Spirit Night

Y’all know how schools have Spirit Nights wherein they partner with a particular restaurant and that restaurant gives some percentage of their proceeds back to the school? Well if you are new to this, the concept is pretty simple. The school (usually initiated by the PTA/PTO) reaches out to restaurants around the community and asks if they would like to host a Spirit Night. The restaurant, if they aren’t dumb, agrees. They get a crowd of people they might not normally get on a random Thursday night, and the school makes a little mullah. It’s a win-win. We have been to A LOT of these spirit nights at all three of the elementary schools we have attended since Jackson was in kindergarten, but the school we are at now (our personal favorite of the schools) knows how to show up at spirit night, y’all. Which is a great thing. If the restaurant is ready for us, that is.

So last Thursday we had this month’s Spirit Night at a pizza place. It was a local joint that we had never tried before, but seems to be popular with the community. I’m not sure if they’d never hosted a Spirit Night for our school before or what, but they were, ummm, how should I say this, not prepared. Now before I tell you this story, know that is comes from a place of love. Jerimiah and I both worked in the restaurant business, I did it for 10+ years in fact, and I know the trials and tribulations that go into it. The blood, sweat, and tears (hopefully not in the guests food) so I get it, but because of this we also know how it can be done right, and are always a little offended when it isn’t.

We got there right about 6:15 pm, sort of right in the middle of dinner rush, and the place wasn’t too packed. In fact, as the three of us looked around we were bummed at the lack of spirit from our school. Turns out the whole school was right behind us! In fact one minute there were about three families in line, the next there were about 10, and they just kept coming. Remember how I said we show up for Spirit Night?! This pizza place also does call-in orders, which you could also do for Spirit Night, so their phones were ringing off the hook too. They were suddenly busy, to say the least, but this should not have been shocking to anyone there.

Immediately Jackson found some friends and they all ran outside to play on the patio. It was a cool night, maybe 55 degrees, so no one was sitting outside, so they had this wide open patio (which was actually very cute with string lights and an outdoor fireplace) to run around and play. Jerimiah and I placed our order, and instead of little numbers they give you pictures of celebrities to keep track of table numbers. I thought that was cool, we had never come across that before. We got Prince, on a purple background, duh.

Jerimiah and I ordered caesar salads and 20 wings (we are trying to do low carb here, you guys) and we ordered Jackson two slices of cheese pizza. They sell pizza by the slice ($6 a slice, which was a little absurd since we had just been to NYC where the pizza is awesome and $2 a slice, but you know how it goes…) and they also sell whole pies, calzones, wings, meatball subs, the works. I was a little surprised when our bill at a pizza place was $50, but school spirit, blah, blah, blah.

We got our drink cups, and found a table next to some friends. I was busy in conversation with my friend Kelley, and we were talking about all the, ahem, slightly better pizza places around, while Jerimiah was sitting at the table, and Jackson and the kids were outside playing. I noticed at some point our salads got delivered, but I was still talking. We’d moved on to how we can change the world by then (my mom friends are amazing!) and Jerimiah started eating his salad.

Then a few minutes later a plate with 10 wings came out. Kelley was all, “Eat your food, we have to run.” And I went out with her to collect our kids. They took off and I brought Jackson in, assuming that our food was coming. Then we sat down. I started on my salad, Jerimiah finished his and started on the first plate of wings, and Jackson hopped up and down looking for friends who were coming in the door and asking about his two slices.

Forty-five minutes later, while Jerimiah was standing at the front counter asking why we never got our two slices of cheese pizza or ten more wings, they were all, “We delivered them…ummm…to someone.” Yeah. Needless to say Jerimiah just asked for a partial refund for the food we never received (at this point Jackson had not eaten and was pretty hungry from all the running around outside) and we had eaten side salads and five wings each, which was filling, but again, not what we ordered. They were convinced they had served our food to a wrong table, the cooks were adamant our food went out, somewhere, at sometime, and they were basically like, “Sorry, but you should have said something.” That’s when Jerimiah was all, “Uhh, my wife did say something.”

The thing is, when our salads come out, they didn’t have dressing with them. Jerimiah was so hungry by the time we had finally gotten it (about 25 minutes), that he ate it without noticing. I sat down and was all, where’s the dressing and he was all, “I dunno, I just ate mine.” (Eye roll. Men.) So I went up to the counter to ask for dressing. Then I asked, noticing their panicked faces behind the counter, about the rest of our order. The woman gave me my dressing, asked who we were (meaning which celebrity) I said, “Prince” and she walked over to the cooks. I heard them tell her that our food went out. So she came over and asked to visit our table. I brought her over and she was all, “Hmm, they said you got your food.” Nope, I told her. And she said, “I’m sorry, I’ll take care of it.” Twenty minutes after that is when Jerimiah approached the counter.

Anyway, even longer story short, they refunded us our whole ticket, which is not what Jerimiah wanted, but it was either a refund or we wait another 20 minutes (the kitchen was backed up by then, and apparently the counter girl had no recollection of walking to our table and talking to me) for the rest of our food, and may I remind you one order was literally just two slices of cheese pizza.

I must say I was very proud of Jerimiah throughout this whole thing. I was busy talking to even more people I knew, and he handled it without so much as a grimace. He apparently did get a little short when one of the women at the counter tried to say that we probably did get our food, we just didn’t realize it… umm… yeah. But I mean listen, we get it, we’ve been in the weeds before and lost some food, it’s just not the best idea to accuse the guest of getting the food, eating it, claiming they didn’t get it, and then, what? Discarding the evidence? They even pulled his receipt to make sure we had in fact ordered the “extra” 10 wings and two slices of cheese pizza. Ho hum.

We just had higher hopes for a restaurant who knew a slew of kids were coming in for dinner that night. Or maybe they didn’t because maybe they weren’t prepared for our school and our spirit! But now they know. PS… Who took our two slices of pizza and 10 wings and didn’t say, “This isn’t ours…” Hmm.

In the car I said, “So wait, all that and the school got nothing from us.” Jerimiah was like, “Jesus, I’d rather write the school a fifty dollar check than go through that again.” We laughed because it was true, and set off to find Jackson some food. It was late by this time (we’d been at the pizza joint for almost two hours) so we decided to drive through somewhere. It was decided that it would be Sonic since it was very close. So we ran over to Sonic to find it: SHUT DOWN, y’all! Seriously. It was like the dinner that would never end! But like Sonic just up and closed up shop. Not closed for the night, y’all, like done. Here look:

That’s Jackson peeping through the window. What the hell, Sonic? How you gonna do us like that, and right before Sweetheart Shake time?! Ouch.

So we ended up at, you guessed it, our North Carolina favorite: Cookout! Cookout never disappoints, y’all. And Jackson was finally fed dinner at 8:30 pm, and we decided to never go back to that pizza joint again. Listen, I’m sure they are lovely people. And maybe their pizza is awesome (we don’t know, we never got to try it), but their wings were ehh, and their service even ehh-er (it’s kinda hard to get over being called a liar. Eek!) But you know, you live, you learn, then you go to Cookout. #NorthCarolinaRepresent

I hope our school made some money though, they certainly should have, and from what I heard from other families all was well for them, so maybe it was just us that had a trying time. Hopefully so!

M.

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