I have been having a near insatiable craving for some caribbean jerk chicken wings ever since having some at a 4th of July party I attended a couple of weeks ago. It's all AJ Singleton's fault. Those wings were so good that it had me wanting to go to Buffalo Wild Wings just to get their version of them. I knew they wouldn't be near as good (which they weren't) but I thought at least the fact that it was unlimited wings from 11am - 2pm would make it somewhat worth it. I was wrong.
I knew the minute I walked in that odds were high I would not have a pleasant experience. The place felt like an icebox. Yes, the temp outside was in the high 90s, but they didn't need to go to the other extreme. I didn't say anything though because of the crowd they had. It was less than 1/4 full. I just assumed that the air was on that high because they were expecting a bigger crowd so they wanted to be proactive. That was understandable so I didn't make a fuss.
I put in my first order of caribbean jerk wings then waited as they were prepared. Since I was alone I had nothing better to do than to watch the clock to see how long it was taking. Actually, the only reason I resorted to that was I noticed it was taking longer than normal. I've been in B2W before for lunch and got my food in about 15 minutes. Tops. With two people. This time around it took them nearly 30 minutes before the wings came out.
It would make perfect sense that after that first order came out that the waitress would ask what flavor I wanted next, right? I mean it was clear I ordered unlimited wings so of course one serving wasn't going to be the only one. So ideally, she could put the other order in so I'm not waiting another 30 minutes after I finish that first helping, right? Yeah...not so much. She never even asked. I got sidetracked with the wings and forgot to mention it. I shouldn't have had to though. She should have asked before I finished. She didn't. So when I finished that order I waited for another 30 minutes. For 6 wings.
Now what made this worse is I was sitting next to a table of 4 college kids. Looking like they were just fresh out the TKE frat house for lunch. All 4 of them looking like your WB pick-any-teen-show prototypes. They had the same waitress. I watched and listened as she asked them for their next wing order the minute their first order came in. I also noticed their wings didn't take as long to arrive. Probably because she got in their order right away.
I've been in restaurants with slow service before and there usually is a decent reason for it. Maybe it's their busiest time and they're understaffed. Maybe the restaurant is packed so the wait staff can't get to everyone as quickly as they would like to. As I mentioned before, this joint was less than 1/4 full if that. They couldn't have been understaffed because there were some of the wait staff standing around talking to one another doing nothing.
So either one of two things were at play in that joint. Neither of them good. One was they were scheming to make sure folks didn't spend much time in there from 11 - 2pm. Keeping the air on as low as possible would make someone uncomfortable enough to get out quick. Then you add to that the fact that the wing orders were taking 30 minutes a piece and the "unlimited wings" get limited real quick.
The other possibility was the good old race card. Was it just me getting treated like that because I was melanin-challenged? Afterall, it did seem like the cast of "One Tree Hill" were getting some pretty good treatment. But then again, they still had to contend with the same cold temps so I dismissed that possibility. Not only that but there were four of them so she just probably assumed that their tip would be better if she was more efficient with them.
Whatever the case may be, I was turned off enough that I will not be going back to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Ames over the lunch hour again. I may not go back in there again at all. That's probably the more likely scenario since prior to today I hadn't been in there in several months anyway. However, experiences like that have me seriously second-guessing my recent decision to start tipping. Back to my no-tip policy I go.