When New Experiences Backfire

A very happy Tuesday to you all. I hope your day is going well. Mine is going better since the rain stopped. We had, what I can only describe as a small tsunami last night. But now the sun is shinning and the heat is coming back. As you know, if you read my last post, I promised you all an eventful weekend. I plan on telling you all about it. But first, I would like to focus on one specific occurrence.

Now, I think we can all agree that a majority of this blog is me telling you to try any new experience that presents itself. And in most cases, that advice works out in our favor. But what happens when the new experience isn’t enjoyable and ultimately becomes disappointing? Such an event happened to me on Saturday. Adam and I were down in the Old Market for the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. I wanted to eat somewhere inside because it was so hot. We decided on Pickleman’s because it was right there. Also, I had been wanting to go there for years because I had heard amazing things about it from my friends.

I need to begin by saying that there was a steady stream of people coming in because it was the lunch hour, but we’re talking four or five people in line at a time and when the last person would be up, a few more people would shuffle in. They were not what I would call busy, nor were they overwhelmed. They had enough employees there that several were just walking around, making sure everything was clean, etc. My point is, there was never a sense of urgency present.

It was a hot day, so I opted for a salad rather than a sandwich. I ordered the Avo-Cobb. I was really excited about it because that just sounds incredible. While I was placing my order, I asked the women if I could have it without tomatoes. She’s said sure. After asking me what kind of lettuce I wanted and if I wanted a drink, she asked “And you said no tomatoes, right.” I told her that was correct, and she wrote it down.

When we received our food, I opened the lid of my salad and discovered it had tomatoes. I was a little annoyed because I had repeated it twice, but instead of making a big stink I decide to just pick them off. However, as I was doing just that, I found a long black hair in the middle of my salad. As I pulled on the strand to get it out, one of the hardboiled egg halves flipped over. That’s when I noticed that this hair was coming out of the egg. Like part of it was stuck inside. First of all, how do you manage that with a hardboiled egg? I was completely taken aback by the entirety of the situation.

When I told Adam what was going on, he promptly brought the salad back to the counter and explained that not only had I asked for no tomatoes on my salad, but that there was also a hair on it. To their credit, they immediately began making a new one and credited us the salad back. Here’s where it starts getting dicey. The gentleman who Adam had gone to said “You said no tomatoes, right?” Adam told him that was right. Also, at this point they have the original salad in their physical possession. They can see that it is a full size. That’s why Adam was a little perplexed when they handed him a half size that, again, was covered in tomatoes. He informed them of the error and repeated, for the collective fifth time, that I did not want tomatoes.

By this time, I’ve been sitting at the table wondering what’s going on for a while now. I could see that they were at the register with Adam, but couldn’t hear what they were saying. Adam looked back and, seeing my confusion, said “They’re working on it, babe. It’ll be just a minute. It’s a whole thing.” I figured he meant that they had put tomatoes on it again, so they were making me another without them (half right).

Side note real quick. I get notoriously impatient and cranky when I’m hungry. Since I hadn’t eaten anything all day, that was beginning to set in. So, I finally got my salad. Adam filled me in on what had happened. The situation had been tense, but it was all remedied now. I could finally relax and enjoy my meal. I flipped the top open, AND……Some of you see where I’m going with this. TOMATOES! All over my friggin’ salad. Again!

I was furious. I began tearing up, I was so mad. I threw the lid back on and, fuming, told Adam that I was so done and wanted to go home immediately. Trying to calm me down, he asked if I wanted to go to Plank instead. This is how mad I was. I said no to seafood! He then asked if I wanted to go eat anywhere else or do any of the activities we had talked about doing. I couldn’t think of anything other than going home. I just kept repeating, “No. I’m done! I’m so done!” He later told me that in that moment, he was the most scared of me that he has ever been. And he’s known me for a lot of years and through a lot of anger.

After a minute, I was able to think a little clearer. I, very angrily, removed the tomatoes, throwing them into my salad lid. Then, as I prepared to pour the ranch dressing they had given me, I noticed that it was the most liquidy ranch I have ever seen in my life. That just set me right back off. I dumped the tomatoes onto our tray, slammed the lid back on the salad, and told Adam we were leaving. Even in my searing hate, I still knew that I could take the salad home, put my own ranch on it, and not have to pay for dinner later.

So to wrap up, here’s what I have to say about Pickleman’s. I said twice that I wanted no tomatoes. The woman even repeated it back to me AND wrote it down. That should’ve never been an issue. The hair is inexcusable. Again, to their credit, they did refund us the value of the salad because of that. As the new salad was being made, Adam said twice that I wanted no tomatoes and, again, had someone repeat it back. Really, really should’ve never been an issue. And the fact that they could not look at the salad that was handed back to them and determine that it was a full size, I mean seriously. Adam alerted them to them to the problem and told them, for a fifth time, that no tomatoes were to be put on the salad. Definitely, 100% should. Not. Have. Been. An. Issue. I’ve learned something from the several restaurants I’ve worked at in my day. If a customer tells you something is wrong, you make damn sure you do it right the second time. If there is a third time, which there should never, ever be, you stop every single other thing you are doing and focus on getting every tiny detail correct. Because if you dont, that’s how you lose business. I might have given them the benefit of the doubt if they were jammed packed or shortstaffed, but neither case was true. Honestly, it was due to just plain sloppy, lazy work. And I absolutely hate saying that. I’m the type of person who tips 15% even when service was horrible because I understand that stuff happens and people have off days. But this was on a whole other plain. I can say with confidence that I will never visit Pickleman’s again.

Now, taking it back to the title, what happens when your new experience is less than satisfactory? Well, obviously you get really angry. Just kidding. Try not to do that. It’s always disappointing when the chances we take don’t pay off, but does that mean we shouldn’t take them? Of course not! Life is all about balance. If everything went our way 100% of the time we would forget how to appreciate the things we were given. So yeah, bad experiences suck. But knowing that there’s a possibility everything could go wrong makes it taste that much sweeter when it goes right. So shrug it off. Move on to the next big thing, because there will always be one. And remember, even if your new experience goes horribly, you still have a story to tell.

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