Columbia Star

Online Valentine

I’m just saying...



I have often written columns bemoaning the lack of the human touch in today’s society as well as also lambasting all the technical additions to almost any interaction with businesses and individuals.

When I do business, order something from a catalogue, or try to pay a bill, I like to speak to a HUMAN BEING. I personally think if all the automated apparatuses were replaced with HUMANS, not only would the world be a kinder and gentler place but unemployment would plummet!

You can’t do anything much anymore on a person-to-person level, and I suppose I should get used to it, but this past weekend, I think I found the Granddaddy of all “techie” dumb ideas.

My husband Marty and I always like to go out on Valentine’s Day evening to a nice restaurant to have a meal. We like the quiet, romantic places, but it seems they are getting to be fewer and further between. All the individual bistros appear to be closing up to make way for the big chain restaurants.

Now call me crazy, but spending Valentine’s evening in a chain restaurant “where kids eat free” or one where the music is so loud you can’t hear yourself think isn’t the least bit appealing to either of us

At any rate, Marty and I were discussing where to go on Valentine’s, and we agreed on this one romantic spot I’ve heard about since I moved back here, but I have never been. We thought it might be the perfect spot to enjoy “the holiday for lovers,” and I’ve heard the food is amazing.

So I called to make reservations. On February 3.

After years of working in the food and beverage industry, I know you need to make Valentine’s reservations early, so I was definitely going to beat the rush! I called the place we were thinking of and an actual person answered the phone! That was a good sign as far as I was concerned.

But no.

“Hi…I’d like to make reservations for Valentine’s night please. For two of us.” I used my best “public voice” and added a little lilt to hopefully double our chances of a good table.

“Ok ma’am…you’ll need to go to our website and fill out the forms for that. You’ll have to pick your meals from the choices we’ll be serving that evening and pre-pay for the dinner.”

“WHAT?” The lilt in my voice totally vanished! I was stunned. “You mean I can’t make a reservation with you right now for two people?”

“No ma’am…we’re taking all orders online. If you go to our website at blahblahblah, you can see the menu we’re offering, and you can fill out the forms choosing your meal, and we’ll send you a confirmation email.”

“A CONFIRMATION email??? It’s February THIRD today!”

“Um…yes ma’am it is…” He obviously didn’t know where I was going with this fact.

“Well, how on EARTH am I going to KNOW on FEBRUARY THIRD what I might want to eat on February 14th??? That’s almost TWO WEEKS away?”

“Well ma’am, it’s really easy to fill out the forms, and that way you’ll be sure to get what you’d like on that evening. It’s also very time efficient for us. Would you like the website again?”

“No thank you,” I huffed. “And please let whoever came up with this idea know it’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard of! You have just spent over five minutes on the phone with me explaining how to make a reservation online, and if you had simply taken my name and phone number we would have been off the phone four and a half minutes ago! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

When I hung up, curiosity did demand that I peek at the website, and it was just insane. You had to fill out all your personal information, give a credit card, and yes…pick your meal. From starters, to soup or salad to entrees to desserts. I would have had to do that for both of us and lock it in with the credit card. I kept thinking if I picked meat, maybe 11 days later I’d be more in the mood for the fish. Or the chicken.

My brilliant husband came up with a better plan. He picked a tried-and-true eatery we’ve always enjoyed that’s located downtown. I called them and a perfectly lovely lady answered the phone, took our reservation, and told us how the evening would go. I’m sure it will be a special night for both of us.

I think I’ll keep the receipt and take it by the other place one day soon after Valentine’s. We’re really big tippers when we’re feeling frisky and out on the town!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.