Monday, February 23, 2009

Live From Grand Rapids, Michigan...It's Monday Night!

I'm here in this cute little town, trying to prepare myself for a whirlwind day tomorrow. Have you ever been to Grand Rapids? It's a cute little town. Lots of brick roads and charming buildings. I'm not going to see much of it as I'm freaking out about preparing for tomorrow. It's not that I don't know my stuff, it's just that I haven't overprepared, which is a habit I have from my last job.

It's also not that I overprepare...I just overangst about preparing. I've really got to stop this and trust my expertise. Also, I need to trust my ability to dazzle them with bullshit when brilliance fails me (which it won't). Sigh.

I drove 6 hours to get here, which was a snap. I listened to most of a delightful little book called Quite Honestly. I saw some deer and snow and Cabella's super store. I made good time and I didn't have to stop once. Yes, I have an iron bladder. Once I got here, I stashed my gear, such as it is, and headed out to BD's Mongolian BBQ. I really enjoy preparing my own meal there, as I'm certain to get what I want. I usually enjoy myself there. But not today.

In their defense, it was early for dinner (4:30 p.m.) and the place was rather empty. I got the full-on Friday's Customer Service treatment as soon as I hit the table. You know, had I ever been there before, how was my day...woo, woo, woo. Also, bad 80's music was blaring and no one was there but me and 4 other tables, so the fun vibe seemed forced. The waitress practically fell over herself to make my experience "fun" but failed to check in with me regularly. She had plenty of time to make conversation with me about the Oscars, but when my glass was empty and my mouth was on fire from the chili/garlic dish with red peppers and fresh ground pepper, she was no where to be seen.

I finished my meal and I was ready to get out of there already when she finally brought me my check. On top of the check was a little electronic gadget that brought to mind early 80's handheld video game technology not seen since the disappearance of Merlin and 2XL. At first I thought it was the check. But Perky McGidget explained that it was a brief satisfaction survey. Oh boy.

I agreed to take the thing and realized after reading a few of the questions that all the "fun" was the result of a home-office mandate. Was my experience fun and invigorating? Did the staff interact with me in a fun way? Did they interact with me in a fun way at the buffet? They were trying to measure "Fun." Not once did they ask me if the service was good. This is called missing the mark, people. Of course, I could only give the highest ratings, lest some douche from corporate come down and give the staff a remedial training on emitting fun onto the guests.

The evaluation video game thingy was really cool, but I don't really think that the information they were collecting is going to help them all that much. How do you quantify fun? And by quantifying it, don't you kind of in a way kill it? I mean, it's like being asked, "Are we having fun yet?" which is another thing I hate from the 80's including every single song played on the 80's fun hit list at BD's this very night. Maybe "Are they having fun yet?" is the inside corporate slogan behind this campaign to make sure we are all having a good time while eating food we prepared ourselves in a place that I mistakenly thought would be above that kind of thing.

If you would have given me the opportunity to comment, BD's, I would have told you to relax. Play some exotic music. Tell the grill boys to chill out. And reduce the metaphorical pieces of Flair hanging all over your wait staff before someone gets hurt.


  1. Enjoy your trip, and I really want to hurt the person who came up with "flair"!

  2. I have passed through GR on my way to Chicago a million times, but never actually stopped there. Enjoy the rest of your stay in our fair state!

  3. I've also been to Grand Rapids in February, but I just picked up a Subway sandwich.

  4. I'm preparing for my blood test tomorrow. And NOW WE KNOW why *I* woudln't have made it 60 miles w/o needing to stop and pee...