Posts from the ‘Rant’ Category

My East Side Mario’s Experience

East Side Marios Logo On Mother’s Day this year, I took my wife and son to East Side Mario’s, an Italian restaurant chain. We went to the franchise located in the St. Laurent Shopping Centre, in Ottawa’s east end.

When we arrived, we were told there would be a 10 to 15 minute wait, but we were seated in 5 to 10 minutes. The wait was mainly because it was Mother’s Day, and most other thinking people had the foresight to book a reservation, which I hadn’t thought to do. But, even without the reservation, the speed and efficiency of seating people was very good.

We were seated at a little after 5pm, and we had ordered our food by about 5:20pm, give or take a few minutes. While looking at the menu, one of the bar staff dropped a box of straws, and my son rushed over to help them pick them up. He is only 9 years old, but he is a very helpful and considerate little guy. He never ceases to amaze me at his kindness and generosity. As a reward, they gave him a nice fancy drink on the house.

We had been chatting and relaxing for a while, and watched as people came in and were seated around us. About a half hour later, my son’s pizza arrived, and we were told that our meals would  be arriving shortly. A couple seated behind us came in about 10 or 15 minutes after we did, and they had managed to get their food before us, but I didn’t think about this too much at the time, as they were behind me, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to them. However, a half hour or so later, the couple behind us were paying their bill, and my wife and I were still waiting for our meals. Needless to say, we were getting pretty hungry. I even commented to my wife that I was having a Ramsey feeling, as I was feeling like I was on an episode of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. By this time, my son had long since finished his meal, and was getting pretty antsy.

It was at about this time that our waitress came over, profusely apologising, and informing us that there was a problem in the kitchen, and that our meal was going to be completely on the house, and that our meal was definitely coming. We were impressed with how straightforward and upfront she was about the problem, and how she offered to waive the bill, without any prompting from us at all. She went to check on the progress of our meal, and returned a short time later to let us know it was almost ready, and she brought us a pair of $25 gift certificates for our next visit, which was definitely going above and beyond the call of good service! By this point, we were quite impressed with the quality of the service there. All restaurants will make mistakes. The true measure of the quality of a restaurant is how they deal with such an incident, and the staff at East Side Mario’s in the St. Laurent Mall was quite exemplary in this regard. We were also visited by the manager, who was responsible for managing the front area of the restaurant. For some reason, however, there was no manager on duty in the kitchen, even though this was one of the busier days of the year. She apologised profusely several times as well.

It was close to 7pm when our food arrived, and we ate it fairly quickly, as we were quite hungry by this time. If it wasn’t for the salad and bread that they gave us after ordering, we wouldn’t have been able to stay as long as we did. So, for a bit of pasta and a couple of small pieces of chicken, we ended up being there for 2 1/2 hours. The pleasant and attentive wait staff was all that made the experience a positive one. Thus, despite the problems in the kitchen, we will definitely be back again. Our waitress and the floor manager turned what could have been a bad experience into a positive one. This is how a good restaurant treats its customers.

So I guess what all this is saying is that I would recommend East Side Mario’s in the St. Laurent Shopping Centre, as they care about customer service and customers going away happy. This is more rare these days than it should be.

Update (June 19, 2010): On June 10th, 2010, my family and I went back to East Side Mario’s to have another meal and use the gift certificates from our last visit. This time, our food was delivered in a reasonable time, and it was quite delicious. Management was quite attentive, as would be expected, as we booked the reservation through the general manager. Despite the mishap with the meal the first time, I have nothing but positive things to say about East Side Mario’s and their excellent front staff. As far as I can tell, the issues from our previous visit were primarily due to issues inside the kitchen by the kitchen staff. I would highly recommend the East Side Mario’s St. Laurent Shopping Centre location based on the food quality and especially because of the importance on positive customer experience that they have displayed throughout.

Tiger Woods’s Apologised. So what.

