This is a letter I wrote to management regarding a party reservation last week. It describes our experience in detail. I have since received an apology from the Highball management and promise to have $100 in gift cards sent for future use, but I am still posting this as a cautionary tale:
"I booked my husband's birthday party for Saturday August 4th, for 2 hours of bowling and 1.5 hours of karaoke, starting at 9pm. I made the reservation on July 5th, a month before the party, to ensure availability. I received a confirmation from someone named Dani in reservations, and confirmed with her on Friday August 3rd, as well as asked some questions about the reservation.
When we showed up at the venue at 9pm on August 4th, I went to the reservation desk where a young man checked the reservation book and told me he had nothing in my name for the night. I tried to explain that I made a reservation, confirmed it, etc, etc - he did not seem interested or sympathetic in the least, but said that someone will go get the manager and I need to discuss with her.
I stood at the reservations desk waiting for the manager to come out for over 20 minutes as our guests began to arrive and I had nothing to tell them other than to get a drink at the bar. A couple of times during those 20 minutes I tried again to talk to the guy at the desk, but he told me that there's nothing he can do, that this is all above him, and to just wait for the manager.
When the manager finally arrived, she was very apologetic, but she confirmed what I already suspected; that our reservation had been lost and that there was no availability for bowling at all that night. She mentioned that this is not the first reservation to be misplaced - in fact, not the first one even that night - and that Dani had been "making their lives a living hell". She told me that the best they could do for us was to set us up in dining until a karaoke room opened up at 11pm, and that the management would comp some drinks and not charge us the room fee for karaoke. In the meantime, we were to stand around the bar and wait for our table.
Our group (about 18 of us at this point) milled around the bar for the next half hour. Eventually I asked the guy at the host table when we can expect to be seated, and he said our table was ready and took us over. So, we finally sat down about an hour after we arrived. We were given a long narrow table which is not at all suitable for mingling, but rather for dining, which none of us intended to do. My husband had to essentially walk around the table for an hour to make sure he got to talk to all his guests and thank them for coming.
The service at the table was poor. We had one waitress for the entire table and had to hail her every few minutes. At one point, a martini I ordered arrived in a whiskey glass which had visible smudges on it. I did not see it placed in front of me on the table, and when I asked our server if my drink was still coming, she pointed to the whiskey glass which was about a 1/3rd full, and said that this was it, they just ran out of martini glasses. She looked very exasperated when I seemed uncertain that I should be drinking this, and said "it's the same amount, it's just in a different glass". I had no intention of drinking what was served, but at that point I was not going to argue.
Eventually the manager returned and informed us that she made a mistake and that the karaoke room would actually not be ready until 11:45, not 11 as originally promised. So, to sum up, our group was asked to stand around for an hour, and then sit around a long table in the middle of a crowded dining room for another 2 hours. The alcohol bill for that portion of the night came out to just under $400, of which $100 was comped. So we ended up paying $300 just to stand/sit around for 3 hours waiting to start our party.
The karaoke portion of the night was fine. No drinks were comped this time, and we ended up paying another $300. I must not have heard last call announced, but as I was walking down the stairs on my way out, someone literally grabbed my drink out of my hand (and one from my friend) and told us very rudely that we need to leave right now. We were essentially shoved out the door and the door locked behind us.
So, with everything that happened, our group ended up spending about $600, with the Highball comping about $170 (100 dollars in drinks and $35/h for karaoke room). As we waited for our cabs outside and talked about what happened, we were all completely appalled by not only the initial incompetence of the reservations department, but also by how the situation was ultimately handled."
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