First of all, Disney was offering their Dining Plan for FREE during your stay. I was at Pop Century (checked out 9/18/08) and I had no problems. You should always book your table service reservations months in advance. They will even send you an email reminder to do so.
As far as the towels go, you are supposed to take towels from your room to the pool.
As far as customer service, I stayed at Pop Century and we were welcomed home and treated quite well. The Cast Members kept our room clean, offered lots of help, etc. Just like they always do.
We booked next year's trip before we checked out. You should have noticed a flyer in your room advertising the FREE Dining Plan for fall next year, too.