Am I the only one who thinks that Tiger Woods should have gotten up on the podium, and told everyone that he is a pro athlete with lots of testosterone, likes to have sex, and that any infidelity issues were between him and his family, and the media should butt out of his personal life? I personally don’t care if he slept with every woman in Florida, or even every woman in the USA. That is none of my business, except maybe for some slight jealousy on my part. 🙂 And it sure as hell is not anyone else’s business either, with the exception of his wife and family.

The general public seems to have too much of an interest in the personal lives of celebrities, much to the detriment of society and celebrities both. Just because someone is a celebrity does not mean they have to give up their right to privacy. I don’t blame the media, and I don’t blame the paparazzi, either. They are only delivering what the paying public is asking for, and willing to pay for. And for this reason, society needs to get a life! Seriously!

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I feel a bit better already. Now I am off to TMZ to see who Charlie Sheen is shagging, or drinking with, or whatever / whomever he is doing these days. 🙂 I kid! Honest! 🙂

The McDonald’s Big Breakfast is a Big Rip-Off

I ordered a McDonalds Big Breakfast on November 22, 2009, and I was hugely disappointed.  I expected a bigger meal than I got.  I was expecting something with pancakes, which I seem to recall getting once upon a time, but all I got was a piece of sausage, a square scrambled egg like thing, and an English muffin cut in half, and a couple containers of jam.  So, for the extra money, I got to have a Sausage Egg McMuffin separated into the separate components, and placed on a larger tray.  What a big rip-off that was. McDonald’s should rename the Big Breakfast to the Big Rip-Off, or maybe the McRipoff. Guess which meal I will never order from McDonalds ever again? Let this be a warning to all. Be careful of what you order from McDonald’s. The rip-offs are everywhere in there.

A New Name for the New Democratic Party

Well, the House of Commons is back in session, and the Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CRAP) of Canada (also known as the Conservative Party of Canada) have survived another confidence vote, thanks to the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois Parties. Aren’t these the same two parties that would consistently vote against the CPC whenever the Liberals voted to prop up the Conservative Party? Hey, Dippers, I have a good name for you to rename your party to.  How about “The Contrarian Party”? Or the “We Vote the Opposite of Whatever the Liberals Vote” Party?

Come on Jack, do something original. Show that your party has a backbone and can vote down a sitting government when you actually have some support in the HoC, and not just blow hot air about it when you think you can safely posture about being a leftist party when the Liberals will keep your hot air from actually meaning anything. But guess what? The voters actually have a memory about such things. Not that it matters, since I am sure that the Liberals will enjoy reminding us about it throughout the next campaign, if all you bunch of impotent turkeys on the hill develop a set of orbs, and actually show some mercy by putting this lame duck down. There. I think that is enough avian references in one post. 🙂

Well, I guess we now know the true face of the NDP. Jack Layton and the NDP will say anything to get media attention, but when it comes to backing up his words with actions, there is only the sound of crickets on a still night. Maybe they can call themselves the LDP, the Lame Duck Party.

Fox Broadcasting

I am starting to think that Fox Broadcasting hates viewers like me who like intelligent, well written and acted dramatic television shows. Every time Fox airs a new show, and it doesn’t get ratings numbers in the same range as “24” or “American Idol”, they cancel it before they even finish the first season. Whatever happened to the days where a series was allowed to develop an audience over time, and not expect it to be there right from the beginning?

This week, it was announced by Fox that it was canceling the new series, “Drive”, after only 4 episodes were aired. It was critically acclaimed by both critics and viewers, but it apparently didn’t have enough viewers for Fox to keep showing it.

I have now vowed to never again watch a new series broadcast by Fox Broadcasting until after it is at least a year old, because I am getting tired of getting involved in a well written and acted show, just to have Fox pull the plug again and again. I loved the show “Firefly”, which Fox canceled after 12 episodes. I was really getting into the show “Justice”, until Fox canceled that after only 12 episodes. And now, “Drive” has been canceled too. They also canceled the show “Wonderfalls” as well, which I didn’t see, but I heard good things about it. That show lasted a whole 4 episodes.

