Saturday, 19 July 2014


I rarely complain about bad service. Even when it is REALLY bad. I'm not the confrontational type. I don't like to cause a scene.

But this time, I can't hold my peace, because what I was subjected to last night was ludicrous.

I've been a fan of the pub McPhabbs for years. We used to nip up for lunch on a Friday regularly years back, and I would occasionally be there for a night out and I always loved it. But I don't think I've been there for a good couple of years. Anyway, it was me and the boyfriend's 9 month anniversary last night, and we decided to go for dinner there after a couple of drinks at a work leaving night.

I was really looking forward to it. The menu had changed since I'd been last and I already had planned what I was going to have for my starter and main by the time my boyfriend booked it through a restaurant booking website. Mushrooms to start, and then the mac and cheese and chips. I was even talking about how much I was looking forward to the meal as we walked up there just before seven. Anyways . . .

I'd also had a pretty shitty and stressful week, working eight plus hour days from Tuesday to Thursday, and had been in work in 8am on Friday, so this gave me an extra big reason to look forward to dinner. It was booked for 7pm and I only came out of a last-minute meeting at 4.15ish so we headed up to the leaving night in Rockus and were there for about quarter to five.

Three drinks later, it was about quarter to seven, so we left Rockus to head for dinner. Now, some of you readers know me in real life and you know this: three drinks does not make me drunk. Three drinks in and I'm pretty much the same I am sober. This is not a boast. If anything, it is a little frustrating that I am not a cheap date. So when I left Rockus, I was in the same state that I had arrived in. Remember this for later.

So we got to McPhabbs, and were lead to the reserved table. A different dude came up to serve us. We had a free drink with our two course dinner deal, but the boyfriend had asked if we could possibly upgrade this to a bottle and pay for the extra. This was swiftly (and not politely) rebuffed. That would have been fair enough though. I think both of us would have understood that.

What happened next is actually one of the most appalling and humiliating acts of bad customer service I have ever been party to.

This guy then starts interrogating me as to how many drinks I have had. At this point, I think the only thing I've probably said is what colour of wine I want. I said three, wondering immediately why I'm being treated like it's midnight and I'm in the queue at the Garage trying to get my story straight. He informs me I am SLURRING MY WORDS and that I can have my drink as part of the deal but that's it. As far as he's concerned, that's it. He then stalks off self-righteously.

I already felt humiliated and spoken-down to. I am 34 years old and have NEVER been spoken to like that in a place where I am (or would have been) a paying customer. I think the fact that I was quite patently NOT drunk added to the humiliation - had I been drunk I would have probably just have meekly accepted the fact that I was drunk and taken that last drink and ate dinner. However, I felt really upset and embarrassed that I was being picked on for no reason . . . so when the boyfriend suggested we left, I agreed. So we left. I got about ten steps away and then my anger kicked in. I decided to go back but my boyfriend had the same anger creeping in so he went instead. Which makes sense. I am so bad at confrontation and I was so angry and upset that I was shaking and on the verge of tears... I would not have been able to provide a coherent argument.

So the boyfriend went back and spoke to the guy... but to no avail. I obviously was not party to the conversation... but it seems like my boyfriend was speaking to a rude brick wall. He came back even more annoyed, we decided to go elsewhere and booked a table at Roastit Bubbly Jocks in Dumbarton Road instead. Lovely food, and I was permitted wine without any arsy-ness. Result!

I still remain angry though... let me re-iterate the points.

I had THREE drinks beforehand. I wasn't drunk. I was there for DINNER. I actually didn't even mind that much about the alcohol, but I resent being spoken to like I'm either an alcoholic or a child. The man's customer service was appalling. You do not speak to customers like that. I was not making any sort of scene either. And someone pointed out to me on twitter today, some people have conditions which mean they DO slur their words. So to humiliate me on THAT basis (if anything this now makes me paranoid I have a speech impediment I was not previously aware of) is actually borderline discrimination.

McPhabbs was a place I really liked, which I had fond memories of. However, it has now been tainted for me. There are plenty of amazing places in Glasgow, with amazing food and amazing customer service, and the service we were shown for that five minutes we were in there last night was completely below par. I won't be back there.

I've been compiling a post about good places to go for food in Glasgow which should be up in the next few days. This will NOT be making the cut. Well done!

UPDATE. After I posted this, a fellow blogger re-tweeted my link to it, copying in McPhabbs. They contacted me directly to ask for further information but, a month on, I still haven't heard anything further.