Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We went a new restaurant tonight. The service was good, the food was fine, yet for what possibly may be the first time in my life, I asked to see the manager. Why? Because when I asked the waiter not to bring the dessert tray to the table, he apologized but said he was required to so for every table. He brought the tray out, set spoons on the table (also required, he explained) and described all twelve desserts (required). All while G became more and more agitated because we told him we weren't getting dessert and there was dessert, three inches in front on his face, mocking him.

I understand dessert trays are a successful dessert-selling tactic. But I was also was under the impression that this restaurant was one of those healthy lifestyle establishments, touting its fresh, seasonal vegetables, no frying and asserting that nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories. It was why we decided to try it out. So why push the sugar, restaurant of moderate eating?

I explained to the manager that I could never come back because of their dessert tray policy. It's just too unpleasant a way to end dinner with a 6 year old. He explained that their policy is not to bring a tray to anyone who refuses. I wondered if perhaps I didn't object strenuously enough. I said to the waiter, "I rather you didn't." Maybe that was too soft? Chris said "no means no" and that should have been enough. I agree. The waiter knew we didn't want it, but felt like his job was on the line if he didn't. I didn't want to stress out the waiter, so instead I enraged G.

The problem wasn't with the waiter, but with the restaurant's policy.

After I shared my complaint to the manager, he reached into his jacket and I thought he was pulling out one of those free appetizer cards or something like that. No. He gave me his business card and told me to ask for him the next time we came. For what purpose? Hey remember me? I'm that bitchy buzzkill mom who complained about the dessert trays. Good to see you too!

As we left I turned to Chris and said, "Damn, this sure ain't Applebees."

We don't get to Applebees very often, but once, years ago, we were at one when a waiter accidentally spilled part of a meal on a customer. She was furious. The manager came over and gave her all kinds of free food cards, but nothing calmed her. She screamed, I DIDN'T COME ALL THE WAY FROM JERSEY TO GET AU JUS DOWN MY BUTT CRACK!

I don't know what she came all the way from New Jersey to Virginia for, but I definitely believed her when she said it wasn't for au jus in her butt crack. That incident was at least ten years ago, and still to this day every time Chris and I drive by an Applebees one of us affirms that we didn't drive all the way from Reston to get au jus down our butt cracks.

I think those days are past.



  1. What a story. We call it up-selling here.
    No wonder you were angry. As you say, no means no.

  2. Good on you, Reb. I would have done the same thing. Manager is an asshole that trickle down type of job. He should have comped your meal or at least groveled a little bit. I happen to be a person likes au jus down my butt crack (have an ongoing argument over whether au jus is animal blood or something that comes dry in a package with my idiot co-worker who always says set in place of sit and even though I pointed it out to her and also pointed it out in a letter she was writing she doesn't believe me) but that's just me. I forgot where I was going. I have never been to an Applebees. I have a fever. I love you. I wish I could come to your party.

  3. Au Jus Down My Butt Crack is surely a poem title.

  4. There's got to be a David Letterman Top 10 list in this somewhere. E.g., "Top 10 Reasons to Come All the Way from Jersey."

    Possibilities, I think.