Monday, October 24, 2005

Abandonment issues

First of all, a bizarre trend at the Cheesecake Factory. This didn't actually happen to me the last time I went to Cheesecake Factory, but going there on Saturday (and watching it happen to someone else) reminded me. The deal is this: they have a marked tendency to switch horses mid-race, figuratively speaking (maybe literally too, but I'm not familiar with that aspect of their business). You get your waiter/waitress/serve-bot at the beginning of the meal, and you pretty much assume that he/she/Tobor will be around until it's time to pay the bill. It's not like you devote a lot of thought (if any) to that assumption, but it's up there in your head somewhere, probably in the same general area as the knowledge that eventually you're going to need an oil change.

But then halfway through the meal, or while you're looking at the dessert menu, or right before they fill your water glasses for the second time, the original guy/girl/cyborg approaches your table with another dude/chick/artificially-sentient-being at their side, and they tell you that for the remainder of your meal, you're going to be served by the Replacement instead. It's always done in this super-genial way that's designed to make you think this is all perfectly normal. "Steve here's going to be taking care of you for the rest of your dinner" is usually more or less how it sounds. And no, it's not as bad as something like "This is Bob and he's your new daddy," but still, it's a little on the strange side. Or, it's a little on the strange side the first time it happens; when it happens three, four, five, or twenty-seven times, it starts to make you wonder. I'm not taking it personally or anything, since like I said, I just saw it happen to someone else last time I was there, but I wonder if the Cheesecake Factory brass should start looking into hiring servers/waitstaff/self-aware-meal-carts that are a little less on the commitment-phobic side.

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