Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The power of the pen

Last night James and I went out for dessert at a restaurant my magazine recently reviewed. It's a white tablecloth establishment, but we just wanted to try the baked Alaska, something I've never had before. 

It was a slow night, so the front of the house manager served us personally. I had to tell him twice that we just wanted dessert. Then I had to turn down dessert wine, coffee and tea. He made a couple comments about how little we were ordering. I can imagine there was at one point a younger, more insecure Leslie who would have succumbed to such pressure, but at this present juncture I'm pretty imperturbable to the hard sell: "We. Just. Want. Dessert."

We ate our baked Alaska and asked for the check. "Oh leaving so soon...."

He finished with something like, "Next time you can spend more time in our restaurant and we will give you a big warm welcome."


It was annoying enough I considered pulling aside the gray-haired white guy who was chatting up another table like he owned the place, but it was getting late. I figured the next day I'd just post something snarky on our blog about it, that would be nice and cathartic.

Instead, this morning I fired off a two paragraph email to the restaurant describing what happened. "My boyfriend and I are young professionals and XXXXX is an expensive restaurant, so it was such a disappointment to have our experience clouded by inhospitable service." I ended it by mentioning that I was a magazine editor and had considered writing about the experience on our blog, but since the restaurant is still in soft open, I figured it might be a teaching moment.

Before lunch I'd received two apologetic emails ("I'm disappointed too!" "We're going to discuss it at the staff meeting tonight!"), one from the public relations dude, one from an operations manager. Both of them promised me (and James) a free meal. Swish!. Hello lobster bisque and rack of lamb...

Now I'm feeling a little drunk with power. Because of the territory I cover for the magazine, I get the least amount of swag in the office. And now I have next week's date night sorted. Cheers to that.

Next order of business is parlaying my title to get J. Crew to send me a free cashmere gloves. My mom bought me a mustard-colored pair for Christmas and one had a hole in it not two weeks after I returned to Shanghai. They keep trying to say I need to send the original pair back to the States to get the new ones, and I keep trying to say - HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE POST OFFICE IN CHINA?! 

I venture into that den of elbowing grandmas and interminable lines as little as possible. 

1 comment:

Master said...

got mugged outside the casino as tickets were GET THIS $50 each, and seats were lousy to boot. I sent a polite but disappointed email to "The View" and never heard a word back. The power of the pen only works on people that don't already make a million dollars.