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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Just Jot January - 2018

The #JusJoJan for today is "Revolt" as suggested by Sandra at "What Sandra Thinks."

This is an easy one for me as I just had an experience that made me revolt against the system.

My husband and I went to dine at Outback Steakhouse after a recent procedure he had for which he had to fast the night before.  (He has those occasionally and we always end up going out to eat right after, no matter how groggy he is from the anesthesia - LOL).  At any rate, Outback is right down the street from the Surgery Center so it was an easy decision.

Since it was between lunch and dinner, there was no line and no waiting.  We got seated at a table and ordered drinks which were perfectly made.  My husband even went over to the bartender to tell her so. 

Next we ordered our meal, which included the appetizer blooming onion.  When we ordered this our server (name withheld to preserve anonymity) immediately picked up the Ziosk machine that was at our table and put in the order for the onion. 

I'm sure you've seen those machines before, they are popping up at all the restaurants.  You can play games on them (only a few are free, the rest you need to pay for) while you wait and you can order more food or drinks yourself and pay your bill with them.  I do not like them, but didn't say anything about it at the time.  

Our food came.  This is what happens when your husband has to fast and you worry about him while he is undergoing the procedure:

(Yes, healthy eating is still part of my goals for the year but sheesh it's only January and once in a while it is okay!)

Anyway, the food was delicious and the server was attentive.  Everything was great until it came time to pay the bill.  She immediately picked up the Ziosk device and was going to assist me in using it to pay.  I politely told her that I did not use those machines as I had tried them once and been the victim of fraud.  Someone had taken my credit card number and within hours had tried to pay for a hotel room in another part of the state.  

She proceeded to tell me that it was Outback policy to use the machines AND THAT SHE WOULD GET IN TROUBLE IF WE DID NOT USE IT.  I explained again that I did not use them because they are sitting unattended on every table and the "bad people" know how to get in and hack them.  (A fact which I Googled in preparing for this post and there were several versions of how to do a hack on the machines.  Some were old, it is true, but there were some articles from just last year!)  I told her I would be happy to talk to the manager for her and let him/her know why I was not using the machine and the server told me that it was okay, this one time.  She said they were "not supposed to use the computer in the back" but that this one time it would be okay.  She said she would only get written up if her entire section didn't use the machine.  

We paid the bill, made sure to give her a good tip (it wasn't her fault the company was pressuring them) and I even wrote on the receipt that she gave excellent service.  My husband gave the bartender an extra tip.  Obviously we did not have a miserable time there.  However, because it really made me mad that Outback would have such a policy, I immediately got on my computer at home and sent off emails to both the local Outback and to corporate headquarters.  By this time it was late afternoon on a Friday and Monday was the holiday so I didn't expect to hear anything right away. 

Yesterday I got an email from the Managing Partner at the local Outback.  She apologized for our "less than perfect" experience at Outback and said that while the staff is trained on using the Ziosk machines, they should not "force the tablet" on us or make us "feel bad for not using it."  She wanted to invite us back as her "personal guest for the experience we deserved."   

I thanked her for her response but wanted to make sure that our server in NO WAY got in trouble for our comments.  I said that clearly the servers were being pressured by corporate to use the systems and that I did not feel they should be held responsible for the customer's actions and that I felt it was a bad policy.  I gave her our mailing address so that she could send us the invite or whatever she is sending.  We'll see what happens. 

So, that was my revolt against the system.  What is your opinion?  Do you use the kiosk machines on the tables at restaurants?  Have you had your card numbers stolen?  Make sure to visit the other participants in #JusJoJan to read their revolting stories - LOL.



  1. Problem I have with the Ziosk machines is that they take up a lot of real estate on the table. I can't imagine why a restaurant chain would risk alienating its clientele by coming up with asinine requirements like this one. Good for you for complaining. A lot of people like the machines, but just because many or even most like it is no reason to force someone to use them.Who do they think they are, the government?

    1. LOL John. It will be interesting to see if we really get a voucher to come back to eat and if we do, I'm definitely going to talk to management. Perhaps the servers are given awards or something if the customers use them and our server was trying to get herself the award.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!