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resolved to the customer's satisfaction
TGI Friday's Long Beach Towne CenterCalled Police on Us Over a Bad Margarita


My wife, my 15 year daughter and I went to TGi Friday's at the Long Beach Town Center on Friday for some early dinner. The place was packed, but we were able to find a table in the bar area. My daughter ordered a Shirley Temple and my wife and I a $5.00 special Margarita each. We also ordered some something to eat.

The food was not half bad, but the Margaritas were terrible. Our waitress just dumped them on the table and took off. Besides the fact that they put so much ice and so little Tequila to make them undrinkable, the bartender apparently spilled bar syrup all over the outside so that when we picked the glass our fingers got all sticky. It then took us nearly 10 minutes to flag another server down in order to have him/her replace the drinks.

When finally our waitress came around and we explained the situation, she declared that she could only replace one (mine) but not my wife's because it had been drunk past the half-way mark. At a glance I could tell this was not so, and I asked to speak to the manager.

Instead of leaving the drinks so we could show them to her manager and plead our case, she quickly grabbed them both and took them away. Another 15 minutes passed by, no manager shows up, but yet another waiter delivers just one Margarita; apparently a replacement for mine.

By now, we’re all upset; since we haven’t gotten anything to drink, except for my daughter. It doesn’t seem right that I sit there sipping my Margarita with my wife just staring. So, I immediately tell the waiter to take it back and to please bring that elusive manager to our table.

Another 10-15 minutes go by and finally a young, pudgy, short guy with a sparse mustache who looks barely 21 shows up. He doesn’t even explain whether he’s the manager, or asks what the problem is. He just puts down a bill on the table and tells me that he’s taken off the bill one of the Margaritas. I then explain that I don’t wish to pay for my Wife’s either, because it was bad and she didn’t enjoy it (remember, this is all about a $5.00 Margarita, I was happy to pay for the rest of the bill).

Apparently, this little would-be tyrant has never heard of customer service and tells me: “If you don’t pay I call the police”. At that time, we’re all very upset, my wife tells me to just pay the bill and walk away. But to me it’s a matter of principle, so I call him on it, and he calls the police.

Another 30 minutes go by while we wait for the cops; finally a local security guard shows up, apparently to assess the situation. “So, you don’t want to pay your bill?” he asks. “No. I don’t mind paying for the food, it’s just one Margarita that is in question and we need to discuss with the manager”. He just tells me “The police are right outside” and walks away.

Another 30-45 minutes elapse while we’re sitting at a table staring at each other, waiting for the police. We’ve now been occupying that table for over an hour. Meantime there is a line of people waiting outside the door for a table. The restaurant is probably loosing much more than the $5.00, but nobody seems to care.

The policeman finally shows up and walks me outside, asks me why I don’t want to pay the bill. I repeat the same thing I told the other security guard. “I will pay for the bill; I just want the $5.00 taken off.” The waiter is then called outside to tell his part of the story. We go back and forth for another 15-20 minutes.

Eventually, the officer threatens to cite me for petty theft. Tells me that I would have to go to court and loose a day of work, etc. etc. I consider this, since that means that Mr. pudgy-thin-mustache-guy would also have to explain to his manager why he needs to go to court. Had I been alone, I would have chosen to take things all the way, but, by that time both my wife and daughter are extremely worried. I decided the situation had gone far enough and decided to pay the bill.

While I’m waiting for my change, I ask him for his name so I can complain to the corporate office. He hesitates and tells me his name is Tony and that he’s not the manager at all. All this time, I never got to speak with a person in charge who could make a decision.


  • Go
    Gotcha! Mar 01, 2010

    UNBELIEVABLE! We eat out EVERY single day AND evening (my husband, our 19 year-old daughter and myself). We are so well-known by regular wait staff in the several restaurants we frequent (and they know us to be friendly, polite and very good tippers) that we almost always have beyond-excellent service. Our sons are 30 and 28 and have waited tables a total of 25 years (combined), so we know oh-too-well how the customer-waiter relationship 'works.' On occasion, we have received poor service, no service, horrible service and (more often) inedible or substandard food/value. We do believe, from our experience with the TGIF chain, that they have become far too comfortable with providing merely mediocre product and table service. It is obvious that their main focus is on their bar customers and that those customers who drink themselves into oblivion are at the very top of their priority list. The more they drink, usually, the more they order and they are the ones who keep the lights on for the rest of us to be able to find something to eat if there's nothing else around. The experience you report at your TGIF sounds so typical of what I have witnessed at our area TGIF stores -- but only one of those types of incidences occurred with us. Our complaint made perfect sense and management was so inadequate, but we didn't have the gumption to remain and handle it to the point you did, JLP. We paid, left a penny to possibly the worst server we have ever dealt with and have told probably dozens of people within the last year how 'doomed' the TGIF chain is. Interestingly enough, many of those we spoke to echoed the very same feelings. This post continues my chosen resolve. Thanks for giving me the opportunity, JLP!

    0 Votes
  • Wh
    whatthehey Sep 13, 2012

    Did u then call corporate? if not t hen whats the point. you have to be persistant.

    0 Votes

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