Last night I did my PT exercises for a couple of hours before heading to bed. After deciding that some of the exercises are getting easy enough to maintain a strong core now, I kicked up the intensity a bit (it’s ok, my PT said I could). I’m working my way up to the tougher exercises…and starting to feel some ab muscles coming in .
This morning I did 15 minutes on the elliptical, starting at a level 6 and working may way up to an 8 and back down. I used the one next to the mirror so I could constantly check my form, making sure to keep my back straight. My knee felt good while I was on the elliptical but it ached for a half hour or so once I finished up. I couldn’t get on the bike to do the last 15 minutes of my workout since someone else was already on it, but I figured that a good bike commute would make up for that. So I did 7 miles of round trip biking – pain free again! – to wrap up my workout for the day.
I’d Rather Eat at Denny’s
As a whole, I would have to say that my experience living in DC has been an incredible one. There’s a killer food scene here (and if you disagree, you aren’t eating at the right places), it’s a wonderfully active city full of runners and bikers, and once you get to know the personality of each little neighborhood and REAL DC (not Washington, but DC), you come to realize it’s an awesome place to live. Unfortunately, I had an experience on Sunday that made me realize that no matter where I live, there are always going to be a handful of places that will leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Let me back up. At the end of last October, I had just wrapped up my most recent committee meeting and had gotten my committee to agree on my last set of experiments. I was incredibly frustrated that once again I was being asked to redo an entire portion of my dissertation, but realized it would make my entire project stronger so I agreed with the decision. But I was still needing a light at the end of the tunnel to look towards. So when I saw a LivingSocial email come in with a deal for a champagne brunch buffet for two at 14K Restaurant at half price, I jumped at the thought of celebrating finally finishing experiments with several (and I fully intended to have SEVERAL) glasses of champagne. After all, I knew I would be going 7 months straight without a day off of work (except for the day I ran the Philly marathon) and I couldn’t wait to spend my first weekend out of the lab relaxing and enjoying a lazy morning. An extra bonus? 14K is locating in the Hamilton Crowne Plaza, where all of our guests stayed for our wedding, so it made me happy to think about going back there.
So I bought the deal and waited until the end looked like it was near.
I worked through Sandy, I worked through Thanksgiving, I worked through Christmas and New Years. And when I realized at the end of November/early December I would be close to finishing sometime around New Years, I went online to try to start making a reservation at 14K. But nothing was available. So once each week, I would look online to try to make a reservation and could never find something that worked.
I then got sucked up in a series of failed experiments that had me working 12+ hour days for almost 2 weeks straight at the end of December/beginning of January, only to realize that my experiments had tanked and I needed to redo them. So I gave up on trying to find a time to celebrate being finished with experiments because I then knew that the end of March was the earliest I could finish, and instead just tried to find ANY reservation at 14K…but there weren’t any!
After a week of logging on to Open Table every day, I got frustrated and tweeted asking about potential tables being held back for hotel guests. I was told they were holding tables and walk ins were welcome, but they recommended going early. Unfortunately I work until noon at the earliest every day and couldn’t get in until 12:30. But on Sunday I figured I would try this new approach since an online reservation clearly wasn’t going to happen.
I showed up to find an hour and a half wait…and brunch ends at 2 pm. That CLEARLY wasn’t going to happen. So Matt and I tried to figure out when we could get in or what we could do. The manager told Matt that they had sold 4,000 deals and as of that point, only about 30% had been used, so they were now swamped with LivingSocial deals coming in. He essentially implied that they didn’t have the availability to accommodate all of the deals they sold. Another employee admitted to me that they had oversold on what they could actually offer. They had no solution other than to come back after the February 28 expiration date to use the value paid for the deal ($24 instead of the $48) towards the brunch buffet.
At this point, I was getting a little pissed. I had been trying to make a reservation since December and was being told that I was going to lose the value of the deal because they had oversold the number of LivingSocial deals they could handle. I’ve been to several places that have run into problems trying to accommodate patrons with these kind of deals – movie theaters that end up extending the value of the deal, yoga studios that extend the length of time the package is good for after a class gets canceled, etc. – but I had never seen a vendor just completely fail to take ownership of their mistake and try to place blame on the patron.
So I asked to speak to the manager.
Over fifteen minutes later, he finally shows up to talk to me. In the meantime, I had lost complete track of the number of people that had come in trying to use the exact same deal only to be told that there are no reservations available through the month…and it’s still over two weeks away from the expiration date. It isn’t like that was a last minute rush, which typically happens!
The manager tried to assure me that 14K had not oversold the number of deals they could handle, which was clearly a lie given the amount of time I had spent trying to get in. He told me I should not have waited until the end of the deal to come in, which, again, I had repeatedly told him I’d spent over two months trying to make a reservation. He said they would not extend the offer and that it was the fault of the patron for not coming in any earlier. He told me I should arrive when the restaurant opened if I wanted to use the deal. Even after explaining that that wasn’t possible, he basically acted like he didn’t care about any of the people that weren’t going to be able to come in. I have never come away from an interaction with another human being feeling like he or she could have cared any less for the people around him or her. And having dropped a lot of money at the business in the past year, and knowing that a lot of my family and friends had also dined at 14K, I was furious that a restaurant that treats people so poorly could exist in DC…the place I have come to consider home. The place where fantastic restaurants and people are all over the place.
I left feeling embarrassed that I had let my guests be in the one place that has truly produced THE WORST service I have found in this city. And I was angry I had again spent money for a service at such an establishment.
Later when we got home, Matt was working on his computer (or so I thought) when he read me something that made me feel a lot better. He’d found a gem of a review on Yelp that actually made me really glad I wasn’t going to be able to eat at 14K:
Well, if it isn’t much better than Denny’s, I’d rather go there and save my money. While I’m not sure I’ll be able to get a refund from LivingSocial, their policy only covers the first 7 days, I will at least try. I’d hate to think of any more of my money going somewhere with such horrible customer service.
If you can’t accommodate the patrons you have tried to bring in with an online deal, you definitely aren’t winning them over as future patrons when you treat them like shit.
Your Turn: Have you ever been embarrassed about the quality of service in a vendor you have used? Have you ever purchased an online deal you later regretted buying? How would you handle the situation? And most importantly, have any suggestions on how to get my money back???