I'm on a long-term boycott of Pizza Hut. Every one I've been to, worst service ever. Had some Pizza Hut a few times over the past 20 years, but it was pickup or delivery. I may not have patronized them at all in the past 10-12 years since I disovered Little Caesar's, then Papa Johns then Donato's. Not sure how they stay in business...maybe they're a front for something. (When they got a pizza to you hot it was generally good, although that may have been because I waited 90 minutes for it in-store and was ravenous.)

I had ridiculous service from another restaurant lately. A bunch of techie guys, some from out of town, were working weekends on replacing the network infrastructure (6 6500-series stacks in 3 redundant pairs and other goodies). One night we worked really late and headed downtown for dinner, but most everything was closed. We went to an all-night place (Red Eye cafe, Indianapolis). Most of the guys ordered chicken Caesar salads, and I ordered a chicken sandwich. The wait was a bit long, and the waiter was ignoring our need for more drinks. (The place is pretty small; it's not like she couldn't see us.) Finally, the food comes. 1 trip, 2 trips, 3 trips brings the chicken Caesar salads and another dish, leaving only me without food. As an afterthought the waiter looks and me and says "oh, we're out of chicken."

I left out that we were starving when we left work and walked several blocks downtown trying to find a place open. I also left out we thought we found a place open, went in, seated ourselves after the waitstaff ignored us for 10 or so minutes (but shuffled by us regularly) and proceeded to be ignored, drinkless, for several more minutes until we were informed only 1 person was waiting tables, and that person wasn't offering to help us at that moment. A few more blocks' walk got us to the Red Eye. So, yeah, I was pretty hungry and tired by the time I heard they're out of chicken (which as you'll recall a whole paragraph ago was the same moment several plates of chicken were delivered to my tablemates).

Being as late as it was, with my tablemates chowing down, I didn't have a lot of recourse or motivation, and this was still my best bet for food soon. Or so I thought. I ordered a burger and turned down generous offers of sharing from my tablemates. Time went by....more time went by. I don't know how much time went by, but everybody finished eating, and we were sitting around BSing about this and that. We weren't getting my food, a check or any attention. At some point I told them to bring the burger "to go". We finally stood up and headed for the cashier who quickly took our money and handed me a box with my meal in it and had the nerve to charge us for the burger. The meal was on my company, and we were completely exhausted, and most of us were full, so we didn't argue the matter. We walked a few blocks back to our cars, and I munched what was a pretty good burger, but after waiting several hours for food I'm not sure I was objective about it.

This post is a December 18, 2011 republication of my February 26, 2006 post at Early Retirement Forum.