Oh the most dreadful experience is easy to answer. When I was in the Navy in 1981 and stationed in NOB, Norfolk on a ship, we would try the various restaurants when we were flush. One of them in Hampton Roads had an all you can eat seafood buffet to die for. They got all their seafood locally. The window of the place looked out on the fishing boats at night. It was heaven.
One of our friends was in and he said “OH I can beat that. The place is remodeling but one of the Dining areas is open.” He said he would buy. That’s all it took. We trooped over to Hampton Roads. It was about an hour and a half before sun set.
The Restaurant sat on the water. I could see the base and the Air Craft Carriers from there. We waited. And we waited. And waited to be seated. I mean it was really crowded. There was a table… a single table… with customers in the place otherwise the entire place was empty. Maybe they had to wait for dust to move? And lets face it, we were hard to see. 5 sailors in good health ranging from 6 foot 5 inches to 5 foot 10 inches? I can see why they couldn’t see us. We can say the waiter wasn’t gay. He ignored us. Finally [said with long drawn out sigh] we were seated.
They asked if we would like to order. All of us asked for a menu and a cup of coffee. The Dining Room was lovely. The view was fantastic. There was one other table filled. No one else was in the room. I pointed that out right? No one else. Two tables.
I’m not sure which nation they went to for the beans. All I can say is those donkey’s backsides were damn slow coming down off those mountains. I could have made 3 pots on shipboard until we got the coffee. We gave the waiter our order.
We waited. The other table was eating their food. The sun went down. The aircraft carrier lights were down right pretty. We waited. The other table was eating their dessert. We waited. Now I could see the lights on the ship. We finally agreed to go to the Seafood Buffet. We went to the man at the desk and explained we hadn’t gotten our food and we were leaving. He told us the coffee was on the house. It damn well better be.
We got into the parking lot when he came running out after us with a bill for $65.00. My friend, Scott who invited us said, well rather, yelled, “For a cup of coffee?”
He stated that we hadn’t paid for eating. We pointed out that it would be hard to eat when we hadn’t gotten any food and that it seems his waiter forgot there was a second table in the room that had not had any food. He might want to give the bill to the table that was having dessert at the moment and who we had entertaining us while they ate and we did not. He said “There is a second table?”
We said yes. We are the ones you forgot about. He apologized [frankly I think at this point a free meal would have been in order but I don’t think we would have taken it.] and we got in the jeep and drove away. Never had a good thing to say about that place. The seafood buffet? Perfect and let me tell you our plates were loaded by that night. We would have thought a can of tuna prepared by the ship’s cooks was fantastic.
$65 dollars for a luke-warm cup of coffee? Not even in 2013 let alone 1981.