It Happened at Steak and Shake

Posted: March 10, 2014 by Micah in Randomnicity

Well hey interfriends!! We interrupt todays usual blogpost for this special news bulletin. As you may have noticed (if you are VERY observant) this is not a food review site. Not even a little little tiny bit. This is because I have all the dining refinement of a drunk giraffe, but every once in a while because the good Lord above has a sense of humor and enjoys sticking me in weird situations and I feel compelled to relate my experience to you (see It Happened at Olive Garden.)

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting some friends of mine at Steak n’ Shake. We met at said Shakery for several reasons but the largest reason, shining brightly down on us from above was a large “open 24 hours” sign. Now, let me be clear on one thing: I don’t have super high expectations for Steak n’ Shake. I’m not looking for awesome service or great food, I’m just expecting some mostly asleep person to come to my table and take my order and then several long minutes later to bring that food (good food but not exactly Ritz restaurants food) to me. This feels like a fairly easy expectation to meet… but it was not met.

The evening began fairly normally, our waiter took our order and then wondered off looking (as I had expected) mostly asleep. And from there: things went drastically down-hill. We had ordered (and read this carefully) three milkshakes, a coffee, and one meal (there were four of us… just for the record.) I am now going to make a statement that, I feel, is fairly simple given our order but if you have struggle grasping this statement feel free to re-read it several times.

No one at our table ordered water.

Bearing the previous statement in mind you can imagine my surprise when our waiter returned to our table with a tray filled with cups of water and a coke. The coke (believe it or not) was actually correct (going to my wife) but (just to repeat my previous statement) no one at our table ordered water. We told the waiter this and he laughed, and we laughed, and then he moved on to another table. No harm done.

Several minutes later though, he returned… with water. Again. This time (in the spirit of forgiveness) we took the water, though we did inform the waiter that we hadn’t actually ordered it to which he replied (and I quote.)

“Well sometimes life takes us where we don’t expect.”

Which was a surprisingly deep comment given that in this case “life” had taken us to a place where we would be slightly more hydrated then we had been moments before, but still, I guess I hadn’t really expected to be there… so whatever. My wife’s food came a few minutes later and the rest of us waited for our shakes… for a long time. And then kept waiting… for a longer time. They did, eventually, show up just like the  old story of the prodigal milkshake and we (like the old story of the person who drank the prodigal milkshake) we’re very happy to see them. Oddly they did arrive in to-go cups but hey, that happens! No worries. I was slightly more worried when it turned out I had gotten a different flavored milkshake then the one I had ordered. But hey, who am I to look a gift milkshake in the mouth?… Though I suppose I did pay for the milkshake thus making it not a gift milkshake at all, but hey, who am I to look a milkshake that I paid for in the mouth? Milkshakes don’t even HAVE mouths! So I shrugged and drank the milkshake… not the milkshake I deserved, but the one I needed right then. (Vague batman reference: check)

Several minutes later the waiter came by to ask if everything was okay and I said “yeah, it’s great… is the coffee I ordered coming?” I figured maybe he had forgotten and I figured this because the waiter had (to this point) forgotten that we didn’t order water, forgotten that he forgot we didn’t order water, and then forgotten that I had not ordered the milkshake he had brought me (which he would not remember.) Sure enough, he had. He left to gather my coffee and I continued sipping away at my ill-gotten shake. My coffee arrived several minutes later and I happily prepared to nicely counter-balance my cold milkshake with a steaming cup of hot joe. It was then that I came to the somewhat startling realization that this Joe was not a hot joe. No, this joe was a cold joe. And not just “not hot” or even “not warm” this coffee was actively and aggressively cold. Colder than my milkshake.  Colder than the heart of the people who keep putting “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” on the air. At this point (at the urging of my wife) I did ask the waiter for a new cup of coffee (one not actively hosting a tiny family of penguins’ tiny family reunion) and (to his credit) he returned ten or so minutes later with a nice steamy cup of steamy beverage. The night continued fairly well after that (though some waiter randomly strolled by and tried to give our table oranges… which was odd… but whatever.) As we were getting ready to  leave my wife decided she (As the only person who had not gotten a shake at Steak and Shake) would get a shake to bring home with us. When she asked though, she was informed that “the shake guy” had left and no one else there new how to make a shake. Now let us take a moment and glance at the name of this particular establishment.


You’ll note it is not called “Stake ‘n Shake (as long as the shake guy is here)”

In the waiter’s defense he did say he would “see what he could do” and went off (apparently to desperately try and get a hold of the one guy in the restaurants employ who knew how to make the drink for which the restaurant is named.) He returned probably twenty minutes later to inform us that “another shake guy is here” and that her shake would be on its way. Sure enough several minutes later her shake arrived… in a glass… that we could not take with us. Now, in the waiters defense we hadn’t actually asked for a to-go cup but given that every other shake had come in one we felt it kind of a safe bet that her shake would arrive in such a state. Maybe the last “shake guy” had been a rough and tumble revolutionary while this shake guy was a traditionalist stuck in the ways of the past who refused to use anything but the purest of stake and shake glasses!! Or maybe no one had any clue what they wanted… I don’t know.  Sure, we could have asked the waiter to put her shake in a to go cup but at this point we had somewhat lost faith in mankind as a whole really, and figured it would be safer to remain where we were until we were actually ready to leave as opposed to giving the shake back to the waiter and having him return with cups of water and some random citrus he had found.

Speaking of leaving, it did take the cash register guy three attempts and two times where he left the register and wandered off to parts unknown before we actually were allowed to pay for our food but at that point we had really just given up entirely and were ready to bid a fond farewell to stakes, shakes, and waiters. And thus ended a very fun evening with very… interesting… service.

Thanks for reading guys, tip your waiters (regardless of service), and I’ll see you Thursday!  


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