Sunday, April 13, 2008

And Now The Olive Garden Would Like To Wish You A Very Crappy Birthday

Before last Tuesday, it had been a very long time since I had seen someone (at my table) get wished a Happy Birthday from restaurant staff. However, back in the day, the birthday boy/girl usually got a little piece of cake or something, along with a tacky, weird rendition of Happy Birthday. I pulled the waitress aside and let her know that it was Braden's birthday, and she said that they would sing to him. So we're finishing up our oh-so-extravagant meal of soup and salad, and out come four OG employees to sing their weirdo version of the birthday song. Our waitress is holding a small plate, and another employee lights the candle that we can barely see, since they are holding the plate up above eye level. As our waitress hands the plate to Braden, she said something that I couldn't understand, but that I thought related to Jenna and not having it close to her, since she would grab it. Apparently, she told him to raise the birthday plate high, "so that everyone can see the birthday boy!" So he did, and they sing and then leave rather abruptly. The abruptness of their departure made sense to me after Braden lowered the plate to the table.

My friends, THIS is what we saw:

Um, thanks? Braden was insulted..."What does it cost them, like 20 cents for a crappy little piece of cake, and they can't even spring for that???" No wonder they wanted him to hold it high. It sure looked like there was a piece of cake on the plate the way they had him holding it. I didn't notice it was just a candle stuck to a regular plate until he put it down.

Jenna enjoyed herself, though. She had fun with her crayons, dropping them onto the floor about 4 times before Mommy refused to play that game anymore.

And here's a picture of Gina Grape. Goooooo, Gina! (Thought you'd get a kick out of that, Gina!)


Carolyn said...

Wow, I That is terrible. I would have been totally insulted too. That is just down right rude. Maybe that practice is only done at that particular Olive Garden. But I'd totally send out an email of complaint. Because that's just rude. The staff are fully aware that you are expecting a complimentary piece of birthday cake. And to tease you in front of the whole restaurant is just uncalled for.

I have noticed that many, many restaurants have given up the practice of a slice of free cake for the birthday person. I can understand why, though. I'm sure many people take advantage of that and just get free cake when ever they want. Which is also rude.

I am really quite angry that this happened to you. I really hope you complain about it. Because that is unprofessional. If they no longer give out free cake then the staff should be up front about that. Not humiliate guests. Besides, if you give a good complaining to Olive Garden head quarters you are likely to get a coupon or possibly a free meal for your trouble! :-)

annahannah said...

Gee, dad and I got free peanut butter blast for our anniversary. And,oooh, braden, it was awesome.

Carolyn said...

Free peanut butter blast from olive garden or somewhere else?

Megan & Jeremy said...

Are you for real?!?! That is insane! I hope you didn't tip them :)
You guys should join the birthday club for red robin on their website and you'll get a free meal and sundae, balloon and song :) I do love Olive Garden's food though.
Happy bday Braden! Are you what 35 now???

dan said...

I second the red robin thing. Your free burger even comes with fries.

I recently scored my free one.

Unfortunately, I misjudged just how far 2.5 miles was and I walked there (and back).

But at least that helped to burn off my 1100+ calorie meal!!!!

Ker said...


Yeah, Braden said he was going to send a complaint to the OG Headquarters. We'll see what they say.

I know that a lot of places ask to see your driver's license to confirm if it really is your birthday, and in this case, our waitress did not. Also, I read a message board post from 2002 that said that an OG waiter/waitress asked a birthday party in progress if they wanted to BUY a birthday cake to celebrate. So I think they've been doing this for awhile.

Megan and Dan- Thanks for the RR tip...we'll have to check that out. Braden's old, but he's not quite 35 yet! :)

Braden said...

Megan, I am only 1 year younger than you... let's see... I think that makes me 52.