As Evelyn, Karlyn, and I returned home from our dental appointment in New Jersey we made our usual stop at the Pennsville Cracker Barrel. Karlyn loves their chicken and dumplings, and Evelyn and I enjoy their food in general.
I ordered the Sunday Fried Chicken dinner (fried chicken, hash brown casserole, cole slaw, “and all the fixin’s,” as they promote it). I’ve eaten at Cracker Barrel more times than I can count and, for the most part, have enjoyed myself.
However, on this visit, things were not as they should have been. Where I was expecting the chicken to have a nice crispy coating to hold in the juicy meat, it was dry. The hash brown casserole, instead of being fluffy, moist, and hot was crispy and just barely warm (I can’t in all honesty say it was exactly cold, but darned close).
Most people would have explained the situation to their wait person and asked for it to be corrected. But I live with two warring factions in my heart and mind that put the brakes on my mouth: 1) being non-confrontational, and 2) being raised to be grateful for any scrap of food you’re given because there are people around the world with so much less. So, instead of complaining about the poor food, I asked for honey mustard to make the chicken tolerable.
After I went to bed that night I couldn’t sleep because, as I thought about the incident, I realized that I was setting a bad example for Karlyn. Intellectually, I knew that it was within my rights to ask for the food I was paying for. What I was given had apparently been left in the warmer way too long so the chicken came out dry and the casserole came out crispy. It would not have been necessary to display an angry or loud attitude, of course, but I should have let our servers, Carson and Callie, know that I was not pleased, and ask them to make it right. I’m afraid that my example could have exemplified either a poor way to handle this kind of situation, or at the very least, show Karlyn that I don’t have the chutzpah to speak up when I should.
Where does one draw the line between standing up for what one knows to be right and accepting the unacceptable in the name of keeping the peace or not being wasteful?
I may not have been able to say anything while I was at the restaurant, but even as I write my thoughts here, I’m composing a letter to the manager. I’ll at least have the satisfaction of knowing that my displeasure was communicated to him/her.
As a footnote, I asked for a box to bring the piece of chicken home that I couldn’t eat. To Carson and Carrie it must have looked as though I was fine with the meal (or a glutton for punishment), especially since I was taking some of it home. However, I brought it home only to have something to mix in with Evelyn’s service dog’s meals. Kianna’s not as fussy as I am. She also can’t complain.