I Spent $85 for Dinner at CPK and All I Got Was a Grumpy Husband

11.28.10

I just got home from CPK, and since my friend Marsha Collier is writing the book on Customer Service I thought I’d amuse y’all with a bit of corporate policy that ensures no one will ever be happy at California Pizza Kitchen.

It’s Sunday night and I’m beat, so we decide to take the kids to dinner. CPK is a good bet for all, because there’s something for everyone on the menu. We have grown accustomed to their abominable customer service, so we were delighted to find the store half empty and our server to be attentive.

Again, our expectations were low.

We sat in a booth where Mr G could watch the Colts and the Chargers, and we had a pretty good dinner. Nothing exciting, but the kids were happy and so were we.

Until they changed the game to basketball.

We asked our server to please put the football game back on, and she said the following. “We have this weird corporate policy that puts us in a TV limbo. Whenever a guest asks us to change the channel we have to change it to whatever they ask for. Someone just asked us to change it to the basketball game so we have to do that.”

Mr. G smiled and said, “Well, now I’m asking you to change it to Football.”

And our server walked away uncomfortably.

And then we were stuck watching the halftime game (which is a whole lot of nothing worth watching), when the manager (who appeared to be 19) came to the table and said, “I’m really sorry but the man at the bar asked us to put it on the Lakers game and you’ve been watching football for a really long time, and it’s only fair if you get it half of your meal and he gets it for half of his.”

This makes NO SENSE. Half a football game is fair? Who gives a flying fuck about fair?

Mr. G thanked her for her explanation and assured her that we all understood that she valued his patronage more than ours.

And then the bill came. $73 for the four of us. Which I assume is a whole lot more than the single guy at the bar spent, so if we’re worried about fair, then CPK failed that test.

We tipped heartily because the server was excellent. We are mindful that CPK is a great place for our kids, but they really don’t understand customer service at all.