IHOP: A Sad Experience.

My wife and I have been trying to “make” a baby. This morning is likely our last medically assisted attempt as repeated failed IUI attempts (if today fails as the rest have) will leave only one option that is financially out of reach for us. So we were up early this morning to deliver a batch of “baby batter” to the fertility clinic about an hour away from home. Sample was dropped off and it takes several hours for them to sort out the good swimmers and concentrate the best of the best and prep them to be placed in my wife’s proverbial “thunder dome” where they try to battle their way in to one of her eggs.

In our down time waiting for her turn to host the battle royale, we decided to go have breakfast. There is an IHOP just up the street from the clinic, so off we went to try and have a nice breakfast together. Right away there was a serious deficit in the level of service at this particular restaurant. We followed a young lady along the sidewalk toward the entrance and she held the door for me as my gait and cane clearly reinforced the the fact we parked handicap. She followed us into the restaurant and immediately became the hostess. She grabbed menus and possibly silverware and seated us. No hand washing or any attempt to appear she cared about food service hygiene. Before I sat down, I had to use the men’s room as MS has made my bladder seem like it’s the size of a walnut that’s constantly being squeezed in a vise. I asked my wife to order me a coffee and ice water while I was away as I’m slow to travel across unfamiliar territory. So from our table to the bathroom and back was over 5 minutes. I sat down facing my wife in our little booth and she informed me that no one had been to the table yet. We waited for at least another 5 minutes before a big burly fellow wearing a hooded sweatshirt lumbered up to our table. I don’t know if there is a particular dress code for IHOP staff but I am pretty sure they do have some sort of uniform. This guy did not seem to meet those standards and he was one stocking cap away from looking like the pan handler that we refused to make eye contact with when we got off the expressway.

We ordered coffee and water for beverages and waited another excruciating 10 minutes before being pulled back from the brink of dehydration. The coffee arrived in little thermos pitchers so we could pour our own cups. The water arrived in glasses held by the rim with bare hands and straws were not provided.

After 20-ish minutes our food arrived. Each plate was carried by hand with no tray. My hash browns were handed to me as I noticed the homeless looking waiter’s fingers intermingled among my colder than expected potato goodness. Once I set my hash browns down I notice that some of my wife’s strawberry syrup from her crepes had run all over my already finger violated hash browns.

Once we finish eating, my wife uses the restroom. When she enters the bathroom, the cashier vacates a stall and walks straight out bypassing the hand washing stations and returning to her work area. WTF!?!? While I understand she may not handle food directly, she very likely will touch all sorts of things with her possible STD covered fingers that the people who stick their fingers in my damn hash browns will also touch!

While I admit that some people will find my critique overly picky but I can not believe this is an isolated incident and IHOP(at least this one) does not promote a culture of cleanliness and professionalism.

Will I return to IHOP?

IHOPe not.

–The Twisted Cripple

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