The message that Fox is sending to viewers is that it is not worth watching new shows, because unless it is a “reality” based show, it will be canceled in short order, if it is any good. So, from now on, I will watch shows on Fox that I am currently involved in that are longer running shows, like “24”, “House”, “Bones”, Prison Break”, etc., but I refuse to watch anything new they may show.

After all, if it is complete crap, it will stick around, but if it is of good quality, it will be canceled by the suits at Fox. And I have better things to do with my time than watch shows that won’t last a season. And since I don’t watch “reality” based shows, I soon won’t be watching anything on Fox once the current shows I watch on that network get canceled.

My advice to production companies that are capable of creating quality programming: Don’t go anywhere near Fox Broadcasting. It is not worth the headaches and heartaches.

Media Censorship

As an adult, censorship in the media offends me greatly. As an adult I am perfectly capable of deciding for myself what I do or do not find offensive, and I am perfectly capable of changing the channel if I see or hear something on the television that I find to be offensive to me. I do not need any corporate overlords deciding for me what they think I will be offended by.

As a parent, I am perfectly capable of deciding what my child should or should not watch, based on his age. Yes, I know this is a form of censorship, but I only do it to keep him from being exposed to things he shouldn’t be exposed to when an adult is not there to explain things to him in a way he’ll understand. I believe in restricting him from things that are not age appropriate, such as shows with violent content, abusive language, etc. This is only because he is not old enough to fully understand what he is seeing. Even though he knows it is not real, I wonder if he really gets it sometimes. I’m sure he does, but I choose to err on the side of caution.

All that having been said, though, I do not plan to censor his viewing options forever. At some point in the not too distant future, I expect that the multitude of information and entertainment available on the television will be completely available to him. And I hope that by that time, he will understand the difference between reality and entertainment, and not think what he is seeing on most television shows is not real, including what is often portrayed by the news broadcasts.

Censorship in society is harmful to the citizenry of the world. We learn and grow as a society by being exposed to many different ideas, even those that are offensive. If we are prevented from being exposed to those ideas, usually by a small minority of narrow-minded people, then we as a society suffer.

Online Censorship

Recently, on a blogging site, a friend’s account was configured in such a way such that any comment I made to postings on her blog, or comments to other comments, were automatically screened. Screening is when a comment is not visible to the general public until the owner of the blog gives the comment his or her blessing, and only then can the comment be seen by those viewing the blog.

I guess she didn’t like the comments I left as a reply to the blog entry.

I have a problem with censorship, be it online chat rooms, blogs, television shows, books, magazines, or whatever form of media I am currently engaged with. As an adult, I feel that I have the right to be able to say whatever I am feeling, without being censored by anyone. In fact, a lot of people have died in more than one war, to guarantee me that freedom. When I get censored, I feel like my rights are being suppressed, and that those brave men and women fought in vain.

If I say something that is factually wrong, or emotionally inconsiderate, or I am merely being an ass, then others also have the right to tell me I am wrong, preferably with some proof, or to tell me I’m being an inconsiderate ass, or whatever the other readers think of what I am saying. And I am fine with that. That is what living in a free and democratic country is all about.

What does offend me is when my comments are censored, and no one is given the chance to publicly tell me I’m being an ass, or I’m wrong because I didn’t know about some piece of information that proves me wrong. Or even more offensive, having my comments simply deleted, because the owner of the blog, or the moderator of the chat room, or whomever is in control of the site I am posting to, decides arbitrarily that my comment offends them in some way.

Freedom of speech means freedom to be offensive. It also mean the freedom to be wrong. In either case, censorship takes away my rights, and the rights of others, and I will always be strongly against adults of any society being censored.

Update:

It seems that there was a problem with my friend’s blog, and somehow those who were supposed to have unfettered access didn’t, and those who were supposed to be blocked / censored weren’t. The problem got corrected and everything is well again. The sentiments above are still valid, even though this particular incident was accidental and not actually a case of censorship.