If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money eating out, you expect to get a good meal, a helpful server and a clean bathroom.
But when we asked our readers to tell us what bothers them most, it turns out the rude, unhelpful or inconsiderate server tops the list.
As one reader put it: “People will put up with less-than-great food, but not with bad service.”
Nearly 18,000 readers took our poll, and about 37 percent said bad service was the worst offense when eating out. Bad food ranked second, with nearly 30 percent of the vote, and cleanliness was No. 3 with about 24 percent of the vote.
Still, readers had plenty of gripes about those other shortfalls. One reader recalled washing her own silverware in the women’s room after asking twice for cleaner silverware and not being satisfied.
“Bad food is yuck, lack of cleanliness can kill you,” another reader noted.
Many others said their biggest issue wasn’t with the restaurant per se – it was with the other diners.
“My two major complaints are noisy uncontrolled kids and people yakking it up on their cell phones. When I'm spending $150 for a dinner for two I don’t want to hear babies crying or 6-year-olds running around. Our favorite place has recently created a no cell phones, no texting area. Heaven!!” one reader wrote.
Maybe we should all just save some money and eat at home. Another story this week this week looked at how, despite recent improvements, many people still don’t have enough money socked away for a long stint of unemployment or other emergency.
The survey conducted on behalf of Bankrate.com found that only 25 percent of Americans had the recommended amount of savings: Enough to cover six months of expenses.
Our readers appear to be better than average (but of course we knew that). Of the more than 22,000 who took our poll, nearly half said that they had socked about enough to live for six months or more.
Not many were celebrating this accomplishment. Instead, many noted the grim reality of high joblessness and weak economic conditions.
“The job market is scary now. I spent the last 3 years completing my business degree and I'm still having trouble finding something good,” one reader wrote.
Others with that level of savings said they had already endured a long stint of unemployment.
“Went without job for 9 months. Savings covered it. First task with new job? Put those savings back,” one reader wrote.
Although it can be tough to put aside money for a rainy day, many said the sacrifice was worth it.
“Gotta say, it feels really good to have this security. A whole lot better than spending it would have felt,” one reader noted.
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