Just Jot January – 2018

The #JusJoJan for today is “Revolt” as suggested by Sandra at “What Sandra Thinks.”

This is an easy one for me as I just had an experience that made me revolt against the system.

My husband and I went to dine at Outback Steakhouse after a recent procedure he had for which he had to fast the night before.  (He has those occasionally and we always end up going out to eat right after, no matter how groggy he is from the anesthesia – LOL).  At any rate, Outback is right down the street from the Surgery Center so it was an easy decision.

Since it was between lunch and dinner, there was no line and no waiting.  We got seated at a table and ordered drinks which were perfectly made.  My husband even went over to the bartender to tell her so. 

Next we ordered our meal, which included the appetizer blooming onion.  When we ordered this our server (name withheld to preserve anonymity) immediately picked up the Ziosk machine that was at our table and put in the order for the onion. 

I’m sure you’ve seen those machines before, they are popping up at all the restaurants.  You can play games on them (only a few are free, the rest you need to pay for) while you wait and you can order more food or drinks yourself and pay your bill with them.  I do not like them, but didn’t say anything about it at the time.  
Our food came.  This is what happens when your husband has to fast and you worry about him while he is undergoing the procedure:
(Yes, healthy eating is still part of my goals for the year but sheesh it’s only January and once in a while it is okay!)
Anyway, the food was delicious and the server was attentive.  Everything was great until it came time to pay the bill.  She immediately picked up the Ziosk device and was going to assist me in using it to pay.  I politely told her that I did not use those machines as I had tried them once and been the victim of fraud.  Someone had taken my credit card number and within hours had tried to pay for a hotel room in another part of the state.  
She proceeded to tell me that it was Outback policy to use the machines AND THAT SHE WOULD GET IN TROUBLE IF WE DID NOT USE IT.  I explained again that I did not use them because they are sitting unattended on every table and the “bad people” know how to get in and hack them.  (A fact which I Googled in preparing for this post and there were several versions of how to do a hack on the machines.  Some were old, it is true, but there were some articles from just last year!)  I told her I would be happy to talk to the manager for her and let him/her know why I was not using the machine and the server told me that it was okay, this one time.  She said they were “not supposed to use the computer in the back” but that this one time it would be okay.  She said she would only get written up if her entire section didn’t use the machine.  

We paid the bill, made sure to give her a good tip (it wasn’t her fault the company was pressuring them) and I even wrote on the receipt that she gave excellent service.  My husband gave the bartender an extra tip.  Obviously we did not have a miserable time there.  However, because it really made me mad that Outback would have such a policy, I immediately got on my computer at home and sent off emails to both the local Outback and to corporate headquarters.  By this time it was late afternoon on a Friday and Monday was the holiday so I didn’t expect to hear anything right away. 

Yesterday I got an email from the Managing Partner at the local Outback.  She apologized for our “less than perfect” experience at Outback and said that while the staff is trained on using the Ziosk machines, they should not “force the tablet” on us or make us “feel bad for not using it.”  She wanted to invite us back as her “personal guest for the experience we deserved.”   

I thanked her for her response but wanted to make sure that our server in NO WAY got in trouble for our comments.  I said that clearly the servers were being pressured by corporate to use the systems and that I did not feel they should be held responsible for the customer’s actions and that I felt it was a bad policy.  I gave her our mailing address so that she could send us the invite or whatever she is sending.  We’ll see what happens. 

So, that was my revolt against the system.  What is your opinion?  Do you use the kiosk machines on the tables at restaurants?  Have you had your card numbers stolen?  Make sure to visit the other participants in #JusJoJan to read their revolting stories – LOL.

 

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About scr4pl80

I'm a 60-ish, married, mom to 3, creative soul looking to make the world a better place one smile at a time.
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18 Responses to Just Jot January – 2018

  1. John Holton says:

    Mary actually enjoys using the Ziosk at Chili’s, but they don’t make a major deal out of it if you don’t. Something tells me that someone at Outback (maybe the server or whoever was in charge that day) heard things incorrectly, or maybe the server didn’t know how to work the register in the back. I’d have asked to speak to the manager.

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Yeah, it was kind of interesting that she specifically said they weren’t supposed to use the register in the back. I will see what happens if we go back with the managers voucher. I’m still not using them.

      Like

  2. joey says:

    I saw one of those at Chili’s a few years ago. We liked paying there, as my husband hates waiting for the check! But you’re right, can be hacked, just like gas pumps. Our bank actually warns against paying with cards at restaurants or hotels where someone takes your card into another area. They may write down the numbers and sell them. I really think there’s only so much you can do, people get robbed no matter how careful.
    I’ve had my card replaced twice in the last ten years, cause fraud. The bank detected one, I detected the other.
    Absolutely with you on splurging on a yummy, high-cal meal now and again 🙂

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    • scr4pl80 says:

      Yes, I agree about having them take your card away but I think I’d have better recourse because the server’s name is usually on the ticket. With the machines, the company could “disavow all knowledge” of the hack. We are lucky that both our bank and our credit companies are great about getting in touch with us if they notice unusual activity, even if the activity is really ours!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Capt Jill says:

    I’ve never seen one of those machines. I think I would not like to use one. As you said, too easy to get screwed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ghostmmnc says:

    Very interesting, and I’d never thought about those machines not being totally secure. We only go to one place that has them. Sometimes we use it, but most times not. I’d rather the server came and collected in person, myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hadn’t thought about issues with tampering, but I don’t like the machines either. One reason is that I fear for jobs as companies start to automate everything. I enjoy human interaction and those people need to pay their bills so I avoid using automation as much as I can. The other reason is the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of the screens. Yuck!

    But, I do have to warn you about feeling too comfortable about giving your credit card to a server and having them take it out of your sight. I did this a few years ago and my credit card number was stolen (I’m pretty sure by the server) and used to pay for all sorts of goodies.

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    • scr4pl80 says:

      Agreed on both the lack of human interaction and the cleanliness, especially if they have let the kids play games on them! I also agree about the danger of letting the server take it away but I think I would have more recourse if it got stolen that way since the server’s name is usually on the bill. In the case of the machines, the restaurant could claim they had no knowledge of tampering.

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  6. rugby843 says:

    We have one of those restaurants here. I haven’t been yet. I used one of those machines once but my choice is to pay the server directly. I’m glad you revolted, more power to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I actually like the kiosks, but in nyc they’re mostly at fast, casual restaurants, not sit down places with waitstaff

    Liked by 1 person

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