Last week I sent some stuffed peppers back. They were cold. When I informed the waiter he said “What do you want me to do about it?” but with a “What are YOU going to do about it?” tone. I replied “Can you get me some HOT stuffed peppers?” He walked away. It was Cinco de Mayo and I was in the only Mexican place we knew of. I won’t say the name of the place and the fact that I won’t, annoys me. I want to be able to say this place sucked. Do not go there. But I want them to like me.
I had ordered an appetizer sampler and, in all fairness, I should have sent the whole platter back with the simple complaint “it tastes like shit” but I was in denial that the place sucked. Maybe if they got the stuffed peppers right, it would make up for the rest.
My waiter came back with a side dish, reached over and pushed the two cold stuffed peppers off my plate onto the side plate. He didn’t explain what his plan was, but it was clear, the peppers I had, the cold stuffed peppers that had already been served incorrectly were going back to the kitchen to see how they could be “fixed”.
I thought the best solution would be to bring me two FRESH hot stuffed peppers. But I kept my opinion to myself. It was one of those things that I had to talk to myself about. This Cinco de Mayo Fiesta has shitty food at it; move on, I had to reconstruct my belief system. Instead of sitting there thinking how I SHOULD have called the waiter over then picked up one of the cold peppers with my bare hands and crushed it between my fingers saying “It should be too hot for me to do THIS!” The moment for being dramatic was gone. I missed my moment.
I remember the first time I saw my mother send something back. I was so embarrassed. My mother said “Hey, I’m entitled to ENJOY the meal I am buying from them” I had never really thought of it that way before. I liked it. I thought “Yeah! Me too!”
It took me a few tries to feel confident when I sent something back. Now, years of experience sending shit back later, I feel majestic when I have a valid complaint. It’s like being an investigative journalist and stumbling across a great story. You’re just out for a quick Mexican appetizer sampler and boom you walk into a subpar restaurant that is trying to sell you food that isn’t fit for the market.
Only in this story, I didn’t teach them how to make good hot peppers and then we all became friends and their business took off and every year they sent me goofy pepper gifts like a Pamela Anderson pepper doll; a hot pepper vinyl purse; some footie pajamas that make me look like a pepper. Nope.
In this story the waiter comes back and clears the table. He doesn’t mention the plate looks exactly the way he brought it to us. No comment. No “Hey, was everything ok with the melted orange cheese with the coagulated somethings? What about the nachos with the weird pinkish grey beans? Wait, you never ate the hot peppers, let’s talk about it.”
I still gave a 20 percent tip.
The shots of tequila were enormous.
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.