Military Rants

olive garden > chili’s

As Friday was coming to a close, my bride sent me a list of restaurants from a RedPlum email giving away free meals or portions of meals for Veterans Day.  I’ve actually never taken advantage of such deals on Vets Day, but given that it was Friday, and the children love to eat at “rest-or-nots,” I thought,  “Why not get honored?  It’ll be fun!”

Knowing what Friday afternoon traffic is like, I wanted to pick something in between my office and our home.  I asked my paralegal, “Hey, is there a Chili’s or Olive Garden between north Atlanta and Buckhead?”  She said there was by Perimeter Mall, so I headed up there just after 4:15pm, agreeing to meet the rest of the family by 5.  The Chili’s ad said the free meal was from lunchtime (noon maybe?) until 5pm.  The drive was about 5 miles.

At about 4:50, I realized 45 minutes wasn’t going to be enough time to drive 5 miles in Atlanta on a Friday evening and called the Mrs to check her progress.  About 5:08, she called me back:

Her:  Hey, I made it, but we just missed the 5pm cut off.
Me:  Well, I’m sure they’ll let us get the deal anyway.  After all, there are 6 of us, and 5 will be paying for meals.  Tell them we drove up there just for this deal on this special day, and I’m sure they’ll understand.
Her:  I did.  With the 4 children.  And they said, ‘no.’
Me:  You have got to be kidding.
Her:  Nope.  The host didn’t even act apologetic or sympathetic.  In fact, he didn’t even stay around.  He walked off and left us standing there.
Me:  What an asshole.  The first time I try to go to a Chili’s since high school, and this is how they act?  Leave.  I just passed an Olive Garden–they were on that list, too.  I’ll go in and see if they have a cut off.

I pulled up to the Olive Garden across the street, and a man opened the door for me and said, “Welcome to Olive Garden!  Are you a veteran?  Because we’re honoring veterans today with a special menu today!”

And that’s where we ate.  And I get that rules and cut off times are there for a reason, but must you be so rude about it, Chili’s?  And was it worth giving up the business from 5 paying customers to be an asshole?  No, it wasn’t.

Hence my 140-character summary:

The Muskrat

@themuskrat The Muskrat
I just had a free dinner at Olive Garden after Chili’s told me I was 10min too late. Fuck you, Chili’s. #veteransday



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  1. I don’t know when customer service flew out the window, but it would be nice if it could find its way back. At least to Chili’s.

  2. Holy shit – fuck Chili’s, indeed!! Ridiculous!

  3. I take my mom to the local Applebees. They honor vets with free meals all day long! Not only that, but they are all incredibly nice about it. She loves it, and looks forward to it every year.

    This makes up for them having one of the most vegetarian-hostile menus of any restaurant in existance. I swear, even a Brazilian steakhouse has more vegetarian options than Applebees. A BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE! Where they bring dead animals to your table all night long!

    • @Dave2, I remember your telling me about that! I don’t even know where the chain restaurants are in Atlanta, but I decided to give a couple a chance and actually liked the food and service at one of them. Also, maybe we should go to Fogo de Chao when you’re in town this weekend!

  4. I hate Chili’s…always have. Now I hate ’em more…they suck.
    Customer service is more the exception these days than the rule. Kindness too. We moved from Detroit to small town Iowa and I swear the people are friendlier in Detroit. Imagine that! Happy Belated Veterans Day to you though. Come to my house…I’ll cook for you and your family!

  5. I like the food at Chili’s more than that of Olive Garden, but that’s pretty reprehensible behavior.

  6. Chili’s: Proudly supporting our veterans. Except at dinnertime.

  7. I may have to rethink my next Chili’s visit. Or at least skip the Southwest egg rolls. Bastards.

  8. I want my baby back baby back baby back….oh fuck em.

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