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The Avocado Situation

Sunday, 6 December 2009

So PC and I thought that we would take advantage of having the sitter at the house and grab a quiet dinner sans children. And it was a good idea…until

the avocado situation.

PC ordered a tri-tip salad and I selected a turkey club (less the bacon, of course). What I really wanted was a Turkey and Avocado sandwich, but they don’t have that on the menu. I typically order the Turkey Club without the bacon, leaving me with…turkey and avocado.

Some time later, our meals are delivered to the table by one of the kitchen guys. Noticing the absence of the avocado, I mention it to the kitchen guy, who says that he will inform our server.

[Sidenote: why is the server called a server when it’s the kitchen guy (not the chef) who serves the food? Shouldn’t we call her the orderer?]

About 6 minutes later, our server comes to the table.

Server: We have an avocado situation.

[I seriously thought she was making a little joke. She wasn’t.]

Server: We’re out of avocado.

FrumeSarah: You’re out of avocado?

Server: Yes, we’re out. We get our deliveries on Mondays and today is Sunday. But we sent someone out and he should be back within 10 minutes. Unless you want something else…

Want something else? The sandwich is sitting right here in front of me. Isn’t it a little late to be asking me that question?!?

FS: Well, since the sandwich has already been made and you’ve already sent someone out, I’m good with this.

Server: My manager just told me otherwise I would have said something sooner.

And off she went. During which time, PC discovered avocado slices in his salad. Guess we know when they ran out.

TWENTY-FIVE minutes later, the under-ripe avocado slices (pictured above) were brought to the table. No fanfare. And no apology either.

It was an aggravating experience. Not because the restaurant ran out of avocados. These things happen. However, the kitchen should have forseen that they were running low and made certain that the wait staff was aware of the potential problem.

Once things has unraveled into a “situation,” the server should have done a better job of apologizing. And we were really rather shocked that the manager never approached us. Not even once.

So here is a little tip for the manager and her staff for dealing with a “situation”:


  1. Thank — “Thank you for bringing this to my attention.”
  2. Empathize — “I can see why this would be frustrating.”
  3. Apologize — “I am really sorry that this has happened.”
  4. Fix — “What can I do that would make this better?”

(alternately called LEAF)

If the server had employed this technique, it would have taken an annoyance and turned it into a funny experience. Instead, we grew more and more frustrated. If she had simply let us know from the outset (assuming that the kitchen staff alerted the wait staff about the avocado shortage), I would have changed my order. It would have been no big deal, we would have ordered pie to go, and we would have been on our merry way. Come-to-think-of-it, if we had gotten a simple apology, we still would have ordered the dessert. But now, they not only lost the profit on the dessert, but we are in no hurry to run back there.

Customer service, folks, customer service.


The latest Haveil Havalim can be found over at Batya’s place!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday, 7 December 2009 1:08 am

    One time my husband and I were at a restaurant and something was seriously wrong with his main dish. We told the waiter who then plucked it off my husband’s plate with his hand and walked away. Needless to say, that necessitated a call for the manager. Easily the weirdest “server” I’ve ever had!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 7 December 2009 1:24 pm

      Ewwww…that is disgusting!!

      What was the manager’s response??

      • Monday, 7 December 2009 3:50 pm

        Free meal, of course, but still, like someone else said, it’s hard to coordinate a babysitter and all the mishegoss. We couldn’t be sure it’d ever happen again! We wanted THAT meal to be great!

  2. Monday, 7 December 2009 11:43 am

    did they charge you?

    my favorite story about service took place at the cinematheque restaurant in jerusalem:
    we went for dinner, decided to order dessert. the waitress explained that they didn’t have any of the items listed on the menu, but they did have a list of other things, which she detailed for us.

    the next day we were back for another movie (we went there a LOT during our year) and decided to see if they’d gotten the carrot cake in (menu item) – we sat down, asked if they had the menu items today. Same waitress, she said no, and I asked for the dessert list. She said “I told you yesterday!”


    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 7 December 2009 1:27 pm

      Do you think that if they didn’t me that I would have left that out of the story? Of COURSE they charged me!

      Did you guys have the annual pass to Cinematheque?? I totally had one!!! Of course, I lived up one VERY long flight of stairs from there. Next to that big windmill. How could I NOT have one? Saw some amazing films that year.

      Anyway, I just love the waitress’s response. SO Israeli!

  3. Sara permalink
    Monday, 7 December 2009 12:34 pm

    I love this story. I mean, I am sorry for your bad sandwich, but it made for a good story.

    I’m actually surprised. I spent many years waiting tables while in college and the TEAF model was pounded into our head daily. The unavailable items were also pounded into our heads, for that matter. In any event, it sounds like a restaurant that just doesn’t care. Which is really too bad ….

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 7 December 2009 1:28 pm

      Really too bad as it is one that all five of us enjoy 😦

      It really did make for a great story. Which was the only consolation of the entire experience.

  4. Monday, 7 December 2009 2:15 pm

    Wow, that is appallingly bad service. At least you got blog fodder out of it, but a shame that it was at the expense of a decent kid-free (so not to be underestimated) dinner.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 7 December 2009 10:12 pm

      I know!!! It was amazingly bad. We are still in disbelief.

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