. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and continue on simmer for 10 mins. stirring occasionally.

Spray 2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Spread meat mixture on bottom of casserole. “Ice” with mashed potatoes sealing all edges. Place butter pieces around top of potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 50 mins. Cool for 5 mins. before serving.

Serves 4-6

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final

Rick suggested we go out for Valentine’s Day. What a nice idea. Unfortunately, we were a bit late in thinking of it so available reservations were all well on into the evening. Deciding instead to wait until the day after and avoid the crush, we chose a restaurant we’d eaten at before downtown. Rather, I chose it. Where we live is not exactly a restaurant mecca. Though quite an assortment to choose from, definitely it’s a question of quantity rather than quality. It’s not that they’re bad, mind you, rather not memorably good either. Sorry.

I chose a restaurant we’d eaten in before. My experience had been great the first time we’d been there with friends, with Rick’s sort of a disaster. Ordering a rack of lamb, he’d gotten two chops, standing one against the other like a teepee, for $35. There wasn’t enough meat, according to him, to keep a hamster’s bones from protruding. I asked if he’d give the restaurant a second look remembering my well cooked filet. He agreed. When we arrived, we fell in line behind three other parties. After a while we asked the person in front of us what the hold up was. It appeared we were waiting for the hostess to arrive. Ah. We stood. We stood some more. Then, yes, wait for it, we stood some more. Finally, the bartender came out from behind the bar. Apologizing, she said she would retrieve the hostess who was in the kitchen on her break. As I’ve mentioned numerous times I’m sure, we owned a restaurant. A hostess is certainly entitled to a break but this doesn’t mean leaving customers to forage for themselves while you take one.

After some shuffling it was our turn. Seated in a small table next to a far wall bread, at least, showed up quickly. I hoped this would keep Rick’s mind off our slow start. The menu included their standard fare plus a Valentine’s Day insert. Finding scallops on the insert, I signed up for them starting off with a salad with blue cheese dressing. A holiday after all, I intended to throw caution to the wind. Both my salad and Rick’s cream of mushroom soup arrived in short order. Rick reported the soup was hot and flavorful while my delicious salad disappeared quickly. Yea.

Our entrees arrived. Served with hot pads, the waitress warned us of very hot plates. Arranged nicely on my plate, were ten plump scallops encircling a mound of garlic mashed potatoes topped with crunchy slaw. Titled “fire and ice scallops” one side was served in a spicy red sauce, while the other side was presented in a more delicate creamy white sauce. Looked good. Rick had ordered Cajun prawns served with a side of fettucine and seasonal veggies. We were on our way to a good time. “Not so fast”, you say. Oh, that would be me saying that. Turns out the plates were hot as indicated, but the food sitting on them was cold. Actually Rick’s veggies felt like they’d just been taken out of the bin.

Turning to my scallops, I cut one in half. Oh-oh. Shiny through and through. Nothing is tougher than an overcooked scallop, unless perhaps an overcooked shrimp, but raw seafood can make you sick. I had a feeling this wasn’t going to end well. The waitress was called to the table and both dishes returned to the kitchen. The couple next to us sent one of their meals back at the same time. More bread please. Truthfully you can’t do much to ruin bread, though I’ve seen it done on occasion.

The hot plates returned after a bit. I was on my second cup of coffee. If I continued I would be found swinging from the ceiling fan before dessert. My scallops were cooked perfectly for their encore performance. Rick’s fettucine, however, had been sauteed to heat it up leaving it enough tensile strength to safely wrap a bundle of steel. Amazingly, his vegetables were now stone cold. The prawns were hot and delicious he said. He almost enjoyed a bite before the plate once again was returned to the kitchen. Urged to eat before mine got cold, I reluctantly forged ahead without him.

On the third try the prawns were hot, and the fettucine recooked. The frigid vegetables had gone missing. Rick cautioned the waitress not to touch the plate. He was over the vegetables. Third try being the charm, his dinner was a success. Working on the last of my third cup of coffee I was talking at such a rate one would have thought I’d downed one of those energy packs from 7-11. I did that once. Already being a rather high energy being, I nearly wound myself up and bored through the ground to Asia. Never again.

Commenting on the preponderance of words flowing off my tongue, brought up a discussion of the two couples seated at the tables next to us. One couple, I’d say in their late forties, sat down, exchanged several words about the menu and never opened their mouths again for anything other than placing food in them. At different intervals each of them looked at the ceiling, the door, their shoes, the people around them, and the floor. Rarely did they exchange a glance. Wedding rings were evident on both hands so one would assume them to be a married couple. Apparently they’d already exhausted what they had to say to one another or perhaps had a fight before coming into the restaurant. The other couple, far older, didn’t make any pretense of having any interest in the other party simply ignoring one another through the entire meal.

Let me say, I would hate that. You might have noticed, if you read often, I am not one to be at a loss for words. A partner who didn’t communicate with me would leave me yawning I’m afraid. In spite of the fact we share a lot of time together, Rick and I always seem to be able to find subjects to discuss. Coming from opposite sides of the world and often opposite sides of a topic, leaves us open to lots of debates about what’s going on in the world, family, or whatever else is on our minds on any given day. I’m glad for that.

Hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with good times.

This salad is so light and delicious. Aside from peeling the lemons and oranges, it’s a no brainer to throw together.

Sicilian Lemon and Blood Orange Salad

4 blood oranges peeled and sliced in 1/2″ slices
3 ripe lemon, peeled and sliced in 1/2″ slices
1 small red onion, sliced thin
6 fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. EV olive oil

Arrange orange slice on a plate in a circle. Arrange lemon slices on top of orange slices. Top with red onion. Sprinkle with mint leaves and grind pepper as desired. Drizzle EV olive oil over top. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 2 hrs. prior to serving.

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