This evening we ordered some cellular blinds for our bedroom at Home Depot. The woman who helped us through most of the process was nowhere to be found when it came time to actually place the order so we were relegated to a woman who couldn’t do fractions, who took a personal cell phone call while entering my order in the computer, and who typed in my first name as “Edward” even though I both told her my name and handed her my driver’s license. She was also remarkably slow and slow-witted.

So this adventure took a lot longer than anticipated, leaving us all and Jonah in particular pretty hungry for dinner. Then we made the mistake of heading to the Olive Garden. They promised a 15 minute wait and delivered a 25. We sat in the lobby and watched while one group after another who arrived after us were seated. (Sometimes this happens, of course, since they seat in some measure by what size tables they have available.) They were kind enough at least to bring out a couple of bread sticks for Jonah.

After we were seated (in a crowded area by a busy intersection), we sat and waited. And sat and waited. And sat and waited. After about 15 more minutes, a server arrived and took our order. Then we sat and waited. For another 15-20 minutes. Had the drinks—and only the drinks—arrived just two minutes later they would’ve found an empty table. I’ve never walked out of a restaurant before, but we were close. Our drinks, by the way, consisted of two waters and a milk, so it’s not like our order was something exotic, unless they had to go milk a cow out back or something. We waited another 10 minutes for the arrival of bread sticks and salad, but in the intervening period had come to the easy conclusion that our already infrequent trips to the Olive Garden would be ceasing entirely. They eventually brought out our dinner—screwing up Jonah’s order, but interestingly fixing it within about 3 minutes—but by then the food would have had to be the best meal in the history of Italian cuisine to satisfy us, and if you know anything about the Olive Garden you know that their overpriced, assembly-line noodles aren’t going to give you any surprises like that. The food’s not bad, but it doesn’t aspire to greatness either, so “good” as about the best you can hope for.

“When you’re here you’re family,” reads Olive Garden’s long-standing advertising tag line. If this is how the Olive Garden treats family, I’d hate to see the level of hospitality they afford strangers.