We've been to Symposium before - even this Symposium - and have generally found it a comfortable place to sit to take the weight off our feet while shopping at the nearby outlet mall, and the food, while not wonderful, is usually better than average and the service attentive. Today, though, changed our minds.
To start with, our server took ten minutes to bring our drinks. In the meantime - and we noticed that she seemed to be responsible for only two tables - she was called to a table close to ours. The diners asked her for something, and very audibly she replied 'I'm not your server'. Nice. Very nice.
When our food came, my partner's order was wrong - breakfast potatoes instead of the fries he'd asked for, though it turned out he was fortunate. I had a burger and fries. The fries were the worst I've ever had, and that's saying something given the terrible experiences we've had at some fast-food outlets. They were dry, not at all crispy and if they'd been anywhere near a deep-fat fryer then I'm Mickey Mouse. The burger was okay, no more than that.
I wanted to let our server know that I was unhappy with my meal but - guess what - I never saw her. She grabbed my glass, refilled it and was gone again before I could say a word. She never asked, not once, if the meal was okay. I left most of my food on my plate; though it was obvious that I'd finished eating, she took my partner's plate and ignored mine, again disappearing before either of us had a chance to say anything.
Fed up waiting for our bill, we stood and put our coats on. She was waiting for us at the till and handed us the bill without even looking at us. My partner deliberately commented on the awful food and she had to have heard him, but she completely ignored his comment and looked away until I'd signed the credit-card slip. Not once did she ask if everything had been okay. This was quite the worst server I have ever had the misfortune to be assisted by - and I'm generally pretty forgiving of less-than-excellent service, because nobody's perfect.
Oh, and the okay burger? Five hours later, I had indigestion and could still taste it every time I belched.
Poor food? I could accept that I just ordered the wrong thing, especially when my partner's meal was fine. Poor service? All right, everyone has a bad day (and, I suppose, every restaurant makes a bad hiring decision once in a while). Both together can lose a restaurant customers.